BY DR MASIMBA MAVAZA
Zimbabwe is now gripped with the reality of the effects of COVID 19. It is now sinking in people’s minds that COVID 19 is real and indeed serious. Zimbabwe lost a lot of people to the virus. In one week, the nation lost te minister of Lands and his driver, the nation lost several to army officers security officers and a lot of other people from all walks of life. The indiscriminating nature of the COVID 19 has gripped the nation with fear.
Bus drivers’ burses and doctors, health workers and all frontline workers have tested positive. The sad thing is that many more have died and are not tested and not known thus not recorded as COVID 19 victim.
What people were seeing on TV and social media is now turning to be a reality. Death smells heavily in our corridors and our streets, the presence of the Virus does not need any awareness anymore, it is indeed written all over people’s faces.
This is the time the nation needs GOD.
The dilemma we have as a country in this time is that we do not have a minister of health, we do not have the permanent secretary of health, we do not have any director in the Natpharm and nom directors in the hospitals. All chief Executive officers from each major hospital have been fired. The health system which has been limping is now moving without direction. The arrests and humiliation of leaders of the health system makes those in the acting capacity to be afraid of taking bold actions or thinking outside the box.
We do appreciate that most policymakers in many parts of the world are struggling to bring the rapidly spreading Covid-19 pandemic under control. In doing so, they are repeating many of the mistakes made in Italy, where the pandemic turned into a disaster. It has been reported that A major contributing factor was the decision-making process at many levels of government. The government took long to decide and made decisions only as reaction and not decisive. Zimbabwe will lose many more people if the issue of Covid 19 is not taken seriously.
It is high time now that the president appoints he minister of Health and put deadlines on actions to be taken. It will be a good idea for the president to appoint Deputy president Chiwenga to be the senior minister of Health, then give him a medically trained person to be a junior minister. Chiwenga is known for forcefully attaining his goals. This virus now needs force and purpose. The time for thinking is over we need to have something going now. The president must declare this virus as a state of disaster. All rules and laws governing the ministry must be suspended the ministry must be given powers to act on the feet to make decisions without going through the bureaucratic delays. The situation is desperate and it needs desperate measures. Zimbabwe cannot die. Procrastination is the thief of time, so there is no time to act at the pleasure of the president. This is the time to act now. Our health system has no leader we need to put the ministry under the vice president’s office or even put it under the office of the first lady is she has such an office. Why first lady, because she has shown that she acts and moves the earth. She must be allowed to use her energy to save lives. We are really dying, and we cannot sit and look.
we should realise that policymakers around the world struggled to combat the rapidly escalating Covid-19 pandemic, they find themselves in uncharted territory. Much has been written about the practices and policies used in countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan to stifle the pandemic. Unfortunately for us in Zimbabwe, it is already too late to contain Covid-19 in its infancy, and policymakers are struggling to keep up with the spreading pandemic. We should not be in this situation, we simply need a decision, take this virus seriously. If we do not do so, however, we are repeating many of the errors made early on in Italy, where the pandemic has turned into a disaster.
Zimbabwe can simply put itself back in control by taking a decision now, we cannot fight this pandemic without a leading team.
Zimbabwe can start to build centres now set them aside for COVID patience. Shurugwi North has taken a lead by constructive a covid 19 centre. Member of parliament for Shurugwi is leading a big project of building a treatment centre for Covid patients. Instead of fighting him we must take a leaf support the project expand it to other provinces.
Within a very short time period, Zimbabwe has been hit by nothing short of a tsunami of unprecedented force, punctuated by an incessant stream of deaths. It is unquestionably our biggest crisis since 2008 cholera.
Zimbabwe’s aspects of this crisis — starting with its timing — can undoubtedly be attributed to plain and decision making. Other aspects, however, are emblematic of the profound obstacles that leaders are facing in recognizing the magnitude of the threat posed by Covid-19, organizing a systematic response to it, and learning from early implementation successes — and, most importantly, failures.
The systematic inability to listen to experts highlights the trouble that leaders — and people in general — have figuring out how to act in dire, highly complex situations where there’s no easy solution. The desire to act causes leaders to rely on their gut feeling or the opinions of their inner circle. But in a time of uncertainty, it is essential to resist that temptation, and instead take the time to discover, organize, and absorb the partial knowledge that is dispersed across different pockets of expertise. As a nation we do not need anymore deaths.
We must reakise that we must appreciate the importance of systematic approaches and the perils of partial solutions. We must give solutions now and move on. As the Italian government did Zimbabwean government is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic by issuing a series of decrees that gradually increased restrictions within lockdown. This is important but is it helping.
this approach taken by the president is prudent and perhaps even wise. But the president needs soldiers on the ground. The “facts on the ground” at any point in time were simply not predictive of what the situation would be just a few days later. As a result, Zimbabwe is reacting to the spread of the virus rather than prevented it.
There is still tremendous uncertainty on what exactly needs to be done to stop the virus. Several key aspects of the virus are still unknown and hotly debated and are likely to remain so for a considerable amount of time. Furthermore, significant lags occur between the time of action (or, in many cases, inaction) and outcomes (both infections and mortality). We need to accept that an unequivocal understanding of what solutions work is likely to take several months, if not years.
We need to know that there is no time to waste, given the exponential progression of the virus. The virus is faster than our bureaucracy. An effective approach towards Covid-19 will require a war-like mobilization — both in terms of the entity of human and economic resources that will need to be deployed as well as the extreme coordination that will be required across different parts of the health care system.
We normally hold fund raising events in other issues, this is the time to fund raise. The president must set a fund-raising committee for COVID. We must build makeshift centres, we must buy as many ventilators as possible.
Together, the need for immediate action and for massive mobilization imply that an effective response to this crisis will require a decision-making approach that is far from business as usual. If policymakers want to win the war against Covid-19, it is essential to adopt one that is systemic, prioritizes learning, and is able to quickly scale successful experiments and identify and shut down the ineffective ones. Yes, this a tall order — especially in the midst of such an enormous crisis. But given the stakes, it has to be done.
Zimbabwe must not only wait for gloves to be donated, we can encourage locals to make gloves, to make masks. We are in the time of war we need to deal with this war now. It is important that now we act.
Appoint the minister or simply reinstate Obadiah Moyo, forget about what thw world will say let him carry on the touch. Set a team to negotiate with our doctors and nurses. Let us swallow our pride and find each other with our health workers, we need to be together. We can win this battle. Only today over hundred families are burying their loved ones who fell to the evil sword of COVI 19. For how long can we sit and pretend that all is well. Together we will win. Can we all come together and save the nation and save our people. Let us invest in our health system.