Health Minister under fire over casual attitude towards coronavirus
By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Health minister Obadiah Moyo is under fire for pretending government has the capacity to control the coronavirus, amid news that the 27 year old Zimbabwean woman who travelled from Wuhan, China and was placed in isolation at Wilkins Hospital, was back in a medical facility.
On Thursday, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals confirmed in a statement that they received the patient and the hospital authorities were reviewing how the case was handled and assessing the facility’s preparedness to handle similar cases in the future.
“We wish to confirm that the patient who was originally isolated at Wilkins Hospitals for suspected COVID-19 was presented at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals on 26 February, 2020.
“The patient was brought in by the City of Harare to our Mental Health Hospital where it was decided that the patient should be seen by a physician first.
“The psychiatrist followed up the patient and attended to her in our Casualty Department. Since consultations with the City of Harare were continuous throughout the process, the two parties eventually resolved that the patient should be referred back to Wilkins Hospitals where she is currently admitted for comprehensive evaluation and treatment.
“The City of Harare who isolated and facilitated the tests on the patient indicated that the patient tested negative three times.
“We wish to advise members of the public and our stakeholders that we have done everything within our capacity to protect our staff and patients from the potential infection,” read the statement.
On his microblogging Twitter handle, Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono blamed Moyo for “reckless” and “irresponsible” manner during the handling of the case.
“What did I say here about quarantining citizens and residents coming from China.
“The ‘Wilkins patient’ is back in hospital again!
“The Ministry of Health is run by a bozo!”
Chin’ono blamed government for allowing visitors from China when the country has no capacity of handling the coronavirus.
“Everyone coming from China should have been properly quarantined if they are a citizen or resident like what other countries are doing!
“Foreigners should have been simply told not to come if they are coming from China because we don’t have the capacity to save lives.
“This patient is back in Hospital after three tests, but over what period?
“You can be positive three times if the virus is still. In the incubation period, that is why there is need for quarantine,” Chin’ono added.
The ministry of health says it has lined up a six point plan to use when handling coronavirus cases.
“After receiving report of the patient referred above, the Chief Executive Officer and Acting Clinical Director have immediately called for a meeting with key departments to review how the case was handled and assess the hospital’s preparedness to handle similar cases in the future.
The meeting resolved the following:
1) The whole of Casualty should be regularly disinfected following WHO (World Health Organisation) guidelines. The exercise to start with immediate effect.
2) The few outstanding items or the order for protective clothing should be expedited.
3) Standard Operating Procedures and Protocols for Casualty should be strictly adhered to.
4) The Rapid Response Team should improve in their communication.
5) A screening tent should be set up outside Casualty so that any suspected case is referred to Wilkins Hospitals.
6) The hospital shall not attempt to handle any suspected case as it is statutorily a responsibility of either Wilkins Hospitals or Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases.
Meanwhile, Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi has also advised government to consider not accepting visitors from China.
“Coronavirus Alert: About 80 000 people have been infected in 40 countries so far. Risk virus will reach Zimbabwe is high. Regular washing of hands, avoiding public places & touching your face, cancelling international trips & avoiding visitors at home & at work can help,” Mutodi said.
Chin’ono meanwhile urged government to replace “reckless” Moyo adding that, “perhaps we still need a proper medical doctor as a Minister if Health!”
“Let us pray for this patient and all those she came in contact with.
“If anything happens to her or anyone else she got in touch with, it will be the responsibility of Obadiah Moyo and the regime.
They have been absolutely reckless and irresponsible,” Chin’ono said.
Meanwhile, in Nigeria, a case of the new coronavirus was confirmed on Friday with an Italian citizen who flew in from Milan suspected to be infected, amid Europe’s largest outbreak, earlier this week.
Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said the affected patient was in Lagos, clinically stable and being treated at an infectious hospital diseases in Lagos.
“The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms,” Ehanire said. Nehanda Radio