Mukudzei Chingwere-Herald Reporter
THE Government’s Covid-19 response is not compromising Zimbabwe’s quest to improve the country’s general health services, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga has said.
The past two years has seen Zimbabwe giving greater focus on the fight against the pandemic, a situation which some felt would hinder the country’s quest to revamp the health services to match best international practices.
VP Chiwenga, however, said Zimbabwe was not negating its vision of transforming the health services and outlined some major strides by Zimbabwe.
“We maintained above 86 percent childhood coverage in 2020 and currently we are carrying out integrated and targeted catch up campaigns for under-performing districts.
Zimbabwe is currently on a milestone rollout of the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) and the programme has already earned huge praise from United Nations agencies.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Zimbabwe is only the third country in the world to make TCV part of its routine immunisation programme.
“The HIV programme has achieved — the 90-90-90 targets. The delivery of TB, malaria and other essential health services during the Covid-19 response has also been maintained,” said VP Chiwenga.
Zimbabwe has so far defied the odds with a thorough and effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic, faring exceptionally well in comparison to other developing countries.
The country’s ability to respond to the pandemic has received international rave reviews with the World Health Organisation and China all commending the Government’s efforts.
“Our response has been a combination of health promotion and prevention measures based on raising awareness and community mobilisation. The whole of Government and society’s approach helped the country to reduce transmission and Covid-19 associated morbidities and mortalities,” said VP Chiwenga.
He said Government was partnering with local universities and the private sector on innovations and strengthening of local production of personal protective equipment (PPEs), medicines and medical equipment.
“The Government has put in place frameworks that are guiding these engagements.
“The Government is encouraging donors and development partners to strengthen local production capacities for sustainability,” he said.
“We have managed to incorporate gender-based violence and children violence into the Nurses Training School curriculum so that our staff are able to manage these cases as they present them to our institutions.
“Zimbabwe appreciates WHO and the key leadership role it plays in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. We are strongly committed as a nation, to ensuring equitable access to vaccines to all residents of Zimbabwe,” said VP Chiwenga.
Acting Mashonaland Central provincial medical director Dr Rudo Mari-Masanganise confirmed that her province continued offering other healthcare services despite the Covid-19 situation.
This was also corroborated by several district medical officers in separate interviews.
“Covid-19 was a new virus and most people were talking about it, but at no point did we stop offering other services.
“We actually improved our services in various aspects and there was a lot of infrastructure development to boost the health sector,” said Dr Precious Madziwa of Mazowe.