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Chiwenga, Mohadi tour Covid-19 centres

by Staff reporter
18 Apr 2020 at 07:49hrs | Views
While Zimbabwe has done much to cope with a major outbreak of Covid-19, more needs to be done ,Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi said yesterday as they toured facilities to assess the level of preparedness.

Vice President Chiwenga was in Mashonaland East, while Vice President Mohadi, who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 was in Bulawayo. Taskforce vice chairperson Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri was in Manicaland. The tours follow the lead of President Mnangagwa who was in Mashonaland West and Midlands last week.

Government has secured resources to improve the state of provincial hospitals to cater for Covid-19 patients, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said at Marondera Provincial Hospital at the end of his provincial tour.

"We have been to Nyamapanda, where there is the isolation centre for foreigners, and in Mutoko to see what is happening and now we are here, the capital of Mashonaland East.

"There is a lot that still needs to be done and the budget is still there. We have not yet finished the monies that we were given and on top of that we have been given donations both in Zimbabwean dollars and in foreign currency. What we want to see is state-of-the-art equipment at the provincial headquarters," said VP Chiwenga.

Turning to the successful Chinese battle to halt the spread of Covid-19 in that country, he said Zimbabwe needed to emulate what the Chinese had done.

"When I was in China together with Dr John Mangwiro (Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care), we got a paper on how China dealt with this problem and Dr Mangwiro sent it here and I hope it's distributed to all the corners of the country. I hope it will help us."

One policy change needed, he said, was to ensure all returning residents and foreigners coming into the country be quarantined at Government-controlled institutions, rather than at home, until it was certain they were free of Covid-19 infection.. Marondera Provincial Hospital medical superintendent Dr Celestino Dhege said there had stocks of essential medicines, but some materials like surgical gloves and intravenous fluids were in short supply.

The hospital needs an intensive care unit and at present there is only a high dependency unit. In Bulawayo, Vice President Mohadi said  the taskforce wanted 40 000 tests done by end of April.

"The situation that we are in is dire and very difficult to comprehend. So far, we have 24 cases nationwide and three fatalities, but that doesn't mean those are the only people. We haven't done much testing as we would have wanted to do. I have set myself with my team a target of 40 000 by end of April and from that number we'll see how many people would have confirmed positive," he said.

VP Mohadi said Government is in the process of distributing more testing kits across the country.

 "We are distributing quite a lot of testing equipment that is the rapid result equipment and also the PCR, which are the confirming machines. We want every province to do the tests and send them for confirmation," he said.

"The good part of it is that in the districts we have what we call the GeneXpert machines available for testing with the right cartridges. They are designed to detect tuberculosis and can also be used to detect the coronavirus given right cartridges, which we are going to feed into the GeneXpert machines to enhance our testing capacity," said the VP.

VP Mohadi toured Ekusileni Medical Centre, Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital and Mpilo Central Hospital to assess the city's state of preparedness to handle Covid-19. "My mission here in Bulawayo is to check on the state of preparedness and whether we are prepared as Zimbabweans to combat this pandemic. I have been sending ministers to check and usually you need to do spot checks yourself and a lot still needs to be done in terms of capacitating our health institutions," he said.

VP Mohadi said Government is committed to providing front line health workers such as doctors and nurses with personal protective equipment to ensure their safety as they attend to Covid-19 patients. He said from observing the situation as he went through the city centre, it appeared residents were heeding the lockdown.

Source - the herald