THE World Health Organisation Zimbabwe Office has commended the nation for reviewing the case definition to trace as many people for testing.
By HealthTimes Reporter
The WHO Zimbabwe Country Representative Dr Alex Gasasira said in an interview that Zimbabwe can increase its testing capacity through this measure.
In fact I would say the number of cases started increasing because the protocol that Zimbabwe is using for testing has been broadened. Recently the Ministry of Health and Child Care increased the number of people who need to be tested,” he said.
Previously, the Case Definition involved travel history in infected countries which was then China before the COVID-19 spread to over 200 countries “Initially it was only those who were meeting the case definition for suspect cases but now it is broader. Anybody with influenza like symptoms, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory illness, all the illnesses have now been included and those can be tested. So we are confident this will give us a much better picture of the level of transmission in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Gasasira.
Government is targeting an increase of COVID-19 tests to 1000 a day. To achieve this feat, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo confirmed they adjusted their case definition.
“This is going to happen countrywide. We have also said we are going over and above the Clinical Definition by the World Health Organisation. So now we are going to be looking at all those other cases admitted in our hospitals with chronic conditions like diabetics, hypertensives and all those with pneumonia so basically we want to test most of the patients if not all who are admitted in our health institutions to start off with,” he said.
Dr Moyo also said Healthworkers, Civil Service and Security Forces will be tested as well for the disease.
“And secondly we are also getting samples from our healthcare staff. We want all our healthworkers to be fully aware of their status for instance when we look at nurses, we are looking at a sizeable number of at least 18 000 nurses and its a big number besides the doctors, the lab scientists, pharmacists, radiographers, physiotherapists and all those who are relevant in this exercise.
“We are also looking at the security forces, the civil service, all those that make up the statistic. We want to be able to come up with a sizeable number. In terms of numbers, we are pushing to be able to get more candidates being sampled more appropriately to get more numbers,” the Health Minister said.