Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Doctors express deep reservations over Zim’s readiness for coronavirus

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro

The state of our hospitals is not good, we do not have enough protective equipment and most doctors do not have the know how of tackling the coronavirus, says the treasurer of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), Norman Matara.

Immigration workers wear protective masks at a departure port at Robert Mugabe International airport in Harare, Zimbabwe, March 11, 2020. Picture taken March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Immigration workers wear protective masks at a departure port at Robert Mugabe International airport in Harare, Zimbabwe, March 11, 2020. Picture taken March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Speaking to the Daily News, Matara said it was worrying that Zimbabwe’s major hospitals did not have adequate Intensive Care Units (ICU’s).

He added that most doctors did not know how to deal with coronavirus cases despite that there are no confirmed cases so far in the country.

“The state of our hospitals is not good and we don’t have enough protective equipment.

“Most doctors also do not know what to do if they are confronted with a coronavirus case, which is very worrying.

“What is also worrying is that we do not have adequate Intensive Care Units. For example, at Parirenyatwa there are eight ICUs and only two of them are functional.

“This same scenario obtains at Harare Hospital, where only two are functional, meaning that we only have four functional units in Harare.

“We cannot even talk about the situation in other areas,” Matara said.

Matara accused Mnangagwa of lacking political will to fight the coronavirus, adding that the president banned public gatherings on Tuesday but went on to address a rally of Zanu PF supporters in Nyanga.

“The president made a statement yesterday (Tuesday) banning public gatherings, but we saw him today (yesterday) addressing a group of more than 100 people.

“What this means is that we took a step forward yesterday and a step backward today. We need to be serious about the disease.

“We also need money to prevent the disease and to educate communities on the way they should be handling the issue.

“We also need money to educate doctors and health workers on its management protocol, so that they do not run away whenever suspected coronavirus patients are brought to health facilities,” Matara added.

The leader of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association, Shingai Nyaguse however, urged government to be more aggressive in fighting the virus.

“We are happy that people seem to be taking it seriously at the highest level. But the sooner the people act, the lesser its impact.

“We do encourage the government to be more aggressive,” she said.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Zimbabwe yet.

This week, Mnangagwa banned all public gatherings including the independence celebrations following fears of its outbreak in the country that is facing serious economic problems. Nehanda Radio

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