Zimbabwe doctors sue over lack of virus protection

The doctors, according to a statement on Tuesday by country's human rights lawyers, said there was a "dire shortage" of ventilators, oxygen tanks, biohazard suits and N95 facemasks.
The doctors, according to a statement on Tuesday by country's human rights lawyers, said there was a "dire shortage" of ventilators, oxygen tanks, biohazard suits and N95 facemasks.
Image: 123RF / maridav

Zimbabwean doctors have filed a lawsuit aimed at compelling the government to beef up coronavirus protection for public hospitals and healthcare workers.

In an application filed to the High Court on Sunday, the doctors said the government had failed to set in place "measures to ensure that health practitioners across the country, who include nurses, nurse aides and pharmacists among others, are adequately protected".

The case is being led by the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR).

The doctors, according to a statement on Tuesday by country's human rights lawyers, said there was a "dire shortage" of ventilators, oxygen tanks, biohazard suits and N95 facemasks.

Doctors and nurses staged a walkout last month in protest over a lack of protective clothing to care for coronavirus patients.

Zimbabwe has so far recorded 10 cases of infection, including one fatality.

In their case, the doctors also raise concerns over the scarcity of quarantine and isolation facilities, which they say are only found in the capital Harare and the country's second largest city, Bulawayo.

The ZADHR also complained about inadequate screening of people for coronavirus symptoms across the country.

Zimbabwe has only one COVID-19 test centre, situated at a government hospital in Harare.

The public healthcare system in the country already faces shortages of basic drugs and lacks essential equipment and even running water.

A hearing date is yet to be set. The health ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

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