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PPE fiasco: Corpse spends 12 hours unattended

 

File picture

…as
police, health officials haggle

…Red
Cross comes to the rescue with PPEs

TellZim Reporter

MASVINGO —
The body of a Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) security guard who dropped dead
at home while preparing to go to work on August 07 was left unattended for over
12 hours as Police and the Health officials wrangled on who should attend to
the scene first.

Zacharia
Chifamba (62) from of Mucheke died a suspicious death as he was about to go to
work in the evening and Chikato police were called to attend to the scene.

TellZim News was informed that the police indicated that the nature of the death required health
officials to attend the scene first as the police did not have Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE).

When
health officials were called, they are said to have refused to attend to the
scene saying it was the job of the police to attend to such scenes first.

Normatively,
when a person dies unexpectedly outside of a health institution, the police are
called to investigate, and they often take the body for a post mortem.

The
spread of coronavirus has, however, seen government declaring that all deaths
be treated as Covid-19 related until proven otherwise. This means that such
dead bodies have to be tested posthumously for the virus before burial.

As
the police and health officials from the Ministry of Health bickered on who
should attend to the scene first, Chifamba’s body lay on the ground covered
with a blanket until the afternoon of Saturday, August 8.

The
body of the late Chifamba, whose place of residence is a stone throw away from
Chikato Police Station, was only collected after the local branch of the Red
Cross Society provided them with PPEs.

Before
that, the desperate Chifamba family had called Nyaradzo Life Assurance to take the
body away but they were advised to let police processes be done first in line
with lawful procedure. The family could not accord the body some dignified care
as per culture since the risks involved were immense.

When
TellZim News reached out to Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Chief
Inspector Charity Mazula for comment, she said the police had responded to the
case in reasonable time even though the body spent the whole night and half the
following day unattended.

“The
police were quick to respond to the case and we wait to get the results from
the post-mortem to ascertain the cause of death,” said Mazula.

Chifamba
is said to have complained of side pains before his sudden death.

A
Red Cross Society employee who spoke on condition of anonymity told TellZim
News that the body of Chifamba was left unattended for several hours as the
family took precautionary measures against Covid-19.

“The
nature of death made everyone suspect that it was Covid-19 hence the family’s decision
not to touch or move Chifamba’s body from where he collapsed. They just covered
it with a blanket and suffered the pain of waiting.

“We
made concerted efforts to engage the police and health officials but they
seemed to have their own quarrels. The police then demanded PPEs from us for
them to attend the scene the following day.

“I
think it should be made clear as to whom to call first when such incidences
happen. It was a traumatic experience for the bereaved family,” said the
official.

Masvingo
Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Dr Amadeus Shamu, as has become his attitude
when called by the media, did not answer his phone when TellZim News wanted to
get his comment.

In
a related matter which occurred recently, a family from First Street,
Chesvingo, had to drive the body of a family member who died in her sleep to Masvingo
Provincial Hospital for a post-mortem after Health officials whom they had called
advised them to take the body to the hospital themselves.

 

TellZimNewshttps://tellzim.com
TellZim News is the leading news organization in the Southern region. It provides candid, balanced and timely news from the communities. Keeping it real. Committed to tell Zimbabwe.

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