FULL TEXT: Doctors Association Calls For Investigation Into Zim’s Second COVID-19 Death

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has called for an investigation into the second COVID-19 death in the country.

The death was revealed by an update by the Ministry of Health and Child Care on the evening of Tuesday, 7 April. The deceased was a 79-year old Bulawayo man who died on 4 April 2020. His COVID-19 test results were however only known on 7 April.

ZADHR has asked for an investigation into the length of time it took for the man to be tested and also why it took several days for this test results to be known.

ZADHR has also asked for a look into the exposure of health professionals to the virus, as the man was treated at hospitals not equipped for the infectious disease.

The doctors’ association is questioning the truthfulness of the Health Ministry’s assurance that Zimbabwe is prepared to handle positive cases of the global pandemic.

Here’s the ZADHR statement in full:


07 April 2020

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) calls for an urgent audit of the circumstances leading to the death of patient number 11 diagnosed with COVID -19 in Zimbabwe (Ministry of Health and Child Care Comnavirus (COVID-19) Update: 07 April 2020). ZADHR is deeply concerned by the continued lack of preparedness in handling severe COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe. Equally. we are extremely worried by the possible exposure of health workers both in private and public facilities who are working without PPEs. We urge the health authorities to account for the following grey areas in the management of this case:

i. It took five days (from 2nd April to 7th April) to get the result of the COVID-19 test a period which is rather too long. The absence of diagnostic facilities for COVID-19brings to question the state of preparedness of centre outside Harare. What is the government doing to improve the turn-around time for tests?

ii. The patient was treated at a local hospital. Is this an infectious diseases hospital or a COVID-19 designated facility? Previously the Minister of Health and Child Care has assured the nation that the country is ready to deal with COVID 19 cases countrywide. The lack of clarity arouses lots of questions.

iii. The inability to diagnose on time is a clear sign that health professionals attending the deceased were exposed as they lack essential protective equipment (PPEs).

iv. Does this case reflect the lack of knowledge on the case definition for suspected cases of COVID-19? The patient was first seen on 23 March and was not advised to self-quarantine. get tested for COVID-19, and managed as a suspected case.

v. What is the state of preparedness in centres outside Harare?

ZADHR believes this case and the continued demise of severe cases of COVID-19 patients mirrors the utter lack of preparedness of the health system. It also reflects the minimal focus on other regions outside Harare. Lastly, the Minister of Health and Child Care must be made to account on what he referred to when he claimed the country was prepared for COVID-19 when such regional inequities and pervasive logistical issues characterize our response to date.



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2 comments on “FULL TEXT: Doctors Association Calls For Investigation Into Zim’s Second COVID-19 Death

  1. We have a ministry and minister who have sworn to lie and will continue to lie to Zimbabweans. It is true Zimbabwe is not geared to tuckle this pandemic. The president needs to have a relook at the man he has entrusted tuckle the pandemic with a view of setting a new look task force with able personnel. The person leading the task force must report direct to the president and the ministry of health should just be a member of the task force. As things stand the current minister appears clueless as to how we should move on as he is in a trial and error mode.

  2. For sure let’s start the by investigating our doctors. Useless bunch. 23 March, the gentleman is given an antibiotic. Where is the doctors proof that the patient had a bacterial infection warranting use of an antibiotic. A week later the gentleman goes to a hospital and is still put on antibiotics!!!! And further given a diagnosis of pneumonia. The word pneumonia only means inflammed lungs and does not relate entirely to infection of the lungs! Do our doctors actually know that they are doing in the first place before we even get to the testing of samples and gowns. It’s me no use kitting up a soldier whom doesn’t know how to use a gun! Investigate your skills first you doctors before we start looking at testing protocol and protective gear. I always say I would rather be treated by a nurse in Botswana than by a doctor in Zimbabwe

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