Covid-19: Tanzania doctors plead for decongestion of clinics to avoid risk

Thursday April 2 2020

 

By Syriacus Buguzi @buguzi sbuguzi@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. The Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) is pleading for decongestion of routine clinic service units in large hospitals as part of the measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

MAT President Dr Elisha Osati says most of such clinics are highly congested with patients seeking routine treatment for long-term diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, back and muscle pains, yet they also face a higher risk of coronavirus infection due to their high vulnerability to Covid-19.

Studies published from China, Korea and Italy indicate that older patients and those with other pre-existing or underlying conditions such as diabetes, and cardiovascular disease face a higher risk of developing severe complications of COVID-19.

Dr Osati told a press conference in Dar es Salaam on Thursday April 2, that the current government efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus are commendable but they are likely to face drawbacks due to some shortfalls in how health workers and patients are protected against the virus in hospital settings.

“We, as MAT, are aware of patients on life-long treatment who have been subjected to shorter dosages of treatment and this means they have to report to clinics every after a week or some days,’’ he told reporters.

“We are proposing that their dosages be extended for up to three months, as a way of reducing their congestion in hospitals. The risk of infection by coronavirus when such patients are crowded in hospitals is very high,’’ he explained.

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According to the MAT president, there is a pressing need to supply health workers with adequate protective gears to avoid being infected and in the end infecting others or their patients.

“Our government should assure health workers, especially those dealing with Covid-19 patients, of getting Personal Protective Equipment and medical masks. This is very important at this time when we need to protect our human resource and the health of the general public,’’ he added.

Given their role, health workers carry a great risk of being infected or infecting others with the virus if they don’t take precautionary measures.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) protocols, health workers should wear a medical mask and protect themselves adequately when entering a room where patients suspected or confirmed of being sick with COVID19 are admitted and in any situation of care provided to a suspected or confirmed case