The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporters
Government has shored up mealie-meal deliveries to ensure that households have adequate supplies of the staple.
Also, some hospitals, including council and privately owned clinics, will temporarily fall under the direct command of the Ministry of Health and Child Care, while health facilities will be decentralised as the country heightens preparations to fight Covid-19.
In a statement last night Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Government intends to ensure that “no family should go hungry during the period of the lockdown”.
“In terms of food production and availability, mealie-meal production and delivery has increased significantly over the past two days.
“President Mnangagwa has reiterated that no family should go hungry . . .” she said.
“The Department of Social Welfare is set to start food distribution beginning Monday April 6. Once again Government would like to appreciate the immense support of partners in terms of food distribution, especially for the vulnerable members of the community countrywide.”
Police have also started implementing the directive by President Mnangagwa to allow free movement of agricultural produce so that farmers can supply food and vegetables to markets.
Minister Mutsvangwa said: “Reports coming in from the provinces and districts indicate that our police have started implementing the directive issued by President Mnangagwa yesterday (Friday), exhorting the security forces to ensure safe passage and guarantee food supply, including vegetables from producers countrywide.
“An improved stream of farm produce has been reported countrywide and this is expected to increase in the upcoming week. Farmers are encouraged to get in touch with the Ministry of Agriculture and their provincial structures to ensure that they get exemption letters for them to travel without hindrances.”
Decentralisation of health facilities and preparedness of response teams at district level, she added, is progressing well.
“This morning (yesterday), the Murehwa District Civil Protection Unit held a meeting where the medical officer, Dr Reginald Gwisai, highlighted that the isolation centre at Murewa District Hospital is now 80 percent complete, with electrical and water works having been done,” she said.
“This resonates well with the thrust by His Excellency President Mnangagwa that the fight against Covid-19 demands a decentralised approach, and Government is currently equipping provinces and districts to ensure that there is a robust response mechanism system.”
The minister said the 190 Zimbabweans repatriated from Botswana are still quarantined at Plumtree High School.
Government has also identified some facilities that will be converted into testing centres.
In Bulawayo, 21 health facilities have been shortlisted.
Speaking during the launch of a steering committee to spearhead the repurposing of Ekusileni Hospital as a national Covid-19 isolation centre in Bulawayo yesterday, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said the temporary transfer of some health facilities such as select hospitals, council and privately owned clinics was meant to facilitate seamless coordination and monitoring.
“It has now been pronounced that all health institutions during this pandemic will be run directly under the command of the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Take the case of the Bulawayo City Council, the medical director will now be reporting directly to the provincial medical officer of Government.
“Even Ekusileni Hospital, once it starts running, it will fall under the Health Ministry, even though at the moment it falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare through NSSA. All this is done to ensure coordination and monitoring, so that we are able to win this war as a team,” said Minister Moyo.
He said the declaration of a state of national disaster by President Mnangagwa meant all institutions now had to direct their efforts towards fighting the spread of the virus.
He further revealed that the inter-ministerial taskforce to spearhead efforts to fight Covid-19 was now mapping Covid-19 testing sites in all districts across the country.
“Right now, the numbers are few but we must not relax because we have not yet tested a lot of people. When the testing increases, we might face challenges, which is why we are here to work on this mapping exercise.
“I am especially happy that people of Bulawayo are also working hard being led by the Provincial Affairs Minister (Judith Ncube) and they have already identified 21 medical facilities that will be working on the testing, 19 of which are all council institutions. This is a pandemic that needs us all to work together during these challenging times.”
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo yesterday told The Sunday Mail that Government had roped in infectious hospitals controlled by local authorities to offer specialised assistance against Covid-19.
He said several private and mission hospitals had also offered their institutions to be turned into isolation centres.
“We are working with the city councils, mission hospitals as well as private hospitals for a united front against Covid-19. We want to encompass all council infectious hospitals to handle Covid-19 cases while also working with our eight provincial hospitals as well as 52 district hospitals.
“It is encouraging that some private institutions have already offered to be turned into isolation centres and these include St Annes and Rock Foundation, Mbuya Dorcas and two other facilities in Eastlea, Harare. In Bulawayo, we have Thorngrove, Richmond and Ekusileni,” he said.