Harare (New Ziana) – Government will urgently recruit additional health care workers to beef up the national Covid-19 response as cases continue to increase, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Zimbabwe has recorded over 2 000 cases of Covid-19, since the first case was detected in March.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the new recruitment would also help offset challenges posed by the ongoing industrial action by some health workers.
“Cabinet notes, with concern, that the on-going strike in the health sector is negatively affecting the national Covid-19 response. More nurses will be urgently recruited from the available pool of qualified nurses, while processes to resolve those on industrial action continue,” she said in her weekly Post Cabinet briefing.
“In addition, to strengthen the Covid-19 response, government will recruit additional staff to run PCR tests, including unemployed graduates. Modalities are also being put in place to enable industrial and innovation hubs to produce Viral Transport Media (VTM), a critical ingredient in PCR tests currently in short supply.”
Mutsvangwa said to motivate other workers dealing directly with Covid-19, special allowances would be extended to them.
“Rapid Response Teams will be provided with the vehicles and allowances necessary to enable them to carry out their duties efficiently. Social workers and other categories of staff providing documented Covid-19 frontline services at quarantine centres, public institutions and other areas will receive the same allowances as those given to health workers,” she said.
In order to control the spike of Covid-19 cases, Mutsvangwa said Cabinet agreed to immediately analyse all Covid-19 hotspots with a view to implementing stricter lockdown measures while government Ministries were expected to test all staff reporting for duty before they assume duty.
She said government was also prioritising the equipping of all health centres with “reasonable,” stocks of PPE.
“Cabinet also takes this opportunity to inform the public that the country’s health centres have reasonable stocks of PPE, with stocks of at least 3 weeks per centre. A case in point is the United Bulawayo Hospitals which has three months’ supply of PPE in place.”
She said government was also concerned with the increasing numbers of locally transmitted cases.
“Of particular concern is that cumulative number of confirmed local Covid-19 cases has increased by 112 percent from 791 to 1 675 during the past week. Most of the local cases are in Bulawayo (667), Harare (601) and Gweru (168). Cabinet, therefore, declared Gweru a hotspot of Covid-19, in addition to Harare and Bulawayo. Government is expediting efforts to put in place Rapid Result Test Teams to facilitate localized lockdowns in hotspot suburbs of the three cities,” she said.
Meanwhile, Cabinet also deliberated on other issues including proposed amendments to the Legal Practitioners Act, the Deposit Protection Corporation Act and the Traditional Leaders Act.
Commenting on the amendments to the Traditional Leaders Act, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said the changes were being made to align the Act with the Constitution.
“By 2016 the chiefs had actually come up with their own proposals on how to align the Act to the new constitution and there has been a lot of discussion between the chiefs and the general public as well as between the chiefs and the government in order to come up with these amendments,” he said.
The amendments will capture issues including remuneration for chiefs and the creation of the ethics and integrity commission to regulate traditional leaders.