Coronavirus: Government retraining health experts

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BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE

GOVERNMENT will now retrain health experts on how to deal with coronavirus following concerns by citizens on the country’s preparedness in handling cases of the deadly virus in case it finds its way into the country.

As of yesterday afternoon, neighbouring South Africa had 24 cases, triggering fears that the virus might find its way into Zimbabwe, which is already battling with a weak healthcare system compounded by a lackadaisical approach to the deadly virus that has so far claimed over 4 800 lives and infected nearly
130 000 people globally.

There have been reports that the country’s ports of entry, which receive large volumes of international travellers, are ill-equipped to detect travellers suspected to be infected with coronavirus.

During a Press conference on Thursday in Bulawayo, Health and Child Care permanent secretary Agnes Mahomva said government was currently training experts in Kadoma on how to handle cases of coronavirus.

She said government was also revising its response strategy.

“Zimbabwe continues to be guided by World Health Organisation (WHO) in strengthening our surveillance,” Mahomva said.

“As we are speaking, we are finalising our revised response plan. At the beginning, we were putting a very rushed national response plan and now we are revising it, updating it and strengthening it based on the experiences that can be learnt here in Zimbabwe.

“With the scares that have been going around and the experiences that are coming from China, who are experts, now we are prepared to fight the disease.”

Speaking during a media tour at Mpilo Central Hospital on Wednesday, Mahomva said when WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic, government quickly put in place a national response programme.

“We shared the budget with our partners, sent it to the Finance ministry, which has since availed part of the resources that we are using to train our healthcare workers. As we speak, we are having experts from the southern region being trained in Kadoma,” she said.

“We had our first training at the Wilkins Hospital, which is one of the major isolation facilities. We have trained health workers and several batches of workers. This is not a Ministry of Health challenge, but it is for all of us. We have had inter-ministerial meetings and the last was on March 2, where all ministers and their permanent secretaries came and we told them what is going on.”

Mahomva said it was critical for the citizens to listen to the government for accurate information on the disease.

“We are very prepared based on the resources that we have. While we want millions of dollars, we are looking at the resources that we have. It is about doing the right thing with what we have,” Mahomva said.