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Pandemic dilemma… fighting virus in the informal settlement

2020-09-03  Loide Jason

Pandemic dilemma… fighting virus in the informal settlement

Jonas Halwoondi shares a one-bedroom home with his wife and two children in Windhoek’s Goreangab informal settlement. Goreangab is considered the hotspot of the virus in the capital, with an increasing caseload reported almost every day. 
While the pandemic is posing a stiff challenge to health authorities, residents of informal settlements, who are mostly crammed in often poorly-ventilated dwellings, are also very at risk of contracting the deadly virus.  Halwoondi, who is also a local community leader, narrated to New Era yesterday how his wife battled Covid-19 and how she self-isolated at home. 

According to Halwoondi, his wife, who works at a local salon, was infected with the virus last month. She has since recovered. 
“It is a pity that my wife is not here to narrate her story too, but I will unpack for you what I have gone through while I was taking care of her and immediately when she was informed of her positive results on the phone,” he explained. 

He said the moment his wife was confirmed to have the coronavirus, the family put up measures to avoid her coming into contact with the rest of the household, including their 22-month-old toddler son and six-year-old daughter. 
“It was hectic. We have two children. The older one understood that she does not need to come in contact with the mother and the small one is always crying to see the mother,” he said.  

He said it was not easy to control the youngster and separate him from his mother. 
Halwoondi further claimed the ministry of health officials did not take their situation seriously in terms of testing the immediate contacts.  “Those people called and promised to come the next day to test me with the children, however, they never showed up and I needed to present the proof to work that I am truly exposed to the virus,” he said. He was later swabbed for the virus at Robert Mugabe clinic. 

“My results took almost a week before I was informed about it today (yesterday). Luckily I am not infected. I have complied with the regulations,” he stated. 
He said since the day the wife was infected the family had not got into contact with her. 
“It renewed my hope of surviving this. They told us to check the temperature in the morning, afternoon and at night – and we were all better,” he said, adding he came up with home remedies to treat the virus, including boiled lemon water.  “Everything we gave her we put at the door while we were in the living room and she took it. She only went to relieve herself in the riverbed at night while the children were asleep,” he added. 

“All I can tell the people now is to please wash your hands, sanitise and importantly, self-isolate. I can tell you from a first-account experience that you should self-isolate; just stay at home as much as possible, practise social distancing so that you do not infect other people should you have the virus and not even know it,” he emphasised.
He also said he was worried about the their six-year-old daughter who is due to return to school next week, yet she was not yet tested for the virus. “I do not want her to go infect other children, therefore my child will not go to school before she gets tested,” he maintained. – ljason@nepc.com.na 


2020-09-03  Loide Jason

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