Doctors group blasts government for poor quarantine centers management

Staff Writer

ZIMBABWE Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has revealed that quarantine centers in the country are far below the minimum standards prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) due to rampant shortages of sanitisers, ablution facilities and basic utensils like  plates.

In a statement Thursday, the doctors group blamed the current increases in the infections on government’s poor management of the centers at Girls High School, in Gweru, Chinhoyi and Victoria Falls.

“Sharing of dormitories and sleeping close to each other in violation of the social and physical distancing, exposing the returnees to infection and ablution facilities which are dirty and in a state of disrepair. There is lack of regular facilities disinfection contrary to the COVID-19 guidelines and the no sanitisers are being provided to the occupants, posing a serious health risk,” ZADHR said.

The doctors group said the utensils are not being washed with soap and bemoaned the absence of running water at the facilities.

Concern was also raised over the inhibited access to medication  for people with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes at the Girls High School Quarantine.

“ We are also concerned about reports that 150 returnees were released from a Gweru facility four days ahead of schedule on the 24th of May 2020, after returnees threatened to protest against poor living conditions,” said ZADHR.

The doctors also bemoaned the shambolic testing procedures being undertaken by government saying in some instances the returnees are going for days without being tested and exposing their counterparts to the pandemic in the process.

ZADHR said it had received reports that  19 returnees were reported to have escaped from Mkoba Teachers College quarantine  and urged  government to improve the conditions of services through making them humane and habitable.

“Despite the government having been compelled by the High Court of Zimbabwe on the 14th of April 2020 to provide PPE to all frontline health professionals officers working at quarantine facilities through the country remain with inadequate personal protective equipment. This exposes the health professionals to infection,” the doctors group said.

The remarks come shortly after the doctors group obtained a  High Court order  1st of June 2020, and on the 3rd of June 2020  compelling the government through the Ministry of Health and Child Care to launch a comprehensive investigation as to the cause of the spike in COVID-19 positive cases at the Girls High School quarantine facility.

The Health Ministry  was also charged to “take all necessary measures” to fully comply with the SIs 77/2020 and 83/2020 .

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