Public awareness a must to contain COVID-19 outbreak

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday said 32 new cases of coronavirus have been registered in western Herat province taking the number of patients to 79, including the four cases with Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
According to MoPH spokesman, the 32 of the new positive cases had been detected in Herat province. A day earlier, he said two of the new positive cases were detected in Logar and Samangan provinces.
According to provincial officials, the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 reached to 54 in Herat province, with one woman aged 45 died yesterday due to the disease.
Despite of many concerns about political instability in Afghanistan, Afghans have now become concerned over the outbreak of coronavirus in the country. The first coronavirus infection case was confirmed in the border province of Herat in western Afghanistan on February 24th. Since then, the government has adopted measures to contain further spread of the virus such as deploying medical teams at the country’s airports as well as in border areas, but in recent days the anxiety of people, the warnings of health officials and also the number of infected people have been on the rise.
With confirming at least 79 infected cases and dozens of suspicions, the government has quarantined the cities of Herat, Farah and Zaranj as well as suspended the opening of all educational institutions, private and service ones until 17th April 2020.
No country has yet developed a certain vaccine or drug to combat the disease, therefore, the first and most important way to deal the virus is preventive measures. The experiences also show that preventive measure is the easiest and costless way to deal with the disease. Though China was the first origin of the corona epidemic, it almost overcome the virus with preventive measures.
Meanwhile another important way is to mobilize all public health institutions in fighting against coronavirus. Unfortunately, there is no effective cooperation between health system and infected people and so they try to escape or hide the disease from the health system. It is unclear for people how they will be treated once they are caught/ quarantined by the government.
Therefore, the health ministry has to quickly launch an advocacy or awareness program so that the infected individuals do not frighten or not hide themselves endangering their lives and also that of others.
No doubt, if this disease farther spreads in our country, neither there is enough preparation for the treatment of patients, nor our health capacities are responsive to the epidemic of corona. However, the ministry of public health has shown good competences yet; despite having the least facilities and bordering with origin countries of coronavirus, Afghanistan has relatively remained secure but now it seems that we are in a pre-storm situation.
Meanwhile the Afghan health officials have warned that millions of Afghans would be affected if they do not follow the preventive measures. Therefore, all the country’s citizens should do more to stay home and avoid to attend any public gatherings.
The country’s media and religious scholars should also raise awareness among people to help tackle the virus in the country. Since religious scholars and media playing key role in the country, thus they are required to do their best to ease cooperation between the health authorities and the affected people so that prevent the further spread of disease in the country.

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