There are not many billionaires that devout their time to teach people on entrepreneurship. Strive Masiyiwa is not one of those people, from using Facebook for micro blogging, to appearing on many educational platforms, he has done his most to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Recently he was presenting a simple formula on fighting Coronavirus. Such formulas are just what many nations and companies are looking for as economies gradually open and lockdown restrictions are being eased. At one time we all have to go back to work, and as the race for a vaccine does not seem to be nearing the finish line, ways have to be incepted to live and work in such a manner that we do not risk rapid transmission.
Knowledge is power, and in such crucial times this is made apparent. We need to continuously Inform everyone about the virus, and how easily it spreads. The most vulnerable groups need to be informed about the virus, any preventive measures since they are at the most risk. Some people are of the opinion that the easing of the restrictions means the danger has gone away. But this is not the case. Until such a time as the world finds a cure or a vaccine, the danger persists.
Accurate information is critical in this crisis, given the prevalence of misinformation especially on social media platforms.
Currently the best test available is something called the “PCR test” (polymerase chain reaction) which takes, in an efficient system, five hours to get a result. Ideally though, we need a test that detects the infection as soon as someone comes into contact with the virus. This pest is however very expensive and can cost up to $20, the test kits are also in very short supply. There is a less effective test known as the Rapid Detection Test - RDT which gives results in just 15 minutes. Unfortunately needs to be taken at least seven days from the date of infection.
Dr Masiyiwa proposes that African countries should buy RDT test kits in millions and test as many people as possible.
Covid-19 is contagious but that does not mean private doctors and surgeons cannot test for it in their clinics. A water tight process should however be developed for collating results.
The purpose of testing is to find those people that have the infection and are spreading it to others near them, usually without even knowing they have it.
Once the persons positive for the virus are identified, they must be isolated in a safe place until they have fully recovered.
As soon as someone tests positive it is crucial to trace any people they came in contact with. Rwanda has built a National Tracing Centre where about 600 trained young people are calling people after they are identified. This is phenomenal, but this should not be hard to duplicate for other African countries. Dr Masiyiwa went on to suggest that government partners up with mobile operators like Econet, MTN, Vodacom, Glo and Orange. These providers have huge 24 hour call centres which can be used for tracing efforts.
Successful Testing and Tracing must lead to finding people that must be isolated. An infected person is not a criminal hence should not be treated as such.
Covid-19 has no known treatment yet. Most people who get it recover, even though it may be extremely painful and uncomfortable.
Training thousands of community healthy workers is important to deal with the crisis. This is one of the ways how Ebola was dealt with. South Africa and Rwanda are adopting this strategy.
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