April 9, 2020

Zimbabwe intensifies Covid-19 testing

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Mirirai Nsingo

ZIMBABWE is frantically working to intensify its Covid-19 case finding as the country reported its third death on Tuesday.

The southern African country which to date has recorded 11 cases and three deaths, is targeting to test 33 000 people starting in May.

According to a Ministry of Health and Child Care report, the country is in the process of decentralizing testing to provincial and district level.

“Decentralization of Covid-19 testing to provincial and district level, to increase testing of more suspected cases to at least 33 000 per month.

“This will be done through increasing testing in-patients with pneumonia and out-patients with flu like illness.

“Strengthening contact tracing for the confirmed cases in view of local transmission,” read part of the report.

Covid-19 testing currently remains centralized in Harare, a development which has been criticized by health experts for delaying turnaround time for results.

Zimbabwe seeks to use existing Genexpert machines to intensify testing with reliable sources from the National Laboratory confirming that testing of 33 000 people per month was feasible as long as required consumables are availed.

Zimbabwe has 133 Genexpert machines.

Zimbabwe’s head of country level coordination, planning and monitoring Dr Gibson Mhlanga confirmed the projection to test 33 000 people before referring further comment to Health Permanent Secretary Dr Agnes Mahomva.

BERLIN, GERMANY – MARCH 10 :Symbol photo of the coronavirus crisis. Diagnosis. COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 on March 10, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Health authorities around the world are concerned about the novel coronavirus. More and more countries are reporting diseases and new infections. (Photo by Thomas Imo/Photothek via Getty Images)

Since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in China’s Wuhan province in December 2019, the virushas spread across the world and continues to wreak havoc.

To date 1,529,439 cases have been recorded worldwide, while 89 416 people have succumbed to the disease.

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