Coronavirus: Shortage of testing kits a blow to the fight against COVID-19

  • Doctors say Zim is not testing enough
  • Drs urge MoH to carry out massive home-based testing
  • Cumulative figures of tested samples way below expected numbers

THE shortage of testing kits is hindering the fight against COVID-19 worldwide with Zimbabwean doctors urging the Health ministry to embark on home-based testing during the total lockdown period.

From the beginning of the crisis, shortages of requisite resources have been a problem, particularly with regards to issues of testing.

Medical practitioners have taken a swipe on the Health ministry saying there is lack of coordination in how to handle the crisis especially when it comes to testing of samples.

“This issue is coordinated from the top so there is nothing doctors in the provinces can do.

“No single test has been carried out in Midlands until today. And the fact that there us instruction to test only cases that exhibit 90% of symptoms is a danger to the citizens,” said one of the doctors.

“Problem is we only want to test those who are symptomatic of which that is a small percentage.

“I think one thing that is nof being said is that the effects of the lock down will only be seem two to three weeks from now due to the virus having the 7-12 day incubation period.

“Cases might rise during the lock down, but these will be people infected already before the shutdown.”

Latest figures show that Zimbabwe has, since the outbreak of the pandemic, tested 274 samples of which 266 have been declared negative.

Further investigations showed that if one’s symptoms were still mild, then they could not be tested due to the shortage of testing kits.

“You cannot be tested when your symptoms are still mild. So, most patients are going back home without being tested, which is so unfortunate because some of them might be positive, ” revealed a source at Wilkins Hospital who refused to be named

So far, Zimbabwe has recorded one death from the deadly disease and eight have tested positive.

Recently, Jack Ma, a Chinese nationality donated testing kits and face masks to African countries in a bid to help fight COVID-19.

Michael Ndlovu, a medical practitioner, said the shortage of COVID-19-related equipment could derail the fight against the pandemic.

” We are not talking about testing kits only, but we need things like latex gloves, face masks and ventilators, among other things in fighting this deadly diseases, ” he said.

Ndlovu urged government to show seriousness in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think the government should show seriousness in fighting this disease. Also, citizens should follow instructions so that we avoid the spread of the virus.
We all have a role to play, ” Ndlovu added.


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