Ever rising Covid-19 positivity rate currently at 26.8 percent has overshadowed the success story in terms of recoveries with epidemiologists attributing the situation to poor compliance to precautionary measures.
Ministry of Health data indicates that the Covid-19 recovery rate stands at an average of 80.3 percent. This represents a 53.5 percent gap between the recovery and positivity rates.
In an interview on Monday, infectious diseases expert and epidemiologist Dr. Titus Divala said there is need to focus more on enhancing preventive measures at all levels.
He said the first step is ensuring that people are not infected by avoiding indoor meetings, observing physical distancing, practising hand washing with soap, wearing masks and minimising the risk to infect others by self-quarantining when Covid-19 symptoms arise.
Divala said: “There is need to ensure that we do our best to prevent serious illness that needs hospital care. The best known approach is by using vaccines.
“Apart from vaccines, as a nation we can minimise hospital admissions by shielding older adults and those with high risk conditions from getting infected, especially through organised actions at community level.”
While stating that the next step is to prevent deaths among those who become critically sick, he said people should ensure timely access to hospital Covid-19 care. He observed that many people have died due to delayed access to hospital care.
Divala said another side of minimising deaths involves ensuring that the country’s health facilities are well equipped to meet the surge in demand for Covid-19 services.
The epidemiologist said hospitals should have on their “must-have” lists adequate oxygen, medical personnel, hospital beds and a network of oxygen equipped referral system.
In a separate interview, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences professor in epidemiology Adamson Muula said that while the recovery rate is expected to rise due to compliance to Covid-19 measures, the rise in daily reported deaths are a cause of worry.
He said: “As to the recovery rates of at least 80 percent, this is expected.The majority of the people who get infected with the coronavirus are able to defeat it over time having experienced only mild symptoms or none at all.
“It is a small percentage which ends up having serious disease. Among these, sadly, some die. Recoveries mean that the individual who was once infected no longer has the virus and is not at risk of infecting other people.”
Muula said people who have recovered, but had significant symptoms may still have complications; hence, they may require long-term care.
Meanwhile police have stepped up efforts to enforce Covid-19 preventive measures by ‘strictly ’ enforcing wearing of face masks in public, in line with Public Health Guidelines.
Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr. Charles Mwansambo is on record as having said that the country has scaled up efforts through resource mobilisation to minimise the impact of the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
He said his ministry has to date engaged numerous stakeholders to ensure availability of essential medical supplies, including oxygen.
The ministry’s state of preparedness update comes against a background of assessment reports by the Medical Council of Malawi, World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ministry of Health itself as well as The Nation investigation which revealed critical shortages of equipment, essential drugs, treatment centres and personnel.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that as of Monday, the country recorded 11 new deaths, 867 new cases and 116 new recoveries.