Friday 14 August 2020
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newsday - 1 month ago

Zim lags behind in COVID-19 response

ZIMBABWE is a long way from being able to control the COVID-19 pandemic, a health official has said. BY VANESSA GONYE The country has 716 confirmed cases, 181 recoveries, 527 active cases, and eight deaths, with most of the new infections recorded among returnees in quarantine centres. Speaking on the weekly show, In Conversation with Trevor, acting deputy director of mental health in the Health and Child Care ministry, Sacrifice Chirisa said the opening of the economic sphere had brought with it challenges that had seen the rise in cases of COVID-19. He bemoaned the fate of frontline workers who are on duty without proper protective equipment which has exposed some to infection. “When it comes to PPE, this is the basis of ensuring the health service providers do not get infected and what we have seen in other places is a lot of cross-infection from patients to the service providers. There is a huge gap in terms of the PPE provisions,” Chirisa said. “We were speaking to one of the biggest hospitals in the country and they were saying they had PPE to last for two weeks. The amount of PPE that is needed is really a lot, so the PPE drive needs to be maintained.” Recently, 13 staff members at Mpilo Central Hospital tested positive to coronavirus, while 197 were placed in self-isolation. In April, the High Court ordered the government to ensure provision of adequate PPE to all healthcare workers in public health facilities and those deployed in the field to trace contacts made by individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. The order was in response to a petition filed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on behalf of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights pointing to the unpreparedness of the underfunded health system to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and the vulnerable state in which doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are currently operating due to a severe shortage of PPE. Chirisa noted with concern, the relaxed atmosphere in the country at a time when a permanent solution to the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be found. “Right now the country at large, it seems as if the fear for COVID has gone down, but as we can see the cases are going up. If we do not maintain the vigilance, the push we might get ourselves in a reversal of situation,” he said. Due to the harsh economic environment and failure by government to provide a safety net for vulnerable households, many citizens who survive on vending are flouting lockdown regulations to put food on the table. Chirisa, who was speaking on behalf of his Business Fighting COVID Trust, an organisation that helps in the fight against COVID-19, urged businesses to look for ways to fight the pandemic that has crippled many economies around the world. In light of businesses taking heed of the need to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Eat’n’lick managing director Tsitsi Musabayana, said there was need for businesses to adjust their operations with a view to safeguarding their clients from the pandemic. She was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a self-help platform that minimises interaction in the wake of the global pandemic that discourages contact. The platform, the golden tapper application and tapp-a-delivery service, allows customers to grab meals in the comfort of their homes anytime of the day without physically paying for and collecting their orders. “This system we have introduced is actually the first in the country. If our clients are affected, it affects us in a way hence the need to make use of such an application that ensures they get quality service from wherever they are, limiting contact, and reducing possibilities of COVID-19 spreading,” Musabayana said. Musabayana said their recent rebranding was inspired by COVID-19 which has ushered in a new way of life as people try to find ways of dealing with the further spread of the virulent disease.


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