While Zimbabweans and the world have collected donations towards victims of Cyclone Idai in Manicaland and Masvingo with several truck-loads of food and clothes, what has been in short supply are medicines.
We hope government will from now on focus on mobilising more medicines from local and world health organisations.
Organisations that can come in handy are Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) which currently provides treatment for HIV, tuberculosis (TB), non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health, in partnership with the Health ministry.
Government must set up mobile clinics near affected areas to attend to the thousands who were injured because some of the injuries are life-threatening. As of now, we have the injured nursing their wounds without any medication or bandages, hence worsening the chances of infection.
Some of the affected people might have been on medication for different sicknesses and lost all their medication during the devastating cyclone. As we speak, they may not even have their hospital medical records as these were also swept away.
It is important that government, through humanitarian organisations, urgently sets up the mobile clinics to help those with chronic diseases among them TB and HIV/Aids. Other common chronic diseases include arthritis, asthma, hypertension, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and some viral diseases such as hepatitis C and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
Already, most have not been able to take their daily medication and there is little hope that they will get any supplies soon.
Government also needs to mobilise doctors and nurses who can help run these mobile clinics so that the injured thousands receive the right treatments.
Zimbabwe has thousands of nurses and doctors who are out of employment; these can be temporarily employed so as to ease pressure on health staff already on the ground.
In engaging these unemployed doctors and nurses, government would have shown that is also sensitive to their plight.
There is need to source medicines that can fight water-borne diseases as water is everywhere, hence creating a fertile breeding ground. Children are also at risk in such harsh weather conditions and they need special treatment to prevent attacks.
Hundreds of people are still missing from the deadly natural cyclone and it is important that government works flat out to try and establish their whereabouts as well as identities. Retrieving their bodies and positively identifying them — if they are deceased — will help greatly affected families find closure. DailyNews