Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Health Reporter
The high numbers of people dying from Covid-19 being recorded could be a result of people trying unverified homemade remedies first, then presenting to a health facility when it is already too late for them to be save, a local immunologist has said.
Zimbabwe has recorded high numbers of deaths over the past week with 50 deaths reported on Tuesday alone to bring the total number of people who have died since the disease was first detected last year to 2747.
Dr Tinashe Gede, a specialist physician working in the Covid-19 unit red zone at St Annes hospital lamented the rate at which Zimbabweans were dying from the disease.
“Far too many patients are either presenting too sick to be helped or dying soon after presentation and it is a very common thread in all the patients we are losing. Patients we are losing have not been vaccinated, they fall sick and they spend a lot of inordinate time before they seek appropriate medical care,” he said.
He said some patients had been put on therapies that had not been verified to work against Covid 19 only to have their condition deteriorate fast. Most of these could not be saved
Dr Gede said every ventilator and high dependency bed at the hospital was already occupied as well as all 10 beds in an overflow unit hence there was no capacity to take on more.
“We have to recognise that we are in the middle of a very serious crisis, we have to do all we can to make our lives and that of our patients better. It starts with a very good recognition of the importance of prevention.
“If we are looking at our daily case numbers we are still getting over 2000 cases nationally every single day. There is a lot of interaction, a lot of movement which is leading to more transmission of infections. We need to put an end to that and really comply with masking, social distancing and hand hygiene and cough hygiene. If we can break the transmission cycle, maybe we may have a shot of surviving this but the collateral we have already paid is too much,” said Dr Gede.
He urged Zimbabweans to seek medical care as soon as they tested positive to Covid-19 for them to start treatment early.
“We need to you to help us make the few patients that we have better. We cannot have people flooding the units when we are already full and have no capacity to help them. Our system is already buckling under pressure. I also implore the government to scale up the capacity for population level vaccination,” he said.
Zimbabwe is targeting to vaccinate 10 million people to reach herd immunity and curb the spread of infections.