Tuesday, 26 January 2021


ONE of the country’s top medical experts, Solwayo Ngwenya, who has been among the leading voices with regards to educating and warning Zimbabweans about the lethal coronavirus, has come under heavy attack on social media for this work.

 But speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the highly regarded acting chief executive of Mpilo Hospital brushed aside the trolls, saying the attacks on him were like “water off a duck’s back”.

The forthright doctor also surmised that the attacks were being led by groups of people who might be benefitting from the soaring coronavirus deaths in the country.

Although Ngwenya specialises in gynaecology, he has been effective in using social media to warn people about the dangers of letting down their guard on coronavirus — with his critics accusing him of being “alarmist”. “I have been warning people against Covid-19, but some people attack me because of their narrow-minded business interests and society-sponsored thinking.

“People can attack you for many reasons, including jealousy, race, tribe and so forth. Then you have interested people who want Covid-19 to spread so that they can benefit from it, for example, people who run tenders … Covid-19 tests and so forth.

“Then there is a third group of people who will want Zimbabwe as a whole to fail, working with outside forces who want people to die in large numbers,” Ngwenya told the Daily News yesterday.

However, he warned, even those who were attacking him and capitalising on the raging pandemic were also as much at risk of dying from the virulent respiratory disease like everyone else.

“I am just motivated by wanting to prevent Zimbabweans from dying en masse. If I and others who should speak decide to keep silent people will die. “I have to make noise so that authorities and the population are made aware and make informed decisions. Whether they listen to me or not, Covid-19 is a serious disease. I will not keep quiet,” he added.

This comes as the second wave coronavirus drumfire has deepened since the turn of the New Year, with the global pandemic’s local death toll now having passed the 1 000 mark. It also comes as the deadly virus has so far claimed the lives of four government ministers, with more said to be bed-ridden in hospitals.

Such has been the devastating effect of the virus that the country’s major hospitals are now struggling to deal with the high numbers of patients battling the deadly respiratory disease, who require admission. In addition to being unable to take more patients, stretched private hospitals are also charging hefty fees which are beyond the reach of the majority — with some of them demanding anything between US$1 500 and US$10 000 upfront for admissions only. Daily News


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