“The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience” – Chinua Achebe
The world has battled the Spanish Flu, SARS 1, MERS, Ebola, Lassa Fever and many more. For a number of these we adopted measures that were extremely helpful but as soon as we had a chance to “breathe” we threw caution to the wind. Can we prove Chinua Achebe wrong this time?
Our enhanced handwashing and sanitization practices have done 2 things in Sikaman; the incidence of diarrhoea (including cholera) has been extremely low and so has respiratory illnesses such as the common cold especially among children. The world may have been battered by COVID-19 but hopefully we will hold on to experience gained and improve our lives.
We all need to be reminded about the basic things that matter in our fight to control COVID-19 and I have condensed this information into 10 points. There is nothing magical about 10, I just woke up, washed my face and decided 10 was a beautiful number.
Join me on this brisk “PREVENTATHON”;
- Ensure Physical Distancing
- Ensure you are not in crowded areas. About 2 metres or more space between people is encouraged.
- In brief periods where that is not possible do not talk face to face. Side by side may be a better option
- Masking is a must
- Just DO THIS!
- During meal time when you do not have any option but to remove mask, reduce talking to barest minimum when others close by and leave area as quickly as possible. This will apply to all places where masks can’t be worn e.g. canteen, locker-rooms/shower areas in factories etc.
- Handle mask properly. Keep clean
- Masks should cover nose too
- Personal Hygiene is GOLDEN
- Thorough hand washing with soap and running water is a MUST in the absence of that you may use a hand sanitizer preferably with an alcohol base of 70% (anything above 60% may however be used)
- Do not touch face especially mouth, eyes and nose with hands that have not been cleaned
- Avoid HANDSHAKES….hands many be contaminated
- Environmental Hygiene makes a difference
- Ensure common areas such as door knobs, stair rails, tables etc. are cleaned regularly. Someone should be designated to do that
- Sanitize your phone, keys, pens etc.
- Carry change etc. for public transport or to use at tollbooths
- DO NOT shake handkerchiefs in church; you never know where others may have “sent” theirs; I can only imagine.
- Cough and Sneeze etiquette should stay forever
- Do not cough or sneeze in cupped hands ideally use a clean tissue and dispose of hygienically e.g. into a covered bin. In the absence of that you may cough into the curve of your elbow
- Do not sneeze into your handkerchief and then put into your pocket or bag. Dispose
- Stigmatization has NO PLACE here
- No one lovingly goes seeking for an infection. If we are not worried about the common cold and malaria for instance then the same should apply to COVID-19
- When we stigmatize an illness then people who may even know they have the infection will not disclose for the appropriate interventions. They will “hide” and continue to interact with us leading to more people getting infected
- SAY NO to stigmatization
- Screen aggressively
- At all entry points in workplaces etc. it is important to screen well so that we reduce the risk of having sick people getting into the space
- Temperature screening and questionnaires or asking about symptoms and signs (this has no bearing to signs and wonders even though we are referring to this as 10 commandments) may be helpful
- Be each other’s keeper
- If you are unwell do stay away from others to avoid spreading any form of illness. Get help
- Take precautions when you return home e.g. cleaning footwear and keeping in a designated area, handling clothes appropriately and taking a bath before you mingle
- Take extra precautions with people who are at high risk of complications including those with; heart disease, uncontrolled high blood pressure and diabetes, immunosuppression, cancers, liver disease, kidney disease, asthma, sickle cell disease and over 65 year olds.
- Stay Home if you do not need to step out
- Keep in touch with family and friends by phone or other means as often as possible
- Get professional help when needed (quickly)
- Get access to numbers you call for professional advice and management if needed
- Do not assume everything is COVID, all the other diseases and emergencies still exist and sitting waiting endlessly can be disastrous
- Build/Boost your Immune System
- When all measures fail, your immune system should be a worthy last ditch-stand so ensure its at its best with the following
- Ensure you are happy and surround yourself with positive people
- Laugh often
- Get adequate sleep and rest
- Exercise daily
- Eat a balanced meal with fruits and vegetables
- You may supplement with multivitamins if your meal cant supply all you need
- Take a twice daily dose of pure cocoa drink with NO ADDITIVES
- Spend at least 30 minutes a day outdoors with nature
- Say a kind word to someone, say thank you, support the less priviledged
- Donate blood
- Learn a hobby or spend time engaged in your hobbies
Yes there are many things we can do but for now let us master these and do feel free to share your TEN COMMANDMENTS with me at
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Health Essentials Ltd/Mobissel/St. Andrews Clinic
*Dr. Essel is a Medical Doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise.
Thought for the week – “#educatecosyourlifedependsonit.”