Zim doctors offered hotel accommodation during combat with Covid-19

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By Costa Nkomo

GOVERNMENT has given in to demands for special accommodation by Zimbabwean doctors during the current period of their potentially dangerous experiences with Covid-19 patients.

This was revealed Thursday by Vice President Kembo Mohadi at a meeting with Insurance and Pension Commission delegates in Harare.

Zimbabwean doctors who form the frontline soldiers against the current battle with coronavirus have been demanding special accommodation far from their homes for fear of infecting their loved ones with the dreaded disease.

Recently, a nurse at Bulawayo’s Mater Dei Hospital was infected with Covid-19 after unknowingly attending to a coronavirus patient without any protective clothing.

The patient has since died.

The experience has fuelled demands for separate accommodation by the medical staff through their representative Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association (ZSHDA).

Mohadi revealed hoteliers have agreed to accommodate doctors during the fight against the pandemic.

“We had Senior Hospital Doctors Association in this very room,” said the VP.

“They did indicate to us that they were very much apprehensive about going back home after attending to patients. They would like to be isolated.

“They would like to be somewhere like in a hotel where they don’t meet their families because they don’t want to transmit the deadly disease to their loved ones and we thought it was a positive thought.

“Having done that, we called the hoteliers and they came in this very room and told the situation that our frontline fighters would not want to get back to their families in fear of transmitting the disease to their families. Can you therefore give them that accommodation so that they are isolated, and they agreed to that in principle. I am sure they have finalised it yesterday.

“So, everyone is on board.  We are in this together. We have not left anyone behind.”

Old Mutual, a leading life insurer, has also joined hands with government among other stakeholders, by giving doctors life insurance for six months a package that may also motivate doctors during the fight against Covid-19.

Old Mutual head of group marketing and innovation Lillian Mbayiwa also attended the meeting with the Mohadi chaired ministerial taskforce.

Said Mbayiwa, “First and foremost, our wish and our desire is to ensure that they are protected (doctors) and there is avoidance of any fatalities.

“We have put them on life cover. The life cover will over all medical personnel who are fighting in the front line against the Covid-19 and the cover will be free of charge to all health workers for six months.”

The move by government could also have been influenced by a High Court order Tuesday directing government to provide healthcare workers with protective gear and roll out mass testing against the deadly coronavirus.

An association of human rights doctors brought the case to compel the government to beef up protection for public hospitals and healthcare workers.