Harare council probes Zororo Makamba death

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THE Harare City Council (HCC) yesterday said it was probing circumstances which led to the death of prominent broadcaster Zororo Makamba who succumbed to coronavirus at Wilkins Hospital this week.

This comes as the young broadcaster’s death — whose heart-wrenching testimony by his family was exclusively carried by the Daily News —  has jerked the government to rope in private companies in its fight to combat the spread of the lethal virus.

The Makamba family said the Wilkins Hospital — which is run by the HCC — was poorly equipped to treat patients infected by coronavirus.

 “Harare City Council is instituting investigations into  what happened at Wilkins Hospital when the late Zororo Makamba was admitted.

“The investigation follows comments made by the Makamba family over allegations of impropriety in the manner the patient was handled.

“Council takes this opportunity to advise stakeholders that despite Wilkins Hospital being a council facility, during times of crisis and strife the institution comes under the direct management of central government,” the HCC said in a statement.

“The city’s health facilities, including Wilkins and Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital — are designed to cater for primary health care with complicated cases being referred to referral hospitals.

“Ordinarily, our clinics and hospitals, therefore, do not have some of the equipment needed for complicated issues,” the HCC added.

Zororo died on Monday — after apparently contracting the lethal virus in the United States of America (USA).

The talented television personality — who was the youngest son of telecommunications tycoon and former broadcaster James Makamba — died on Monday, after being diagnosed with the lethal virus.

He was one of the only three people so far who had been confirmed to have tested positive for the virus, which first broke in China at the end of last year, but has since killed more than 22 000 people and infected thousands more worldwide.

On Monday, the Makambas narrated a heart-rending story in an exclusive interview with the Daily News about how Wilkins Hospital was ill-prepared for coronavirus — leading to them feeling “betrayed” by authorities.

Family spokesperson Tawanda Makamba also revealed to the Daily News in the explosive interview how Zororo had returned from New York, the United States of America with a mild cold.

His initial test by his doctor for coronavirus suggested that he did not have the disease.

“On Friday, last week, he started developing a fever and his doctor recommended that he had to be admitted.

“This is because Zororo had a tumour removed from just under his left lung in November last year, and he was under an 18-month recovery time-frame.

“His immune system was thus already compromised. So, the doctor was keen that he gets into hospital to receive proper medication and care,” Tawanda said.

After there had been delays in testing his samples at Wilkins, the family took Zororo home as he needed oxygen.

“His GP (General Practitioner) phoned around and an ambulance delivered the oxygen and soon after we got the positive results for coronavirus at about 2am the following day.

“They told us that now that they had confirmed that he had the virus, he had to be taken to the Wilkins Hospital for treatment.

“We then inquired if we could bring him immediately and we were told that the hospital was not ready to receive coronavirus patients,” Tawanda further told the Daily News.

“So, later that morning we waited and waited and they were still not ready to admit him. He ended up being admitted at around 10am or 11am.

“His doctor made it clear that he had to be on a ventilator because he could not breathe.

“However, when we got to Wilkins hospital, there was no ventilator, no medication and even the oxygen would run out and they had to get it from the City of Harare,” Tawanda added.

“After that we ran around to find a ventilator for him and we managed to get a portable ventilator from a family friend who had a relative who used the ventilator before he died,” he said further.

Tawanda also said the hospital did not have any medication to help Zororo to breathe — medicines that the family had to source urgently from South Africa.

“We then brought the ventilator on Sunday by 2pm and when we got here (to Wilkins), because the portable ventilator had an American plug, they told us to get an adapter because they only had round sockets at the hospital.

“I then rushed to buy an adapter and came back and they never used it, and when I asked why, they said they had no plugs in his room.

“I told them that I had an extension cord and pleaded with them to use the cord, but they refused to use it,” Tawanda added.

“If you go and visit Wilkins you will see for yourself that they are not prepared to handle cases like this. We were having to phone from home, calling the nurse station to tell them that Zororo was in distress and that his oxygen was finished because they were not going to check on him.

“It even got to a point where they were telling us that we were bothering them, but Zororo was struggling in there,” the emotional Tawanda also said.

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