Sunday, 31 January 2021

COVID -19 : 3000 HEALTH WORKERS TEST POSITIVE

 More than 3 000 health workers have been infected with Covid-19 with 11 succumbing to the virus since March last year.

The Government has mobilised a lot of resources to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers who are the frontline workers as it grapples to make the workplace as safe as possible.

The frontline workers who are the heroes and heroines in the fight against covid-19 continue to do their best to attend to the sick while efforts continue to minimise their exposure to the pandemic.

By yesterday nearly 1 200 people had succumbed to the virus in Zimbabwe. In an interview yesterday, the Health Services Board (HSB) deputy director public relations, Ms Tryfine Rachael Dzvukutu said it was sad that the virus is claiming lives of health workers who are the frontiline workers in the fight against the pandemic.

“To date 3 389 health workers including nurses have been infected by Covid-19. Recorded deaths are 11,” she said.

Ms Dzvukutu said since the start of Covid-19 last year, Government has consistently ensured that the appropriate human resources are availed at public health institutions and will continue improving staffing levels to meet demand for services.

She said recently 376 nurses were engaged to beef up staff at the public health institutions.

“To date the Health Service Board has completed the deployment of 376 nurses, with focus being given to institutions with red zone (central hospitals) and designated isolation facilities. The health service by its very nature is largely labour intensive and following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become imperative to redistribute staff in order to ensure the more critical departments and units have adequate staff,” said Ms Dzvukutu.

All health workers in the public health sector, including nurses continue to receive monthly Covid-19 Risk Allowances ranging from Z$1 500 to Z$ 3 750 depending on the level of risk.

In addition to that, health workers are also paid US$75 risk allowance a month which is paid to all civil servants.

All categories of health workers assigned to continuously work in the RedZone treatment wards are entitled to a monthly RedZone allowance of Z$6 000. Last month, Government also started paying compensation to its workers infected by Covid-19.

The amounts of money paid under the health insurance cover range from US$650 to US$1 000 paid in local currency at the prevailing official exchange rate.

Under the insurance policy, money is paid after all checks have been done to make sure that only genuine or authentic claims are honoured.

The Task Force on Harmonisation and Standardisation of the Public Sector Remuneration Framework resolved that those who catch the virus be covered by the insurance.

Permanent secretaries who have been part of the essential services and have been working since March last year when the national lockdown was implemented are among those who will get US$1 000 compensation in the event of being infected.

In the event of the death of a member due to Covid-19, the surviving members of the family will be paid the compensation.

In his weekly Covid-19 taskforce statement last week, the acting Minister of Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Dr Jenfan Muswere urged Zimbabweans to continue to strictly adhere to lockdown restrictions to minimise exposure.

He said the Government owes all health workers and frontline staff a debt of gratitude.“Those who work on the red zones which deal with the care of Covid-19 patients are surely our heroes and heroines as we continue to fight this deadly disease. Government is committed to the eradication of Covid 19 and we are hopeful that we will succeed,” he said.

Dr Muswere said a large section of Zimbabweans who have been shining beacons in society by way of adhering to lockdown statutes must be commended. Chronicle

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