Monday 5 December 2022


WHEN Mpilo Central Hospital’s Ward B6 Sister-in-Charge, Ms Fathima Maheya felt a slight headache and flu symptoms for six consecutive days, she thought it was something that would eventually vanish. But it persisted and intensified leading to her decision to go for a Covid-19 test.

She tested positive, together with five workmates in the same week, forcing them into isolation at home.  Sister Maheya only returned to work yesterday and told Chronicle that Covid-19 is still wreaking havoc, hence more people should get vaccinated.

Government launched a vaccination blitz on December 1 to ensure that the virus remains under control as the country heads into the festive season.

Sister Maheya said she was first attacked by Covid-19 in December last year and recovered. This time around, it was not as severe as she had been vaccinated, underlining the need for people to heed Government’s advice on vaccination.

She said strict measures, especially the mandatory mask for everyone, must be brought back.

 “I thought it was an ordinary headache and some flu, but when the flu got worse, it added on to the general body weakness. It kicked in that this might be Covid-19 as it felt the same way as it was last time. I tested positive,” she said.

“This time around it was painful, the headache, the flu and I was very weak. I went for isolation at home and not even my family members got the virus as they came out negative even after my quarantine. As severe as it was, it never amounted to the criticality of the previous year. That time I thought I was dying. I could not feel any body part, I was weak, I was numb, the head was throbbing. The condition was just so bad.” 

Sister Maheya said she believes that she did not catch the virus at work, but at shops or kombis or any other public gathering that she may have attended. She is just not sure.

“I think I got it in a kombi or at shops because here at work we still mask up. We are health workers who know that the disease is still here and it is deadly. 

However, people out there are gallivanting as if Covid is gone, which will make it regain some punch and kill us,” said Sister Maheya.

Bulawayo provincial medical director, Dr Maphios Siamuchembu said people should accept that the virus is now a part of life and encouraged everyone above the age of 12 years to be fully vaccinated.

He said on December 1, Bulawayo joined the ongoing vaccination blitz because Covid-19 is still a threat.

Dr Siamuchembu said the province still gets new infections, with the recent highest figure being that of last Friday when five new infections were recorded.

 He said vaccination is ongoing at all council clinics and central hospitals, as well as other private clinics free of charge.

“By end of Wednesday last week, a total of 65,5 percent of the eligible population in Bulawayo had been vaccinated with the first dose, 55,7 second dose and 13,5 got their booster jab – the third dose. The percentages are still low. We wish to get to 60 percent for the second dose and if possible 80 percent for the first dose. Therefore, more people should get vaccinated for their own good,” said Dr Siamuchembu.

Speaking at a Post-Cabinet briefing recently, Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Dr Jenfan Muswere, who was the acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, revealed that ministers will be dispatched to various provinces in the country in a bid to boost Covid-19 vaccination figures, as Government works on ensuring that the pandemic remains under control.

As of 27 November 2022, a total of 6 569 603 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered, while 4 937 735 people had received their second dose, and 1 239 453 their third dose. 

Ahead of the festive season, Cabinet last week resolved to strengthen enforcement and adherence to World Health Organisation Covid-19 protocols, strengthen genomic sequencing to quickly identify any imported new variants and introduce an electronic vaccination register to enable easy identification and follow up of those yet to receive second and third doses. Chronicle


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