Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Health Reporter
OVER 480 healthcare workers have contracted Covid-19 in Zimbabwe which constitutes about 11 percent of the total number of cases that have been recorded so far.
As of Saturday, 102 deaths had been recorded from a total of 4 575 positive cases.
The affected health workers include nurses, student nurses, doctors, matrons, laboratory scientists, nurse aides, general hands and pharmacists.
Healthcare workers have been greatly exposed to Covid-19 due to the global shortage of personal protective equipment.
Nurses, the greatly affected group which account for 37 percent of the total Covid-19 confirmed cases among heathcare workers globally are on strike which enters day 52 today.
More than 100 nurses at Mpilo Central and United Bulawayo Hospitals have contracted the virus, forcing them into quarantine, thereby reducing the number of workers who are manning the public institutions.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care Covid-19 Zimbabwe Situation Report, Harare and Bulawayo have reported the highest number of local cases.
“A significant number of health workers have been infected with Covid-19 and as of the July 29, 2020, 11 percent of the cases were among health care workers with the majority being from the nursing profession,” read the report.
“Nurses and student nurses account for 35,8 percent and 15,7 percent of the total cases respectively while doctors account for 5,2 percent.”
The ministry said Matabeleland South province had reported a significant number of imported cases compared to other provinces.
To date there are 1 104 imported cases and Matabeleland South has recorded 323 cases.
The ministry also said the Covid-19 psychosocial support response team has developed mental health resources which will be launched in the coming weeks.
“These resources are in the form of sensitisation videos and material made for by Zimbabweans, some in local languages. These self-help materials are available online and will be circulated through various social media platforms. A WhatsApp chatbot and mobile app are under development to make services more accessible by affected members of the public,” it said.
The Zimbabwe Nurses Association has raised concern over stigmatisation and discrimination across the country, a development that has seen some of them being evicted from their lodgings as landlords and fellow tenants fear that they are carriers of the virus.
In some instances, according to Zina nurses are shunned by family and friends and face discrimination when using public transport and when they are shopping in supermarkets.
Zina president Mr Enock Dongo on Friday said some healthcare workers were being shunned by community members owing to stigma or fear.
“It happens everywhere but mostly in Bulawayo and Harare. It’s unfortunate that the nurses don’t want us to divulge their names but they have informed us that they are being evicted simply because they are health workers and the landlords suspect that they are carriers of Covid-19,” he said. — @thamamoe