By Sifiso Mpofu
The Ministry of Health and Child Care says there is urgent need to increase the number of health personnel in Matabeleland South to ease the pressure on frontline workers following an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Matabeleland South has carried the heaviest burden of Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, with thousands of returnees who came back during the first wave being quarantined and isolated in the province.
Speaking at a Provincial Covid -19 taskforce meeting held in Gwanda, Provincial Medical Director, Dr Chido Chikodzore said additional manpower will go a long way in addressing Covid-19 fatigue among frontline workers.
“We had requested more personnel from the uniformed forces because we have a serious shortage of staff. A few were deployed to the province but the demand is still high and this is taking a toll on our staff.”
Turning to testing, Dr Chikodzore thanked the government for providing the requisite consumables but appealed for back-up power at facilities that conduct PCR tests.
“On laboratory diagnosis, both Beitbridge and Gwanda can conduct PCR testing but this process is sometimes hampered by load-shedding. At any given time, the machine can run about 92 samples, and it takes 8 hrs to get the results and if power goes away it invalidates the results”.she said
Covid-19 provincial taskforce chairperson, Ms Latiso Dlamini encouraged members of the team to scale up interventions meant to curtail the spread of the pandemic.
“We all have to work together to ensure that we contain the spread of Covid -19, the cases are going up and it is up to all of us to enforce the lockdown rules and see to it that at the end of the day we win, “said Ms Dlamini.
Meanwhile, the task force has identified two sites in Beitbridge and Plumtree for the construction of community isolation centres while there are efforts to set up a fully functional ICU facility in Gwanda.