Editor's Comment

Don’t keep patients at home

THE increasing number of brought-in-dead (BID) COVID-19 cases in Zambia over the last few
weeks has brought to a head the denial among many people over the presence of the pandemic
in our midst.
It is undeniable that people have died in homes before the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, but the rate at which people are dying in their houses now points to one thing – that most of the patients are shunning
going to hospitals for treatment fearing to be tested for COVID-19.
The only explanation to this inertia is that misinformation regarding coronavirus still abounds with
many in society now resorting to self-medication of all kinds thereby exacerbating the situation.
The Ministry of Health is alive to the fact that many people are now abusing hydroxychloroquine, Vitamin C and antibiotics to treat coronavirus symptoms instead of going to hospital.
“We have observed a certain pattern in the way COVID-19 is evolving in Zambia. We now have increased
facility deaths, severe cases and BIDs in communities,” Dr Chitalu Chilufya said on Friday during an update.
Latest statistics indicate that the country’s coronavirusrelated deaths have risen to 200 after one more person
died of the disease on Friday.
The trend over the past days reflects a gloomy picture insofar as BID numbers are concerned.
The other Saturday, the country recorded 14 COVID- 19-related deaths out of which 10 were BIDs.
On Thursday, the country recorded 23 deaths, the highest in one day so far, of which 21 were BID cases, the
highest ever recorded in a single day.
Sadly, many people in communities are oblivious to the risk of COVID-19 inherent in keeping sick people at
home.
It’s high time that people realised that keeping patients at home in this time of the pandemic works to the
detriment of their families and the community at large.
We should not wait for a calamity to happen in our families for us to believe that COVID-19 really exists.
Ground rules have already been laid down by health experts regarding prevention and it is incumbent upon
everyone to strictly adhere to the health measures.
Government is spending huge sums of money to mitigate the effects of coronavirus and it can only do so
much to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
The support given to Zambia by cooperating partners to fight COVID-19 should not go to waste because
citizens are apathetic to preventive measures.
For example, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and UNICEF have just announced a
US$5.2 million (about K94 million) package to boost essential health services impacted by COVID-19.
The United States of America also announced recently that it would contribute US$10 million to Zambia’s
response to coronavirus.
The German Government also released a rapidresponse package worth K370 million to help Zambia in
the fight against COVID-19.
The goodwill from cooperating partners is indicative of the scale of the danger that the pandemic poses to
Zambia and the world at large.
People should not wait for the police to force them to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures given by the
Ministry of Health.
The onus is on families and community members to ensure that everyone wears masks, washes hands with
soap regularly and uses hand sanitiser whenever they can afford it.
Those flouting a presidential order on the closure of bars and nightclubs should reflect on their actions and
realise that providing space for people to break social distancing rules only works against the milestones scored
by Government in the fight so far.
We urge those who are making effort to follow preventive measures not to relent but continue sharing
information about the pandemic with members of the community.
We call upon families to stop keeping patients in their homes because doing so will only delay the chance of
them knowing the existence of the disease in their loved ones.
We also implore health authorities to react swiftly to distress calls in communities. In some cases, they have,
for one reason or the other, failed to respond in fairly good time to deal with cases.



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