Nurses have cited the ongoing strike by public sector health workers as one of the major factors contributing to the increase of daily COVID-19 deaths.
The Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) said due to the labour unrest, patients are not able to receive medical treatment, and those with existing conditions end up succumbing to the respiratory illness. ZINA president Enock Dongo had this to say:
The main reason we are witnessing an increase in COVID-19 deaths is because of poor health facilities, patients are not being attended on time due to the current health crisis.
There is a lack of preparedness by the government. Our institutions are not ready to deal with Covid-19 patients.
Another issue is that results are taking a long time to come out. What will happen is that a patient might be wrongly treated and no one would like to take responsibility.
Dongo said the country’s health system has virtually collapsed and when a patient goes to Harare Hospital, they will be told to go to Parirenyatwa where they will not receive any treatment at all.
Zimbabwe has not yet reached the peak of coronavirus infections because little testing is being done, Dongo added. He said:
We haven’t reached a the peak because we are not testing more. The government must engage all stakeholders and address health workers’ plight.
They must know that we must work together to fight this pandemic. At the moment health workers are demotivated.