Dynamics of Ethics on Health Resource Allocation Priority Setting During Covid-19 Pandemic in Zimbabwe
The study sought to evaluate ethics and Covid-19 resource allocation priority setting in Zimbabwe’s health sector. Globally, healthcare systems have undergone fast transformation as a result of the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. The study was guided by Positivism research Philosophy rooted in quantitative research approach. In this study, a cross-sectional survey design was utilized. Using purposive sampling 30 Zimbabwean health professionals who work in different medical facilities in the country were taken as the study population. As the population was too tiny to be studied, this research used all the study target population as a sample size. Questionnaires were research instruments employed to collect data in this study. The data was represented in the form of tables, figures, charts and themes. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics and correlations. The findings of the study revealed that the health sector in Zimbabwe has a wide range of criteria in place for allocating covid-19 resources. Respect for autonomy, the absence of maleficence, beneficence, and justice, all of which were in accordance with mainstream biomedical ethical practise, were also in place. As a result of the study, it was determined that nonclinical patient characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, gender, age, the presence or absence of disabilities, and presumed health-related quality of life before or after resource allocation should be avoided, and that the process should take a systems view, taking regional rather than health system–specific triage and resource allocation into consideration. The study’s findings suggested that prioritisation was carried out by the health-care sector, as proven by the fact that those who were at the highest risk of being sick and extremely sick were able to obtain the largest possible benefit from the vaccination in Zimbabwe. Rationing and prioritisation should be based on normative values that have at least some public legitimacy. Aside from the Covid-19 epidemic, the report recommends that a longitudinal research be conducted on resource allocation and priority setting for other illnesses in Zimbabwe.
Key Words: Ethics, Health Resource Allocation, Priority Setting, Covid-19 Pandemic, Zimbabwe