Zimbabwe’s doctors have informed the government they were prepared to join the fight against the coronavirus outbreak only when the requisite protective personnel equipment is availed.
The doctors have also demanded appropriate support in the form of food, communication and restrooms as they will also need to be quarantined once they get into contact with coronavirus patients.
The Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) also called upon the government to urgently issue licences to local manufacturers for them to produce chloroquine and lopinavir drugs for the local market.
The two drugs are essential in the treatment of the deadly disease.
“Government needs to ensure that these drugs are availed to all designated COVID-19 care centres,” Sacrifice Chirisa, ZIMA secretary general said in a statement.
“During these difficult periods, it might be difficult to import these drugs.”
Following reports that Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital is not well equipped as exposed by the death of Zororo Makamba this week, the ZIMA secretary general said other referral hospitals should be considered as medical centres for treating coronavirus patients.
“We recommend that either Parirenyatwa or Harare hospitals in Harare or UBH (United Bulawayo Hospitals) and Mpilo (Bulawayo) be designated COVID-19 care centres,” he said.
“It is our considered opinion that these centres need minimal refurbishment to ensure that basic ICU (Intensive Care Unit) equipment is functional. The other central hospitals (should) remain open for other medical emergencies which are not COVID-19 related.”
The doctors also called on the corporate world to channel resources needed to respond to the crisis.
“Our recommendation is the establishment of a corporate social responsibility committee with ZIMA that will determine how and where to channel resources to clinically and appropriately respond to the needs of COVID-19 patients and medical personnel,” Chirisa said.