We are dealing with a hopeless, catastrophic situation in which the people in charge simply have no understanding of how deadly and critical our health-care services have become, says the writer.
We are dealing with a hopeless, catastrophic situation in which the people in charge simply have no understanding of how deadly and critical our health-care services have become, says the writer.

You can’t solve Covid crisis by providing many hospital beds but no specialist staff

By Letter to the Editor Time of article published Jul 8, 2021

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By Cometh Dube-Makholwa

We are dealing with a hopeless, catastrophic situation in which the people in charge simply have no understanding of how deadly and critical our health-care services have become.

Everyone knows no politician is endowed with the gift of knowing everything, but the principle of cadre deployment assumes politicians can handle any portfolio they are assigned to; hence we have a tourism minister acting as a health minister at the height of a highly virulent Delta variant of the coronavirus, which places tremendous stress on all kinds of resources; a demand for extra ICU and high care beds, ventilators, oxygen and other supplies which are ordinarily never mentioned, such as disposable gowns, gloves, syringes, intravenous infusion, needles, masks and many other consumables used on patients every day.

Only a person who has personal experience of such a situation is capable of understanding and managing it.

Many suggestions were made to the Department of Health and the government to consider repatriating all those experienced speciality health professionals who are manning foreign hospitals overseas while our own citizens are suffering, but all that fell on deaf ears.

There is no wisdom in trying to solve the crisis by providing many more beds while there are no staff to provide specialist services; telling us about the availability of thousands of health workers who lack the skills that the country needs does not help.

What compounds the situation is a lack of funds to hire trained doctors and nurses, who are languishing at home with nothing better to do. But this explains why those working abroad could not be brought home.

With more of the health professionals reaching retirement age, and others succumbing to the virus, the attrition rate is accelerated. We are facing astronomical rates of death that could be avoided with the right leadership, and human, financial and material resources.

The Star

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