Asthma in the Covid-19 era

The outbreak of Covid-19 in late December 2019, in China and its subsequent spread to other countries saw people with underlying conditions facing a mammoth task. Among these underlying conditions or diseases is asthma.

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UNICEF donates 968 refrigerators and 134 Oxygen Concentrators to Ministry of Health

The Health Development Fund (HDF) which is managed by UNICEF donated 968 Solar Direct Driven refrigerators and 134 Oxygen Concentrators to the Ministry of Health and Child Care yesterday in the capital.

UNICEF Representative, Amina Mahomed who was standing in for Laylee Moshiri in her speech said the equipment donated will uplift the country’s health delivery system.

“I am very pleased to say a few words today as we witness the handover of critical life saving equipment, which will go a long way in ensuring access to quality healthcare for all Zimbabweans, particularly during these challenging times we are fighting the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mahomed.

Mahomed praised the country’s leadership for quickly coming up with a COVID-19 Response Plan.

“I would like to comment the Government of Zimbabwe’s leadership in guiding the National COVID-19 Response Plan. As UNICEF, we are strongly behind you in these efforts,” said the UNICEF Representative.

Mahomed pointed that these refrigerators which are solar powered will not be affected by power outages and will go a long way in delivering the immunisation programme across the country.

“These refrigerators will provide a green solution to such challenges, ensuring that the Expanded Programme on Immunisation reaches ‘the last mile,” said Mahomed.

 

In his acceptance speech, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro expressed his gratitude for this timely donation.

“It is an honour for me to receive this consignment of Cold Chain Equipment on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Child Care and on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe. The consignment consists of 968 units of Solar Direct Driven (SDD) refrigerators worth $3,444,828.15m,” said Dr Mangwiro.

In order to discharge an effective Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), there is need to provide adequate refrigeration facilities for the vaccines to be useful.

“The EPI is the arm of Government responsible for preventing morbidity and mortality from vaccine preventable diseases in the country. The programme requires, among other things, continuous investments in cold chain equipment and capacity building at all levels of the health delivery system to maintain the potency of vaccines throughout the vaccine supply chain,”” said the Deputy Minister of Health.

Dr Mangwiro highly appreciated the SDD technology for being a clean energy source which also reduces power charges, but delivering a world class cold chain solution.

“This new technology will reduce operational costs related to electricity and LP gas consumption. It eliminates the challenges posed by frequent and prolonged power outages. This means our health centres are now assured of reliable cold chain equipment in line with our focus on equity in access to quality health services,” said Dr Mangwiro.

The occasion was also graced by WHO Representative, Dr Alex Gasasira, MoHCC Acting Chief Director for Preventive Services, Dr C Tshuma, MoHCC Acting Director for Nursing, Dr Lillian Dodzo, Ministry of Health officials and United Nations family staff.

The HDF is funded by the following donors United Kingdom (DFID), European Union, Sida-Sweden, Irish Aid and the Global Vaccines Alliance (Gavi).

Upsurge in Covid-19 local transmission explained

In recent weeks, Zimbabwe has witnessed an upsurge in Covid-19 local transmission cases and this has left many people what was happening.

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro, in an interview on the side-lines of a of a handover ceremony of a donation of Covid-19 drugs by the Indian Embassy in Zimbabwe explained this development.

“The upsurge is a sign that people are mixing up and anyone with Covid-19 virus infection has a possibility of transmitting the same to other people. This is where we are saying let’s remain committed to what the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has pronounced, let’s stay at home because staying at home means you are avoiding contact with those people who are infected,” said Dr Mangwiro.

The Health Deputy Minister emphasised on use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and general hygiene including washing of hands.

“We must keep on washing our hands because our hands can take the virus from point A to point B and people get infected. We must continue to put on our face masks correctly and not to put the mask on the chin and leave your mouth open,” said the Deputy Minister.

Dr Mangwiro added that the upsurge points to the mixing of people who have been local with those coming from other countries.

“It’s a sign that people who are coming from outside especially from South Africa, people are mixing rather than keeping each other safe, we really need to take more care, need to really emphasise on our safety,” said Dr Mangwiro.

A lot of people have since developed a notion that quarantine and isolation centres were prisons where one could be taken to and left to die, but Dr Mangwiro took his time to explain that this was not the case as it was meant to curb the spreading of Covid-19.

“Quarantine means you are being grouped somewhere, where you are going to be checked to see if you had developed the disease, but it does not follow you have the disease.

“Isolation is when you have the disease, but it’s not serious enough to cause you to go to hospital. Those who get serious enough we then take them to High Dependency Unit (HDU) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU),” said Dr Mangwiro.

As a precautionary measure to curb the further spreading of Covid-19 locally,Dr Mangwiro advised on taking serious measures to limit unnecessary movements.

“We need to re-strengthen and refocus like what we were doing in the past so that we remain safe as a nation,” said the Deputy Minister.

Dr Mangwiro dismissed the notion that Covid-19 cases increase in cold weather as compared to hot periods.

“Whether hot or cold, we have not scientifically proved that it gets worse in winter than summer. So an upsurge really means people have weakened on their socialisation,” concluded Dr Mangwiro.

Currently Zimbabwe has 734 confirmed cases, 197 recoveries, with 528 active cases and nine(9) deaths.

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