Farirai Machivenyika and Joseph Madzimure
FRONTLINE health workers in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic have been assured that their safety is a priority.
Vice President Kembo Mohadi said this when he toured Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals to assess work being carried out to prepare the hospital to handle Covid-19 patients.
The partitioning and other works follow recommendations by the Zimbabwe Medical Association and will see the hospital reserving 425 beds.
VP Mohadi, who also chairs the inter-ministerial ad hoc committee on Covid-19, said before the tour: “Now when it comes to our frontline soldiers, those that are on the frontline in the fight against this pandemic, we need to kit them because there is no point going to war with soldiers without ammunition, so we need to kit you when you are attending these patients.
“Your personal protective equipment has to be available. We have to look at it that everything is done in accordance with what you want done. Last Friday, I had a meeting with the Senior Hospital Doctors’ Association. They gave me their reservations, they gave me what they want done and we promised that we are going to do whatever they want to see done.”
VP Mohadi said Government would do all it could to protect the workers and ensure they did not feel neglected.
He said the fight against the pandemic should involve all Zimbabweans.
“This is our war together as Zimbabweans, we have no one to look at,” said VP Mohadi.
“As you know, we are under sanctions and we don’t have everything that is required. What we have is our own resilience as Zimbabweans; what we have is our own way of looking at this thing and observing what is supposed to be done so that we minimise as much as we can the spread of this pandemic and I am sure together as a team, Zimbabwe as a team, we are going to prevail.”
Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals chief executive Mr Ernest Manyau said the hospital would be divided into two zones — the red zone meant for Covid-19 patients and the green zone for other patients.
Some of the works being carried out include barricading the sections to prevent cross infections, plumbing and electrical works and repairs of water reticulation.
Mr Manyau said the District Development Fund had already sunk nine boreholes that were being connected to a 2,5 million litre tank at the hospital.
From the 425 beds reserved for Covid-19 patients, 27 would be for the Intensive Care Unit, while 60 have been reserved for paediatrics.
VP Mohadi said he was satisfied with efforts being made in preparation to fight the pandemic.
“They did indicate that there are some areas they would need assistance from Government,” he said.
“The minister is here, Public Works is here, so they will be giving us their requirements so that we work on getting them.”
Earlier in the day, the Vice President toured Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital where he recommended that the institution needed to be worked on to make it suitable to handle Covid-19 patients.
The hospital caters for TB and other infectious diseases and the Vice President said the plan was to have a wing set aside for Covid-19 patients.
“It is bigger, even bigger than Wilkins Hospital, but it needs a lot of attention,” said VP Mohadi.
“They are only using the ground floor now, but they will also want to use the first and second floors, which are quite intact; beds are there and everything is there.”
VP Mohadi said there was need to repair non-functional elevators, drill two more boreholes and improve water and sewer reticulation systems.
He said Government would mobilise resources to upgrade the hospital.
“I have got the Ministry of Health and Child Care here, Minister of Defence Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri who is the implementing arm of the Covid-19 taskforce,” said VP Mohadi.
“So we are going to see to it that something is done.
“Local Government and Public Works is going to come here to see what they can do. We are also going to bring a brigade from the army and also prisons, to try to spruce up the image as fast as we can.”