Covid-19--The world has changed

Throughout the world we are all facing big changes in our life.  Many are on self-quarantine; many are staying home because their state has been put on lock-down and all of us are trying to avoid getting this flu.

It has hit Zimbabwe.  We have 5 confirmed cases—1 death and 1 doctor at Harare Hospital, in Zimbabwe.  They supposedly have only tested 150 people and as all of you are aware the results take 5+ days.  The tests are only available in Harare.

We have few test kits in the country, no PPE and so nurses started a country wide strike today which means most hospitals are totally shut down.  Our local district hospital—which is our only other hospital in the district besides us—sent a message today to not send any patients as they were closed!  With no PPE you can’t blame people who make little money stopping work.  We hope it will cause some action from the government and not for them to continue to be quiet!

We do have PPE here thanks to many donations from the US that has been sent in our containers over the years because they expired!  How can a mask expire?  Now they wish they had them back!!

I have been busy this past week working on protocols and how we are to handle this Covid-19 at the hospital.  My doctors and Major ordered me to stay away from patients and the hospital.  I come up at 0700 to do internet (only available at hospital) and do some office work and then usually home by 10 or 11.  Trying to encourage staff and make decisions as issues come up.

On Sunday we met for church but met outside and tried social distancing which is very difficult!  At night church at the hospital we used the whole courtyard to spread out!  We are thinking we may have to close by this Sunday and unfortunately no streaming for our members!

Sunday after church, I went with Major and Patience to Batanai to relax for the afternoon there.  No visitors came, and I was napping and reading the whole afternoon.  After dinner we drove home and hit a big rainstorm all the way home.  We needed the rain!  Crops are still growing!  Unfortunately, Batanai didn’t get any rain that night when it rained so hard at Chidamoyo!

We started the week by making big changes at the hospital. On Monday we were overwhelmed with patients and they did not co-operate with social distancing!

Our clinic is now an ER—only seeing Maternity patients, emergencies and refill of HIV/Diabetic/ TB and Hypertension medicines and then those with Respiratory conditions and fevers segregated off to be seen in a tent.  We let 3 people in at a time in the gate and all departments have no more than 3 patients at a time. 

We are encouraging people to stay home with their families and only come for emergencies to the hospital.  Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe we have a few ventilators in Harare and limited electricity outside of Harare so we can only provide oxygen care.  We are looking at a catastrophe if we don’t stop this now!

We are working with limited staff to not expose our staff so much and our inpatient wards had only 12 today—5 wounds and 7 maternity patients.  C/Sections and deliveries are continuing.  Fractures are being fixed and TB diagnosed.

We are feeding patient care givers and have cancelled all visiting hours.  This is very hard for our community to understand and many people are saying we are mean and punishing them.  Please pray for their understanding.

We are feeding our staff lunch so they, don’t have to go home and come back.  They are working 12 hour shifts now and we bought groceries for 3 weeks yesterday for the hospital and home, so we don’t have to send our driver to town.

As of Thursday (26th) 1/3 of government staff were sent home for 2 weeks and by Monday it may be a total lockdown.  No use to go anywhere as everything but grocery stores are closing.  Banks are mostly closed, schools closed 2 weeks early on Tuesday this week and buses and combis are not moving much.  No diesel or petrol available in Karoi!  that helps people not go anywhere when there is no fuel.  The US can use that idea!

Seeing a lot of news on CNN, reading and baking.  Major is enjoying all the baking as I don’t keep it here since I will not have visitors for a while.

We have a lot of added expenses because of this but God is providing.  Thank you for your notes of encouragement and prayers for our safety and health.  Pray for our country as we pray for all of you.  May this bring many people to turn to God for their strength and to calm their fears.  God is more powerful than all of this.  Pray for encouragement and for people to stay home!

 Things still hot here!

 Social distancing Zimbabwe style

 Church services last Sunday

 Trying social distancing

Monday overcrowding 

Putting up plastic to protect staff dealing with patients

Our OPD working outside with 3 patients at a time

New social distancing at the hospital

Patients outside the fence

Isolation tents for respiratory patients

Tents to do vital signs under

Canopies for patients outside the fence to have shade in the heat!

Our new uniform--N-95 mask


  1. Well done, Kathy and Major, for keeping Chidamoyo Hospital open in this time of crisis. Thanks for the update. Praying for our Heavenly Father’s protection and guidance for you, the staff, and the patients.

  2. It's wonderful to see how well you're doing. Sorry to hear Karoi's out of fuel. We'll definitely pray the people understand you're not punishing them. I've seen 4 covid pts, although 1 tests negative repeatedly. It's pretty widely known some tests have 30% false neg rate. 2 of them were younger, mid 30s and mid 20s otherwise healthy (no asthma)and after several days got hypoxic and within the week needed a vent. For what it's worth, the extra ivf seems to cause harm. Laying prone/belly down greatly improves oxygenation (per NYC doctors' observations). The early expert advice is no steroids but the 2 pts I described had CRP levels >300 (should be <3) so inflammation is literally above the lab's upper limit measurable and if I were in your situation I'd still hit any resp distress with big decadron or pred or whatever you have early. Miss you and Mereki family bunches.

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