SOMAN Mudariki, the Head of Ambulance Services in the Harare City Council and member of a community testing team on COVID-19, is one of the medical doctors that are in the frontline in Zimbabwe’s fight against the pandemic.
Two weeks after the coronavirus pandemic broke out in Zimbabwe, Mudariki had tested four confirmed cases that had been recorded in the country.
Zimbabwe recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 20 and it’s first death on March 23.
The country has so far recorded 25 cases of COVID-19, including three deaths and two recoveries.
Speaking about his experiences in the fight against COVID-19, Mudariki said never before had his family been worried about his work than during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My son and daughter are not at ease, they keep asking questions and want to understand how dangerous coronavirus really is and one of them will always be writing poems about coronavirus dedicating them to every healthcare worker working to contain the virus,” he said.
With the ruthless virus not sparing anyone in its path, Mudariki knows the importance for frontline healthcare workers to be properly kitted and equipped when attending to patients.
Each day is planned ahead.
“Our typical day starts with briefs and debriefs of the previous day, discussing gaps and strengths to the frontline workers,” said Mudariki.
The Harare City Council runs Wilkins Hospital in Harare, which has been designated as the country’s main testing and treatment center for COVID-19.
Mudariki remains alive to the dangers associated with his current job at Wilkins Hospital, which highly exposes him to the risk of contracting the virus.
“It is a hot zone that we are working in and it requires a meticulous process, from donning, doffing to testing patients. The process needs to be thorough to make sure you do not carry the virus to other patients or workmates,” said Mudariki.
“While donning is simple, it is doffing that requires one to follow the proper process lest you carry the virus home,” he said.
He said his wife and children have remained his pillar of strength, offering him morale support and often reminding him to keep safe as he performs his duties.
“She (wife) is always worried about the safety of the family and she is always quick to remind me to take my time, to be careful and not to be exposed to the deadly virus,” said Mudariki.
Apart from medical doctors, another category of healthcare workers that are involved in the fights against the pandemic in the country are nurses.
Among them is Cynthia Shatei, leader of the Zimbabwe Young Nurses’ Association.
“We value the sanctity of human life, but at times we fear for our dear life because the monster (COVID-19) is real. We believe that nursing is a calling so we had to step in as nurses,” she told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper.
She said her contribution to the fight against the pandemic was due to patriotism.
She acknowledged that fears by healthcare workers were well-founded but added that the disease had to be confronted head on for the common good.
Shatei and Mudariki are among Zimbabwe’s healthcare workers that are putting their lives at risk by offering their services to help fight the pandemic.
Shatei said they do not throw caution to the wind, but make sure that they are safe before they get home.
As it grapples with the pandemic, Zimbabwe has extended its national lockdown by a further two weeks to May 3.