health talk:with Dr Johannes Marisa
Covid-19 is worsening by the day with no easy solution in sight. The world is in a quandary with the traditional superpowers being the greatest casualties in the world. The US has lost more than 317 000 people followed by Brazil, which saw around 185 000 of its citizens losing their precious lives. Zimbabwe has recorded about 316 deaths with total number of official cases being around 11 700 cases. The so-called smaller countries have proven their mettle in containing the spread of Covid-19.
Covid-19 control does not need people who have egotistical behaviour. All players who are involved directly or indirectly in Covid-19 control should have proclivity for a healthy nation and should therefore be for the people. Being driven by self-centeredness is not only detrimental to personal health but to the well being of the nation in general. Many people have lost their lives because of this gratuitous characteristic. Recently, Cross Borders Association president Killer Zivhu sent out a video on social media where he was appealing to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga to note the mishaps in Covid-19 control in Beitbridge. Zivhu was seriously concerned about the corrupt activities that were taking place in Beitbridge. Instead of showing Covid-19 certificates to authorities at the border, travellers were said to be paying about 200 Rands to authorities to evade the presentation of certificates.
In Chirundu, police arrested two people and confiscated more than 300 blank stamped Covid-19 certificates. Certificates were being issued to travellers at Chirundu Border Post.
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 24 011 people from the novel virus with daily deaths now hovering around 200 daily. Zimbabwe has at least two million of its people residing in South Africa and as the norm during festive seasons, 60% of them would return home this month for the festive season. Presenting fake Covid-19 clearance certificates or paying bribes of 200 Rands 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 the societies and these include the very old and those with comorbidities that include diabetes mellitus, uncontrolled hypertension, obesity, asthma or chronic lung disease. Diabetes is a serious comorbidity. I would encourage everyone to know their sugar status so that you can take precautionary measures. At least 20% of all Covid-19 deaths in Africa have been traced to diabetes mellitus alone. Control your sugar levels within range.
Denialism is one major factor which is contributing to complications of Covid-19. 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. Lately, I have 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 self-diagnose themselves, giving themselves false diagnoses and go on to take lighter home remedies alone. Complications of Covid-19 therefore arise and these include respiratory failure, renal failure or thrombo-embolism. Let us all remember that Covid-19 is for everyone but medical care should be sought upon suspecting serious infections.
Egocentrism and denialism have thus contributed much to the rise in cases of Covid-19 and action should be taken on unethical practices that undermine efforts to combat the spread of the virus. The following can be taken if we are to win against the Covid-19 war:
The issue of open 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 just walk through the border with no Covid-19 clearance certificates yet it is clearly stipulated by regulations? Can the whole country perish because of few greedy law enforcement agents who want to pocket 200 Rands at the detriment of the nation? The corruption is nauseating in Beitbridge with no control. Investigations should be done 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 just a small selfish group that wants to line its pockets with corrupt and fraudulent collections.
Health education should be continued on a wider scale about Covid-19 and how it presents. The common signs and symptoms include sore throat, headache, fever, generalised body weakness, loss of appetite, chills and rigors, joint weakness, diarrhea and shortness of breath.
Do not deny that you cannot get Covid-19 yet your behaviour and actions exposed you to Covid-19.
Keep yourself safe from Covid-19. Together, we will win!
l Dr Johannes Marisa is a medical practitioner and a public health practitioner who writes in his personal capacity. He can be contacted on: email@example.com.