By Robert Tapfumaneyi
GOVERNMENT has revealed plans to set up some 20 000 home based beds in a bid to manage mild cases of Covid-19 at domestic level through a Virtual Hospital system.
The initiative is set to revolutionise Covid-19 management in a country that has seen over 38 000 recorded infections among citizens.
According to Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, cabinet has adopted a proposal to set up a Virtual Hospital for the management of Covid-19 patients.
This will see the establishment of between 10 000 to 20 000 homebased beds.
“This comes from the realisation that most Covid-19 patients recover without symptoms or after experiencing mild ones, which do not require hospitalisation,” Mutsvangwa told journalists during a post cabinet media briefing Tuesday.
“Government will establish a provisional figure of Ten Thousand (10 000) to twenty thousand (20 000) home-based beds.
“A network of health staff will carry out protocol-based monitoring and management of the cases.
“The equipment support for this programme is as follows; rechargeable oxygen concentrators, finger pulse or saturation monitors, non-contact thermometers, blood glucose testing machines and blood pressure machines.
“The equipment will be deployed to the admitted patients and returned when the patient gets discharged.”
Mutsvangwa added, “The establishment of the Virtual Hospital will therefore alleviate the pressure on hospitals. The public will be kept abreast of developments in this regard.”
Regarding resources, Mutsvangwa said the Global Fund has allocated US$75 million to complement government efforts in the fight against the global pandemic.
“The allocation is for three years, from 2021 to 2023. It should however be noted that government continues to provide resources from its own coffers for the Covid-19 response programme, with ZW$11 billion having been released since the onset of the Outbreak,” she said.
On a related matter, government efforts in refurbishing and upgrading health facilities are beginning to yield the desired results.
“Government is pleased to announce that Ekusileni Medical Centre has been fully refurbished and will soon be officially opened,” Mutsvangwa said.
“Thorngrove Hospital was refurbished and upgraded to a 28-bed fully equipped Covid-19 isolation centre and is admitting Covid-19 patients.
“The first-ever free orthopaedic paediatric hospital and Covid-19 Isolation Centre based at United Bulawayo Hospital is also set to be soon officially opened.
“The hospital will attend to children with various orthopaedic conditions, including those with congenital deformities from all over the country.”
The country has not been spared the global pandemic with over 38 000 cumulative cases recorded coupled with over 1 500 related deaths since outbreak March last year.