By Dr Johannes Marisa
It was on Friday, June 18, when Zimbabwe lost 9 people and recorded 408 new cases.
The trend is worrisome, this time hitting rural and peri-urban centre’s where some people do not value such measures like masking up, hand-washing or sanitisation.
Covid-19 has caused grievous harm to many people with so much of both physical and emotional effects.
The unfortunate part is that the coronavirus has been hitting in phases or waves, making it hard to predict and plan against it.
There have been many mutant strains of the virus, some of which have been quite virulent.
That is the sad part of Covid-19, a virus that has closed the lives of many friends I used to interact with.
After the second wave of the virus swept through Southern Africa in January 2020, everyone thought that the virus was on its way to extinction.
The demonic virus was busy preparing ammunition in the northern countries of the world with USA, Brazil, India, Germany, Argentina losing many people.
Indeed, the most developed nations were the most hit in the world and many people were taught lessons that public health discipline is what is needed if mitigation and containment are to be successful.
Southern Africa has witnessed a sudden upsurge of cases with South Africa leading. It is not a secret that countries like Namibia, Botswana and Zambia are facing their worst predicament since the emergence of the coronavirus in 2019.
Namibia has been overrun by the virus and my colleague who works there admits that clinics and hospitals are returning patients home with low saturations because of shortage of admission space.
The government of Zimbabwe has moved in with the first raft of lockdown measures in order to combat the sudden spread of the virus.
The lockdown was very necessary and no African country would want to be at an epidemiological position similar to that of Mzanzi where more than 8 000 cases of Covid-19 are recorded daily with a daily mortality of at least 120.
If urgent action is not taken against the virus, then there will be untold misery in some few days to come. A lot of people were complacent, with many ignoring about masking up, sanitisation, hand-washing, social distancing.
I attended a funeral in Nyajena, Masvingo just a week ago and got surprised that many people are still doing continuous handshakes, masks are a taboo to many and crowding is still very common.
I had a long time of health education in a bid to eradicate myths, conspiracy theories and scepticism.
It is an incontrovertible truth that our country has fared well in terms of Covid-19 control.
Yes, some of our citizens have succumbed to the heinous virus but not like what is happening to Brazil.
India has lost thousands in the last five weeks and the high morbidity and mortality in this country is propagated by the high population of more than 1.4 billion people.
It is my belief that early Covid-19 control regulations are needed to keep the virus under our feet.
Delays in putting public health measures will surely be a threat to humanity with more resources now being required to secure hospitals sundries like gloves, syringes, needles, oxygen, drugs and so on. It is thus imperative that we take cognisance of the following:
n That restrictions are for the benefit of the nation at large and we should support such measures if Covid-19 is not to overrun us in a short time to come.
We should not wait till we are medically incapacitated in order to take appropriate action. Prevention is surely better than cure.
n The nation should scale up testing and contact tracing if we are to be on top of the situation.
For strategic planning purposes, it is wise to get accurate data in order to generate reliable information that is important for planning.
Health education should be scaled up especially in rural areas. We have noted Karoi, Mhangura, Kariba and many other rural centres in limbo.
n It is time to have well-equipped clinics and hospitals so that our people will not run short of drugs and oxygen in the climax of the third wave.
Oxygen is very important in Covid-19 control and this commodity should always be available if we are to win wars against respiratory distress syndrome when patients’ saturations go down to less than 80%.
n Staff should be well-prepared to face the calamitous virus for the third time.
Medical personnel should be psyched up considering the trauma and depression many went through during the second wave in January.
It is time for extra motivation to be available with possible incentives and packages that can include car loans, duty free certificates, stands, improved salaries and allowances.
For sure medical personnel are the doyens of the current global health society.
The private health sector is very key and failure to recognise and respect private health practitioners will be a serious mistake in this era and age.