The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights has asked the government to explain the second coronavirus death saying the death demonstrated the country’s unpreparedness to handle severe cases.
A 79-year-old man died in Bulawayo on Saturday but results of his tests were only announced yesterday.
“ZADHR is deeply concerned by the continued lack of preparedness in handling severe COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe,” the association said.
“Equally, we are extremely worried by the possible exposure of health workers both in private and public facilities who are working without PPEs. We urge the health authorities to account for the following grey areas in the management of this case:
- “It took five days (from 2nd April to 7th April) to get the result of the COVID-19 test a period which is rather too long. The absence of diagnostic facilities for COVID-19brings to question the state of preparedness of centre outside Harare. What is the government doing to improve the turn-around time for tests?
- “The patient was treated at a local hospital. Is this an infectious diseases hospital or a COVID-19 designated facility? Previously the Minister of Health and Child Care has assured the nation that the country is ready to deal with COVID 19 cases countrywide. The lack of clarity arouses lots of questions.
- “The inability to diagnose on time is a clear sign that health professionals attending the deceased were exposed as they lack essential protective equipment (PPEs).
- “Does this case reflect the lack of knowledge on the case definition for suspected cases of COVID-19? The patient was first seen on 23 March and was not advised to self-quarantine. get tested for COVID-19, and managed as a suspected case.
- “What is the state of preparedness in centres outside Harare?”
ZADHR said the Bulawayo case demonstrated “the utter lack of preparedness of the health system”.
It also reflected the minimal focus on other regions outside Harare.
There has so far not been any response from the government.
Zimbabwe has so far recorded 11 positive cases of coronavirus, including two deaths.
It has tested more than 400 patients and declared a 21-day lockdown from 30 March.