700 health workers infected with Covid-19: ZADHR

Over 7 00 health professionals in Zimbabwe have contracted Covid-19 since it broke out in the country in March.

This was disclosed by the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) while calling for the prioritisation of human rights of citizens.

“As the world is facing an unprecedented crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which impacted on peoples’ rights due to the introduction of restrictive measures aimed at controlling the spread of the virus Zimbabwe has not been spared either,” said ZADHR in a statement, Thursday, to mark the Inaternational Human Rights Day.

This year`s theme is “Recover better -Stand Up for Human Rights” which has an emphasis on putting human rights at the centre of recovery.

“The advent of the lockdown in Zimbabwe saw citizens being subjected to human rights violations by state security agents deployed to enforce lockdown regulations.”

The rights doctors noted that due to the lockdown regulations, further access to healthcare was impacted as individuals such as those with chronic illnesses and pregnant women were unable to access treatment while health workers lacked Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they went about their duties.

“Frontline personnel such as healthcare professionals operated with minimum or no access to personal protective equipment leaving them exposed to Covid-19 . To date over 700 health professionals have been infected by the deadly virus,” ZADHR noted.

The doctors for human rights said this year’s theme focuses on the need for governments to prioritise human rights of citizens as they work on the pandemic’s recovery plans, which “rightfully place the burden of care and responsibility on the state as the primary institution constitutionally mandated to safeguard the rights of citizens.”

“The International Human Rights Day, therefore, offers an opportunity for the government and all stakeholders to join hands, evaluate and appraise each other on providing human rights centred strategies to improve response and recovery from the pandemic.”

ZADHR said it would continue to reiterate that rights- based approaches to management of the Covid-19 pandemics was essential in respecting human dignity and protecting human rights in the design and implementation of response measures.

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