Sunday 19 April 2020


IN A development that has hampered efforts by the ministry of Health to prepare national health institutions for the fight against Covid-19, government has revealed that it has a serious shortage of hospital equipment technicians, the Daily News on Sunday reports. 

This comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) set six conditions for any government that wants to start lifting restrictions.

These include ensuring that Covid-19 transmission is under control, health systems are able to detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact, hot spot risks are minimised in vulnerable places, such as nursing homes, schools, workplaces and other essential places have established preventive measures, risk of importing new cases can be managed and that are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal. 

It also comes as government is making frantic efforts to ensure that the country acquires the requisite equipment, including ventilators, rapid testing kits as well as making sure that the available testing machines are functional as it embarks on an expansive Covid-19 testing programme countrywide.

 Information ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana told the Daily News on Sunday that the country has only four technicians against required 38 and has had to make do with student technicians from the country’s universities. 

“The technicians are supposed to be responsible for the refurbishments of our health institutions as well as the repair of its equipment but we are short on those. That explains why we had to use student technicians from the National University of Science and Technology to repair ventilators at the United Bulawayo Hospitals and Mpilo Central Hospital recently.
“This is only a short-term solution as we battle to control the spread of Covid-19 but going forward we need to have a long-term plan. We only have four technicians nationally against a requirement of 38 so we call upon school-leavers to take the relevant courses when they go for tertiary education because the jobs are available,” Mangwana said.

The High Court recently ordered government to provide all frontline health practitioners with personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them from the deadly coronavirus as they execute their duties and to adequately equip public hospitals with enough supportive medication and help curb the spread of the epidemic.

It also ordered that extensive testing be carried out, including mobile testing in order to account for asymptomatic carriers while all health practitioners and personnel at the frontline should be regularly screened and tested for coronavirus.

By yesterday, the country had recorded 24 confirmed cases of Covid-19 positive cases out which three have died of the 2 493 that have been tested so far. Daily News


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