HomeOpinion & AnalysisCovid-19: Southern Africa in trouble now

Covid-19: Southern Africa in trouble now

By Johannes Marisa

So far the world has lost close to four million people, who have all succumbed to the invisible Covid-19. It is not easy to lose companions unexpectedly especially to something that one does not have direct control over.

Zimbabwe has fared well in terms of Covid-19 with cumulative deaths of less than 1 650 since the outbreak, a figure which Brazil or India surpasses in just one day.

We did not like the unfortunate scenarios to appear again, but it is surely beyond our control as humans hence the need to take corrective action as the calamitous virus is fast approaching us in style.

We do not want to experience the Indian scenario where everyone has come to know about India, a country that holds the second largest population in the world with about 1,4 billion people.

This is the same country that has witnessed floating bodies of Covid-19 victims in the Ganges River, an unfortunate situation which has never been seen in any other country before.

That alone depicts a grimy picture globally as India has potential to spread the virus to all the nations of this universe considering the squalid conditions in some parts of their country, the poor health infrastructure in the rural areas coupled with overcrowding.

Today, South Africa is in trouble again with both morbidity and mortality on the rise. Zambia and Namibia are in a medical quandary as the heinous virus is wreaking havoc there.

Many people are talking of numerous phases of the pandemic and the associated virulence hence the incessant need for vigilance.

We need to be alert about the third wave, an imminent wave that has potential to upset us for some time. We do hope it is not the Indian B1.617 variant  has high transmissibility, with the young age group of between 20 and 30 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:

That Africa is being swept at the moment with many countries raising the red flag.

South Africa is in trouble with Friday death toll reaching 180 in a single day while daily cases were more than 8 000. Uganda has gone into a 42-day lockdown while Namibia has started reporting overwhelmed facilities.

Zambia has seen daily cases going beyond 1 000, 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 900% 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 neighbor.

In as much as we quarantine those from India, we should bear in mind that there are many border jumpers coming from South Africa via illegal entry points like Chiqualaquala, Gezani, Beitbridge.

Let us keep our eyes open lest we perish in the midst of denial and false heroism.

That many people are now neglecting public health measures like social distancing, masking up, hand-washing, sanitisation which may breed misery in few weeks 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 prevent a health care system from being overwhelmed in case of an attack so the best thing to rush to is 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.

Gatherings should surely remain banned as of now. It should be noted that the Indian government erred in 2021 when it allowed large political and religious gatherings and on March 8, 2021, the Indian Health minister declared that India was now free from Covid-19 despite warnings a week earlier by medical experts that the country was on the verge of being hit by a more dangerous strain.

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 seeking of 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.

That people should never be complacent at this juncture. It is time that health education be given as much as possible and mass media should drive the information dissemination process. 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 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. .

  • Dr Johannes Marisa is a medical practitioner and public health practitioner who can be accessed on doctormarisa@gmail.com

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading