ZIMRA holds onto BCC Covid-19 equipment, report says

By Albert Nxumalo

BULAWAYO City Council has revealed that part of the equipment meant to help combat the spread of Covid-19 and Gastrointestinal outbreak in the city is being held by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).

The revelations are contained in an update report by the Health Services Department dated 24 July seen by CITE.

Pulse Oximeters, an electronic device that measures oxygen levels in the blood are identified as being held by the revenue authority.

However, the origins, quantity and the time the equipment has been held up and reasons are not indicated.

Listing surveillance and laboratory challenges faced, the local authority said, “Pulse Oximeters held at Zimra,” without elaborating.

The report states that part of the challenges faced in combating both outbreaks was that “only 7 cylinders of 9.2kgs oxygen available and small donated cylinders not yet filled.

“RDTs not helpful in case identification, no cartridges for using GeneXpert platform and long turnaround time for RT-PCR results”.

By the time of the compilation of the report, council said 51 % of females were affected by Covid-19 and 49 % males.

According to the report, 59 Covid-19 patients are currently admitted at Thorngrove Hospital and Elangeni Training Centre while 457 are self-isolating at home.

115 health workers from the city have tested positive for Covid-19.

Last week, Government turned the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) into a Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre while Mpilo Central Hospital will take over the management of Covid-19 negative cases.

This is due to the fact that Bulawayo’s two Covid-19 designated health institutions, Ekusileni Medical Centre and Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital are still not ready for admissions despite starting renovations after the pandemic broke out in Zimbabwe in March.

Latest figures released by the Ministry of Health and Child Care show that as of Sunday the city had 664 confirmed cases and 16 deaths.

There are 2512 confirmed cases countrywide on Sunday with 34 deaths, 518 recoveries and 1960 active cases since the outbreak in the country on 20 March.

On the diarrhoea outbreak which sparked outrage among residents, council says to date at “least 1961 cases of Gastro intestinal disease have been seen and evaluated at Luveve clinic and at homes”.

The outbreak has affected 1200 females (63 %) and 702 males, the report indicates.

To date, 13 deaths have been recorded, nine males and four females with Old and New Luveve having six deaths and others from Gwabalanda, Nkulumane, Montrose and Entembeni.

Luveve residents have for the past months been battling diarrhoea allegedly emanating from ‘dirty water’ running from their taps.

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