CORONAVIRUS: MORE POVERTY-RELATED DEATHS IF ECONOMY ISN’T SUSTAINED – MUNSAKA

University of Zambia Dean of Health Sciences Dr. Sody Munsaka says Zambia may experience more poverty related deaths than COVID-19 related deaths if the country’s economy and huge informal sector are not sustained.

In an interview on UNZA Radio’s Lusaka Star Magazine Program, Dr. Munsaka said the country has given the Coronavirus too much attention, adding that it maybe paying a blind eye towards other economic issues.

Economic related deaths maybe number one. The country should not close its eyes on issues of Malnutrition in children, communicable diseases, Malaria, HIV/AIDS and road traffic accidents,

Dr. Munsaka said.

He noted that the HIV population would not survive in a total lockdown, adding that it needs a lot of attention from Pharmacies and Health Care facilities that need to access drug refills, CD4 counting tests, and other services.

Dr. Munsaka added that the country needs to strike a balance in the attention and resources it gives to both COVID-19 and other conditions.

A lot of resources have gone towards COVID-19, but there are other key priority areas that need more attention instead of shifting all attention and focus on one condition,

Dr. Munsaka said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Munsaka said that as the country adapts to the new way of living, schools will eventually have to open in a sequential manner were examination classes will open first, and subsequently, other classes will also have to open abiding by certain regulations.

He however said that the reopening of Universities and Colleges maybe problematic due to the high numbers of student in higher learning institutions.

Dr. Munsaka further suggested that when the University of Zambia (UNZA) and other Universities reopen, online learning should continue, to avoid overcrowding lecture theatres and keep physical distancing.

Unza should break all big classes into smaller classes and have larger lectures online, then have smaller tutorial classes of at least 10 to 15 students, were student to lecture interactions would be possible,

Dr. Munsaka said.

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