THE family of the late television personality Zororo Makamba who became Zimbabwe's first coronavirus death has made scathing remarks regarding the state of preparedness by the country's health facilities to tackle the ravaging COVID-19.
In statements carried by the local media, a family spokesperson Tawanda Makamba said despite the show of bravado by Government and City of Harare health authorities and the numerous assurances that the country was ready, it was far from the truth.
MDC president Nelson Chamisa visited the Wilkins Hospital in Harare last week and also said he was impressed by the state of preparedness at the Council-owned facility, but the Makamba family have narrated shocking details which reveal that the facility is nothing more than a death trap.
According to Tawanda, Zororo's death was preventable as he had seen a doctor upon arriving from his New York trip.
The physician had failed to diagnose the coronavirus, instead prescribing medication for flu. It was only when he developed a fever that his doctor recommended that he be admitted to hospital.
According to Tawanda, his brother's condition deteriorated further and there was a delay in preparing a room for him to stay in at Wilkins Hospital, which is Harare's only isolation facility. This led to the Makamba family keeping him at home and providing him with oxygen to help breathe.
"His GPA phoned around and an ambulance came home to deliver the oxygen and then we got the positive results for coronavirus at about 01:30 or 02:00 the following day. They told us that now that they had confirmed that he had the virus, he had to be taken to the Wilkins Hospital for treatment.
"We then inquired if we could him bring immediately and we were told that the hospital was not ready to receive coronavirus patients. So, in the morning we waited and waited and they were still not ready to admit him. He ended up being admitted around 10:00 and 11:00," said Tawanda.
What followed was a nightmare for the Makamba family as they found Wilkins Hospital ill prepared to handle the sensitivity of Zorora's case. The family states that:
- Wilkins Hospital in Harare is not ready to receive patients;
- There was no ventilator, oxygen and medication to treat Makamba;
- The hospital was out of supplies to treat Makamba's respiratory condition;
- Nurses and doctors have no protective gear;
- The family was given the runaround in moving Zororo to Health Point Clinic;
- Health Minister Obadiah Moyo refused for Zororo to be treated elsewhere and Mnagagwa and his wife promised that they would intervene;
- Borrowdale trauma centre was suggested as an alternative for Zorora but it is also not equipped and ready to handle COVID-19 patients;
- There is no water at Wilkins Hospital; and
- There is a breakdown in communication and the government and doctors are not readily available.
The Makamba family also made the shocking claim that the owner of the Borrowdale Trauma Centre said he would only help on the condition that they coughed up $120 000 for a ventilator and monitors and donate these to Wilkins Hospital after Zororo's recovery.
At the end before he died, he kept telling us that he was alone and scared and the staff was refusing to help him to a point where he got up and tried to walk out and they were trying to restrain him.
"I want people to know that the government is lying…So if you come here to be treated for corona there is absolutely no treatment you will get, you will die," said Tawanda.
Zimbabweans have begun questioning the state of the country's preparedness to deal with the virus.