GOVERNMENT should discourage the use of gloves for non-medical institutions because their lack of availability among health workers will cause more infections, says the Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ).

In an interview, CSAWUZ president Davies Chiyobe also called for proper guidelines on how gloves should be used because there was a rising trend for non-medical staff to use the same pair of gloves when dealing with the general public.

“The issue of gloving, if you look at the people who are meant to use medical gloves, it is those who are in the hospitals and the essence is to protect the person who is putting on the gloves from getting an infection. Immediately after attending to one client, those are disposed of. If you don’t dispose of and you touch the next person, that means that you will pass on the infection from the first client to the next client. In the medical field, they dispose of the gloves after dealing with one patient. Now, we have situation like the banks and the toll gates, there are these tellers, who will touch your money, and when the next client comes, they will use the same gloves and they will continue using one pair of gloves the whole day! If one client is contaminated, this will be passed on to the other client of which they are going to be in contact with this person,” Chiyobe observed.

“We are calling for proper guidelines on the usage of gloves because it is my considered view that gloves will promote more infections if these guidelines are not mentioned. I think the guidelines that should come are that hand washing is the best way to break the chain of transmission. We need, as urgently as possible, a position when using the gloves in these institutions other than the medical institutions. If it goes unattended, if at all these cases will be at high peak, a lot of infections will be championed through this. Let us do away with gloves, especially in non-medical institutions.”

He further called for more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the health workers in hospitals.

“The PPE for the health workers, especially those who are in hospitals and clinics, looking at the extent of how infections evolved, it means that some of these people are coming from the compounds and they are at risk. When people develop symptoms of the Coronavirus, they are going to these clinics and you will find that they (medical practitioners) don’t have proper protective equipment. That is one issue we expected the Minister of Health [Dr Chitalu Chilufya] to deal with. Of course, those people that are at the COVID-19 centres, they are okay and the guidelines are being followed. But our complaint is the first instance in the clinics,” said Chiyobe.