The selection of Council owned Wilkins Hospital as the main facility to deal with coronavirus patients was a poor decision that was made without insight according to an expert.
Dr Norman Matara, who is the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) Treasury, said the facility should not have been chosen as the primary facility for cases relating to the pandemic for various reasons to do with capacity.
“The argument that Wilkins Hospital has no capacity to continue acting as the main referral centre for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases has been put beyond a reasonable doubt”.
“The decision to have major tertiary hospitals like Parirenyatwa referring serious cases to Primary Care Centres like Wilkins was made without insight”.
“Forget the Zororo saga, I make reference to two events that happened yesterday”
Dr Matara said besides the late broadcaster’s saga, which involved downright negligence, absence of medicinal and facility capacity to deal with his case, they had been two other incidences which showed that the arrangement was a major mistake which could lead to disaster.
“Patient (was) seen at Parirenyatwa isolation tent in the afternoon (Tuesday). Very sick, temperature 39.7, had dyspnea, saturating at 80% (and) was referred to Wilkins”.
“City of Harare said no free ambulance. Parirenyatwa (could) not take him in, the protocol is they cannot take suspected infectious cases. Patient (was) left for almost 6 hours”, he said.
Another suspected case involved a till operator who was refused admission at Wilkins on the grounds that they had poor lighting.
“Patient seen at Parirenyatwa again works on the till at a local food outlet. Had respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath, flue symptoms, sore throat and uses public transport to go home.”
“Wilkins just refused to take in patient said it’s after 6, we have poor lighting”, he added.
Dr Matara accused the City of Harare of refusing the United Nations protocol of diagnosis with the facility saying government hospitals should treat the patients.
Meanwhile, government facilities are also refusing to take in suspected cases saying, “We are not mandated, capacitated or trained to manage infectious diseases. (The) patient is there and sick, caught in the middle”.
The revelations by Dr Matara further lend credence to the arguments that the government has never been prepared for the Coronavirus but has been posturing for political credence with nothing on the ground.
The Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association also weighed in saying, “the magnitude of the problem at hand requires for more health services delivery points (across all levels of health service delivery) to be prepared and equipped for COVID-19 cases service provision”.
On Wednesday the Zimbabwe Nurses Association gave their notice for withdrawal of service citing the government’s failure to respond to their requests.
“It seems our concerns are not getting the urgency they deserve. So in that regard, all nurses are withdrawing their services with immediate effect until there is genuine action taken by the employer.”
“We will only get back to work once our concerns have been swiftly acted upon”, their letter said.
Unconfirmed reports allege that as of now Parirenyatwa has shut down all clinics including the antenatal section and all Outpatient departments (OPDs).