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'Two health workers infected by COVID-19 each day'





At least two members of the health frontline workers in Zimbabwe's major hospital are contracting the dreaded COVID-19 virus per day and putting a strain on the country's health provision system.

Investigations by The Anchor have indicated that most health institutions across Zimbabwe are being affected by the coronavirus which have so far claimed the lives of 879 people while 29 408 have contracted the diseases.

There are also fears that frontline health workers have also turned into super-spreaders of the virus, a situation that the Zimbabwe Association of Human Rights Doctors described as over-exaggerated.

The development comes after government announced that it is set to employ 500 more nurses as the nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services acting Minister Jenfan Muswere said "500 new nursing posts are being created to augment staff compliments at treatment centres."

He also revealed that as part of government's efforts to combat the pandemic, health personal and frontline workers are having their allowances reviewed.

"Payment of the COVID-19 allowance to civil servants and pensioners have been extended indefinitely and the risk allowance to frontline workers is being reviewed."

Last year, the Government lifted a moratorium on employment to allow the increase in the number of healthcare workers.

Minister Muswere said Zimbabwe had developed the Draft Vaccination Framework programme.

"A lot of public interest around subject of vaccination programme for Zimbabwe has been expressed. Once the modalities are in place it will be share with the nation," he said.

As part of measures to decongest government offices and to encourage social distancing only 10 percent of critical staff will continue to man government offices.

"A further reduction to 10 percent of civil servants outside the essential services employee is now in place," Minister Muswere said.

Meanwhile, Mpilo Hospital acting chief executive Dr Solwayo Ngwenya expressed concern over the increasing number of health workers who were contracting the COVID-19 virus.

"It is very worrying that an increasing number of staff members are contracting the virus. At least one or two staff members are infected each day by the virus. The virus is increasing in terms of infections and the death rates which we are seeing at national level," he said.

Dr Ngwenya added: "The virus has this tendency of lying low and letting people drop their guard and then strikes in large waves. If the population continues to disregard COVID-19 and lockdown regulations, we may be overrun because the staff members are going into quarantine leading to depleted staff in the hospitals."

Meanwhile, ZADHR secretary general Dr Norman Matara dismissed reports that doctors and nurses attending to COVID-19 patients had become super-spreaders of the virus that continues to infect more people in Zimbabwe.

"Yes there are health workers who have been infected by the COVID-19 virus but saying they have become super-spreaders is a bit far-fetched," he said.

Dr Matara, however, said the general populace should adhere to lockdown regulations to stop the spread of the virus.

"There are fears that government could extend the current lockdown but that would depend on the rising number of confirmed cases in the country and we have to wait and assess how the cases would be recorded at the end of the lockdown," he said.

Government early this month announced a 30-day national lockdown and a 6pm to 6am curfew to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus also confirmed cases have spiralled while many people continue to succumb to the pandemic.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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