Gweru residents wary of COVID-19 preparedness



GWERU residents yesterday expressed concern over the lack of protective clothing for health personnel at council clinics saying the situation was putting both workers and patients at risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a letter dated March 24 and signed by Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) executive director, Cornilia Selipiwe, the association said a tour of council health facilities showed poor working conditions in light of the deadly pandemic.

“When GRRA (toured) all your council clinics in the city, we noticed that you are putting council nurses and residents at risk of coronavirus,” read part of the letter addressed to the town clerk and copied to the city’s mayor and health director.

“Nurses at the clinic do not have protective caps, masks and sanitisers, but they are nursing new pregnancies and patients every day. However, we do have pictures of all the facilities as evidence to highlight the appalling conditions that nurses and residents are experiencing. As GRRA we do not wish to put these pictures on social media since we want to engage your good office first to map the way forward for the city.”

Mayor Josiah Makombe confirmed receiving the letter, but said council was doing all it could to handle the spread of the pandemic.

“We will always strive to handle the coronavirus at our clinics despite the obtaining economic climate in the country,” he said.

“As council we have started engaging stakeholders in meetings to (spread) awareness on COVID-19 as well as educating residents on precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic.”

Currently, Zimbabwe has no equipment in hospitals designated to handle COVID-19 cases with less than 100 beds in the country reserved for coronavirus patients.