Virtual hospital transforms Covid-19 war

Source: Virtual hospital transforms Covid-19 war | Herald (Top Stories)

Rumbidzayi Zinyuke-Senior Health Reporter

With most Covid-19 patients able to recover at home, a virtual hospital has been set up to ensure quality home-based care to patients who do not need hospitalisation, as Government continues to revolutionise the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The hospital, which will have a dedicated network of health staff, is expected to reduce pressure on hospitals by allowing the majority to recover safely at home but with professional health staff monitoring and visiting them and equipped to step in swiftly if extra care or support was suddenly required.

In addition a range of preventative and other community programmes are being implemented.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said yesterday after the weekly Cabinet meeting that Government would establish a provisional figure of between 10 000 and 20 000 home-based beds.

“This comes from the realisation that most Covid-19 patients recover without symptoms or after experiencing mild ones, which do not require hospitalisation. 

“A network of health staff will carry out protocol based monitoring and management of the cases,” she said.

Equipment support for the programme will include rechargeable oxygen concentrators, finger pulse or saturation monitors, non-contact thermometers, blood glucose testing machines and blood pressure machines.

“The equipment will be deployed to the ‘admitted’ patients and returned when the patient gets discharged. 

“The establishment of the virtual hospital will therefore alleviate the pressure on hospitals. The public will be kept abreast of developments in this regard,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Zimbabwe has so far recorded 38 102 Covid-19 cases as at April 26, but 35 149 people have fully recovered, leaving the recovery rate at 92,2 percent. 

Most recovered at home but hospitals had to admit some patients with moderate symptoms, as well as those with the severe symptoms that did require in-patient special care.

Over 1 550 people have died from Covid-19.

As part of efforts to prevent a third wave of the pandemic, an engagement of stakeholders and partners is being intensified with a view to pooling both human and financial resources for more effective responses.

Minister Mutsvangwa said new strategies, including focused interventions and intensified community engagements, have been adopted. 

“In light of infections experienced in schools, sub-national communication structures have intensified campaigns in Covid-19 hotspots and in cases where community infections are noted,” she added. 

The minister said Government was continually providing funds from its coffers for the Covid-19 response programme, with $11 billion having been released since the onset of Covid-19. 

The Global Fund has allocated US$75 million to complement the Covid-19 fight from 2021 to 2023.

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