By Trevor Makonyonga
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has cried foul over the poor handling of the eleventh case and second death of COVID 19.
In a statement, the human rights group called for an immediate investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of the COVID 19 patient.
Grey areas were noted in the handling of the case ranging from the timeframe of conducting the tests to the general ignorance of the disease.
The positive results came out after the 79-year-old had passed on.
This brings the COVID 19 confirmed cases to eleven with two deaths.
The deceased presented himself at a local hospital in Bulawayo and health workers lack personal protective equipment.
Lack of PPEs is increasing exposure of health workers to the deadly virus.
“The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights calls for an urgent audit of circumstances leading to the death of patient number 11 diagnosed with COVID 19 in Zimbabwe. ZADHR is deeply concerned by the continued lack of preparedness in handling severe cases of COVID 19 cases in Zimbabwe. Equally, we are extremely worried about the possible exposure of health workers in private and public facilities who are working without PPEs.
“It took five days (from 2nd April to 7th April) to get the test result a period rather too long. The absence of diagnostic facilities for COVID 19 brings to question the state of preparedness at centres outside Harare. What is the government doing to improve the turnaround time for tests? The patient was treated at a local hospital. Is this an infectious diseases facility or a COVID 19 designated facility? Previously the Minister of Health and Child Care has assured the nation that the country is ready to deal with COVID 19 cases countrywide. The lack of clarity arouses questions.”
Attention was then turned to the health professionals who attended to the patient.
“The inability to diagnose on time is a clear sign that health workers attending the deceased were exposed as they lack the essential protective equipment (PPEs). Does this case reflect a lack of knowledge on the case definition of suspected cases of COVID 19? The person was first seen on 23 March and was not advised to self-quarantine, get tested for COVID 19 and managed as a suspected case. What is the state of preparedness for centres outside Harare?”
ZADHR also noted the neglect of regions outside Harare which have no isolation centres.
“ZADHR believes that this case and the continued demise of severe cases of COVID 19 patients mirrors the utter lack of preparedness of the health system. It also reflects the minimal focus on other regions outside Harare. Lastly, the Minister of Health and Child Care must be made to account for what he referred when he claimed the country was prepared for COVID 19 when such regional inequities and pervasive logistical issues characterise our response to date.”