A former minister of health, Dr Henry Madzorera, has encouraged the government to accelerate Covid-19 vaccination especially in rural areas and deploy mobile clinics to cut short the distance travelled by villagers to the nearest health centres. To date, as of August 1, 2021, only 779 229 people have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 while 1 654 112 have received their first dose.
Dr Madzorera, who is the Secretary for Health and Child Welfare in the MDC Alliance, lamented that villagers walked long distances to access clinics in rural areas yet they too needed urgent critical services. “The distances walked to clinics are too long, and mobile clinics must be deployed to every district. The elderly and those with comorbidities need the vaccine most, but they can’t walk those long distances,” he said in the 15th edition of the MDC Alliance’s Health Alert on coping with the Delta variant of Covid-19.
The former minister said as much as vaccination was critical, the government must educate people on the vaccines in use. “We are still expecting the government to make a pronouncement on the efficacy and safety of all the vaccines that we are using. That will surely motivate any who are still doubting. Once again we urge all Zimbabweans to be vaccinated. This is our ticket out of the pandemic. Vaccination must remain a matter of free choice. The majority of Zimbabweans want to be vaccinated now. Let’s make the vaccine available,” Dr Madzorera indicated.
Zimbabwe is currently seeing an unprecedented number of Covid-19 infections in comparison with the first and second waves. Over the last four weeks, 53 703 new infections were recorded including 1 551 deaths. Yet for the first and second Covid-19 waves combined, up to May 31, 2021, the country registered 38 961 cases with 1 594 deaths.
“The carnage caused by this Delta variant is self-evident. It seems to be more vicious in transmissibility and severity of illness, and seems to be affecting younger members of the population also,” said the former health minister. “We must re-visit our prevention and clinical management of the disease if we are to conquer this virus. We must employ all the Covid-19 safe practices with more diligence as we add new tools in our arsenal.”
Dr Madzorera also stressed that all public meetings must stop. “It’s ironic that church meetings of up to 50 people, the most disciplined meetings in the land where everybody is generally sober and masked up, have been banned while political meetings and large gatherings of other politically aligned sects are allowed to go on,” he said.
He highlighted how in the rural areas, some people were systematically flouting the lockdown regulations by regularly calling for meetings of over 200 people.
“There is a huge outcry from the rural areas. That irresponsible behaviour must stop, because this third wave is hitting rural areas as much as urban areas. We continue to implore the government to make sure that there is social distancing in the buses, that means availing more buses and removing the greedy ZUPCO monopoly,” Dr Madzorera said.
Dr Madzorera pointed out that people must know that even when fully vaccinated for Covid-19, one can still carry and spread the disease to others.
“Let’s all continue to mask up, practise social distancing, stay at home as much as possible, enjoy outdoor life where the air blows freely, and seek medical care early if you have any Covid-19 symptoms like fever, headache, general aches and pains, dry cough, weakness, fatigue, sore throat, loss of sense of smell or taste, shortness of breath, feeling pain or pressure in the chest,” he said.
“Seek early treatment for better outcomes. Remember to self isolate. We implore the government to increase the Covid-19 admission facilities and to improve oxygen supply.”
Dr Madzorera also added that, “lastly, the date for opening of schools must be agreed upon by parents and the teachers’ unions. Both pupils and teachers must be protected.”
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology