By ZBC Reporter
THE government is committed to addressing health challenges facing certain communities, and various measures are being put in place to address challenges like water shortages.
Giving an update after this Monday’s National Taskforce on COVID-19 deliberations, Minister of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa outlined some of the measures that government has put in place to alleviate water challenges in Bulawayo where cases of typhoid and dysentery are reportedly on the increase.
“Whilst focusing on protecting the nation from COVID-19, Government has not lost sight of other health challenges bedeviling our communities. It is in this context that the Taskforce noted with sadness the Typhoid and Dysentery in some Bulawayo suburbs. So far, Bulawayo has reported five community and seven hospital deaths. Government has therefore embarked on an intensive bulk water trucking programme to affected communities.”
The safety and welfare of health care workers also came under the spotlight during the meeting.
“Government values the safety of health workers and their families. To protect frontline workers’ families from possible infections, Crown Plaza, Marondera Hotel, and Khayela Guest Lodge are being used for quarantining frontline staff at Government’s expense. The Taskforce was informed that Treasury has concurred to the recruitment of an additional 500 health workers including doctors, nurses, and technicians for ICU/HDU and Isolation centres across the country. This recruitment will go a long way in boosting our health services’ capacity to respond and treat COVID19 cases.”
On the re-opening of universities, colleges, primary and secondary schools, The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development presented details of individual State Universities and Colleges re-opening plans in light of the COVID19 pandemic and Minister Mutsvangwa explained measures to be taken to stop the spread of the pandemic.
“All Tertiary Education institutions are required to have ONE or, at most TWO, entrances to the entire institution. All students and staff entering and exiting the institution shall be required to go through screening.”
“Institutions shall ensure students and employees are educated on the symptoms and the measures to take if COVID-19 symptoms manifest. A capacity utilisation chart/timetable shall be provided to the Ministry of Tertiary Education Compliance Inspectors satisfactorily adjusted to ensure that all classrooms observe and maintain acceptable physical distancing.”
“Depending on student volumes, timetables may have to be adjusted to ensure an even wider spread of students. Students and employees will be encouraged to leave the institutions as soon as classes or work is completed for the day. These measures will be enforced by College Security Officials who patrol institution campuses at all times and by all senior staff and tutors.No sporting activities are to be conducted at all institutions.”
So far 1 770 returnees are being housed in quarantine facilities across the country, with the highest number of returnees being housed in Harare.
The Taskforce noted that while the standard procedure according to WHO guidelines is self-isolation of asymptomatic positive cases, there are some cases that are unable to self-isolate in their homes, and such cases are being housed at isolation centres intended for those who require treatment.