The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) is intensifying COVID 19 awareness programmes through various media networks as part of its support to the National Response Plan.
The organisation through head of communications and corporate affair Kim Stambuli, said they have intensified their activities to create COVID 19 awareness. So far, ZRCS has held training sessions with more than 1200 volunteers and staff across the country.
“Through these sessions, our key volunteers and staff were equipped with the correct and relevant information on what COVID19 is, how one contracts it, how one can prevent its spread and also what to do when they encounter a suspected case. The training programmes were done across the country including marginalized and vulnerable communities. After the training, the trained volunteers and staff were able to cascade the information to communities,” he said.
In the wake of the national lockdown, the organisation has devised innovative information dissemination initiatives through use of the social media as well as the mainstream media such as newspapers, radio stations and television.
“Our Humanitarian Ambassador and celebrated musician Alick Macheso is actively engaged on this initiative as we strive to mass disseminate and appeal to people to heed the national call to stay at home and maintain social distancing,” he added.
Their long term projects have been suspended but food programmes in marginalized communities continue under strict monitoring.
Stambuli said they were working with relevant government departments in turning most of their facilities across the country into isolation and treatment centres for COVID 19 patients as part of their support to the National Response Plan.
“ZRCS is working in close collaboration with relevant government departments in exploring how we can expand our current clinical intervention so that we are able to go beyond screening but also collect samples from suspected cases as well as establishing isolation centres firstly at our Clinic in Harare then potentially across the country as we have infrastructure in all provinces which can be developed and renovated to act as Isolation and treatment centres,” Satmbuli said.
For testing the organisation will utilize the already existing laboratory facilities.
Already their Clinic, situated in the capital has flagged 10 suspected cases.
“To date all individuals entering the health facility are being screened and so far ten (10) were flagged as suspected cases by screening teams. On further assessment by resident doctors, four were found to meet case definition and were subsequently referred to Wilkins Hospital for further management,” he said.
Their clinic practitioner in-charge Dr Joel Tapi said the clinic remains functional during the lockdown period.