‘Understaffed Local Clinics Becoming Super-spreaders Of COVID-19’

Harare residents have expressed concern over crowding at vaccination centres, saying this could aid the spread of COVID-19.

Local council clinics have lately been over congested by people in need of COVID-19 testing and vaccination, a situation that is leaving health workers overwhelmed and unable to control the crowd.

In an interview with 263Chat, Tapiwa Muzanenhamo of Kuwadzana 4 said he had to wait for the whole week to get tested for COVID-19 after getting into contact with a relative who succumbed to the pandemic.

“I have a relative who succumbed to COVID-19 last week Thursday. No contact tracing was done and we all understood that the local clinic is overwhelmed. The problem now is that I have been going to the clinic everyday since Thursday and just yesterday when I finally got tested, I came out positive,” he pleaded.

Muzanenhamo is asymptomatic and is worried that he could have spread the virus to many people as the clinic is congested with people who want to be vaccinated.

“Despite being understaffed, health workers are now more afraid of getting the virus than stopping it and you can see it by the way they are handling patients. The same chair that I seat on when I get tested is used by hundred others who are also getting services in the clinic. Clinics are fast becoming the super-spreaders of COVID-19,” added Muzanenhamo.

In an interview with a local publication, Chitungwiza Progressive Residents Association secretary-general Gift Kurupati said the long-winding queues at vaccination centres had become COVID-19 super spreaders.

“Our appeal to government is to put systems in place, such as online registration or application for those that wish to be vaccinated so that they do not have to queue and are given a date to come and get the jab at the vaccination centre,” Kurupati said.

He alleged that he personally contracted COVID-19 while in a vaccination queue.

In a recent tweet, the City of Harare confirmed that its health facilities were short staffed as nurses were leaving for greener pastures.

“Vaccination ongoing at Belvedere Polyclinic. Long queues characterise the vaccination exercise. “Council is short-staffed. Over 240 nurses have left to join other organisations.”

Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union spokesperson Douglas Chikobvu urged government to revert to flexi duties given that the rate of nurses who are dying or in isolated had escalated to unprecedented levels.

“The infection rate among frontliners is souring because there is dire lack of resources like personal protective clothing and equipment. Unfortunately and as a result more and more nurses are being decimated, grounded and incapacitated by COVID 19.Truely,what we have observed of late signals a drought of ideas. We strongly demand that nurses should go back on flexi working shifts to lessen the impact of COVID 19 on our nurses,” he said.

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