HomeHealthCOVID-19 testing should be universal

COVID-19 testing should be universal

COVID-19 testing should be made universal in Zimbabwe if the country is serious about containing the virus.

Currently people are being charged about US$60 by private laboratories to get tested for the deadly virus.

As at 17 January 2021, there were about 26 881 cumulative cases of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.

However, the figure is believed to be much more but people are just not being tested in huge numbers.

The largely poor Zimbabwean government has largely relied on donor support in dealing with COVID-19.

This is despite the fact that it claims to be registering surpluses in its books.

Corruption has also been the order of the day especially in procurement of equipment by government officials.

Former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested and currently facing trial for trying fleece the country through COVID-19 procurement.

Some executives from Natpharm were also arrested over procurement of COVID-19 equipment and drugs.

It is also believed that companies that are supplying COVID-19 goods and services are linked to top officials in government.

Demand for transparency in procurement

This resulted in Magamba Network, ZIMCODD and Transparency International Zimbabwe coming up with a campaign, dubbed #OpenCovidContracts.

The campaign was calling on the government to publish the beneficiary owners of companies providing the services.

However, the government has not been willing to play ball on the matter or even to publish the distribution matrix.

Currently, no one knows who benefitted from the COVID-19 goods that were donated by Jack Ma.

The partners in the campaign are of the view that if the beneficiary owners are revealed that can reduce corruption.

Government urged to deal with corruption

In an interview, Henry Madzorera said corruption should be dealt with and ensure money goes where it’s supposed to go.

“A lot of money is being collected in terms of various levies. We got the health levy, we got the aids levy. We got the transactions tax. You know the transactions tax is racking in millions of dollars every day fro the banks.

“There are various others taxes which the government could tap into and make sure we deal with this emergency of public health importance that is decimating Zimbabweans,” he said.

“Right now everybody should be having universal free testing that is the one thing we should certainly do. Everybody should be tested for free.

“We see a lot of patients today whom we think maybe COVID-19 patients. But you tell him to go and get a US$60 PCR test from a laboratory they can’t afford it.

“Most of our patients can’t afford that. So we end up treating this patient, you can’t really be drastic in your measures. You cant isolate everybody you see and suspect to have COVID-19.

“…we should diagnose these diseases in the lab long before people become sick. That is what we would have done differently, make testing universally available, freely available.

“I am impressed by what I saw on television in the UK. They have things like toll gates where people stop and have a nasal swab taken and they will be tested.

“Everybody travelling, you just drive in and be tested, that shows governments are serious about containing the virus. In Zimbabwe even if the patient comes to your rooms you cant test,” he said.

COVID-19 testing should be universal

#OpenCovidContracts

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