Coronavirus is piling pressure on an already broken healthcare system in Zimbabwe as persons living with HIV struggle under a lockdown imposed to curb spread of the rampaging virus.
Daniso Phiri and her husband are both HIV positive. Like most people with this disease in the country, it is now difficult for them to access treatment because of the 21-day lockdown imposed across the country as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Daniso said of the challenges: “It is difficult because there is no transport to pick up our medicines. Some of my colleagues do not get them from the community where they stay.
“They travel a short distance from the community where they stay usually, so it’s difficult for us as people living with HIV to get our medicines because the force (scurity deployment) on the street doesn’t allow us.”
According to medical experts, persons with underlying health conditions such as HIV / AIDS are more vulnerable to COVID-19 because of their weakened immune systems.
For his part, Joao Zangaroti; Phiri’s husband says: “We are a couple living with HIV, and when it comes to treatment and access to treatment, yes, that’s right – it’s not that bad – but we face some challenges like recent increase in user fees.”
As of April 17, Zimbabwe had recorded 24 coronavirus cases with two recoveries and three deaths but the outbreak is making things more difficult for the 1.3 million people living with HIV.