THE Avenues Clinic has rolled out a US$10 million refurbishment project as the institution works towards transforming itself into a major foreign currency earner through offering world-class treatment and care services to both locals and foreigners.
By Michael Gwarisa
The US$10 million capital injection which was partly funded by NedBank, comes at a time the health sector is reeling from a myriad challenges chief among them being the unavailability of foreign currency and massive shortages of essential drugs. The project will be three phased starting with the patients’ ablution facilities before spreading to sections of the hospital.
Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony this morning, Avenues Clinic board chair, Mr Pearson Chitando said the US$10 million would ensure they transform the ambiance and service delivery at the institution in line with international standards.
“We have managed to retool but obviously at some stage, you do need to infuse more capital, you do need to also have linkages with the banks for which I am so grateful and thankful.
“Happenings of the recent week or so have sort of unnerved most of us in that drugs are short because of foreign currency and also for quite a number of years, this institution has been trying to get a tariff review. When time compare how much I can pay in one of the hotels and compare that to the tariff of a hospital bed, I would said it is a crying shame considering that in the hotel you not have a dedicated nurse to look after you,” said Mr Chitando.
The Avenues is currently celebrating its 35th anniversary and according to officials, the health institution has managed to attract reasonable foreign currency as it also offers care and treatment services to foreign patients as well as members of foreign medical insurances.
Avenues Clinic Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Searchmore Chaparadza applauded NedBank for the injection which he said would ensure they attain their goal of becoming a leading foreign currency earner through provision of internationally acclaimed health services.
“The facility improvement and upgrade will also be in done in phases and this first phase will look at the bathrooms, and reorganisation of the round floor. What we really trying to do is to track international development so that we are able to capture the number people who are going outside the country.
“I would like to advise that s an institution we are also a foreign currency generator because we treat foreign patients and patient coming from outside Zimbabwe and those that are on foreign media insurance.
“It is indeed our hope that when this upgrade is done, we will be able to generate more foreign currency as an institution as an institution which is something that the country really needs at the moment,” said Mr Chaparadza.
He also alluded to the issue of drug shortages which he says can only be resolved through allocation of foreign currency to ensure drugs are procured. He also said they have engaged the central bank to see if the stabilisation facility could also be extended to them as an institution so that they be able to capacitate the institution to ensure in generates the much needed foreign currency.
Meanwhile, Mr Edward Chitsuwa the NedBank Head of Business Banking said in as much as the Avenues clinic is not exporter as stipulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the clinic was attracting meaningful foreign currency through treating and caring for foreign patients who in turn brings through foreign currency.
“There is a lot of happening in the economy but we are pointing more to the foreign currency issue. The RBZ governor is saying we need to ring-fence the foreign currency earner to ensure the foreign currency is shared in the economy.
“When we work with the Avenues clinic, we fully appreciate where you are going, we understand your vision and we want to play our role. We understand you will be able to serve some foreign currency in the economy there are others who spend foreign currency but for productive reasons and others are earning,” said Mr Chitsuwa.