By Chris Ezeh – Director EuroAfrica Media Network
Intercultural Health Consultant BG Klinikum Hamburg Germany
We have all read a lot of good stuff, bad stuff and even jokes about the only world´s single topic right now: “Corona Virus”. Having the big ignorance and poor health competence of Nigerians in mind I feel it is not only important, but the duty of every African qualified health expert both at home and abroad to inform our people thereby regularly exchange vital health information and updates on what is going on in their areas or institutions with fellow experts. I pity those who still think coronavirus/COVID19 is something to be joked with. The coronavirus/COVID19 situation is VERY serious.
It will be a foolhardy to take lightly a new health problem which equally poses a looming economic crisis. Will you really not take seriously a situation that is momentarily real and scientifically proven as a challenging threat to our lives and families? As a health professional here in one of the best German University Teaching Hospitals in Europe, l am at the center of this reality and can only resound the WARNING. My people this situation is REAL!!
To this regard the EuroAfrica Media Network has launched: EAMN Covid19 Health Information Service: This page will regularly and professionally update and inform Africans and all users on COVID19 as fast as possible through all media tools available to us including our WhatsApp Platform.
At the moment there is no cure except only symptom-alleviating measures or therapy. The best prevention you can afford is stay at home if possible otherwise check our tips below.
What is happening now in Europe?
Currently, most Hospital systems are overwhelmed with all of the resources needed to care for these patients – Nurses, doctors, ICU beds, isolation floors, etc. Most inpatient and outpatient surgeries are cancelled and operating rooms are being converted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Rehabilitation clinics are all getting prepared for a situation which no one can actually predict.
Death tolls are rising daily in all major cities in Western Countries. Older patients and also young patients with chronic conditions are the most vulnerable. Besides there are also younger patients (~40 years old) who are also in critical conditions. If you are young and you are a smoker, then you are equally in danger.
Panic is not the keyword here. You must be calm and prepared. Being prepared guarantees you calmness. Preparedness therefore means accessing the right information and knowing exactly what to do especially doing this in advance. You should ensure that you adhere to strict professional medical advice. There is no current cure for this disease so PLEASE protect yourselves, your families and loved ones and take it seriously. Please disregard Fake News on “Africans are immune to the coronavirus” because corona virus has no friend. Everybody is at risk of being a victim.
Please take the following professional medical advice seriously.
At the Personal Level What must I do?
Don’t touch your face. Practically this means: Do not rub your eyes, do not cut your fingernails with your teeth, bore in your nose with the fingers. You can only touch your face if you just washed your hands. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day (for at least 20 times a day and for a duration of not less than 20-30 seconds) and use hand sanitizer often if possible. You must know that germs including viruses have an easy entry if we are dehydrated, as a result you should ensure you drink enough water daily, at least two liters a day (if you have medical conditions e.g. heart problems – please consult your physician for advice).Carry some water with you so you can drink regularly or wash with this if necessary.
Avoid hand contacts on railings of staircases in buildings. Avoid lifts use the staircase instead, if you have to, then use tempo paper to wrap your finger before pressing the floor numbers dispose this off in a safe dustbin or do this with your elbow. Thereafter, try and wash or disinfect your hands, avoid public transportation, avoid handshakes and wash your hands before and after each movement or meeting with people or after outside contacts. At home, wash clothes at high temperatures not lower than 60 degrees Celsius dry them up if possible. Disinfect and wipe down surfaces at home and offices e.g. door handles, your key-bundles, computer keyboards /mouse toilette and bath.
Most importantly avoid any unnecessary social contact (funeral ceremonies, naming ceremonies, birthdays, church, gym, parties, etc. Keep at least 2 meters distance from people. This is important in the super markets, filling stations, when standing queues etc. Carry some water and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol with you and wash always with soap and water as soon as you can.
At filling stations ensure you do not get direct hand contact to the fuel pump-out tap…if you have to wash your hands immediately. Please don’t play with your life. Only leave the house if necessary and only for the essentials.
In Germany Private travels within and outside the country are not allowed. Gathering of persons in private groups and meetings of associations are banned. Walking as a group is limited to 2 persons and as group; only families are allowed
People should maintain at least 2 metre distance from each another. For Africans this includes maintaining also 2 metre distance in the AfroShops, private shops eg Turkish vegetable shops etc.
Avoid close contact with anyone that has fever and cough. Avoid openly coughing and sneezing. When coughing or sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue. Throw away tissue in dustbins immediately and wash your hands
If you have symptoms like lethargy, joint pains, coughing, fever and sore throat and dyspnea (difficulty breathing) should contact the emergency service to be COVID19 Testing – For Africans in Germany – Call the medical on-call service outside office hours ✆ 116117. This telephone number is valid nationwide in Germany.
This great challenge calls for our special sense of responsibility and solidarity. Your conduct this time is not only crucial for your health but for all those dear ones around you especially the elderly and those on certain medications (cortisone, cytostatic immune depressants) and those with chronic conditions like (Asthma, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD)
It will be hard but if everyone does the right thing to prevent the spread of the virus, we will overcome this. “Onye nwere nti, ya nuru” (If you have ears, please use it!) Please let me know if you have any questions. Join us here