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Midlands — Covid-19 affects close to 700 frontline workers

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NEARLY 700 frontline workers in the Midlands province have either been affected or infected by Covid-19, with six frontline workers succumbing to the respiratory infection, an official has revealed.

Addressing stakeholders at Kwekwe General Hospital recently, provincial medical director Mary Muchekeza said the figures are quite startling.

“Our health workers, being on the frontline, have not been spared either, as a total 667 of them have been affected or infected by Covid-19 and unfortunately six of them succumbed to the virus (since its outbreak last year March),” she said.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the Midlands has recorded 9 435 cases and 376 deaths.

“During this terrible time of Covid-19, we are facing the heart-wrenching effects of the pandemic. While the country is being ravaged by this deadly virus, our province has not been spared either. In fact, it must be noted that the first case of the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 was detected here in Kwekwe in May 2021 . . . We have witnessed an exponential increase of cases and deaths over the past couple of months, as we were experiencing the third wave of the pandemic,” Muchekeza said.

She said emphasised the need for resource mobilisation to ensure that health workers have personal protective equipment (PPE).

“This then buttresses the fact of the undisputed need for more resources such as the PPE, in order to enable them to combat this deadly enemy. We are at war. It is therefore important that synergies in resource mobilisation are very much-needed to successfully beat the pandemic,” she said.

Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Larry Mavima, speaking at the same ceremony for the handover of PPE donated by Old Mutual, said government is concerned in ensuring that health personnel get equipped.

“Here in the Midlands Province, we have lost six of our frontline workers to the pandemic. This is a sad thing, but unavoidable, due to the circumstances we find ourselves in. We would wish for this pandemic to end, but we have no control over it. As a nation, we have to go a long way to meet the requirements of our frontline workers, in order to make their jobs safe, knowing they are protected from the pandemic,” he said.

The health sector has been crippled by debilitating industrial job actions by health personnel who have been protesting against poor remuneration. In an interview, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health chairperson Dr Ruth Labode said in addition to PPE, the government must adequately remunerate health personnel.

“As Parliament, we are pushing government to increase salaries for health personnel, so that they will be motivated. In addition, the health personnel have told us that another motivation is for people to get vaccinated because they are tired of looking after very sick patients who would not have been vaccinated,” she said in an interview.

Meanwhile, the country has in recent weeks been witnessing a decrease in Covid-19 cases.

The Midlands provincial medical director urged citizens not to be complacent in the face of the impending fourth wave, hence the need to continue mobilising resources for the health sector. — STAFF WRITER.

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