BY LORRAINE MUROMO
MEDICAL experts have urged government to adequately equip the country’s hospitals in order to effectively deal with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The call came after Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa on Tuesday told journalists during a post-Cabinet media briefing that government was making extra efforts to expedite the vaccination programme, as well as to capacitate COVID-19 isolation centres throughout the country.
Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association president Shingai Nyaguse said more still needed to be done in order to spruce up hospital equipment throughout the country.
“Various centres are at different levels of progress. The situation is much improved from last year, unfortunately, it is still below what is needed to adequately deal with the surge in COVID-19 cases,” she said.
“Very few centres are fully capacitated nationwide. That is, not all of them have all the oxygen, staff, drugs and sundries that they need.
“For instance, Ekusileni in Bulawayo is still not admitting patients one-and-a-half years later, which obviously puts a strain on United Bulawayo Hospitals and Thorngrove. Equipment such as monitors also remain a challenge especially at district isolation centres.”
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said the situation on the ground showed that the whole country was now a COVID-19 hotspot, thus the need to improve equipment at the country’s hospitals.
“Unfortunately, the available vaccines are not matching the high demand of people willing to take up the jabs,” he said.
“Zimbabwe has struggled to test in sufficient numbers to control the pandemic, primarily testing travellers and patients. Therefore, a large number of cases are not accounted for.”
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association president Johannes Marisa said: “Yes, government is trying to build more isolation centres across the country, but an isolation measure is not significant.
“We need to also ensure people adhere to stipulated measures to curb the spread of the virus.”