The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) has proposed that hospitals scale down to emergency mode and the cessation of all routine outpatient departments operations, as they decried the lack of preparedness at public hospitals in dealing with the novel coronavirus.
In a statement, ZHDA president, Tawanda Zvakada said doctors were vulnerable to the disease, also known as COVID-19, as they dealt with high risk professionals.
“The lack of clear direction and training has resulted in overcrowding at entry points to health facilities and left frontline medical personnel attending to patients without the bare minimum of personal protective equipment (PPE),” he said.
“As such strict measures must be put in place to protect us and the nation at large.”
The doctors warned that if their concerns were not addressed, they would not be able to “continue conducting our duties, exposing ourselves and risk spreading the virus to our loved ones at home”.
Already, nurses have issued a similar threat, raising the spectre that if Zimbabwe were to suffer a widespread breakout of the disease, the country would be devastated.
The measures are:
- Hospitals must scale down to emergency mode with immediate effect
- Adequate PPE to be availed to all healthcare workers at highest risk
- Mandatory screening ar all points if entry to include purpose of visit to limit traffic as well as provide adequate distancing of patients and visitors to the health institution
- Separate entry and exit points for health workers
- Clean water and sanitisers to be readily accessible throughout the hospitals
- Patients requiring emergency services to be accompanied by at most one other person
- Suspension of visiting inpatients to avoid crowding in wards and corridors
- Specialised trained task force to attend to suspected corona (sic) cases
- HCW compensation to be discussed in a transparent manner to allay the current fears of health worker
So far, Zimbabwe has officially reported two cases of the coronavirus.
Another patient is suspected to have been infected with the novel coronavirus, but the government says the person’s test results were inconclusive.