Covid 19 – Response CJ Zimbabwe Region

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Sensing the reality of our world  and responding to the needs of the world around us, Zimbabwe Region is responding to the  coronavirus pandemic through our sisters working in our two clinics i.e. St Joseph’s clinic and St Padre Pio Poly clinic and Sr Salome Mateko  working at the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference (ZCBC) as the national health coordinator. Her contract of service ended on 31 March 2020 to respond to her new mission in the region. She could not stop because she is needed critically in her office. She sources, with the support of the bishops sanitizers and protective clothing of our mission hospitals in the country. She collaborates with the Ministry of health and child care.  

Our government declared three weeks of lockdown from the 30th March 2020 which was extended with another two weeks this week to end at 2 May 2020. Currently we have a total of 28 confirmed cases and 3 deaths out of 841 tests done. Hospitals are busy preparing for the worst. Testing for the virus is still done centrally due to shortage of test kits. The government is busy training health workers, sourcing test kits and protective clothing.  I am very grateful for the solidarity from other provinces particularly MEP who financially supported us with some funds towards Covid19 protective equipment for our clinics.  

It is very sad that because of lockdown, people are struggling to make ends meet. People nock at our gates asking for food because people are used to do some piece job work to get their daily meals which is a challenge now. Most of them earned their living by buying and selling but due to lock down people are stuck now. We are happy to share the little we have. 

Below is a report from Sr Ester Jaravaza CJ who is the sister in charge at St Padre Pio poly Clinic Norton. 

“The day we were told that we need to be vigilant to Covid 19 virus pandemic we started by suspending most of our activities at the clinic. 

The areas that were mostly affected were Immunisations, Growth monitoring, outpatient care, and HIV testing. 

Gate control 

We keep our entrance gate always closed and allow only those screened through taking history and temp checks. We are keeping records and contacts of all persons entering the Clinic. 

Protective clothing 

We started putting on surgical masks and respiratory masks and washing of hands in and out using the clinic buckets  available.  We received few sanitizers from Norton hospital and ZCBC. 

Staff duties 

All volunteers were asked to make choices to return and keep away during these Covid shutdowns. All nurse aides went home except one who returned and is giving services three times a week especially in maternity. The nurses have changed from three day shift to two days on duty and five days at home, three days night duty instead of seven. 

Transport for staff 

I started from onset of Covid to ferry nurses from the locals to and fro until to date. Sometimes the local bus will be available to get nurses but not regular. 

Limited services at the clinic 

We have resumed reviewing and booking pregnant mothers at least 20 women per day some we have to turn them back due to shortage of staff only three people will on duty per day. Outpatients, we only take those who have emergency conditions and those who come for their resupplies like HIV patients  

We have screened 517 people who have come to our facility since 26th March 2020 and 3 where suspected of Covid  19 virus were asked self-isolation and recovered at home including our nurse who tested negative but still at home for recovery. 

Sr Ester CJ and pregnant women who patiently wait for their turn .


 We would to thank the entire CJ sisters across the globes who are praying especially for health workers who are at risk. 


  • Transportation of nurses  
  • Lack of protective clothing. Much gratitude to MEP province for the financial support. We will purchase the required protective clothing. 
  • Not able to identify and test for the coronavirus. The government still to decentralise the actual testing. We only screen though history taking 

We work and live in hope that God will spare us from this deadly virus each day as we come on duty. Thank you for supporting us with your prayers. 

Esther Finis