The treasurer of the Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), Norman Matara, told the Daily News yesterday that there continued to be an acute shortage of protective clothing and equipment, including intensive care unit (ICU) beds and ventilators.
“We are currently receiving very concerning information from some doctors and health care workers who are saying that if there is a case of coronavirus and they are called to attend to it they will not report to work, because there is no sufficient personal protective clothing and equipment to shield them from contracting the virus.“Currently there is a shortage in personal protective clothing, for example N95 masks as well as protective suits — which places the lives of doctors, particularly those in district and provincial hospitals at risk.“This is very concerning because if people who are supposed to be on the frontline, working to mitigate the situation, have no confidence in the health delivery system, then who will ensure that people are treated and that an outbreak is prevented?” Matara said.
“From what we are seeing in other countries, in terms of coronavirus cases that are coming in, 18 percent require intensive care.“In Harare, we have four ICU beds that are operational, two from Parirenyatwa Hospital and two from Harare Hospital — which means that we have four ventilators … for an ICU bed to be considered as operational, it has to have a monitor and ventilator.“In Gweru, we have three operational ICU beds. This just goes to show the lack of preparedness in dealing with coronavirus that we are confronted with as a nation,” Matara said further.
“There was training of about 300 health workers which was done in Kadoma a few weeks ago, but that was more of an awareness training.“Therefore, more needs to be done to train more healthcare workers on how to handle coronavirus cases, especially those in provincial and district hospitals.“Training can even be done online where people can just log in and get all the necessary training on how to handle coronavirus cases,” Nyaguse said.
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