MUTARE- The umbrella body of civil society organisations, National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) has joined the growing calls for government to act decisively by restricting travel from Coronavirus infected countries.
In a communique NANGO said there was consensus from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working in health sector that government needed to act decisively by ring fencing national resources to support a robust national response a in response to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
On top of restricting travel CSOs also urged government ‘to facilitate the repatriation of citizens who may want to come back home, but ensure that they are properly assessed to identify potential cases of COVID-19.’
NANGO said it is concerned that any potential spread of COVID-19 has social, economic, and security threats for the country, and could derail strategic agendas for socio economic transformation if government fails to take bold decisions.
Impact of the disease could be exacerbated by ongoing struggles in the health sector blighted by existing endemic diseases, antiquated health equipment and infrastructure, causing limited resilience to numerous disease outbreaks said NANGO.
In light of this NANGO said CSOS have made an undertaking to coordinate efforts and collaborate with other stakeholders including the Government to enhance capacity to respond to any potential cases of COVID-19.
“Taking into consideration that the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Universal Health Coverage, Transition Stabilization Program, National Health Strategy and Sustainable Development Goals, which are strategic agendas for the socio-economic transformation of the health sector in the country, will be severely disrupted by disease outbreaks such as the COVID-19 if there are no measures for timely coordination, collaboration, and communication of bold decisions.
“Cognizant that any potential COVID-19 spread in Zimbabwe would be devastating in light of the multiple health challenges that the country is already faced with, which include, incapacitation of health personnel.
“… acute shortage of essential drugs owing to foreign exchange incapacities, existing endemic diseases such as HIV, TB and Malaria, antiquated health equipment and infrastructure, with limited resilience to numerous disease outbreaks.
“The CSOs Health Sector commits to coordinate efforts and collaborate with other stakeholders including the Government in response to COVID-19.
“Calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe to consider the following actions as part of the national response, ensure effective communication and community engagement by sharing correct, apt and timely information concerning COVID-19.
“To restrict entry into the country of people coming from countries with confirmed cases, to facilitate the repatriation of citizens who may want to come back home, but ensure that they are properly assessed to identify potential cases of COVID-19,” read part of the communique.