On the 23rd of March Zimbabwe was ordered into a 21-day lockdown and suddenly life changed for many people. Unfortunately, many people took it as a holiday from work and started going to stores and friends and walking to “hang out.” The Army was sent into townships to enforce the order and many people were beat and sent home or arrested where they then were put in crowded jails with more people!
Some people took the order seriously and at the hospital we had already started a screening process and letting 3 people in at a time to inside the gate. We have moved our OPD to our outside veranda and don’t allow people to walk inside the hospital, but outside. We have been having daily staff meetings, we are wearing our PPE and we have cut back on staff so less people will get exposed!
We are running about 15 in-patients including Maternity and we are feeding caregivers so they are not in and out of the hospital. We are also feeding staff on duty so they are not going back and forth to home until they finish their shift. This is costing us more money and less patients to pay fees, but God is providing for us, so we carry on as best as we can.
We have daily devotions and pray for each of our staff to be protected and our patients. We have also started a new tradition of turning to the person next to us and thank them for working that day.
I am not doing direct patient care and only come in the morning for 3-4 hours to do paperwork and encourage staff. I am keeping my social distancing and wearing an N-95 mask when I move out of my office. I feel like I am semi-retired and getting bored at home.
Major and Patience come twice a week for dinner and I have been reading a lot–finished 6 books in 1 week! Trying not to watch too much Covid News on CNN–but I get drawn to it!
Easter here is a 4 day holiday and we have from Good Friday through Easter Monday off. So On Saturday I drove to Major’s farm where I have a house and spent until Monday evening there. I read a lot, watched some movies on my I-pad and enjoyed the quiet of the bush. He makes people wash their hands before entering the village and often there after. One of his relatives visited and said “do we have to wash every hour?” and Major said yes!!
We had our own Easter service as a family with 8 adults and 4 kids and a baby. We were able to sit 6 feet apart and we had an interactive service with each of us saying what this Easter meant to them. Major then gave a message about how this Easter was like the very first Easter when all Jesus’s followers were hidden in houses and their doors locked to the outside because of fear. Their fear was persecution and our fear is a Novel-virus! We had communion with Sugar cookies as bread and Raspberry Green Tea as the juice. Then after we had tea time. Yes we all washed our hands before communion and before tea again!!
I went to the field where Major has put in irrigation pumped from the Sanyati River and he has planted beans and sweet potatoes that are just germinating now and look good. He was so excited to show me all the progress.
This week some government officials came to say they wanted to turn our male and Pediatric wards into isolation wards and that they have money to do some remodeling. We worked with them to come up with a plan. We will wait and see what happens and when.
We received a circular yesterday to say that the plan is to test 33,000 people by April 30 and all health workers would be included. We wait and see.
So far there are 23 cases and 3 deaths and 1 recovered out of 716 tested so far in Zimbabwe. (you can follow on www.worldometer.info) We seem to be in the quiet before the storm. We have time to act and we have put into place all the precautions we can here at Chidamoyo. The 21 day stay at home ban ends Sunday this week and there is some discussion it may be renewed. We hope so! South Africa renewed this week for another 21 days.
We continue to have a bit of rain and April is always a big malaria month and we saw 38 cases last week–many we had to admit, but only 1 death so far this year. Many clinics are running away from any patient with a fever which right now is malaria patients, not Covid!
We continue to covet your prayers for safety for all health workers in Zimbabwe. We went to our local government hospital recently and they were wearing sleeveless plastic aprons as their only PPE–no gloves, masks, hats, googles. They seem to have nothing. We pray we will not be wiped out here in large numbers.
Our world is changed and it may never go back to the way it was! No one may ever shake hands again or move close to people. Lets be kind to one another and protect one another! We will win! God is in control!
Teaching by Dr. Mudzingwa how to wear PPE
Keep that Hand Sanitizer Near-by!
One of our Nurses advertising Stay Home, wash your hands, don’t touch your face!
Major and I watching Easter services from US
Our outside Out-patient department
Teaching staff about Covid-19
How to put on the full PPE
Major’s irrigation field
Communion on Easter Sunday
Teatime after Easter Sunday church–Social Distancing!
The Farmer and His wife!
The proposed wing of hospital to become Isolation Wards for Covid
Daily devotions at hospital–an Important interaction