Health experts have warned that improper use of gloves by service providers in the course of their duty poses a risk to clients as most do not follow World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on cleanliness and disposal.
BY VANESSA GONYE
In a survey carried out by NewsDay in Harare, a number of fuel attendants as well and other workers around the city were seen wearing gloves, using them to serve clients without regularly changing them.
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director Itai Rusike said the wearing of gloves by the fuel attendants and other service providers without regularly changing the protective wear posed a health risk to clients.
“The effectiveness of the dirty gloves is unclear, including whether their benefits outweigh their harms and if prolonged wearing increases risk of acquisition of COVID-19 infection.
“The gloves should be used with clear messages on how to safely put them on and remove them, disinfect and dispose of them with clear emphasis on other measures, such as handwashing with soap or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser,” he said.
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights director Calvin Fambirai acknowledged witnessing the worrying practice, saying it increases the rate of transmission.
“We have noted this in a number of retail facilities and not just at service stations. The WHO and Health and Child Care ministry have issued out guidelines on the proper use of PPE (personal protective equipment) and believe the use of one pair of gloves can increase the chances of transmission if one comes in contact with an infected person,” he said.
A manager at a fuel service station in Chitungwiza, only identified as Calvin, said they have been using gloves as part of their PPE while on duty, though they regularly change them, with an individual using up to four pairs per shift.
“It is necessary to have them changed regularly, maybe three or four times a day otherwise it might be better to regularly wash hands,” he said.
Zimbabwe has been affected by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic since March when the first cases were recorded, gradually increasing to date, leaving the country at 320 positive cases, of which 267 are active, 49 recoveries and four deaths as of Wednesday.