Essential health services delivery in Zimbabwe during the COVID-19 pandemic: perspectives and recommendations

Grant Murewanhema, Richard Makurumidze

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Abstract

Zimbabwe reported its first case of COVID-19 on 20 March 2020, and since then the number has increased to over 4000. To contain the spread of the causative SARS-CoV-2 and prepare the healthcare system, public health interventions, including lockdowns, were imposed on 30 March 2020. These resulted in disruptions in healthcare provision, and movement of people and supply chains. There have been resultant delays in seeking and accessing healthcare by the patients. Additionally, disruption of essential health services in the areas of maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health services, care for chronic conditions and access to oncological and other specialist services has occurred. Thus, there may be avoidable excess morbidity and mortality from non-COVID-19 causes that is not justifiable by the current local COVID-19 burden. Measures to restore normalcy to essential health services provision as guided by the World Health Organisation and other bodies needs to be considered and implemented urgently, to avoid preventable loss of life and excess morbidity. Adequate infection prevention and control measures must be put in place to ensure continuity of essential services whilst protecting healthcare workers and patients from contracting COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143
JournalPan African Medical Journal
Volume35
Number of pages6
ISSN1937-8688
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Zimbabwe
  • health services delivery
  • delays
  • MORTALITY

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