Chiwenga Contradicts Mangwana On Hospital Capacity

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga Friday dismissed reports by Information Ministry Permanent Secretary Nick Mangwana that hospitals in and around the country are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients saying at the moment, it is an exaggeration.

Recently, Mangwana caused panic when he posted on Twitter that Zimbabwean hospitals are overwhelmed with patients seeking to be admitted as COVID-19 cases continue to shoot up to record-breaking numbers.

“We hear UK beds are overwhelmed by Covid19. Well, that’s them. They say in SA, hospital admission thresholds are now quite high- that’s them. But, let me tell you about our own situation, don’t catch the virus if you can avoid it. We are being overwhelmed and overrun by this virus,” Mangwana said on January 2.

Consequently, later that day, Chiwenga announced a 30-day lockdown citing the need to contain the cases.

However, in an effort to douse the fire, Chiwenga, who is also the Health Minister, called for calm and assured that hospitals remain available despite the high demand for hospitalization from COVID-19 patients

“(The) government continues to mobilise PPEs to minimize the risk that our frontline workers are exposed to, in their selfless dedication to save lives.

“It would be, however, an exaggeration at this stage, to suggest that our Health institutions are overwhelmed by cases of COVID 19. Admittedly, the recent escalation of cases of the pandemic in the country caused a high demand for health care.

“Nonetheless, let me reassure citizens that Zimbabwe’s public and private health institutions still have adequate capacity to offer health services to all patients,” Chiwenga said in a press statement to the media.

To date, Zimbabwe has recorded 25 368 confirmed cases, including 14 714 recoveries and 636 deaths.

Chiwenga admitted that the government has been neglecting health workers by not providing adequate Personal Protective Equipment which has seen a number of frontline workers testing positive ton the deadly virus while some have died.

“Some administrative issues that posed a gridlock in the smooth admission of COVID 19 patients in our hospitals have since been resolved. Among them was, Government’s extension of COVID 19 Allowances to incentivize our Health care workers, frontline workers, civil servants and vulnerable members of our society, and provision of PPEs,” Chiwenga said.

He shot down the social media reports that suggest that a number of people have been turned away from hospitals due to the unavailability of admission places.

He said if need be, the government will increase facilities.

“In light of widely circulating reports alleging that there is a serious deficit of hospital beds, let me point out that these were ‘embellished social media allegations by some pen-mercenaries.’

“However, if the need arises in future, my ministry may consider options of increasing facilities currently designated for COVID 19 or designate more hospitals to take in patients. In a worst-case scenario, that has so far not manifested, all hospitals in the country may be directed to take in citizens affected by COVID 19,” he added.

Recently, a source told 263Chat that the country’s biggest hospital, Parirenyatwa, was renovating some wards to admit COVID-19 patients as people in need of hospitalization increased.

However, the source added that the hospital was not overwhelmed as is being reported.

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