guest column:Johannes Marisa
WHILE many people thought that the pandemic was subsiding, it has been proven otherwise. The world is in a quandary with the traditional superpowers being the greatest casualties in the world. United States of America has lost more than 300 000 people followed by Brazil which saw around 183 000 of its citizens losing their precious lives. Our country, Zimbabwe, has recorded about 310 deaths with the total number of official cases being around 11 522 cases. The so-called smaller countries have proven their mettle in containing the spread of the notorious virus.
COVID-19 control does not need people of egotistical behaviour.
All players, who are involved directly or indirectly in COVID-19 control, should be inclined towards a healthy nation and should, therefore, be for the people.
Being self-centred is not only detrimental to personal health but to the wellbeing of the nation in general.
Many people have lost their lives because of this gratuitous characteristic.
Recently, the President of the Cross Border Traders Association, Killer Zivhu posted a video on social media appealing to the President and Health minister to take note of corruption in COVID-19 control at Beitbridge Border Post.
Zivhu was seriously concerned about the corrupt activities that were taking place at the border post.
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Instead of presenting COVID-19 certificates to authorities at the border, travellers were said to be paying about 200 rand to law enforcement agents to forego the presentation of certificates.
This behaviour is not only unethical but inhumane as it exposes everyone to the pandemic. The second wave of the virus seems to be worse than the first one. South Africa has lost about 23 600 people from the novel virus with daily deaths now averaging around 200.
Zimbabwe has at least two million of its people residing in South Africa and as the norm during the festive season, 60% of them return home in December to join their families.
Presenting fake COVID-19 clearance certificates or paying a bribe of R200 in order for one to be cleared is tantamount to murder as so many lives can be lost from rapid transmission which can arise in the communities.
We have high risk groups in societies and these include the very old and those with co-morbidities that include diabetes mellitus, uncontrolled hypertension, obesity, asthma or chronic lung disease.
In some instances, some patients present with symptoms of COVID-19 only to realise that they are diabetics upon being tested.
I suggest that everyone visits a medical facility for sugar check so that you know whether you are a diabetic for the sake of taking precautionary care. At least 20% of all COVID-19 deaths in Africa have been traced to diabetes mellitus alone. Can we make sure that our sugars are well controlled?
Denialism is one major factor which is contributing to complications in COVID-19 patients. Denialism is defined as the practice of denying the existence, truth or validity of something despite proof or strong evidence that it is real, true or valid.
During the last 3 weeks, I noted with concern that so many patients do not want to accept that they can have COVID-19 despite symptoms which are quite clear. Instead, they diagnose themselves, giving themselves lighter conditions and take home remedies alone.
Complications of COVID-19, therefore, may arise and these include respiratory failure, renal failure or thrombo-embolism. Let us all remember that COVID-19 can affect anyone, therefore, medical care should be sought upon suspecting infections.
Egocentrism and denialism have contributed a lot to the rise in cases of COVID-19 hence action should be taken to deal with unethical practices that undermine efforts to combat the spread of the virus. The following can be done if we are to win the COVID-19 war:
Corruption at border posts should be nipped in the bud. Failure to stem this scourge means we are directly importing COVID-19 into our blessed country. Why would travellers or vacationers just walk through the border with no COVID-19 clearance certificates yet it is a prerequisite?
Can the whole country perish because of some greedy law enforcement agents who want to pocket 200 rand at the detriment of the nation?
The corruption seems to be open and rampant especially at Beitbridge Border Post. Investigations should be carried out as a matter of urgency.
Those who issue fake COVID-19 certificates should face the full wrath of the law and punitive measures should be taken against them. The country cannot be put at risk by a small selfish group that wants to line its pockets with corrupt and fraudulent receipts.
Health education about COVID-19 and how it presents should be continued on a wider scale. The common signs and symptoms include sore throat, headache, fever, generalised body weakness, loss of appetite, chills and rigours, joint weakness, diarrhoea and shortness of breath.
Do not deny that you may have contracted coronavirus yet your behaviour and actions exposed you to COVID-19.
Did you put on masks as required or did you practise social distancing as required? Did you wash your hands with soapy water or even sanitise them?
Keep yourself safe from COVID-19. Together, we will win.