NewsDay (Zimbabwe)

COVID-19 patients opt for home-based care: Activists

- BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA Follow Miriam on Twitter @FloMangway­a

MEMBERS of the public who have tested positive to COVID-19 are increasing­ly opting for home-based care management of the disease rather than seeking hospitalis­ation, a recent survey by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ) has revealed.

The women rights lobby group urged government to introduce and implement measures to support homebased carers and primary caregivers in order to ease their burden and minimise further risk of transmissi­on.

Poor home-based care management results in spread of COVID-19, WCOZ said.

“We continue to note a higher number of active COVID-19 cases which are being managed at home as compared to hospitalis­ed cases,” WCOZ said in a statement.

“We, therefore, highlight our concerns on home-based care and lack of the support systems to assist such households.

“Reports from our networks indicate the non-operation of isolation centres. Given these challenges, we reiterate the need for the Ministry of Health and Child Care to officially communicat­e and publicise informatio­n regarding the state of isolation centres and hospitals throughout all provinces and districts of Zimbabwe.”

WCOZ urged government to ensure full operationa­lisation of isolation centres which also cater for the needs and rights of women which include availabili­ty of sanitary aid and sexual and reproducti­ve health services.

Global mental health expert and clinical psychologi­st Tarisai Bere said people were avoiding hospital management on COVID-19-related illness due to fear and anxiety of having a confirmed positive status.

“If one goes to hospital exhibiting COVID-19-related symptoms, health workers will obviously ask for a test,” Bere said.

“A positive result is still very frightenin­g for a lot of people, so they would rather treat symptoms at home. Unfortunat­ely, with COVID-19, this causes complicati­ons as most people will only seek help when they can’t breathe and need hospitalis­ation.

“Seeking help with urgency might reduce the number of cases that develop complicati­ons as well as those who die. Seeking help fast assures proper interventi­ons early on in the disease progressio­n.”

WCOZ also noted that there were increased gender-based violence cases as it was hard for women and girls, mostly the victims, to escape during the lockdown.

Added WCOZ: “Due to travel bans and other lockdown measures, access to critical services such as clinical management of rape, healthcare services for survivors of violence in the home or family, sexual and reproducti­ve healthcare as well as mental health and psychologi­cal support have been interrupte­d in certain instances.”

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