Econet Wireless founder, Strive Masiyiwa has said that fighting the coronavirus pandemic needs a “simple formula” which he called “ITTIT.”
ITTIT is an abbreviation for Inform, Test, Trace contacts, Isolate and Treatment. Posting on on his Facebook blog following his appointment by the African Union as a special envoy to coordinate the Africa private sector initiative for the procurement of personal protective equipment and other essential supplies, Masiyiwa said:
We all have to go back to work, if we still have a job, otherwise, our families will starve, and our already frail economies will collapse. So how do we stop the rapid spread of the disease, other than by lockdowns? For me, to reduce the frequency, duration and necessity of lockdowns, the answer is and has always been…
I-Inform; T-Test; Trace contacts; I-Isolate; T-Treatment. #ITTIT!
He discussed the points as follows:
1. #ITTIT! – Inform
We need to continually Inform everyone about the virus, and how easily it spreads adding that there are a lot of people who believe that the lifting or easing of lockdowns means the danger has gone away. It has not! Until such time as the world finds a cure and/or a vaccine, the danger persists. He also said accurate information is critical in the wake of fake news on social media platforms.
2. #ITTIT! -Testing
The best we have at the moment is a “PCR test” (polymerase chain reaction) which takes about five hours to get the result in efficient systems while in less efficient ones it takes up to several days which means the person could have infected others in those five hours or more.
A less effective test known as the “Rapid Detection Test” (RDT) can produce results in just 15 minutes. Unfortunately, this test needs to be taken at least seven days from the time you are infected, which means you could have unknowingly infected a lot of people during that time.
Why not buy RDT test kits in millions, and test as many people as possible? Countries need to broaden their #TestingAlliances, which includes the private sector, NGOs, business, and faith organizations.
(My team at Sasai Global will next week release a free mobile App which helps governments and citizens to manage mass testing. It is called the Sasai Status Report.).
3. #ITTIT! – Trace contacts
The purpose of #Testing is to find those people who have the infection, and are spreading it to others near them, usually without even knowing that they have it. As soon as someone tests positive for the virus, the health authorities will want to learn about their #Contacts to help them, their families and others in their community stay safe. They may be asked to go into immediate self-isolation.
4. #ITTIT! – Isolation
Successful #Testing and #Tracing, must lead to finding people who must be isolated, and put into a safe and healthy “personal lockdown”. A person who is infected is not a criminal, and must not be treated as such! They are citizens who must be treated with compassion, kindness and support, as they face a potentially life-threatening disease.
5. #ITTIT! – Treatment
COVID-19 has no known treatment yet but most people who get it will recover, even though it may be extremely painful and uncomfortable. Even in the most (economically) developed countries like Britain and Italy, which were hit hard by COVID-19, most people were nursed back to health from home. In Africa, where we have very few hospital beds, we need to be focusing our energy on how we provide #home-based care:
__Providing clean, dry shelter, with blankets, and hot nutritious meals, including being prepared to rush to someone’s home with oxygen bottles to help to breathe, is more important than only chasing after ventilators.
Thousands of community health workers, who are volunteers and highly motivated have to be trained. This is how we dealt with Ebola. South Africa and Rwanda have already unleashed thousands of community health workers!
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