As the partial lockdown gets underway for the prevention of Covid-19 spread, Ugandans across the spectrum are variously affected, including families dealing with illness and death from Covid-19 and other illnesses. Life as we know it has been upended, especially healthcare.
Perhaps, the only glimmer of hope here is that we have seen this pandemic before. We are springing not from rock bottom but from a certain level of knowledge on treatment and setup of preventive measures.
In this new second and ferocious wave of the pandemic, at least some of the structures are still in place and it is critical that we build on the lessons learnt from the sustained fight against the disease. The difference this time could also be quiet panic spreading, with the search for preventive remedies intensifying especially in the highly populated urban areas where the access to hospitalisation and treatment is limited and facilities are likely to be stretched to the limit.
This is where the public information and education needs to be stepped up to prevent a whole new epidemic of self-medicating and wrongly prescribing herbal and other medicines. This is a chance for us to slow the spread of Covid-19 by retooling our old structures and springing them back into action.
Also, when further measures are proposed, there should be a planning team that anticipates the effects of actions such as transport shutdowns to avoid the kind of mass panic and stampeding that has often accompanied presidential directives.
While we institute measures, let there be counter measures to take care of the projected effects of disease control measures. We have been engaged in the fight against Covid-19 long enough to have documented best practices and perhaps learnt from past errors to be able to carry out a more organised campaign which does not further jeopardise public safety.
A regular update on access to treatment, whether in hospital or at home would go a long way in reassuring the population and stemming the panic.
There has been massive education on standard operating procedures against Covid-19. Now is the time to activate the systems which we have been or should have been building since last year, to date.