AT LEAST 66 health personnel including nurses and doctors at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital have tested positive for the pandemic amid revelations of a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment, (PPEs).
Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, is Mashonaland West’s referral health institution which services mostly the province’s Zvimba, Makonde, Hurungwe and Kariba districts.
The hospital’s superintendent, Dr Collet Mawire was however upbeat that the newly opened isolation centre which is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery was going to give emergency and life-saving health care to at least 600 of its workers some of whom are front liners.
“I can confirm that 66 of our health workers, including nurses and doctors, have tested positive for Covid-19. Most of these workers isolated themselves at home,” Dr Mawire.
“As a measure to provide the staff with critical health care, the newly established isolation centre has a ward for staff which is also equipped with advanced machinery and this will boost the workers’ morale.”
He added that due to the outbreak, the hospital’s front line staff complement had been crippled although the newly commissioned isolation centre was going to be supported by enough health personnel.
The hospital has come under fire from patients for not offering Covid-19 testing services during weekends forcing them to seek help from private health institutions where they part ways with at least US$45.
“There is obviously a staff shortage across the board even in the other wards but the isolation centre will have16 registered general nurses, two sisters-in charge, a matron and at least one or two doctors. Our response team will also be available to respond to any emergencies,” he said.
Dr Mawire said that most of the advanced machinery at the isolation centre which was officially opened by Mashonaland West Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mary Mliswa Chikoka, was provided by various well-wishers. These include the Chinese embassy, Zimplats and Great Dyke Investments (GDI). He added that efforts were being made to source for more PPEs to protect staff from contracting the disease.
“We are at high risk because there is a massive shortage of PPEs, therefore, adequate PPEs should be made available for all frontline health workers because Covid-19 has not spared us as nurses and doctors,” Dr Mawire said.
Acting Mashonaland West medical director, Dr Tapiwa Dhliwayo said he could not give current statistics of the health personnel that have tested positive since the outbreak but said more staff had tested positive for the pandemic.