BY VANESSA GONYE
A LOCAL health organisation, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) had begun preparations to support the country’s COVID-19 centres such as the Parirenyatwa Hospital Isolation Centre in a bid to fight a potential third wave of the pandemic and a further surge in infections.
MSF confirmed the development in a statement yesterday, adding that it wanted to contain the virus which wreaked havoc in the country during the months of December and January after the second wave surfaced.
MSF said while the cases of COVID-19 and fatalities had significantly reduced, there was need for the country’s referral hospitals to be adequately equipped to deal with another possible wave of the respiratory disease.
Its intervention comes at a time there are reports of health workers operating without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), medication, equipment and oxygen.
This has also been worsened by a shortage of nurses and doctors, with most health centres being unable to operate at full capacity.
In January alone, Zimbabwe recorded more new cases (19 521) than the whole of last year, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 35 172 by February 15.
MSF Zimbabwe emergency co-ordinator, Herbert Mutubuki said they had to chip in to help the country to manage the escalating cases of COVID-19 that at one time rose to unimaginable figures, making it impossible for hospitals to manage.
“Patients were turned away as hospitals ran out of capacity to cope with the escalating infections and deaths. Additionally, staff was concerned about their own health and safety, as there were inadequate PPE supplies.
“Our support is based on the needs assessment we have undertaken and includes increasing the hospital’s capacity to manage admitted cases. MSF aims to improve infection prevention and control (IPC) measures, improve the flow of patients and staff for outpatient care, and tackle shortages of PPE, essential medicines and medical supplies. Additionally, MSF has recruited and deployed medical staff to support the hospital,” he said.
Mutubuki said with the first batch of the vaccine already in the country, he hoped the targeted population would be vaccinated.
“Our intervention activities will contribute to the flattening of the curve, and this includes reinforcing the important measures of hand washing, correct face masking and social distancing,” he said.
MSF activity manager, Shingairayi Mawarire said to fight COVID-19, health staff needed to be motivated.
“We believe keeping healthcare staff motivated is key to ensuring the success of the intervention. Low morale is a major challenge, and it affects the support that we get from government health workers. So, at Parirenyatwa, we are contributing food for health workers in the high-risk ‘red zone’ and providing additional training where necessary,” Mawarire said.
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