BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
BULAWAYO City Council’s Health Department has revealed that it is set to deploy rapid response teams at roadblocks to test travellers as they enter the city in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Government, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, has only been able to establish 32 rapid response teams in Bulawayo and Harare to deal with COVID-19 infections in cities which have the highest number of cases in the country.
BCC director of health services Edwin Sibanda said they were making efforts to deploy rapid response teams at roadblocks despite the challenges they were facing as council.
“Recently, there was a directive that we should start testing people at roadblocks, we are trying to do that, we are facing challenges, yes mainly of staff and materials and the lab turnaround at roadblocks,” Sibanda said.
He said a short turnaround time would avoid delays so that people are not kept at roadblocks unnecessarily.
“People may be in a hurry, so we would want a turnaround time that is so short and allows people to receive their results and proceed with their business,” he said.
“We are trying to man the roadblocks and test people there, follow up contacts as well as scared people who think they have got COVID-19 and call us from their homes.”
He appealed to government for more rapid response teams so that the programme comes to fruition.
“So we would need more than 10 teams to manage that and each team has no less than three people and we are struggling to raise that number of people at the moment,” Sibanda said.
The Information ministry recently said in order to expand testing and contact tracing in hotspot areas, the Health and Child Care ministry had established 32 rapid response teams in Harare and Bulawayo.