Zimbabwe has received five more ventilators and essential equipment for critical care units by the Chinese Red Cross Society meaning that almost half of Zimbabwe’s critical care beds now have these, Acting Secretary for Health and Child Care, Dr Gibson Mhlanga has said.
Speaking at the handover of ventilators by the Red Cross Society of China to the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society in Harare yesterday, Dr Mhlanga said out of the 73 critical care beds available, 49 had ventilators.
These beds and their equipment are essential in successful treatment of the most severe Covid-19 cases, when patients have breathing problems.
The remaining beds still require ventilators and other critical ICU equipment.
“Replacement and servicing of broken down equipment has been difficult in the past couple of years and this further shrunk the availability of critical care beds,” said Dr Mhlanga.
Dr Mhlanga said while five percent of all Covid-19 cases would require ventilators and ICU admission, it was critical for Government to continue improving infrastructure and establish intensive care units where there are none.
“These ventilators donated today will go a long way in filling up the gap and assist in the management of the critically ill Covid-19 patients. The donation will also help in strengthening our healthcare system beyond the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr Mhlanga.
Zimbabwe Red Cross Society president, Mr Edson Mlambo, applauded the assistance, adding that the world’s humanitarian needs continue to grow against available resources, creating a huge funding gap.
“While the gap between humanitarian needs and funding is growing, it is our firm belief that through enhanced collaborations like we have witnessed today, our collective response will efficiently and effectively address the humanitarian needs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mr Mlambo.
Although the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has its medical facilities, Mr Mlambo said the five ventilators will be handed over to Government for use in their public health facilities describing them as “big machines”.
Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe, Mr Xiaoming Zou, said while the donation symbolised the humanitarian spirit, it also showed the close friendship between China and Zimbabwe.
Mr Xiaoming said since the first day Zimbabwe recorded its Covid-19 case, China reacted immediately by providing support to Zimbabwe. Since then, Mr Xiaoming said China has donated thousands of masks, protective suits, goggles, gloves and shoe covers.
“Unity leads us to victory. The virus is new, but the friendship between China and Zimbabwe is lasting. It is believed that the time-tested China-Zimbabwe relationship will help us overcome difficulties,” said Mr Xiaoming.