Covid-19 hits staff at Kwekwe hospital, authorities call for army help

Authorities in Kwekwe are contemplating roping in the services of army medical staff after Kwekwe General Hospital and council clinics were left depleted after a majority of the nursing staff contracted Covid-19.

The situation which is threatening the health sector in Kwekwe, a Covid-19 hot spot, came out during a Kwekwe District Taskforce on Covid-19 review meeting held on Monday.

Although actual figures of the affected nurses at Kwekwe Hospital could not be ascertained, Kwekwe City Council’s department of health had 9 of its nurses in isolation.

Chairperson of the taskforce Vitalis Kwashira said the situation at the hospital and council clinics was dire as most patients were going unattended.

“The situation at the hospital is very bad and it needs urgent interventions. Nurses have contracted the virus and most of them are in isolation as we speak. This leaves only a handful to attend to patients, which is very bad,” said Kwashira.

He said the task force had agreed to engage the services of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) to intervene.

“We have resolved as a committee to write to the ZDF so that we can get assistance from the Zimbabwe National Army, ZPCS and ZRP if possible. The situation is bad because besides having nurses manning the hospital, we also have enough staff to conduct the vaccination programme hence the assistance we are now requesting from the ZDF,” said Kwashira.

This comes as the city has seen an increase in the number of covid-19 related deaths.

Kwashira said the increase in deaths in the mining town was worrying amid a lack of isolation centres.

“The deaths are on the increase but at the same time, we do not have isolation centres. It’s like we are breeding the virus if we continue isolating people within homes. We have also resolved to use Kwekwe Infectious Diseases Hospital and Bale Medical Centre as isolation centres although renovations there are yet to be concluded,” said Kwashira.

The committee also resolved to tighten lockdown regulations.

“We have noted with concern that people continue to disregard lockdown regulations as most people are seen going about business. We also noted that commuter omnibus operators are operating and some beer outlets are now opening. We, therefore, recommended that the security forces tighten the lockdown compliance,” he said.

Meanwhile, the district received a major boost after receiving an ambulance from the government to boost its depleted fleet.

Kwekwe General Hospital has no service vehicle and has converted the only available ambulance into a service vehicle.

“We, therefore, recommended that the ambulance be thrown into the pool so that it helps with ferrying patients instead of running errands at the hospital at the expense of patients,” said Kwashira.

The district has scaled up the vaccination program and recently introduced a mobile vaccination programme which is targeting places like markets and other crowded places.

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