By Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa
Cabinet received an update on the procurement and roll out of COVID-19 Vaccines, which was presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.
As of 26 April, 2021, a total of 353 834 people had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 57 776 their second across the country. Cabinet wishes to assure citizens that they can receive their vaccination jabs anywhere in the country.
This applies to the second vaccination dose as well, that is, people may be vaccinated at a location different from where they took their first jab if they so wish.
Regarding resources, it is advised that the Global Fund allocated US$75 million to complement Government efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
The allocation is for three years, from 2021 to 2023. It should, however, be noted that Government continues to provide resources from its own coffers for the COVID-19 response programme, with ZW$11 billion having been released since the onset of the Outbreak.
On a related matter, Government efforts in refurbishing and upgrading health facilities are beginning to yield the desired results. Government is pleased to announce that Ekusileni Medical Centre has been fully refurbished and will soon be officially opened.
Thorngrove Hospital was refurbished and upgraded to a 28-bed fully equipped COVID-19 isolation centre and is admitting COVID-19 patients.
The first-ever free orthopaedic paediatric hospital and COVID-19 Isolation Centre based at United Bulawayo Hospital is also set to be soon officially opened. The hospital will attend to children with various orthopaedic conditions, including those with congenital deformities from all over the country.
In a development set to revolutionise COVID-19 management, Cabinet adopted a proposal to set up a Virtual Hospital for the Management of COVID-19 patients.
This comes from the realisation that most COVID-19 patients recover without symptoms or after experiencing mild ones, which do not require hospitalisation.
Government will establish a provisional figure of Ten Thousand (10 000) to twenty thousand (20 000) home based beds.
A network of health staff will carry out protocol based monitoring and management of the cases. The equipment support for this programme is as follows:
1. Rechargeable oxygen concentrators
2. Finger pulse or saturation monitors
3. Non-contact thermometers
4. Blood glucose testing machines
5. Blood pressure machines
The equipment will be deployed to the admitted patients and returned when the patient gets discharged. The establishment of the Virtual Hospital will therefore alleviate the pressure on hospitals. The public will be kept abreast of developments in this regard.