MINISTER of Health Dr Jonas Chanda says the country has secured 687,000 COVID-19 test kits which are expected to arrive before the month-end in a bid to ensure adequate stocks in all provinces.
And the Minister has announced that the country has recorded 290 new COVID-19 cases out of 4,283 tests conducted and three deaths in the last 24 hours.
During a COVID-19 update, Tuesday, Dr Chanda said the ministry remained committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of resources, and putting an end to pilferage of health commodities.
“In our efforts to sustain commodity security for the response, the Ministry of Health has secured an additional 237,000 Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits with an additional 450,000 expected before the month end. All resources for the response are being decentralised to our regional hubs and subsequently to the lower levels of operation so as to ensure adequate stocks in all provinces. We remain committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of resources, and putting an end to the vice of pilferage of health commodities meant for the benefit of all Zambians. Anyone found pilfering these commodities or engaging in extortion of money from patients for the tests will be disciplined promptly,” he said.
He said the Ministry had shifted work arrangements to ensure that frontline staff got adequate rest and an opportunity to spend time with their families.
“We are concerned for our healthcare staff welfare, many of whom have put in uncountable man-hours to save lives as the COVID-19 pandemic has raged on. To maintain staff morale, we have reinforced work arrangements that ensure our staff get adequate rest and can spend time with their families. Additionally, we continue to build the capacity of our case management teams and to identify additional avenues of support with input from our staff. And as we brace for a possible “third wave” with the coming cold months of June/July, government is putting in all preventive and treatment measures since we remain with yet a small window in which to ensure we are adequately prepared to avert the situation,” he said.
Dr Chanda said the European Union was in the country to share experiences on holding safe elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In our efforts to sustain reduced transmission and subsequently bring the pandemic to an end, the Ministry of Health has been engaging several partners as part of the preparations to hold the upcoming elections in the safest manner possible. Currently, the European Union is in country to share experiences on holding safe elections in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
And Dr Chanda announced that of the 290 new cases recorded, Luapula province recorded 107 cases while Western recorded the lowest, with only two cases.
“We recorded 290 new cases out of 4,283 tests conducted (7 percent positivity). This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 85,240. The new cases broken down by province were reported as follows: 107 Luapula, 50 Lusaka, 40 Copperbelt, 25 Eastern, 20 Central, 1 9 Southern, 1 4 Northern, 8 North-western, 5 Muchinga, and 2 Western. The highest positivity was recorded in Luapula province (20 percent), while Western province had the lowest positivity (1 percent). Three new deaths were reported from Lusaka (one), Copperbelt (one), and Muchinga (one) provinces. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date now stands at 1,167. The deaths are classified as 640 COVID-19 deaths and 527 COVID-19 associated deaths,” said Dr Chanda.
“A combined total of 57 discharges were recorded from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 82,432 (97 percent). We currently have 1,641 active cases, of whom 1,491 (91 percent) are under community management and 1 50 (9 percent) are admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those admitted, 1 14 (76 percent) are on Oxygen therapy and 27 (18 percent) are in critical condition.”