The Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) has suspended all its medical gatherings, be it workshops or conferences, as a cautionary measure against the coronavirus (Covid-19) infection.
Only critical training for Covid-19 management will be permitted, provided safety protocols are observed, said the medical association.
Zimbabwe has just recorded its first death from the pandemic, out of the two confirmed cases.
ZIMA National Secretary-General, Dr Sacrifice Chirisa, confirmed the development on the suspension of all medical gatherings.
“ZIMA hereby suspends all forms of medical gatherings. To this end ZIMA house will not be available for CMES (Continuing medical education) and or conferences with immediate effect. ZIMA will operate with skeleton staff as the secretariat is required to work from home. Only critical training for COVID-19 management will be permitted, provided safety protocols are observed,” he said in a statement.
The secretary general noted safety was a necessity and a top priority.
“Members are urged to exercise extreme caution when dealing with all suspected cases of COVID-19 infection. Please make sure you and your employees are protected. Do make sure there is enough hand sanitiser, running water and face masks in your practices. Unfortunately, private practices will be the first port of contact for many infected patients who need and afford care. The need for practitioners to protect themselves cannot be overemphasised,” he urged.
Dr Chirisa also encouraged medical practitioners to learn as much as possible about the coronavirus.
“Please go online and learn as much as possible about protocols, transmission mechanisms and care guidelines for COVID-19 infected,” he said adding enhancement and adherence to public health measures cannot be overemphasised.
“There is a need for the provision of Personal Protective Equipment for all frontline medical personnel, continuous training of medical personnel, increased and supported the use of telemedicine.”
Dr Chirisa said ZIMA is advocating for “urgent production of EDLIS –TYPE COVID-19 case management guidelines.”
The medical association also said it would be holding its CAA extraordinary meeting for COVID-19 preparedness Monday at 4 pm where one representative per affiliate association was to attend the ‘very’ important meeting to discuss preparedness in private practices.
But those with flu and who had recently travelled abroad were asked not to attend.
“ZIMA has engaged city health departments, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Health Professions Authority, the Health Services Board, we will be updating you on the situation as it unfolds,” said Dr Chirisa.