AMID all the doom and gloom, the pain and soreness spurred by deaths related to the pandemic, there are lots of soothing and calming tales of phenomenal recovery which bear testimony to the reality that testing positive for the virus is not synonymous with signing a death warrant.
Government recently noted that the sharp decline in the country’s Covid-19 recovery rate has been a result of the surge in new cases which has put pressure on resources, leading to delays in contact tracing and recording of newly recovered cases.
Chief Coordinator of the National Response to the Covid-19 in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Agnes Mahomva, told the media recently that provincial teams were preoccupied with tracking severely ill patients who need urgent medical attention.
This came after Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 recovery rate fell to 59 percent, down from 92 percent during the first wave of the pandemic, thereby giving the false impression that very few are recovering from the disease.
Refreshingly, surviving Covid-19 is cutting across the social strata with the poorest among the poor also enjoying the God-given right to life thanks to access to some traditional remedies.
With an aim to boost immunity and give the body a chance to fight against the virus, people are using different herbs, most popular among then the Lippia javanica plant (also known as the fever bush, zumbani (sumba) or unsuzwane).
Thus, Dr Dexter Chagwena, a nutrition consultant, said: “This pandemic has brought special attention to herbal remedies or functional foods, naturally regarded for both their nutritional and health benefits. Most of us commonly know these as herbs or complementary and alternative medicines.
“So far not much has been documented on its health and nutritional benefits. We know it has been used traditionally to relieve symptoms of colds, cough, fever, bronchitis and diarrhoea etc. and taken as tea.
“Hence, we consider it safe based on this anecdotal data. Of course, a lot of laboratory analysis has been done showing presence of phytochemicals that can potentially benefit our health.”
Apart from the home remedies, the religiosity of Zimbabweans in these difficult times can never better be overlooked, as simple prayers were pointed out by many as one of the major weapons for those who conquered the pandemic.
The Manica Post this week went out to engage several survivors of the pandemic who all had soothing and calming tales of phenomenal recovery.
Tinashe Shakespeare Matamisa, Mutare
During the third week of September 2020, I started having a fever and a little cough.
I pulled through the week and on September 27, I developed a severe cough throughout the night. I went for testing on Monday and the results came back pointing that I was Covid-19 positive.
I was put on home isolation and was being administered with antibiotics every morning. The symptoms started accumulating, loss of appetite and feeling weak. The cough was getting worse.
On Friday of the same week, I started vomiting and my strength deteriorated. On Saturday, I went back to see my doctor who noticed that my oxygen was very low and was rushed to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital where I was admitted in the isolation centre and was administered with oxygen.
On the first day, it was very difficult, but the second day was better as I could get out of bed, stand and visit the toilet with ease.
I then kept drinking zumbani and did some steaming while in my room. I continued receiving medication.
On Monday, my breathing was much better, but with the help of the oxygen tank. Symptoms seemed were now easing as I was gaining my breath. By Thursday, I was removed from the oxygen support machine and started breathing on my own. I was discharged on Monday to continue home isolation for 14 days.
Currently, I am taking zumbani and steaming. I am always taking warm foods and solids.
In all this drama, a positive mindset is crucial.
Taking it as an ailment that will pass and not a life threatening illness is really important.
Prayers are also an important source of faith and determination.
David Maramba, Mutare
It was on October 2, 2020 when I started losing appetite. I went for a week drinking different juices only. Initially I thought it is was my ulcers problem and consulted my general practitioner, Dr Prudence Mhlanga. He did a great job for me. I explained to him that I had lost appetite and also feeling weak. He suggested that I take a Covid-19 test. In fact, he tested for everything including hypertension, diabetes and HIV. Of all those, I tested positive for Covid-19.
He referred me to the isolation centre at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital. I went there and waited for an hour to be served. Life started changing as my condition deteriorated. I was put on oxygen for five days. I gained consciousness after five days. I only woke up to find myself in hospital not knowing what had happened. Members of staff at the isolation centre are doing a fantastic job.
I was kept in the hospital for 13 days, receiving treatment that included tablets and injections.
I was discharged from the hospital on the 14th day.
I went straight home and spent 10 days without leaving home. I only started going into public during the first week of November when I was feeling better.
The greatest things that I learnt through my ordeal is that Covid-19 is something that one can recover from. In fact, chances are high given that some of us even had extreme experiences, but survived. Never panic and let not fear rule your mindset.
Hope Kadewere, Masvingo
I am one of those who contracted Covid-19 in the second week of December. I started having flu. It was a normal flu that I have always experienced in the past. In fact, I thought it was all because of the rains since I had been badly exposed to them in recent days.
After a week, I started having difficulties in breathing and that is when it started getting worse.
The flu worsened. I lost appetite and taste. I depended on fruits, but I could not finish eating even a banana.
Putting on a mask would bring a very bad feeling at that stage. I tried steaming and used solphyllex syrup and other flue medications, but it persisted.
I went for tests and was administered some injections and other medication. That was the day I started getting better. It was on that day that I finally managed to speak well without having breathing problems.
After testing positive and getting treatment, I started steaming using guava and eucalyptus (gum) tree leaves and vapour rub (vicks). It did not take a week for me to recover. I just want to thank God for saving my life.
One should not panic when they test positive.
We should take it as another illness from which one can recover. I used to pray long and hard even in that period when I could not speak.
During the days when I was not feeling well, Apostle Kadewere, who happens to be my mother assisted me very much and I remember we had fixed prayer sessions everyday. I really want to urge everyone to keep a positive attitude after testing Covid-19 positive as they will survive.