Cimas Medical Aid Society has taken drastic measures to safeguard its staff from possible Covid-19 infection and has issued guidelines to its members on what to do to minimise the risk of infection.
Cimas managers met last weekend to finalise plans to apply Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and prepare for business continuity in the event of the country going into lockdown.
In order to minimise physical contact between staff members and implement social distancing of between one and two metres between people, they decided that as from this week in most departments at head office half the staff would work from home.
To ensure that those at home continued to work, the senior managers discussed the resources that would be needed and arranged for them to be put in place.
They resolved to intensify communications with staff and members on the seriousness of the coronavirus, the dangers of infection and what they should do to avoid infection.
Already sanitisers had been put in place outside the reception area and in various places throughout the organisation’s headquarters in Borrowdale.
The managers agreed that in the first phase there should be emphasis on social distancing, self-isolation, heightened awareness and mandatory screening.
As part of self-isolation a distance of between one and two metres between people would be maintained as far as possible, with no more than two people at a table for lunch, about half the staff working from home and no physical meetings, any meeting needed being conducted as a virtual meeting and with emphasis on managing affairs in teams.
Any member of staff coughing or sneezing and with a sore throat and having travelled would be asked to self-isolate for at least 14 days.
Systems would be put in place to monitor those working from home to ensure they were working. Protective clothing and equipment would be provided for health workers at Cimas clinics.
Arrangements would be made for doctors to be on standby to deal with any staff member suspected of carrying the virus.
A communication campaign would be implemented to educate staff and members on the means by which the virus can be transmitted and on the importance of following guidelines on social distancing, hand washing and the sanitising of work stations and work surfaces.
Members would be encouraged not to visit Cimas offices but rather communicate with them through the telephone or through email or other electronic means.
Those who did come to any Cimas premises would be screened for Covid-19 at tents outside the premises, where they would be asked a few questions on their general health and recent travel history, before being admitted to the building.
Cimas Dialysis has plans to put a dialysis machine at Wilkins Hospital in case any dialysis patient should become infected with the virus, subject to the agreement of the City of Harare Health Department.
Cimas has sent a bulletin to members advising them of some of the measures it has put in place to protect them and Cimas staff.
It has also sent out a bulletin urging those who are immune-compromised, such as people suffering from chronic illnesses, the elderly, those who are pregnant and infants, to be exceptionally vigilant in their efforts to minimise the risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus.
Cimas chief executive Vuli Ndlovu said Cimas was taking the dangers the virus posed very seriously.
“When you look at how quickly the virus has spread in countries with much better resources than we have, it is important we all do our best to avoid it by adhering to Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation guidelines, particularly in respect of maintaining a social distance from others and washing or sanitising our hands and work surfaces,” he said.