Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
HEALTH officials have encouraged the reactivation of Community Home Based Care in a bid to reduce pressure at health institutions and to ensure there is a thorough follow up on Covid-19 positive cases that will be recovering from home.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care Dr Ruth Labode expressed these sentiments after reports of the number of people recovering from Covid-19 while at home versus those in health institutions.
“If hospitals have a small number of admitted people yet we are saying we have over 7 000 infected people, we now have to go back to home-based care. When HIV was still ravaging through communities years ago, Government trained home based caregivers, these people did follow ups on HIV positive people who were going to the homes to advise these people.
Normally they were local people known to the communities and they were not paid. I strongly believe that we must pay them an allowance since we have opted for home-based care, we must engage these caregivers and nurse aids and train them on Covid-19 and give them Personal Protective Equipment and they go out into the communities to do follow ups on people,” she said.
Dr Labode said follow up on patients was vital so as to assess their situations individually.
“This also serves to see if these people sent home to self-isolate have adequate living space to isolate in because you can send a patient home and they live in one room and there are four family members. The caregivers duty is to identify such cases and have the person removed to an isolation centre to prevent further infection of other family members.
The home-based caregiver’s other job is to see physically if the patient is indeed isolating in real times and staying safe together with their family members,” she added.
Dr Labode also called for community testing and treating to be initiated.
“We want a situation where a testing centre in the community like Emakhandeni (Bulawayo) is accessible to people who suspect they may have the virus or were in close contact with a positive person and they get tested.
“The officers there can then send the patient to isolate at home. Some people tested positive and did not get admitted into a health facility but went home and took some medication. Our plea is that a kit is availed by the Government to those people who will be recovering from home, some vitamin C, zinc, Azithromycin and aspirin.
It is your right to get medication again. You will have saved the Government money because you were not admitted in hospital but you are home recovering.”
Dr Portia Managazira, director Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Care also weighed in saying a large number of people were self-isolating while at home. — @NyembeziMu