EditorialHealth

FIGHTING THE THIRD WAVE

THE nation is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic like many other countries even as globally the cases rise to nearly 200 million with over 3, 700, 000 deaths.

Locally, nearly 100, 000 cases and close to 2, 000 deaths have been recorded.

Developing countries are struggling economically, socially and the situation is worse for developing countries which do not have the capacity to deal with the Covid-19 catastrophe if current statistics got worse and health system got overwhelmed.

This is what many countries, including Zambia, are trying to avoid because it could lead to the loss of lives in numbers not imagined.

One of the top efforts in combating this deadly disease involves implementing an offensive in the form of  an effective vaccination drive.

This drive however, can only be effective if a large part of the population takes the drive seriously and get the jab.

While other countries have taken the vaccination drive seriously, locally there is a sluggish acceptance among the citizenry all because of doomsayers taking advanatage of mistrust to mislead the people.

This is sad because it could lead to serious problems for the country. Already the country has witnessed serious indications that our health systems are under a great strain as Covid cases rise. This is compounded by two major factors; the cold weather and the campaign season as the nation heads for the August 12 presidential and general elections.

Campaign rallies for instance by their nature are super spreaders because they attract large cowds. In some cases, campaign rallies are known to draw thousands of people, and all without regard to the Covid-19 health safety guidelines.

As Zambia enters one of its coldest months with temperatures dropping to well below 10 degrees in some places, this presents a perfect storm for the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 especially when large crowds gather without observing safety rules.

Public events are perfect conduits through which the Covid-19 is pread.   Fortunately steps have been taken to ensure public gatherings during campaings are forestalled. The  Electoral Commission of Zambian (ECZ) has put its foot down and suspended public rallies, albeit temporarily.

Politicians have been advised to use alternative means of campaigning including use of social media and other media  to get their political messages across. The traditional ground stomping with thousands is not ideal  right now in the face of a third wave of the Covid-19 stalking the population.

Countries with better health systems such as  India have not fared any better with hundreds if not thousands of people dying outside hospital premises following political campigns that threw caution to the wind.

Zambia can learn from such countries and choose a different approach. Further, the country could also encourage people to take up the vaccines that have been offered including the  100, 000 doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines from China.

In the first phase of the vaccination drive, about 100, 000 people were vaccinated and most of these will soon be getting their second dose.

As former Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia President Jerome Kanyika says the Chinese government’s gesture to donate 100, 000 doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines to Zambia is timely considering the shortage of AstraZeneca vaccine.

Last week, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Kennedy Malama disclosed that China has donated 100, 000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine to Zambia that will benefit 50, 000 people.

Mr Kanyika says the Chinese government should be commended considering the confirmed third wave of the pandemic while Government has indicated that Zambia is likely to encounter challenges in the acquisition of AstraZeneca through the COVAX facility due to increased demand in India.

The onus is now on every Zambian to ensure they are protected against the Covid-19 by getting vaccinated. The vaccines are safe and free.

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