Zim, be wary of ‘Covid-19 fatigue’: WHO
By BEATRICE MAISERA
AMID reports of rising ‘Covid-19 fatigue’ in the country, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has implored Zimbabweans not to relax, moreso in a situation where a vaccine is yet to be found.
At the time of going to print there were 8 242 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 236 deaths in the country.
After donations by the Indian and South Korean embassies at State House, the WHO representative in the country, Dr Alex Gasasira told the media that complacency was slowly creeping in, as many people were disregarding Covid-19 preventative measures.
He reminded the nation that such a situation was behind the resurgence in Covid-19 cases that has now gripped countries across Europe.
When President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered the lockdown on 24 March to contain the spread of Covid-19, in compliance, many people, particularly those in the informal sector, made huge financial sacrifices compounded by a struggling economy.
However, when the Covid-19 threat in the country eased and the government relaxed the lockdown, many people in the communities become less strict in adhering to the WHO preventative measures.
“WHO is really grateful to the government that championed the response and the people of Zimbabwe who complied with the measures to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 which include physical distancing, limiting travel and wearing of masks, hygiene which all contributed to the reduction of number of new cases in Zimbabwe.
“If we do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures, we will experience a resurgence, we are seeing this in other countries, yes people may be tired but every life that can saved by implementing preventive measures is important.
“My message to the people of Zimbabwe is that let us continue to comply with preventative measures, we are yet to have a vaccine,” Gasasira said.
He cited the case of the United States of America and most European countries that were now experiencing a resurgence due to complacency.
According to a recent statement to the media by WHO regional director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri Kluge, countries across the region were reporting rising levels of Covid-19 fatigue.
Since the virus arrived in the Europe eight months ago, citizens have made huge sacrifices to contain Covid-19 cases.
As a result, WHO outlined three strategies to reinvigorate and revive efforts to tackle the evolving Covid-19 challenges.
According to the statement, thefirst strategy was to takethe pulse of the community regularly and using the information gathered to manage the situation.
“In Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, the county health authority tracks the pulse of the community and uses what they find. Through an online platform they measure community feelings and comfort with indoor and outdoor settings, and health service provision is adjusted accordingly,” read the statement.
It also advocated for engaging expertise beyond the medical and public health sectors to discuss measures and restrictions.
Cites was Germany, where the government consulted philosophers, historians, theologians, and behavioural and social scientists, who provided valuable input in the balance between public support and moral norms versus coercive state action.
The second strategy was a call to action by co-creating interventions with the community as it was essential that communities own response policies with the authorities.
“The community should be considered a resource, as well as a recipient or beneficiary.”
In Turkey, social media polls were being used to connect with the community and better understand non-compliance with protective measures to inform and evolve Covid-19 policy and introduce supportive communication or services to reinvigorate positive public response.
The third call to action was the need to meet the needs in new, safer ways as such creative approaches can restore social pleasure while protecting communities.
“We have seen the effectiveness of floating cinemas, new format cultural events and social bubbles. By balancing science, social and political needs we can develop precautionary measures that are culturally accepted. Every sector and every citizen has a role to play as we find a way to enjoy this important time of year while protecting our communities,” the statement read.