…SHDA says Zim not out of the woods yet


Sindiso Mhlophe

THE Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) has warned that Zimbabwe is not yet out of the woods in terms of controlling the spread of the lethal coronavirus (Covid-19) despite the decreasing number of active cases in the country.

This comes as the Covid-19 active cases dropped to 903 as at August 23 from a cumulative total of 5 930.
SHDA secretary-general Aaron Musara told the Daily News yesterday that it was too early to definitively say the curve had flattened.

“The decrease that we are seeing in the number of confirmed cases is likely a result of slowed down testing due to shortages of test kits and this does not mean that we are out of the woods yet or that we have successfully managed to control the spread of the virus.

“More needs to be done to ensure that we improve contact tracing, surveillance, isolation of confirmed cases, the sub-optimal implementation of infection prevention and control practices in health facilities, crowded institutions and places such as prisons, Zupco queues and markets.

“We also have porous borders where people are coming in after paying bribes. What this potentially means is that we have more cases within communities that are going undetected and unaccounted for,” Musara said.

He further dismissed claims that Covid-19 cases were decreasing because the winter season was over, saying that the country could witness a surge if mitigatory measures were suddenly disregarded.

“We also cannot say that we have successfully managed to control Covid-19 when we have people dying in hospital car parks because they cannot be admitted without a certificate to prove that they do not have Covid-19. Others are dying at home, some from the virus and others from different ailments because they cannot afford medical care or to be tested for Covid-19,” he added.

Musara further said senior doctors were waiting for the government to call them for dialogue over the ongoing industrial action, which has gone beyond two months.

“We are still waiting for formal communication from the government on how it intends to address our challenges.

“Appealing for doctors and nurses to return to work without addressing the key challenges, including unavailability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and salaries, will not work because they are currently incapacitated,” Musara said.

Recently, vice-president and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga appealed to striking nurses and doctors to return to work while the government addresses their grievances.

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