Zimbabwe is among the African countries with high rates of coronavirus infections. Recent reports have revealed that the cases continue to surge with the growing numbers of the second wave. Dixon Chibanda, a Zimbabwean psychologist, narrates how he contracted covid despite sanitizing, masking, and social distancing.
My Experience with Coronavirus
He states that his early days struggling with the virus made it difficult for him. He said watching his oxygen level fluctuate daily made him drown in fear. At that time, despite being a medical doctor, he was scared. More so, when he remembered that oxygen had become a necessity and many people were relying on it. He prayed, hoping to escape the wrath of the virus. It was only three days since he contracted the virus, but he already felt like he was dying. Extreme fatigue and intermittent shortness of breath sure made his life a living hell in the hospital.
Dr. Dixon says that anybody can die in Zimbabwe, mainly because of the compromised health conditions. During the period that he was ailing, five doctors he had worked with over the past years contracted the virus and succumbed. That was despite getting medical assistance. That’s just proof that most hospitals in Zimbabwe are of low standard and need enhancements.
Losing covid patients like civilians and medical personnel to Corona is a devastating experience. For instance, five doctors’ loss was a significant loss to Zimbabwe. Dr. Dixon is fortunate enough to have recovered from the virus on his fifth week of ailing. He must have been lucky as his colleagues who were having the same condition as he recovered. He left the hospital questioning what the virus was, as he had so much to comprehend.
Psychological Treatment Program to Help Covid-19 Victims
Other than Mr. Dixon being a doctor, he is the Friendship Bench Psychological treatment center founder. He has been running the organization for up to 10 years, helping restore mental health in Zimbabwe. Mr. Dixon manages to offer psychological assistance with the help of older women. The organization has about 700 trained grandmothers who provide services to approximately 100 communities in Zimbabwe.
Initially, Zimbabwe had only 13 psychiatrists, who attended to about 16 million people. Therefore assistance from the trained grandmothers comes in handy, especially at a time like this.
Risk of Contracting Coronavirus
Medical reports have confirmed that elderly populations are more susceptible to the virus, mainly because their immune system is weakened compared to the young populations. As such, the grandmothers working in the psychological institution risk contracting the virus, mostly as they interact with different people.
Dr. Dixon stated that recently, he received news that one of the grandmothers working for Friendship Bench died from Corona. This new drew his concern as he even asked the grandmothers to counsel people via mobile phone. However, that could not be the case as most of those seeking psychological assistance need to meet their counselors in person. Just recently, one grandmother met with a client who had just lost his parents to Corona. He looked disturbed and seemed like he needed someone to talk to. So virtual communication might not be as effective as one on one.