Talent Gore, H-Metro Reporter
Zimbabwe’s public health service has reacted impressively to the Cyclone Idai crisis which has left indelible scars in Zimbabwe together with neighbours Mozambique and Malawi, Manicaland Provincial Medical Director (PMD) has said.
Although Cyclone Idai has so far been recorded as the worst in the southern hemisphere, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has set up effective emergency response services.
Dr Patron Mafaune said Manicaland health directorate chaired a health response subcommittee of the Provincial Civil Protection Unit (CPU) in which they came up with four broad objectives to deal with cyclone Idai.
“The first objective is to ensure that we have effective coordinated response in terms of the health aspects.
“The second is to look at provision of emergency medical services particularly for those who were injured, we are also looking at ensuring that there is continued service provision particularly focusing on patients with chronic disease namely Tuberculosis (TB), HIV-AIDS as well as hypertension and diabetes.
“The last objective is to prevent epidemic prone conditions,” said Dr Mafaune.
She said in terms of the first objective, they have been holding daily health subcommittee meetings to try and coordinate all the partners particularly the UN colleagues who have been in the province.
“With regard to emergence services provision, required at the early phase of our response, we are receiving patients that we can manage.
“However, our major challenge with regards to continued service provision is that some of our health facilities have become inaccessible due to the damage of the infrastructure but we have set up temporary clinics in strategic positions to ensure service provision, currently we have about 11 temporally clinics that we have set up,” Dr Mafaune said.
Dr Mafaune commended the effort made by the response team which saw 4011 patients receiving timely treatment, however she is appealing to the Minister of Health and Child Care to look into the issue of human resource mobilisation.
“Through the efforts that we have put to date, we have managed about 4011 patients in our temporary clinics as well as major hospitals where these patients were being referred to.”
“Our major challenge is the issue of human resources, we had to mobilise additional nurses, which we are happy to have from other provinces as well as within the province.
“However, we realise a gap has been created in those areas and we hope our Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Obadiah Moyo may take these issues into consideration, we really need additional support so that when we can manage with available resources in the future,” she said.
Despite the effort being done to ensure continued health services delivery to pregnant mothers, Dr Mafaune lamented the need for more waiting homes for pregnant mothers.
“We have pregnant mothers who are isolated in some communities and we have come up with a plan to ensure that they are evacuated to safe places, with assured service delivery.
“We have identified five sights that we can also use as waiting mother’s shelter and we have already started airlifting pregnant mothers who are 36 weeks and beyond to these sites.
“For Chipinge Hospital, the waiting mother’s home capacity is 20, but currently is overwhelmed with 50 plus mothers and most of them are from Chimanimani and they walk long distance to get to the shelters.
“We are glad no deaths have been recorded so far meaning that all cases are being managed,” Dr Mafaune added.
Dr Mafaune applauded the His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ministry of Health and Child Care and partners for the unwavering contributions towards the cause.
“I am grateful for the tremendous support we have been receiving from the political leadership, it has made our coordination efforts more effective.
Tropical Cyclone Idai is one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere, the long-lived storm caused catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, leaving more than 1 000 people dead and thousands more missing.