(Last Updated on January 8, 2021 by GERALD NCUBE)
HARARE – Former Health Minister Dr Henry Madzorera says the government’s failure to properly run the health care system and the public’s complacency is making it difficult to find the spread of Covid-19 which has seen the country recently revert to level four lockdown in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
On Saturday, Vice President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga announced that the country was going back to a stricter lockdown following a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases which almost doubled in two months.
“In Zimbabwe, we relaxed, particularly the people who run our health care delivery system and our government. They thought we were probably somehow immune, somehow exempted from this condition and everyone thought it was a problem that affects cold countries and so forth.
“But no, this disease is here and it is rapidly multiplying. We don’t quite understand the factors that caused it to start rapidly multiplying now but we know that we are getting into a very bad situation and if we don’t take adequate measures, it would not be surprising if we get to a very bad state like we have seen in Europe, America and China before,” said Dr Madzorera.
However, he said it was possible to stop the spread if everyone works together
“It’s possible to stop it if we work together if our government really works seriously at stopping this Covid-19.
The former Health Minister said while efforts were being made to fight the pandemic, it was still not enough especially now that there is a new strain variant that is said to be spreading very fast.
Adding that the first step was to ensure that health practitioners in the country had access to the true statistics so that they can assist the government.
“We should be looking at the epidemiology, we should be having accurate figures. All public health practitioners in Zimbabwe should have access to the figures and the true information and the raw data that is available so that we can help government analyse how this epidemic is going and we can help the government come up with answers.
“Right now the measures that we are taking are not really scientifically informed. As a public health community, we are all in the dark, we request information, that information is not there. We even doubt some of the figures that we get from the government. We do not think we are getting a true reflection of what is happening in Zimbabwe.
“We need to be analysing this data as a public health community. The government should accept the help of every public health physician, every doctor in the country and we will come up with some answers,” he added.
Dr Madzorera said there was also a need to increase testing across the country.
He also bemoaned the state of our facilities which are not fully equipped to do extensive research, highlighting that the country used to be a regional leader in research but now sends a lot of samples to South Africa for even the simplest form of testing.
Adding that this was largely a result of the state of our economy.
He said, “Let’s fix our economy and let’s give priority to health care. The problem is there is no priority to health care, there is no priority in research in Zimbabwe.”
Dr Madzorera blamed corruption for the lack of investment being made towards the health systems particularly in response to the pandemic.