By Edward Mukaro
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have hailed and called for concerted efforts between the Government and non-state actors to prevent a calamity in the event of an outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus (Covid -19), especially considering the multiple health challenges that the country is already facing.
In a statement released by the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) health sector under the Zimbabwe Aids Network (ZAN) and CSOs have come together and came up with a position to counter Covid -19, which will certainly have negative impact on the social, economic, and security threats for the country.
“…Taking into consideration that the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Universal Health Coverage, Transition Stabilization Program, National Health strategy and Sustainable Development Goals, which are strategic agendas for the socio-economic transformation of the health sector in the country, will be severly disrupted by disease outbreaks, such as, the Covid-19 if there are no measures for timely coordination, collaboration, and communication of bold decisions.
“Cognizant that any potential Covid-19 spread in Zimbabwe would be devastating in light of the multiple health challenges that the country is already faced with, which include: (1) incapacitation of health personnel; (2) acute shortage of essential drugs owing to foreign exchange incapacities (3) existing endemic diseases, such as, HIV, TB and Malaria, (4) antiquated health equipment and infrastructure, with limited resilience to numerous disease outbreaks,” read the statement.
Furthermore, CSOs acknowledged the combined efforts by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, including CSOs, private sector and also welcomed the statement by the President of Zimbabwe in response to Covid-19 outbreak.
“The CSOs health sector commits to coordinate efforts and collaborate with other stakeholders including the Government in response to Covid-19; Welcomes the statement made by government to enhance capacity to respond to any potential cases of Covid-19 and enhances community-based monitoring and surveillance for Covid-19.”
Effective communication and community engagement by sharing correct, apt and timely information concerning Covid-19 was also identified as essential to fighting the virus, which is yet to be confirmed in the country, despite tens of people being tested mainly in Harare and Bulawayo, respectively.
Government through partnerships with international agencies, NGOs, private corporations and individuals, is preparing for the worst case scenario, since the country’s neighbour, South Africa, reported cases of people who had tested positive with the virus.
Across the globe, travel bans have been imposed from country to country as governments battle the virus, which has no known cure, as yet.