The Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe has raised concern over private health institutions who are not providing data of Covid-19 patients, going against public health regulations.
The council also warned that any medical practitioner who failed to furnish a certificate of notification regarding Covid-19 patients as required by the Public Health Act (Chapter 15:17) in particular Part IV – Infectious Diseases Section would be guilty of an offence.
Such concerns have been raised before, prompting fears that Covid-19 statistics are grossly understated, affecting reporting, planning and resource mobilisation.
The first time this concern was raised publicly was during a meeting on January 25, 2021, where the Health and Child Care Ministry officials appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, giving oral evidence on the pandemic situation in Zimbabwe.
In a letter addressed to various health associations on February 4, 2021, Registrar of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council in Zimbabwe, Joseph Mwakutuya, said it was critically important to standardise the management of Covid-19 cases and make sure that reporting to the relevant authorities is done.
“The Director of Health Services – Harare City has noted with grave concern that some private health institutions who are not managing Covid-19 cases including in the community (home visits) are not observing the public health regulations,” she said.
Mwakutuya said this concern of non-reporting of Covid-19 data was a concern shared by the health ministry and local authorities.
“Council shares the same concern expressed by the Director of Health Services and the Permanent Secretary for Health and Child Care given that patient safety is paramount. In this regard I have been directed by the council to draw the attention of members involved in the management of Covid-19 cases of their statutory obligation to adhere to the provisions of the Public Health Act (Chapter 15:17) in particular Part IV – Infectious Diseases Section 48 and 49,” said the medical registrar.
The registrar highlighted that going forward, all registered health premises involved in the management of Covid-19 cases should be reinspected by the health professional association in liaison with the respective local authority.
“The practitioners involved in the management of Covid-19 cases should use the Ministry of Health guidelines on the management of Covid-19 cases and submit information to the local authorities daily. The Standard Operating Procedures according to the Public Health Act Chapter 15:17 should be adhered to,” Mwakutuya said, urging the health professional associations to be compliant with concerns raised.