By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa*
Covid-19 is a real threat to all ages in all Global communities. The only move that was taken by Leaders was a lock-down of which Zimbabwe was part of for the first 21 days and added three weeks accompanied by strict restrictions and in-definite announcement. For Health’s sake gatherings were banned. The escalating wrangle between political parties sparked threats of protests by activists.
Since the 1st case was discovered in Egypt on 14 February 2020. By April 2020 there were 10,000 cases and 500 deaths. This was a success story looking at the fact that Africa is 1,2 billion population. The success story comes when we look at the percent of Africa which is 4,7% of the total Global cases recorded. Europe and America and some parts of the World were touched on the raw side. By September 18 , 2020 , 5 months ,there were 33,400 deaths . There were 1,379,909 people who contracted covid-19 . Countries most affected are South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
Dr Motshidiso Moeti of the World Health Organisation quotes ..
‘’Covid-19 has the potential not only to cause 100 deaths but also un-leash economic and social devastation. Covid-19 spreads in major cities and beyond. It spreads and opens a new front in our fight against it . It requires decentralised response tailored to local context ‘’
‘’Communities need to be empowered in all countries which must have resources. Scaling up capacities in critical areas is important in the continent.’’
Africa’s Interventions were as follows ..
Infection Prevention and Control
Communication and Community Engagement
Countries like Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria. These countries expanded National Testing to multi-laboratory levels. They allowed de-centralised testing. Dr Ahmed Mandhari WHO Director for Eastern Mediterranean commented that Africa has the opportunity to slow the diseases,
‘’Africa has the opportunity to slow the scourge. We have in-fact done level best despite short of resources. We managed it at last. We targeted certain control measures. We did early Isolation including mild cases. We worked on epidemiological data timely and punctually. As we did this, we protected nurses, community health workers’’.
Leaders in Africa like President Mnangagwa announced curfew and measures restricting stretched time of business hours. Despite this orchestrated concerted effort, covid -19 remains a threat to human lives although its prevalence rate has gone down. Measures have been taken to save lives.
The move to take drastic measures is not only meant to salvage the present generations. It is a motion initiated for Health reasons to avoid illness and death. Zimbabwe as part and parcel of the global community implemented policies, measures and came out with restrictions against the spread of the pandemic. In line with Global protocols, Zimbabwe followed World Health Organisation guidelines towards universal prevention of covid-19 .
Health is our first priority to achieve sustainability and remain resilient to covid-19 . Health is a goal for survival. Zimbabwe and other countries strive to achieve Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations especially at this time goals that focus on Health, Education, Environment, gender equality, Building sustainable cities and communities.
The sustainability idea was to maintain health standards at Global level following the World Health. Sustainability in this respect placed emphasis on coming up with solutions to the present health challenges that we have, solving needs of the people without compromising needs of the future generations. Basically, the need is to have Health for all generations.
If action is not taken there are no sustainable communities built. When it comes to such a situation then there are challenges that we come across on the side of good Governance. Family incomes go down, communities fail to cope up and the nation adds more of its budget on Health alone rather than moving forward with Economic development. The kind of scenario disturbs the Growth Domestic Product and Growth per capita which goes far down to certain levels difficult to manage.
There is less doubt that covid-19 , if it was left alone increasing in prevalence rate, at national, regional to global crisis it would have chocked the three main sectors of the economy. These are Agriculture, Mining and Manufacturing sectors and humanitarian sectors which are Health, Education and food security.
Sustainable Communities ..
Well managed Health systems of any given country casts an eye to saving lives of all generations. To be cock-sure that Health lives it starts with Primary Health Care at family and community levels. Families maintain hygiene, cleanliness of homes under health care guided by community health care workers, family nurses and doctors. Families get registered with the medical aid societies. Families get access to health services, supplies of nutritious food, drugs and other health amenities.
This applies to communities that must get all health service provision, access to basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. Basic needs supply in adequate number reduce health challenges, poverty and vulnerability. It is important as well to focus on secondary health. The kind of health give people access to clinic and hospital care all the times. Therefore, Governments plays a role by building clinics and hospitals. The Government comes with a budget to increase medical supply, ambulance services and work together in collective action against any spread of a disease.
In working towards Sustainability of communities to remain safe and health, Non-Governmental Organisations and United Nations agents like WHO comes to the rescue by providing large budgets in Health medicines. This has been witnessed in Zimbabwe when USA, WHO, Global Fund and a few not mentioned gave support in form of funding towards covid-19 prevention. In other words, health amenities and facilities like sanitisers, temperature check-up machines to say as much has been the work of civil society, companies and donors.
RESILIENCE against Covid-19
Remaining resilient against covid-19 is a must rather than ignore. It is when people remain bold and energetic to defend themselves from dangers that expose them to vulnerability. It is the role of communities to follow instructions, guidelines and policies at global and national levels. There have been information gaps in communities in line with the disease but much was broadcasted on radios and televisions, newspapers like the Newsday, on-line and Econet messages. Technical support is however needed to increase awareness, sensitisation and advocacy related to this. People must be trained deeply. Capacity building comes with sharp requisite skills and aptitude in terms of prevention, treatment, care and support.
There is no doubt that global information is vital. Families and communities remain vigilant to new information. People learn about future of the pandemic, data available on-line, what’s-up, phones and on both print and electronic media. Resilience comes more with communities accessing health technology and infrastructure like up-dated testing machines, protective clothing, masks and related paraphernalia.
Funding permits developed countries. A few like China with 1,4 billion population to name one good example. It has done sprayings in populous areas. This is one best example of remaining resilient. Market places, schools and other visiting and work-places get regularly sprayed. Tight measures and policies make it illegal to be found without masks and related protection. This is not the case with developing countries of the World which do not have these facilities. Policies are there of course but they work in an environment with all amenities in place. Zimbabwe is one country where people lose hope with the future of covid-19 . This is because they face economic challenges, lack of enough knowledge, lack Technical information and support from the Government. Under such situations, there is completely no resilience.
Politics is detrimental to sustainability and resilience ..
Zimbabwe takes more effort and time looking at politics rather than specialising on Health and Education, Economic development and channelling bigger budgets on these sectors. Such management is anti-developmental, counter -productive and leads a country into poverty. Countries that focus more on politics lose grip with sustainable and economic development. Good examples are countries that have been in civil wars, weapons of mass destruction, displacement of the people and civil-strife. The result is chaos that leads to under-development.
Sited is Zimbabwe with some sections of society pushing for mass protests during covid-19 . The point then is , we are destroying where we have built . We are demolishing standing structures built by people in collective action.
Achieving Resilience needs Empowerment, Working Together, collective Action and Sustainability ..
Empowerment has grown up women bringing in Gender balance, equality and mainstreaming. Women contributes more to sustainable development because they are at the top in terms of care of children, support and maintenance of human standards. Women play role of prevention by cleaning homes, maintaining and promoting water and sanitation Health. Women get empowered through Education, provision of health facilities and access to information.
Empowered women have become nurses who give support to patients in hospitals during this time. They are part of the Red-Cross and community health care workers. They need empowerment through our collective action, raising our voices for their social welfare, working together as communities in fighting covid-19 to create a sustainable environment. Issues of our environmental health take centre stage. Sustainability is shown by consistence, making use of skills attained for specific development for the future generations.
*Nevison Mpofu Is A Sustainable Development Lecturer. The Program Is Attached To Abma A London Exam Board. He Is A Multi-Awarded Winning Journalist And Published Poet. He Is Studying Further With The University Of The People Based In Usa. Contact Him —Nmnevsonmpofu755@Gmail.Com.The views are his