Medical experts: Equip us better to conquer Covid-19

03Apr 2020
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Medical experts: Equip us better to conquer Covid-19
  • Want protection gear, hospital decongestion

THE Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) has recommended a raft of measures that can help contain further spread of coronavirus, including prioritizing the protection of health workers and decongesting hospitals.

MAT President Dr Elisha Osati

MAT President Dr Elisha Osati told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday that Tanzania stands a better chance of defeating the disease if healthcare workers are adequately provided with personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Health workers are frontline soldiers in the fight against Covid-19 since they come into close contact with patients on a daily basis. This means they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus and if they also become patients, the country will plunge into a crisis,” he said.

He described the PPE required as protective clothing and respiratory protective devices, which are critical for protection for medical workers.

Dr Osati further recommended that the government take unprecedented steps to relax healthcare provision policy by allowing provision of long-term dosages for patients with long-term conditions to reduce the number of patients who visit clinics.

“Our survey has shown that 70 per cent of patients who visit health facilities per day are those who come to refill prescriptions for drugs,” he said.

If this percentage is given enough drugs so that they stay at home for longer periods, hospitals will remain with fewer patients, which lowers the risk of transmission, he stated.

The group that needs to be given long-term drugs are those suffering from diabetes, hypertension, muscle and skeletal complications as well as HIV/Aids, he elaborated.

“Experience has shown that people suffering these conditions are more susceptible to Covid-19 and make a bigger percentage of those who succumb to it,” he pointed out.

MAT also recommended improvement of the current national Covid-19 response committee into a centralized coordination team also including stakeholders from private medical practice, companies, etc. 

The current committee chaired by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa assisted by the minister for Health, Ummy Mwalimu can be more effective if interested parties from the private sector are included, he added.

In the United States, the Covid-19 death toll had exceeded 4,000 and the number of confirmed cases surpassed 200,000. The governor of Connecticut has confirmed that a six week old baby has died of Covid-19.

Nearly 170,000 inmates housed in United States federal prisons were confined to their cells and wards for at least two weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said at least 57 inmates and 37 guards were infected throughout the 122 federal penitentiaries in the US.

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