The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporter
GOVERNMENT expects to conclude a month-long nationwide Covid-19 testing study commissioned to pinpoint coronavirus hotspots in communities by tomorrow.
The National Sero-Prevalence Survey for Covid-19, which involved 7 000 households, will be used to inform the deployment of tailor-made responses and vaccine distribution strategies.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care commissioned the study through the National Institute Health Research (NIHR).
NIHR director Professor Nicholas Midzi told The Sunday Mail that the study’s findings will be published this week.
“Testing has been completed in most areas, except for Hurungwe district, which we hope to have covered by January 4,” said Prof Midzi.
“The purpose of the survey is to assess the extent to which the disease has spread and how the disease has spread in our communities.
“This will help us identify the specific hotspots and this will advise us on different interventions such as vaccine distribution.
“Since we have now completed data collection, and with all the resources in place, we will be able to complete the report in the next two weeks.
“The survey is one of the two that will be used to inform distribution of vaccines when the time comes.
“In addition, if the vaccines are limited we will use the survey to distribute to the hotspots first.”
Nearly 4 600 individuals in rural households where tested, while the rest of the study samples were drawn from urban communities.
In Harare, 1 250 people were tested at 50 centres, while 975 individuals in Manicaland were screened in 32 rural communities and seven urban areas.
In the Midlands province, 850 people were tested, while 800 tests were administered in Masvingo province.
Over 400 individuals were tested in Bulawayo, while Matabeleland North and South each had 375 tests.
President Mnangagwa has said the deployment of a vaccine, once approved, will be guided by two national preparedness assessments conducted late last year.
Zimbabwe has witnessed a surge in Covid-19 cases over the festive season holidays.