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COVID-19 Deaths Common Among the Elderly: Physicians

The College of Primary Health Care Physicians (CPHCP) and the Zimbabwe College of Public Health Physicians (ZCPHP) have revealed that COVID-19 deaths are hitting hard on elderly people and those living with chronic medical conditions.

In a joint statement, the physicians said one in three people are succumbing to the pandemic outside hospital facilities.

“The number of deaths remain unacceptably high, with one in three people dying outside of health facilities. These deaths are commonest among the elderly and people living with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, high blood pressure and heart disease.

“People who develop COVID-19 symptoms that require medical attention are delaying in seeking professional medical care. As a result of late presentation, families end up requiring very expensive treatment and long hospitalization or lives that could have been saved are being lost. The Government of Zimbabwe has done a great job establishing the national COVID-19 vaccination program, including expansion to the private sector for a nominal fee,” said the physicians.

The doctors raised concern over the low uptake of vaccinations by elderly people living with chronic medical conditions.

“The vaccination coverage remains low, with over 15% of the targeted population having been fully vaccinated. We are particularly concerned that despite being prioritized, many elderly people and citizens living with chronic medical conditions are still not vaccinated.

They further urged citizens “to double up physical distancing, masking, and hand hygiene. This will require a concerted effort by every individual, household, community, and the whole nation. When you or your household member develop symptoms of COVID-19, get tested early and seek medical care from a qualified health care provider as soon as possible.

“The elderly and all people living with chronic medical conditions to avoid crowded places and minimize interactions with people from outside their households (especially funerals, weddings, religious gatherings). We urge all citizens to do all that is possible to encourage and support their household members, the elderly and those living with chronic medical conditions to get vaccinated.”

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