Features, Health and Society Editor
Nyaradzo Chief Executive Officer Mr Phillip Mataranyika has made an emotional plea asking Zimbabweans to observe Covid-19 regulations and be spared of the pain and agony of sickness and death.
The Nyaradzo Group boss also urged Zimbabweans to continue to wear face masks, socially distance, washing hands frequently with soap and clean running water and most importantly get vaccinated.
His plea comes at a time the country has recorded 3340 cumulative Covid -19 deaths as at July 28.
On July 28, the country recorded 60 deaths and 1856 new Covid -19 positive cases.
For example, as of July 27, a total of 804 people were hospitalised, 101 severe cases and 39 in intensive care unit.
In recorded six- minute video message, Mr Mataranyika said: “Our hospitals are full of the sick, our morgues full of the dead. Our colleagues on the frontline in the health sector are doing all they can to save lives and sometimes their efforts are not rewarded resulting in loss lives and this has happened on many occasions too numerous to mention.”
Mr Mataranyika said each times deaths occurred, morgues have borne the brunt.
“I implore you all to observe the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines and those issued by our government so we can be safe and avoid infection,” he said.
Mr Maranyakika said the many deaths as a result of Covid-19 had put the end of life industry under immense pressure causing delays all round.
“Removal of our dead to the custody of our end of life service providers has been slow. Where ordinarily they took a couple of minutes, delays have been up to hours in some cases in recent times.
“Burial of our loved ones has been delayed in some cases by a day or two. In other cases, we have not been given definite burial times all because of the pressure the service providers have been experiencing,” he added.
According to Mr Mataranyika, before the onset of the pandemic, which his organization knew was coming, they made preparations that include but not limited to increasing the fleet size of both hearses and buses. We doubled the mortuary capacity and hired more people. All this has in some cases fallen short, and may continue do so as many of our countrymen and women succumb to this cruel virus,” Mr Mataranyika explained.
He further urged bereaved families to continue to exercise patience and restraint when tempted to be harsh with service providers where service delivery could be slow.
“Before we become harsh and angry, we must remember that our service providers are human beings who themselves are susceptible to the virus also. They, too, have family and relatives who may have died but some of them will be at work because it’s their calling even when they were down only recently and rush back to work to serve.”
In the video, Mr Mataranyika also explained that because of so many deaths, body swops may be made.
“Fellow countrymen and women, I want you to know that this is not deliberate. Don’t we all make mistakes? If we do, why do we think the mistake by someone working in the end of life industry, especially in a pandemic situation is unforgiven? I know Zimbabweans to be tolerant and loving. As we plead to you, for your love and tolerance, we pray to do all we can to lay our loved ones to rest in dignity and with respect.”
Mr Mataranyika said in some countries, burials of the Covid -19 dead have been done in mass graves as service providers were overwhelmed.
“We saw this, for example in 2020, when the US resorted to mass graves for the burial of their Covid-19 dead.
“In April 2021, we witnessed India’s worst wave of the spread of Covid-19 and they, too, buried their dead in mass graves,” he added.
Said Mr Mataranyika: “Thankfully in Zimbabwe we have not yet reached that stage, but let us not be complacent. The future is uncertain and we could very well get to that stage.”
“Because we are still burying our dead the way we are and we have always done, I humbly ask you to be patient as we continue to give our loved ones the dignified burials they deserve, which we had grown to know and appreciate,” he said.