ONE of Mashonaland Central’s biggest referal medical institution, Howard Hospital, faces closure due to shortage of staff after 20 of the workers, including nurses tested positive to Covid 19 this week, Zim Morning Post has learnt.
The development follows the death of the hospital pharmacist (name withheld) last week amid revelations that there is inadequate provision of Personal Protective Clothing (PPE) at the Salvation Army run hospital.
“We are short staffed and working under extreme pressure.
“Besides our depeleted staff complement, we are also living and working in fear of our lives because the PPE is not enough, yet the wards are overwhelmed with patients coming from areas across the province,” said a nurse who declined to be named for fear of reprisal.
The skeletal staff members have, however, soldiered on and their plight is reflective of the crisis faced by frontline workers in the country’s fight against Coronavirus.
Latest statistics availed by the Health ministry show that at least 1547 frontline workers were infected by the coronavirus across the country.
Efforts to contact authorities at Howard were fruitless at the time of writing as the hospital administrator’s mobile phone went unanswered. Text messages sent were also not responded to.
Interestingly, their phones failed to go through, giving credence to claims by staffers that the authorities were being secretive over the Covid 19 positive figures and imminent closure.
Early this week, Chitungwiza Municipality closed St Mary’s clinic after seven health staff were infected by Covid-19, resulting in one death.
Acting town clerk Tonderai Kasu said that the town did not have enough health staff out of isolation to man all clinics.
“Over the last one week, seven Chitungwiza city health department frontline health workers have tested positive for Covid-19 and one of our frontline health workers died after previously having tested positive for Covid-19.
“We also now have a total of 21 of our frontline health workers that are currently in self-isolation because they are contacts of the positive cases,” Kasu said.
However, the clinic shall remain open for emergency cases, while all non-emergency cases shall be attended to at Zengeza Clinic.
The dormitory town’s mayor, Lovemore Maiko tested positive for the pandemic and recently urged people to stay safe in a statement he released last week.