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'Don't ignore other killer diseases'

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2021 at 06:42hrs | Views
HEALTH experts yesterday said the public should be wary of other killer diseases that might affect them at a time when most resources are being directed towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed more than 1 500 people in the country.

Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association president Johannes Marisa said people were now concentrating on COVID-19 only and forgetting other diseases that are a threat to human life such as malaria, typhoid, diarrhoea, diabetes and others.

He said there were high chances of disasters that might be caused by malaria and other diseases.

"If we continue to be obsessed with COVID-19 alone, we might be caught unawares because we are witnessing a lot of cases of malaria and typhoid and these also present almost the same symptoms as COVID-19. Let's open our eyes," Marisa said.

"Let us not also forget the dangers of hypertension and it's one disease that's taking a lot of people and we do not want to attribute all deaths to COVID-19," he said.

Last year, malaria cases were on the increase, with 300 to 400 deaths recorded in Zimbabwe. Globally, it is estimated that 410 000 people lost their lives, with 85% of the cases being in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Globally, about 100 000 people succumb to typhoid while an estimated eight million people lose their lives to hypertension per year.

"That number per year on a global scale points to a calamity. We are also experiencing large numbers of malaria without even the history of travelling outside the country, and so people should be very careful," Marisa said.

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights secretary Norman Matara said there was need for the public to continue protecting themselves against killer diseases that may not be infectious, but chronic in nature.

"We should not forget about the other diseases that are killing people because they are afraid to go to the hospital for fear of contracting COVID-19. People have to continue to go for regular check-ups, especially for tuberculosis, continue screening processes for malaria and hypertension. Preventive measures should also be taken lest we forget that there were other diseases that came way before COVID-19," Matara said.

Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association president Shingai Nyaguse said: "As much as we need COVID-19 responses, there is a need for intervention in other areas as well such as tuberculosis, cancer and hypertension that haven't gone away.

Source - newsday