THE past three weeks have seen a continued upward trend in the number of reported COVID-19 cases, which now stand at 279 (though the active number stands at 242. At the moment, we haven’t reached the community transmission stage, though we have reported a few sporadic cases here and there.
By Dr Grant Murewanhema
Whilst the situation is still containable, its not certain where we are headed to with pandemic. The possible scenarios include an exponential increase in the number of cases in the following few weeks, a continued but steady increase in the number of cases or a reduction in the number of new cases altogether.
The positive aspects we have noted so far are that the majority of our patients are asymptomatic and do not require hospitalization or any other specialized interventions, and an appreciable number have already been confirmed to be recovered.
This has meant that our health institutions have not been overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, and our healthcare personnel who are generally demotivated from poor remuneration and working conditions have so far been spared from having to deal with an unbearable burden of COVID-19.
We have also noted many partners, including individuals, companies, local and international non-governmental organizations coming together to donate towards the control of the pandemic. Of course, as the general public we are still to realize benefit from those donations as hospitals and other care facilities still struggle with availability of basic personal protective equipment.
Renovations have taken place at some of the health facilities; some of which could not have been dreamt of before the COVID-19 era. New beds, ventilators and other pieces of equipment have found their way to facilities. Hopefully after the COVID-19 era our patients at large, especially those from the lower socioeconomic ends of the population, will benefit from these improvements. Its sad that we had to wait for a deadly pandemic to capacitate our hospitals, and even then, this is still very far from adequate.
One of the key lessons we must learn from this pandemic, is that collective responsibility can drastically change the situation. No single person, organisation, ministry or political affiliation has sole responsibility of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, its everyone’s responsibility, including individuals, religious groups, schools and colleges, several ministries and political parties to work towards controlling the outbreak in Zimbabwe.
At times such as these, political parties must set aside their differences as they work together for the common good of the population. It is at times such as these that they must prove that they care for the people, and not just for positions. Lessons of cooperation between different political parties in times of national crises must be derived from other countries, where differences have been put aside as political players work for the common good of their countries.
Civil society must also realize that they have a huge responsibility of supporting the control of the pandemic through providing critical health education to the communities. We must go beyond just seeing and criticizing the weakness of those in power as we deal with an emergency situation. In the afterlife there is plenty of room to provide balanced criticism, but dealing with the situation at hand is more critical than proving points.
Similarly, the police and army must refrain from being weapons of civil repression, instead they must work meaningfully to ensure public security as we are faced with a global health threat, which knows no occupation. There are times when we all have to stand for the greater good as we realize we have a party to play in achieving best results out of a situation.
We must stop looking up to the international community to solve all our problems. We have the capacity to provide solutions, but many years of oppression and suppression have resulted in an inertia among the majority that will take years to shake off.
At this time we have to realize that only collective responsibility for control of this pandemic will take us through. Therefore lets start playing our role as responsible citizens of this country and work together with love and one purpose. Together we will defeat COVID-19.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Dr Grant Murewanhema is an Epidemiologist and Public Health Specialist and writes in his own capacity as a health expert: