The mass exodus of nurses due to poor working conditions will further put pressure on the country’s already overwhelmed health delivery system amid new deadlier variants of COVID-19.
This was said by Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president Enock Dongo, who called for an end to the intimidation of nurses by the government. Said Dongo:
We are in a war due to the COVID-19 situation, and the people that are fighting that war have to be motivated, but sadly they are demotivated and intimidated by the system.
Nurses are leaving the country in numbers although we do not have ready statistics of those that have left in recent weeks.
This comes as local health experts have warned that Zimbabwe faces a fourth wave of the coronavirus as the country fails to get more people inoculated.
Speaking to NewsDay on Sunday, Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe Johannes Marisa said the fourth wave will be “more serious” and was likely to hit the country around October to December.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said the fourth wave was imminent as the vaccination rates of most African countries, Zimbabwe included, remained low. Rusike said:
Our biggest worry is on the unvaccinated population and the schoolchildren that are not yet being vaccinated.
A lot more schoolchildren that are not yet eligible for vaccination will be infected by the highly virulent Delta variant and this will be a pandemic for the unvaccinated with catastrophic consequences to the already broken and overwhelmed public health delivery services that are failing to manage the high number of people needing hospitalisation.
Chief co-ordinator of the COVID-19 task force, Agnes Mahomva yesterday said the government is “prepared for everything”.
The third wave of the pandemic seems to be receding, with new infections falling over the past few days but the country still has a long way to go before it vaccinates the targeted 10 million people.
As of Sunday, 9 August 2021, 1 864 204 had received the first dose while 1 002 618 had received the second jab.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care statistics on COVID-19 on Sunday revealed that the country is still in the red zone after recording 437 new cases; pushing the cumulative total to 116 327.
It also recorded 74 deaths on the same day, raising the national death toll to 3 900.