WITH Manicaland recording a spike in the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths, the initiative by Mutare City Council in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to roll out free Covid-19 screening and testing comes as a huge relief and highly commendable development.
On the whole, this programme is designed to keep things in check. It is meant to combat the continued spread of the coronavirus.
That there is absolutely no fee being charged for one to undergo the testing and screening is an enormous plus that should encourage everyone to step forward and be involved in this noble drive. Most people’s livelihoods have taken a severe knock due to the debilitating impact and devastating effects of the pandemic and this initiative, therefore, becomes a timely short in the arm.
Again, it had also become unaffordable for the ordinary citizens to access these particular services due to the prohibitive costs which were being charged by private laboratories. On the other hand, due to the rising cases, our public health facilities in the city and around the province were under threat of being overwhelmed by the Covid-19 incidences. Now, this free roll-out programme is set to reduce that burdensome toll on our hospitals and clinics.
Another positive is that the programme is end user-friendly in that it is not time-consuming for it takes only 15 minutes to complete. This makes it worth all the while to take up than the trouble one will go through when they get infected because a stitch in time saves nine.
For purposes of expediency, the centres carrying out these tests and screening are conveniently located in the city as well as the high-density suburbs of Sakubva and Dangamvura to facilitate easy accessibility to them. Movement of people to and from these points also becomes hassle-free and not stressful at all.
Kudos to Mutare City Council and the Ministry of Health and Child Care and we applaud them for adopting this proactive approach which is set to go a very long way in combating the scourge in our midst.
But for this initiative to be effective and produce the desired outcome, there has to be buy-in from the public because this is in our own best interest. The programme is meant to protect us from infection and save us from death.
Coupled with the recommended hygienic practices of always wearing face masks correctly when in public places, hand sanitising, regularly washing our hands with soap under running water, properly covering our coughs and sneezes as well as maintaining social distancing, being co-opted into this programme is instrumental in helping us flatten the curve of new infections.
This, thus, can be another way of ensuring that we mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our lives.
Armed with statistics from the results, it can help us in planning and devising essential preventive measures and intervention strategies in the fight against the pandemic. This way, the scourge cannot spiral out of control.
In the face of the rising cases of Covid-19, this is a good starting point which – if we all work together in making it successful – can eventually take us to a coronavirus-free destination.
Everyone has to be massively cooperative every step of the way.
Meanwhile, while we are taking up the free Covid-19 tests and screening, we have to religiously adhere to the lockdown regulations; otherwise we risk reversing the gains attained so far in the war against this invisible enemy.
With other stakeholders are playing their part in combating coronavirus, residents also have to do their bit by being compliant as willing and participatory partners. This is one war which can be won only when we team up and combine forces as a united human front against the pandemic.
This is a shared concern and collective responsibility.
As Mutare and Manicaland, we have to lead by example and have other cities or provinces emulate us as a model and success story in nipping coronavirus in the bud while averting the disastrous consequences which it can wreak on our people.
The free Covid-19 tests and screening exercise is one good turn which deserves another by having the people of the city joining hands and embracing this initiative in order to make it work. It is for our own good and benefit.
We, therefore, have to play ball in this regard.
As we set out to achieve the goals spelt out in Vision 2030, our success as a nation hinges on the health of our people.