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BCC laments resource constraints to conduct Covid-19 screening at checkpoints

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it is faced with a critical shortage of material and human resources to start screening people for Covid-19 at security checkpoints.

The government recently announced that health care workers will soon join the security services at roadblocks to screen those intending to pass through checkpoints for Covid –19. 

The move is aimed at screening even essential service providers to flatten the infection curve. 

Speaking to CITE, the Director of Health Services, Dr Edwin Sibanda said the local authority is currently facing challenges to execute the directive. 

“We are working with the Ministry on health and everyone else concerned to make sure that rapid response teams work according to their name, that they become rapid and respond rapidly but unfortunately the numbers are not allowing us because we would want to have a situation where we have about 10 rapid response teams but we do not have 10 cars to accommodate the same nor do we have enough staff to man these rapid response teams,” said Dr Sibanda. 

“You will also realize that recently there was a directive that we should start testing people at roadblocks, we are trying to do that, we are facing challenges, yes, mainly of staff, materials and the Lab turn around because at roadblocks people may be in a hurry and may not necessarily be residents of Bulawayo whom we may meet at roadblocks, so we would want to turn around time that is so short and allows for people to receive their results to proceed with that”. 

Dr Sibanda said the Municipality will need more than 10 teams to manage the task. 

“We are trying to man the roadblocks and test people there, follow up contacts as well as cases of people who thought they have got Covid and call us from their homes. So, we will need more than 10 teams to actually manage that and each team has no less than three people and we are struggling to raise that number of people and at the moment,” he said. 

Dr Sibanda, added that they have requested for more resources from the health ministry so that they can adequately respond to the global pandemic. 

“We have forwarded our request for requirements through the office of Acting provincial medical director to the Ministry of Health and we are waiting for a response, and so far, we have received some consumables that will allow us to test the people in terms of rapid antigen test, then we can get results immediately but the other requirements we have not received them in the quantities that we need to respond adequately,” he said. 

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