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300 health workers have succumbed to COVID-19 – Masebo

HEALTH Minister Sylvia Masebo has said 300 health workers have succumbed to COVID-19 in Zambia since the start of the pandemic.

At a press briefing on Monday, Masebo said globally between 80,000 and 180,000 health workers had been lost.

“The pandemic has resulted in numerous infections and deaths among healthcare workers and their families. It is estimated that globally, the world has lost between 80,000 and 180,000 health workers. Here in Zambia, we have lost over 300 health workers to COVID-19. Several multidimensional factors related to COVID-19 affect healthcare workers. There has been a shortage of adequate and skilled labour, which has led to short-term hiring of unemployed workers. There have been challenges with surge capacity when infections have increased so much to levels where our hospitals are reaching capacity,” she said.

“This in turn has led to increased stress, burnout, high infections and deaths and other mental health conditions. This is compounded by quarantine and self-isolation for those on the front line when exposed. Healthcare workers were sometimes not sufficiently protected due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). They have sometimes been victims of a lack of incentives and confidence and even the psychosocial support that they so badly need. We therefore recognize the achievements and contributions of these workers despite the mental, physical, social and economic burden that has affected them.

Masebo said the second national COVID-19 vaccination campaign was scheduled for May 14, 2022.

“During the week just ended, we registered 456 new cases, with 42 new admissions. This represents a 40% reduction in cases but a 68% increase in admissions compared to the previous week’s figures of 762 cases and 25 admissions. On an encouraging note, we recorded no new COVID-related deaths in the past week. Additionally, our overall national positivity rate has dropped from 5% to 3%. We start this new week having registered only 22 new cases in the last 24 hours out of 1,004 tests carried out nationwide. Notably, the Eastern and Luapula provinces recorded no new cases as a result of the tests they carried out. Overall national positivity today is 2%,” Masebo said.

“We have 513 active cases, including 35 currently admitted to health facilities across the country. Among those hospitalized, five are on oxygen therapy and none are in critical condition. We will offer the possibility to those who are not yet vaccinated to have access to it during this next national campaign. However, I should mention that the launch has been rescheduled to start on May 14, 2022. This is to allow for adequate social mobilization as our multi-sectoral teams, including health and local authorities, engage our communities. Our goal is to have 70% of our eligible population vaccinated by the end of June 2022.”

Meanwhile, at a separate press briefing on Wednesday, Masebo said all eligible children would be vaccinated in schools unless parents communicate otherwise.

“As we approach the opening of schools, we must urge our parents to ensure that their eligible children are vaccinated before they return to school. If your child will go to school without being vaccinated, as a government, we will go around the schools and we will transport our vaccines. This means that parents who have not succeeded in having their children vaccinated, we expect these parents to ensure that by sending their child back to school. school, they also inform the school whether or not their child will be vaccinated. If they remain silent, we will assume that they have agreed to us vaccinating their child. So there are two options here. As a parent, it it is better that you take your child to be vaccinated before he returns to school. If your child goes to school without being vaccinated and you want us to vaccinate him at school, give your consent. silence will mean you have accepted. So please, if you us say no, make sure you let the school know,” Masebo said.

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