Zimbabwe and China will enhance collaboration in fighting the coronavirus through a cocktail of measures, which include development and use of traditional medicines.
The country has been hosting a visiting team of Chinese medical experts who are assisting in fighting the pandemic. Health authorities now plan to use both local and Chinese traditional medicines to treat Covid-19.
“Definitely we have plans to use traditional Chinese medicines in Zimbabwe. We are lucky that among the team of doctors who are here at the moment there is a specialist in Chinese traditional medicine,” said Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo at a send-off ceremony of the medical team on Friday.
The traditional medicines unit will reportedly be based at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. There are plans to “use the medicines that the Chinese have been using to fight Covid-19”.
“We can have a combined research effort; look at our plans that we have here and also use herbs that we can get locally and get the co-operation on how to process (the medicines). This is a serious area which we are looking at. There are a lot of herbs that we can get locally.”
It is believed that although the medical experts, who came to Zimbabwe at the invitation of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, have completed their visit, Beijing will continue providing expertise to Zimbabwe through twinning arrangements, research collaboration and teleconferencing.
The experts’ team leader, Dr Yimin Zhu, handed over a report that contained a set of recommendations to Zimbabwe on fighting the pandemic. Tracing, testing and isolating cases were identified as a gold standard to effectively fight the highly contagious and infectious disease.
Dr Zhu also recommended large-scale screening based on epidemiological surveys, increased PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) screening capacity, as well as review of testing time as this was important in preventing the spread of the virus.
“. . . to improve pandemic monitoring and information reporting systems, to analyse the development of the pandemic and apply targeted measures towards areas of different risk levels are very necessary steps in opening business, schools and production in an orderly manner.”
He also emphasised the importance of enhanced training for health workers and concentrating medical resources to provide treatment for patients.
“It is an important step to alleviate insufficiency of health workers, shortage of Personal Protective Equipment and reduce hospital infections.
In order to promote socio-economic development in the time of Covid-19, it is important to make overall planning to mobilise resources, including the daily necessities and medical resources and to make allocations to co-ordinate the supply of daily necessities.”