ZIMBABWE does not have a unit or department which specialises in respiratory medicine, a local doctor has revealed.
At a time when the nation battles the COVID-19 pandemic, a disease which targets the lungs, it is quite saddening the nation does not have such a facility which would ease COVID-19 research. Further, with respiratory health clinics in place, doctors working there would strengthen the ‘Mask Up’ mantra.
A Merck Foundation beneficiary pursuing a post graduate diploma in respiratory medicine with the University of South Wales Dr Collins Nyatsambo said they lacked hands-on practise of what they learnt.
“So far from my experience this has helped in improving my knowledge base therefore translating in the quality of care that I offer to patients. What I bemoan in Zimbabwe is that we don’t have respiratory units. So whatever we are learning it’s just theoretical. It needs to be translated to practical knowledge as we approach next year or so. We cannot practice it because we dont have units that are equipped with instruments we need to assist our patients,” he said. “We also need the Hospitals or Universities that have got fully fledged units so that we also have practical knowledge of how these things are run.”
Merck Foundation Chief executive officer Dr Rasha Kelej promised an exchange program between Zimbabwean doctors and doctors from countries with respiratory medicine departments.
“I agree. What Im going to do after coronavirus, some countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and India, they have departments for respiratory medicine. They have everything. So what Im going to do is when the Coronavirus is over, hopefully, we are going to provide a one month or so exchange with doctors who do not have such units like Zimbabwe to check what is happening in Kenya or Ghana.
“I think it will be a great addition to have clinical and practical experience and knowledge. I believe in clinical knowledge. Lets see how we will be able to do that. Even in India as well. Not only in Kenya or Ghana, we are going to do something in India to complement what you have done online. Online is the only thing we can do during this time of corona and its a good platform to study. Now you need to practise what you studied clinically. We will do that after coronavirus,” she said.
The summit discussed capacity-building and development programmes aimed at transforming the landscape of patient care and make a history in Zimbabwe. “I’d like to welcome all of you our doctors, the future healthcare experts who have either already graduated or undergoing or will join soon Merck Foundation scholarships of specialty training in critical and under-served specialities. “And to also meet the winners of all Merck Foundation Media Recognition Awards who are our health and socialcommunity champions to break infertility stigma and raise awareness about other health and social issues such as girl education and the ongoing coronavirus. I am proud of each one of you, keep up the good work,” said Zimbabwe’s First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.
The First Lady said her partnership with Merck Foundation helped to reshape the public healthcare sector in Zimbabwe through training and mentorship for media partners to improve their role in effective community awareness. In this difficult time of the third wave of coronavirus, she said it was critical to discuss the right strategy to address the global crisis and benefit from members’ training experience and many success stories. “Ladies and gentlemen; especially during the Covid-19 global crisis and lockdown, we are interested more than ever in building healthcare capacity and training our local doctors who are our first line defense and the heroes of our coronavirus battle. “We were also interested more than ever to advance our media capacity through health training and mentorship programmes and awards to improve the awareness about Covid-19 and how to stay safe and healthy during our day to day life,” she said.
The First Lady said more than nine doctors had either graduated or enrolled in a Fertility and Embryology Training Programme in India, while over 20 doctors from different provinces in Zimbabwe were either undergoing or had been shortlisted for online one-year diploma in Sexual and Reproductive Medicines from South Wales, UK or Two-year Master’s Degree in the Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction and Embryology Valencia University, Spain. “Together with Ministry of Health we will follow up to ensure they are making a good use of this great opportunity so that they can help women in general and infertile couples in particular, across the country. Also, we are transforming the diabetes care in our country. More than 55 scholarships of one-year diploma, two-yearmaster degree or master course have been provided to our doctors in the field of diabetes care. “Furthermore, together we enrolled five doctors to One-Year Online Post Graduate Diploma in Endocrinology and six doctors in one-year Preventive Cardiovascular Medicines Diploma from University of South Wales. Moreover, one doctor has been enrolled to One Year Fellowship in Surgical Oncology, in India, and will start as soon as the travel restrictions are lifted.”
As the Merck more than a Mother ambassador, the First Lady said she would work in collaboration with various ministries to sensitise communities and rural areas to break the stigma around infertile women and to empower them through access to information, education, health and change of mindset. She emphasised that the media has an important role to play in raising awareness to creating a culture shift to break infertility stigma.
“We also organised Merck Foundation Health Media Training for journalists to educate them on how to be thevoice of the voiceless and raise awareness on sensitive issues like breaking infertility stigma,” she said.