THE spike in COVID-19 cases recorded in the country on Saturday is a signal that the virus has sharpened its teeth and ready to devour the nation of at least 15 million citizens.
Statistics availed by the Health ministry revealed that 490 cases were recorded for the whole of Zimbabwe on Saturday, in addition to the
Sunday tally alone which stood at 262.
This means Saturday and Sunday alone brought the Zimbabwe COVID-19 cases in just the two weekend days to 752.
The total number of cases are now 3 921 with 70 deaths.
These statistics naturally need urgent intervention from government, but shockingly, the country’s acting Health minister Amon Murwira seems to be majoring in the minors.
On the same day, he threatened health workers, ordering them not to make “outrageous demands”.
In a somewhat paradoxical announcement, the acting minister also went on to state that his ministry will cut down expenditure on medical supplies to ensure a vibrant and efficient health delivery system.
The right to health access is enshrined in the Zimbabwe constitution, but the situation at the country’s hospitals is not reflective of such.
It is like sending a sick person to die.
Investigations made by Zim Morning Post last week exposed the deplorable state of the COVID-19 facility at the country’ biggest public refferal centre, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
This publication established that only one medical doctor is serving a flock of patients, some of whom are sleeping on corridors due to shortage of beds.
“The prolonged strike of doctors and nurses has resulted in the shortages of medical staff to attend to the patients.
“The patients-to-doctor ratio is not proportional,” said our inside source.
Zim Morning Post managed to obtain images of the dire situation inside the wards after sneaking in undercover.
The patients were being served with sadza and vegetables (with peanut butter) and the small portions left them craving for more.
“We have been eating this kind of diet since we came in and sometimes we skip meals. I prefer dying at home than in this place,” lamented one patient.
This publication also established that the few frontline workers who braved to report for duty ended up testing positive for COVID-19, further worsening the situation.
“At least two frontline health workers who volunteer their services test positive for COVID-19 everyday and this has scared away other volunteers,” further revealed our source.
This revelation means all the other frontline workers who get in contact will be quarantined, further depleting the skeletal voluntary staff.
The other challenge is the prerequisite of a COVID-19 certificate without consideration of the emergency status of the patient.
Lately, several organisations have been donating food stuffs to government meant for disbursement but the food is being diverted for personal use and black market sale.
“Some top officials are diverting donated food to their tuckshops located in downtown Harare and resell and exorbitant prices.
“The levels of corruption and lack of transparency are alarming,” opined our source.
In 1985, World Health Organisation declared that the Zimbabwean healthcare system was among the best in the developing world.
However, with developments at Parirenyatwa and other institutions, indications are that most of the gains after independence have been reversed by lack of fit and proper personnel to run the Health ministry.
The late Timothy Stamps left a sober condition, but those who came after him betrayed his legacy.
The acting minister, Amon Murwira, simply inherited a rotten state of affairs and his ‘turnaround strategies’ are oblivious of the fact that we have a national and global crisis at hand, which do not need bookish solutions but action.
Analysts submitted that the deaths of high profile citizens, including Cabinet minister Perrance Shiri, should serve as a wake up call to prompt a revamp of the health delivery system.
Private hospitals charge exorbitant fees but still the elite have succumbed to the deadly pandemic, signalling urgent government intervention.
Nurses and doctors have complained that since their industrial action, government has not shown any interest of engaging in meaningful dialogue.
Meanwhile, rumours, innuendoes, lies, and mistruths spread rapidly in Zimbabwe and this has seen reports alluding that the Chinese and other foreign nationals left the country in a huff because Zimbabwe is bracing another more dangerous wave of the coronavirus.
Government dismissed this and misinformation has also become equally dangerous to COVID-19.
“Misinformation is causing panic and mental health issues, resulting in some people assuming and imagining having COVID-19 symptoms. Insomnia and anxiety cases have increased because of this behaviour,” said a mental health expert.