Zimbabwean doctor warns against delay in seeking medical help for COVID-19

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HARARE, ZIMBABWE - MARCH 29: A nurse prepares to vaccinate an elderly woman with the Sinopharm vaccine at a local hospital on March 29, 2021 in Harare, Zimbabwe. The country is now focusing its vaccination efforts on elderly people with chronic conditions, as well as those deemed essential workers like the police, army and prison employees. Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa received a shot of Sinopharm's Covid-19 vaccine. (Photo by Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty Images)

With Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 death toll fast approaching the 3,000 mark, a local immunologist warned that the situation could be as a result of people trying unverified homemade remedies first, then taking the patients to hospitals when their conditions have already deteriorated and are beyond saving.

FILE PHOTO: A nurse prepares to vaccinate an elderly woman with the Sinopharm vaccine at a local hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe. (Photo by Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe has reported high numbers of deaths over the past week with 50 fatalities reported on Monday and Tuesday and a further 62 fatalities on Wednesday.

Dr. Tinashe Gede told the state-owned Herald newspaper that members of the public must seek professional medical care immediately after testing positive to COVID-19 to begin treatment early.

“Far too many patients are either presenting too sick to be helped or dying soon after presentation and it is a very common thread in all the patients we are losing. Patients we are losing have not been vaccinated, they fall sick and they spend a lot of inordinate time before they seek appropriate medical care,” Gede said.

The World Health Organisation has also repeatedly cautioned against the use of traditional medicine that has not been scientifically tested and proven to fight the coronavirus.

According to Gede, the southern African nation’s health facilities are overwhelmed and taking on additional patients was proving very difficult.

“We need to you to help us make the few patients that we have better. We cannot have people flooding the units when we are already full and have no capacity to help them. Our system is already buckling under pressure,” Gede noted.

He also urged Zimbabweans to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 health regulations, such as wearing face masks, social distancing and practicing hand hygiene, noting that the country was facing a dire situation.

“We have to recognize that we are in the middle of a very serious crisis, we have to do all we can to make our lives and that of our patients better. It starts with a very good recognition of the importance of prevention.”

“If we can break the transmission cycle, maybe we may have a shot of surviving this but the collateral we have already paid is too much.”

Zimbabwe has so far reported 91,120 confirmed cases and 2,809 deaths.

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