April 8, 2020

Zim Doctors react to second Covid-19 death

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Mirirai Nsingo

THE Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights is calling for an urgent audit of the second death from Covid-19.

Zimbabwe recorded its second death from Covid-19 in Bulawayo, after a 79-year-old man succumbed to the disease last Saturday, becoming the southern African country’s 11th case.

The doctors are saying Government should explain why it took five days to get the result of the tests and why there are no diagnostic facilities for Covid-19 outside Harare, among other factors.

In a statement last night, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said the patient first saw his doctor on March 23, complaining of a sore throat and fever. When he did not improve on the oral antibiotics prescribed, he was hospitalised in Bulawayo last Thursday showing the symptoms of a cough, difficulty in breathing, sore throat and fever.

He was admitted for clinical management of bacterial pneumonia. But his condition deteriorated on Thursday and he was moved into the intensive care unit and management in isolation under a specialist physician. The Bulawayo Covid-19 response team took samples and sent these to the national laboratory in Harare.

The doctors earlier this week filed an urgent High Court application seeking an order to compel Government to provide all health workers with personal protective equipment and to intensify identification of Covid-19 cases.

 “We are extremely worried by the possible exposure of health workers both in private and public facilities who are working without PPEs,” read part of the statement by the doctors.

The doctors added: “The patient was treated at a local hospital which is not an infectious disease hospital or a Covid-19 designated facility.

“The Minister of Health and Child Care has assured the nation that the country is ready to deal with Covid-19 cases countrywide. The lack of clarity raises lots of questions.”

The case will be heard this Friday by High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa.

Since the first case of the pandemic was recorded in December 2019 in China’s Wuhan province, the virus has killed 82,148 people while 1,434,356 others have been infected.

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