By Costa Nkomo
ZIMBABWE’S biggest referral hospital, Parirenyatwa has become a new hot-spot for Covid-19 as authorities there are forcing nurses to work without personal protective equipment (PPEs), risking contracting the deadly pandemic.
A source told NewZimbabwe.com this week that senior health officials are forcing nurses to work without Covid-19 protective gear.
“Our lives are at risk. We are told to continue working without proper protective clothing,” the source said.
“We have pleaded with the authorities to assist with PPEs but they told us that we must find our own means to protect ourselves.
“How do we even protect ourselves when we don’t have enough protective equipment? PPEs are in short supply. In most cases, we have to use the same face mask longer than what is required for front-line workers.”
Zimbabwe has seen an increase of Covid-19 positive cases during the second wave of the pandemic since last month.
On Wednesday, the ministry of health recorded 227 new cases and three deaths.
All provinces reported new cases on the day with Mashonaland West recording the highest at 101 infections.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president Enock Dongo confirmed to NewZimbabwe.com that union members are being forced to work without protective clothing, giving rise to Covid-19 cases among the front-line workers.
“The complaints are coming to us on a daily basis. There is no protective clothing in hospitals. From the number of Covid-19 cases published by the Ministry of Health daily, there are so many health workers who are testing positive there,” Dongo.
“We are pleading with the government daily but to no avail. We have told the government countless times that hospitals are highly infectious and, therefore, health workers must be supported differently from other ordinary workers but all is of no help.
“In a hospital environment, health workers are advised to change their face masks frequently. This is not what is happening right now. Nurses are enduring long hours without changing their PPEs. This is exposing them to the virus. A number of them are now sick,” Dongo said.
NewZimbabwe.com also learnt that health authorities from the Covid-19 national task force have abandoned enforcing Covid-19 protocols risking health workers to contract the deadly virus.