Red flag raised over Covid-19 deaths


Blessings Mashaya

THE ongoing labour unrest in the health sector is contributing to the increase of daily Covid-19 deaths in the country as patients are not able to receive medical treatment, health experts have said.

This comes as the country recorded nine Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday with the total death toll at 150 since the outbreak of the disease in the country in March. There were 5 643 confirmed cases, including 4 442 recoveries.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Enock Dongo told the Daily News yesterday that there was a need to improve the country’s health facilities.

“The main reason we are witnessing an increase in Covid-19 deaths is because of poor health facilities, patients are not being attended on time due to the current health crisis.

“There is lack of preparedness by the government. Our institutions are not ready to deal with Covid-19 patients. Another issue is that results are taking a long time to come out. What will happen is that a patient might be wrongly treated and no one would like to take responsibility.

“The health system has collapsed. If you go to Harare Hospital they will tell you to go to Parirenyatwa…they will also refuse to treat you and at the end of the day one will die without any treatment.

“All this leads to the high number of deaths we are witnessing. People fear to go to hospital because they know that they will not get help.

“We haven’t reached the peak because we are not testing more. The government must engage all stakeholders and address health workers’ plight. They must know that we must work together to fight this pandemic. At the moment health workers are demotivated,” Dongo said.

The secretary-general of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA), Arron Musara said the issue of Covid-19 deaths was worrisome.

“We have an increase in Covid-19 deaths and it’s mainly because hospitals are not admitting people; so for those patients with comorbidities they succumb to their comorbidities or they may worsen because of Covid-19.

“These people want to get medical attention to other medical conditions like hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases. This has got an impact and it is causing more deaths,” Musara said.

This comes as health experts said there was a need for Zimbabweans not to relax, because the country was not yet out of danger on the Covid-19 front.

Musara said the nation had to remain focused on combating the disease.

“It is difficult to say that we have now flattened the curve. We need more time before we can get to that conclusion. We are facing testing challenges and this may result in the reduction of recorded cases of Covid-19. Results are also taking long to come, and so we cannot say we have flattened the curve.

“High temperatures might have a bearing, but so far we are not sure. We must not be complacent and we need to remain vigilant because Covid-19 is still there and the number of positive cases can increase.

“Everyone must continue to follow set guidelines so that we can win our war against Covid-19,” he added.

Dongo, also warned that the country was yet to reach the virus peak.

“It’s too early to say that we have flattened the curve. We are not testing much and that affects the number of cases being recorded.

“We need to be cautious and follow the set guidelines, like maintaining social distancing. We are not out of danger. We are yet to get to the peak, and as such we are likely to see cases going up,” Dongo said.

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