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Doctors seek urgent meeting with Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter
04 Aug 2020 at 18:01hrs | Views
MEDICAL doctors are seeking an urgent meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the wake of the spiralling cases of the lethal coronavirus in the country, the Daily News reports.

In addition, they are also warning Zimbabweans to take extreme care in the coming days and weeks - cautioning further that there is likely to be many more deaths and infections in the country this month, as the disease peaks.

This comes as Zimbabwe continues to operate without a substantive Health minister and confirmed leaders of public health institutions - following the recent dismissal of Obadiah Moyo on allegations of corruption and the sacking of hospital chief executive officers.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, amid worrying signs that coronavirus is now running amok in the country, doctors said yesterday that the country's efforts to reduce local transmissions had failed completely.

As a result, the secretary-general of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA), Aaron Musara, said they planned to meet with Mnangagwa to discuss their grave concerns about Covid-19, as well as their safety before they end their strike and resume work.

"That has always been our grievance that for us to go back to work, our safety must be guaranteed and these are the things we would like to have serious dialogue with serious people (Mnangagwa) about.

"We want an opportunity to have face-to-face dialogue with the president so we can put to the fore the challenges we face.

"This is not to say we would not welcome any of his representatives. We have no problem having dialogue with his representatives because what we are more concerned about are the solutions to the challenges," Musara told the Daily News.

"We heard the plea that the president made that we should go back to work and we are available for work anytime.
"The biggest problem is that we cannot be in the wards to work under circumstances where our safety is not guaranteed.
"We wait to see if we can be able to sit down and talk because we appreciate the fact that things are not well as Covid-19 cases continue to rise," Musara added.

His counterpart at the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), Norman Matara, said there was need for urgent action by authorities as they were expecting a spike in both coronavirus-related deaths and infections in the next three weeks.

"The country's Covid-19 cases are on the rise as we are nearing the peak, and in the coming three to four weeks of August, we are likely to witness an increase in the number of confirmed cases.

"This is an indication that we have failed to win the battle to prevent the spread of the virus.

"Initially, we adopted a strategy to prevent infections, especially at the local level, but of late we have been seeing an increase in local infections which shows that the battle has been lost," Matara told the Daily News.

"What we need to do now is to aim at secondary prevention. We have to acknowledge that a lot of people have contracted the virus, some who might not be part of the national statistics.

"We need to strengthen the protection of the vulnerable, including health service personnel, the elderly and those with underlying conditions because many people who have succumbed to the virus fall under this category," he added.

Contacted for comment, the acting Health minister, Amon Murwira, told the Daily News that the government was open to strategic suggestions from doctors on how to curb the spread of the killer pandemic in the country.

"Nobody knows where Covid-19 came from, hence strategies to contain it are fluid. The government cannot rely on a rigid strategy for a moving target.

"We are, therefore, always ready to modify our strategy and let all ideas come to the table so that we come up with a national strategy where no one is a spectator," he said.

"We have PPE (personal protective equipment) in hospitals and the minister cannot open storerooms to distribute them. The very people who are complaining are the ones distributing the PPE.

"Let us not use death as a bargaining tool. This is a life and death game, it's not a muscle flexing game.
"The issue is about timing. Discussions can always take place while we are at work," Murwira further told the Daily News.
This comes as doctors and nurses have been striking over improved pay and working conditions, including being kitted with adequate PPE.

It also comes as Mnangagwa pleaded with health workers last Friday to end their strike, warning that the nation could perish from Covid-19 if their action continued.

Speaking at the burial of  Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri at the National Heroes Acre, Mnangagwa implored health workers to go back to work for the nation to be able to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shiri succumbed to the killer disease last Wednesday.

"We must stop the scourge of Covid-19, a global pandemic. It spares no one, great or small. All nations of the world are suffering from its impact, with figures of deaths and infections rising daily.

"In unity and through discipline, we stand a chance to save our nation from the impact of its menace. I call on our medical staff to act in the national interest and exhibit a great sense of responsibility.

"My government hears your cries, listens to your concerns. But the time to serve is now. Your grievances, which we acknowledge and continue to address cannot be enjoyed at the expense of the loss of lives," Mnangagwa said.

"When the pandemic spreads and the deaths toll rises there are no winners, none at all. Tinopera tese kufa (we will all die).

"I, therefore, urge all of us to continue to act with care to prevent the spread of the deadly pandemic. Let us stay at home, wear masks in public and practise social distancing and good hygiene," he added.

Meanwhile, more than 323 health workers have contracted Covid-19 since the disease's outbreak in the country in March.

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Source - dailynews