Wednesday, 6 May 2020

NATPHARM PPE VANISHES


GOVERNMENT has said it is going to investigate the possible theft of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers in the health sector which is not reaching the intended beneficiaries after being released from the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm).

The Ministry of Health and Child Care said despite distributing PPE to various stations, health workers are still complaining that they are not receiving the critical clothing.

PPE is important for health workers as it protects them from contracting Covid-19.

In an interview on the sidelines of a training workshop for health care workers from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo on handling of Covid-19 cases yesterday in Bulawayo, Ministry of Health and Child Care epidemiology and disease control director, Dr Portia Manangazira said NatPharm is responsible for logistics and distribution of the PPE. 

She said Government was concerned that the protective clothing was not getting to frontline workers after being released from NatPharm.

She said this is happening despite Government implementing measures to ensure there is increased production of the equipment locally as well as addressing procurement bottlenecks for the importation of PPE.

“To date we have seen quite a lot of protective clothing being produced locally. We also have made improvement in terms of procurement bottlenecks in terms of getting those that cannot be produced locally to be brought in from outside. The case in point being surgical masks, but also the N95 masks which are required by the health care workers to protect them. You have seen improvement in terms of the supply,” she said.

“The concern has been to ensure that all the facilities managing Covid-19 have got sustained supplies. But also, to block some of the pilferage that has been going on in the system. So, you will find out that sometimes there has been issuance of the PPE but you go there (to medical facilities) and the health care workers still say they have not received it.” 

Dr Manangazira said the Ministry will investigate the issue to ensure that frontline workers get the necessary protective clothing.

“This training exposes me to five provinces and if you hear health care workers from a number of areas expressing that (not getting PPE), then it’s something that needs to be taken up with the Ministry management. It’s a management and governance challenge,” she said.

She said Government has trained more than 4 000 workers in the medical sector on handling Covid-19.

Dr Manangazira said the Ministry has 35 000 workers who need training and the same process should be extended to those working for local authorities and the private sector.

The training was organised by Providence Human Capital, a subsidiary of Innscor Africa as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility.

Dr Manangazira said it was critical for the private sector to be involved in fighting Covid-19 as the virus is highly contagious and knows no boundary.

Providence Human Capital southern region manager Ms Buhle Ndlovu said her company has done a similar training in Harare for medical employees in the northern part of the country

“The Government has said let it be a responsibility for each and every company that they are providing all safety requirements that are needed by their employees to report for duty. Let’s follow the Government’s initiatives because it is not only applying to us only in Zimbabwe, it is happening globally. This is what our company is doing as Providence Human Capital and a division of Innscor Africa, companies should train their workers on Covid-19 and not wait to get the information from the media,” she said.- Chronicle

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