HONORABLE Minister of Health, Dr Obadiah Moyo.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter to your esteemed office in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) which has wreaked havoc in China and other parts of the world. Already, more than 2300 lives have been lost in China alone while other deaths have also been recorded in other parts of the world.
It is also worrying that the virus is slowly finding its way into Africa. Egypt recorded its first case last week while Algeria have also registered a case on their home soil. If anything, we can both conclude that Zimbabwe is not out of harm’s way and it’s no longer a question of whether the Coronavirus will come to Zimbabwe but it’s now a matter of exactly when it will come.
The wisest thing your office should do right now is to drop the “We are prepared and we have capacity” rhetoric and come up with a more robust plan to protect citizens from infection. It is worrying that on a daily basis, we are getting inflows of people from Coronavirus hit countries coming into Zimbabwe. The response by government is not enough, we surely cannot talk of self-quarantine (Whatever that means). Why not just QUARANTINE everyone coming in from these areas regardless of colour, race, creed and religion.
For Zimbabwe to stand tall and say it is prepared to deal with Coronavirus is a joke of the highest order. The United States of America, one of the biggest economies in the world with the best health systems has actually warned its citizens to prepare for the worst. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that the epidemic could be bad in the United States and the public should be prepared for a higher possibility that their lives will be disrupted due to the pandemic.
Let’s get serious for once about this impending crisis while we still have time. It is a known fact that Zimbabwe has one of the worst health systems in the world. We have a highly demotivated health workforce and poor health services. The sooner we move from propagandizing and sanitizing a bad situation, the safer it is for the citizens.
This letter is not meant to demean your efforts and your office as health minister. Somebody needs to say this. We hope you also take this up with the presidium. The best thing to do right now is to stop anyone from coming into Zimbabwe from the affected countries. Back home, round up all those who arrived in the country over the past 21 days and Qurantine them elsewhere.
Thank you and hope you take time to read this letter and act on it.