HomeOpinion & AnalysisCOVID-19: More tangible resources needed to contain it

COVID-19: More tangible resources needed to contain it

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By Johannes Marisa

IT was on Tuesday afternoon when I woke up to the news that my old grandmother in Kwekwe had succumbed to COVID-19. The same day was a thorn as our colleague, Murehwa district medical officer Dr Reginald Gwisai of Murehwa Hospital, lost the battle against the sadistic virus. May their souls rest in peace.

So far, the world has lost close to four million people who have all succumbed to COVID-19. South Africa, Namibia, Uganda, Botswana and Zambia are terribly hit with many casualties.

The end seems far. It is not easy to lose companions unexpectedly, especially to something that one does not have direct control over. Zimbabwe has started having a torrid time, with hospitals raising red flag over admission space already.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe recorded
1 249 new cases with a positivity rate of 14,1% with more than 8 000 tests having been done. The spread is occurring at supersonic speed at the moment. We do not like the unfortunate scenarios of January 2021 to appear again, but it is starting to show signs of viral virulence already with many serious patients reporting sudden deterioration of their conditions.

The country needs to take corrective action as the calamitous virus is fast attacking us. We do not want to experience the Brazilian scenario where many people are dying everyday in large numbers. The virus is hitting South America in style, with countries like Colombia in the pan.

We need to be alert about this third wave, a wave that has potential to upset us for some time. We do hope it is not the delta variant has high transmissibility, with the young age group of between 20 and 40 years being affected in India.

Those without comorbidities are in equal trouble, a development different from the previous attacks where the old ages were more infected than the younger generation.

It is very difficult to avoid viruses but we can take some obvious measures to contain them so that we do not continue to fall prey to them.

The second wave that struck us in January 2021 was just callous and getting another unrelenting wave more than the second wave will be calamitous forever. We ought to be extra careful as a nation and the nation should be reminded about the following:

lThat Africa is being swept at the moment with many countries raising the red flag. What is needed is to upscale out testing and contact tracing. So much in terms of resources should be channelled to the procurement of testing kits. I was alarmed by events taking place at Melfort, where there were demolitions of nicely-built houses which merely required regularisation. It was going to be better if the same Goromonzi Rural District Council had channelled the resources to COVID-19 containment and mitigation than to purchase fuel and tyres for bulldozers. These are misplaced priorities that have negative impact on people’s lives.

Such arrogance by council leadership should be condemned by all sober-minded people. We do not want to be caught unaware and sooner than later, we will be in a health quandary. Namibia has reported overwhelmed health facilities. Zambia has seen daily cases going beyond 3 000, a situation quite rare for many African countries considering poor collation of data and low testing.

Margin of error in Africa should be raised to 500% if the continent is to have more accurate situational analysis. We all know that with close to three million Zimbabweans being in South Africa, any afflictions which affect South Africa may extend to us as immediate neighbour.

The reality is that there are many COVID-19 cases now roaming around the streets of many towns with medical centres detecting those who present to clinics or surgeries.

However, denialism is proving to be dorminant as many of these patients shun testing. I am not sure why other people think they cannot contract this heinous virus which seems to be everywhere now.

lThat many people are now neglecting public health measures like social distancing, masking up, hand-washing, sanitisation which may breed misery in few days to come. We ought to remain alert as a nation, but mere observation of what is happening especially in the high density suburbs leaves a lot to be desired.

We want to avoid a health care system catastrophe with unbearable number of cases and deaths hence the need to flatten the epidemiological curve, while raising the line. If many people are going to be infected at the same time, we have high risk of fatalities as medical staff may fail to cope with pressure.

lThis is the time for robust health education. Mass media should play critical roles in information dissemination. Many people are complacent yet the virus is ravaging across the country with the unfortunate developments of affecting the rural populace, especially in Mashonaland West province. Gatherings for sure should  remain banned as of now. The way people are now behaving in Zimbabwe leaves a lot to be desired with some arguing that there is no more COVID-19 in the country.

Hey, the attack is already on us and people should learn to report symptoms and signs early. The issue of denialism should not creep into your brain as it results in delayed treatment.

Self-treatment should never be allowed to go beyond many days if patients are not showing marked improvements. Remember COVID-19 causes septic shock, thrombo-embolism, renal impairment, respiratory distress syndrome and complicated patients would require oxygen or ventilation.

lThat people should seek early treatment unlike trying to self-prescribe, while alone at home. Please report symptoms early and be suspicious when you have a sore throat, cough, hot body, headache, loss of taste, joint pains, fatigability and loss of smell, among others. There are some of us who now think that COVID-19 never appeared and who are very much sure that the virus will not hit them. We need to be reminded that we are not yet out of trouble and any slight mistakes can result in calamity.

Keep yourself safe. Know again that COVID-19 is now with us and it is not long before you start noticing friends and relatives in trouble as what happened in January. Avoid deterioration of the situation at the moment. .

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