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Zimbabwe: Coronavirus Patients Dying in Hospital Parking Lot

Aug 03, 2020

Zimbabwe is facing a crisis from as it’s number of coronavirus infections increases. There is a shortage of healthcare workers in the country.

According to the BBC, Dr Rashida Ferrand, an epidemiologist at the main public hospital in Harare, a health workers’ strike has resulted in a scarcity of available doctors and nurses. Dr Ferrand said, “We’ve had patients dying in the car park and unfortunately as soon as the limit of 30 beds (is reached) which I can cope with, given the staff I have, I have to say ‘no’.”

Doctors and nurses had begun striking months ago citing a shortage of protective equipment, and poor salaries. The BBC reports that many wards, including the Covid centre, do not have enough staff. Dr Ferrand said, “So, whilst we have the capacity, we’re currently relying on two volunteer doctors and a small group of nurses per shift.” Once the maximum of 30 patients is filled, the hospital is forced to turn patients away. According to Dr Ferrand the hospital has had patients dying in the car park. She said, “The reality is that if there are patients who are about to die and are at home, I ask relatives and doctors to make them comfortable.”

The decision to limit the numbers admitted to the hospital is also stress generating. The doctor said it was ‘gut wrenchingly’ difficult.

Zimbabwe has had nearly 4,000 confirmed virus cases. Although 70 COVID-19 related deaths have been registered, doctors say the actual numbers are higher.

Umm Muhammed Umar

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