By Lloyd Takawira
Health experts in the country have cried foul over government’s lackadaisical approach in COVID-19 preparedness in public health institutions.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also urged countries to scale up testing and treatment of the virus which has affected thousands of people worldwide.
While government was commended for suspending public gatherings of more than 100 people and ordering the closure of all learning institutions there is concern over Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital preparedness.
There are concerns that the country’s main referral and isolation centre for the coronavirus (Covid-19) has no basic essentials such as protective clothing.
WHO in partnership with United Kindom Department for International Development last week gave the isolation centre, donations of protective clothing, including space suits .
However close sources at the infectious disease’s quarantine centre claimed they had received about 20 space suits which have since depleted.
“We have been getting a number of scarce(suspected) cases, and we have been using those space suits and the rest dealing with those cases,” the source said.
According to the World Health Organization , “there is need for healthcare workers to be fully equipped when handling suspected or infected person with essentials such as space suits, gloves, gumboots and N95 respirators.”
Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights (ZDHR) secretary general, Dr Norman Matara also raised concern over the lack of protective clothing for the health personnel.
“We do not have adequate persona protective equipment for health worker especially in the provinces and districts. Health workers are not confident of the safety and are sceptical to respond to suspected case.
“We also think that the government should put travel restrictions especially for countries with high prevalence of Covid- We also need a proper communication channel to dispel myths and misconcepti and also give the public information on Covid-19. We need a website and a hotline for people to access correct informatio Overall we think the government is partl prepared to deal with an outbreak. Thes gaps need to be addressed for us to has confidence in the response mechanism”.
Director of Healthy City of Harare, Dr Prosper Chonzi said that renovations are still underway to capacitate the biggest referral hospital so it can handle the pandemic.
“Those who are doing renovations are far from finishing. There was ICU at the isolation unit so that is what they are trying to create,” he said.
To date Zimbabwe has no confirmed cases of corona virus which has since been declared a national disaster by President Mnangagwa.