Tendai Mugabe in HARARE and Thupeyo Muleya in BEITBRIDGE
Half of the 4 000 health posts unfrozen by Government have been filled and training of medical personnel in Covid-19 case management is ongoing at national, provincial and district levels, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
She said this yesterday in a daily update of the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 at State House.
“Government has now embarked on expanded tests covering the whole country,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“The Public Health Strategy and Infrastructure subcommittee reported that the recruitment of healthcare workers is being expedited.
“Of the 4 000 unfrozen posts, close to half, have been filled and these include nurses, nurse aides, environmental health officers and technicians, port health officers, laboratory scientists and technicians, surveillance officers and others.
“Additionally, training of medical personnel in Covid-19 case management is ongoing at national, provincial and district levels.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said the Materials Production Subcommittee tasked with identifying essential products for use by the nation during and after the Covid-19 pandemic reported on the gazetting of Statutory Instrument 90 and 92 of 2020.
SI 90 regulates the exportation of pharmaceutical medicines and personal protective equipment (PPEs). The goods are needed for the prevention, protection and treatment of Covid-19 symptoms.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the Ministry of Industry and Commerce was working with pharmaceutical companies to assess production levels and identify gaps.
Government is also looking at ring-fencing drugs to avoid artificial shortages.
Said Minister Mutsvangwa: “In times as these, let us show the spirit of Ubuntu and work together with one goal of beating the coronavirus.”
The Resource Mobilisation and Coordination Subcommittee gave an update on the mobilisation and engagement of stakeholders’ donations.
Government and various partners have set up two call centres to efficiently and effectively attend to queries around the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown.
Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo said: “We want to boost the human resource element in our ministry so that we can be able to look after this pandemic. We are grateful for having unfrozen those posts in this time of need.”
He said Government had so far received 40 000 PCR test kits and another 10 000 PCR cartridges for use on the GeneXpert machine.
Dr Moyo said with GeneXpert machines, Government would be able to do Covid-19 tests at rural clinic level, in line with the target of testing 1 000 people daily.
Authorities at Beitbridge District Hospital, a referral centre for nearly 250 000 people, have started getting additional staff to boost capacity on the ground to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Beitbridge District Medical Officer, Dr Lenos Samhere, said they expected to get nine more nurses to add to the 138.
“We are in the process of receiving more members of staff,” said Dr Samhere.
“So far we have received six from our allocation of nine.
“Additionally, we will be getting 17 more environmental health technicians (EHT) and four more health environmental health officers (EHO). At the moment, we have six EHOs and 22 EHTs.”