When Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation deputy minister Tino Machakaire tested positive to Covid-19 early this month, he made a bold decision to go public, making him one of the few top government officials to declare their Covid-19 status.
For two weeks, Machakaire has been struggling to flush out the virus so that he can get back to work as he remained in isolation at home.
While in quarantine, the Zanu PF Wedza South MP reflected on how the country can fight against the deadly pandemic.
Last week his Covid-19 results came out negative and our reporter (SR) caught up with Machakaire (TM), who spoke about his battle with Covid-19 and what needs to be done to win the war against the novel virus as a country .
SR: Honourable Machakaire, congratulations you recently tested negative having battled Covid-19 for over two weeks. Can you take us through to what motivated you to go and get tested in the first place?
TM: Welcome and thank you. It was around midnight and I was in pain, so I thought I was having an acid attack. I had shortness of breath, I had headache and diarrhoea, but my temperature was normal. Because of this, I didn’t suspect I was suffering from Covid-19, but my situation worsened and I couldn’t get help that night. I was only advised to go and get tested for Covid-19. So, I struggled throughout the night and in the morning l went for tests.
SR: What was your reaction when you received the results?
TM: Though it came as a shock, I prepared my mind and accepted the results. The second step was to make a public announcement so that all those I was in contact with could self-isolate and get tested as well and after all that I worked to get the virus out of my body.
SR: When you went public about your results, were you not afraid of stigmatisation from the society?
TM: There is no need for stigma as, this is a pandemic. It affects all of us, so we need to come together and fight it.
I realised at that moment that with my fear, I had come out, because if I didnt I wouldn’t have done justice to the many people I had been in contact with, remember I work in a public office.
SR: How was the pain and how did you manage it?
TM: When you test positive you fear for the worst, but like I said before, you need to prepare your mind. Constantly use home remedies, the medication and, above all, pray to God. Exercise when you are not in pain as it helps you to regain yourself and prepare your mindset.
SR: You mentioned about home remedies. How useful are they in treating Covid-19?
TM: I cannot say they are 100% useful, but since I used them and I am now okay I can say they are useful.
SR: How did the isolation affect your relationship with your family, friends and people from your constituency?
TM: You miss your family, but there is nothing you can do. You just have to stay away to keep them safe. I was only talking to them via social media. I lost a lot of productive time, my business suffered and projects in my constituency went on hold. I am glad that everyone encouraged me to be strong and people were sending prayers.
SR: What message would you give to the public regarding Covid-19?
TM: People should not despair when they test positive. They should go into isolation, get advice from medical personnel and take home remedies. Above all, pray to God so that they get strength and be healed.