SENIOR STAFF WRITER
THE government has received a major boost in its fight against the lethal coronavirus following significant personal protective equipment (PPE) donations by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), the Daily News reports.
This comes as health workers have been striking over poor conditions and the lack of adequate PPE at government hospitals.
Unicef country representative, Laylee Moshiri, told the Daily News at the weekend that they had released 16 tonnes of PPE to the government, to help combat Covid-19 in the country.
“With the support of the Health Development Fund donors, European Union, DFID, SIDA-Sweden, Irish Aid and Gavi, a consignment of equipment — including medical masks and protective gowns — arrived in Harare after extensive work from Unicef Zimbabwe and its global supply division in Copenhagen.
“Working with the ministry of Health and Child Care, the equipment has been distributed to all provinces for use in medical facilities and for distribution to district and community levels.
“This will go a long way in assisting the country deal with Covid-19 cases and minimise the spread of the disease which has claimed many lives across the globe,” Moshiri told the Daily News.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union (ZPNU) has welcomed Unicef’s gesture, adding that doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are in dire need of not only PPE but also better wages.
“As the ZPNU, we are calling upon other well-wishers, stakeholders, NGOs and faith-based organisations to chip in and complement government efforts to capacitate nurses in ensuring that they deliver quality healthcare and are protected from the deadly disease,” ZPNU secretary-general Douglas Chikobvu said.
All this comes as Covid-19 has so far killed four people in the country and infected more than 500 others.
However, the government has taken a lot of flak for the manner in which it has failed to equip health workers with adequate PPE.
At one time, health workers petitioned the High Court to force the government to provide them with PPE, among other essentials, in the fight against Covid-19.
While doctors and nurses have complained of inadequate PPE, as well as poor pay and allowances, the Daily News reported exclusively in April how fat cats at the Health Services Board (HSB) were living it up.
Then, the HSB bigwigs controversially awarded themselves hefty additional allowances, at a time that frontline health workers were getting measly salaries and incentives.
The allowances came hard on the heels of deliveries to HSB bosses and other high ranking government officials of top-of-the-range vehicles.