Africa Coronavirus (COVID-19) Most Read

Mon 03 August 2020:

Doctors in Zimbabwe say the country is facing a crisis from a shortage of healthcare workers as the number of coronavirus cases begin to rise.

Dr Rashida Ferrand, an epidemiologist at the main public hospital in the capital Harare, told the BBC that there are too few doctors and nurses because of a health workers’ strike, which began before the pandemic, and a shortage of protective equipment.

The hospital says it has had to turn away Covid-19 patients because it can only staff 30 beds for virus patients.

The public health care system is teetering on the brink of breakdown with shortages of basic drugs and equipment and overburdened and underpaid staff.

Experts say the health crisis has its roots in the country’s wider economic collapse which has brought back hyperinflation, shut factories, pushed the official unemployment rate to an estimated 90%, and seen the majority of the population sink deeper into poverty and hardly able to afford a square meal.

Zimbabwe has recorded almost 4,000 cases and 70 people have died. However, doctors say the figures are much higher.

Last week Zimbabwe’s Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri died from the virus.

The government declared the COVID-19 crisis a “national disaster” on Friday, March 27, a move allowing it to commandeer state resources towards fighting COVID-19, to use emergency regulations, and to deploy personnel for the same services. 

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