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Opinion: Lockdown over COVID-19 not compatible for developing countries

By Dr. Isaac Ayii Ayii 

President Salva Kiir, the head of COVID-19 Task Force and Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the deputy head of COVID-19 Task Force demonstrating the use of a mask to prevent Coronavirus(Photo credit: supplied)
President Salva Kiir, the head of COVID-19 Task Force and Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the deputy head of COVID-19 Task Force demonstrating the use of a mask to prevent Coronavirus(Photo credit: supplied)

April 8, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) — Before, I drive my point home allow me briefly to describe the background of Corona virus Disease-19, which first erupted in China at Wuhan ,Hubei province December 2019, and later spread across the globe and affecting almost every nation on this planet earth, the most susceptible people being they elderly, those with underlying medical conditions and immunocompromised individuals out of every 100 infected persons 2 to 4 individuals are more likely to die and male patients have higher fatality rate compared to their female counterparts, its mode of transmission is via infected droplet or contaminated hands touching the nose ,mouth or eyes a reason as to why Sanitizers and hand washing with soap are being advocated for by WHO and Ministry of Health because use of alcoholic sanitizer and soap emulsifies fats which form the outer most shell of the virus hence, leading to its death.

Its Incubation period is 2 to 14 days before the patient presents with signs and symptoms, but at this stage he or she is able to transmit virus to those who come into contact with his or her infected droplet or infected surfaces via the hands of those who come into contact with the infected surfaces, this brings us to the second most use preventive measures the quarantine or isolation of suspect or patient in order to interrupt the route of transmission, with this brief background of COVID-19 allow me to focused on why Lock down approach for case management is the school of thought I don’t scribe too particularly in the poor and developing countries my Country South Sudan inclusive, as I quote “all deaths leads to grave , not only corona virus disease deaths”. A case of lockdown causing more deaths indirectly compared to the former.

In fact, a first world war had been declared by Viruses via their commander in Chief COVID-19 for the first time in the history of humankind and it is palpable in every human heartbeat, as every nation is fidgeting on how to face this world monster, like a drowning man in the middle of the ocean grasps every stray so is the case of lockdown approach adopted and coped from Wuhan, Hubei province where it is alleged to have work in China yet it is not proven enough to work in poor and developing countries, just to make some dissection into what is lock down case management approach I wish to first of all thank the world for the level of unity and solidarity exhibited during this trying moment against the invisible enemy the pathogenic microbes in the form of Corona Virus Disease-19 while I pray for the soul of our brothers and sisters who had lost their lives to this monster, the world will rise triumphantly once again but with the lesson learnt to wholeheartedly invest all their energies and resources in the fight against pathogenic microbes particularly the family of viruses from where COVID-19,HIV/AIDS, EBOLA etc. emanates.

Back to Lock down approach for case management, here what is done is that everything is shut down in the entire Country or a particular area like it had happened in Wuhan, China, schools are closed, shops are closed, churches are closed, streets are emptied, no social gathering, no funeral rites, no weddings etc. but everyone is confined to his or her own resident, the preventive measure here is to promote the social distancing so as to prevent the spread of disease through infected droplet accelerated by close proximity therefore, lockdown approach for sure serves best in ensuring social distancing but there are few questions defeating my understanding that every country should ask themselves namely; are we able to supply the basic necessities of live?, Are suspected cases quarantined?, what mechanism are we using to track the cases during lockdown?, will there be over congestion in the family household ? Do we have most of production and consumption happening within our territory?

If the answers to those questions are no than try managing cases without lockdown while emphasizing on preventive measures set forth by World health organization. Since the later will have catastrophic effect as most of the deaths will results from lockdown case management approach.

My argument remains that every Country should carefully study its own demographic and socioeconomic status of its own population as the ultimate goal of lockdown is to save lives of one’s own citizen from the pandemic especially those who are vulnerable to infection and at high fatality rate be protected via lockdown as cases are being isolated and managed at identified centers. I am of opinion that the case tracking and management be done without lockdown by poor and developing countries as daily businesses are being conducted to avoid deaths resulting from hunger, thirst and any other illnesses as shut down makes it difficult for those living on daily income for their survival.

The preventive measures by World Health Organization (WHO) for COVID-19 be implemented as cases are being isolated and managed at the identified centers, should be emphasized so that the spread of pandemic is control by so doing the devastating impact of COVID-19 Resulting from Lockdown will be minimized as people go with their normal businesses to earn the living, in a nutshell no one is sure how long it would take for the world to contain this pandemic take the case of HIV/AIDS another pandemic disease the world is living with it as the go on with their normal businesses in addition to its control and management, put in your mind viruses do not have cure yet.

The author is an associate professor–College of Physicians and Surgeons of South Sudan, Ear, Nose & Throat specialist, Public Policy analyst, Entrepreneur, Executive Director and a Founder-Juba Institute of Health Sciences. He holds a PhD and MPH from Atlantic International University-USA, Masters of Public Policy(MPP) from University of Juba, a PhD candidate University of Juba, Bachelors of medical Education and a Higher Diploma in Ear, Nose & Throat Surgery from Makerere University and a Diploma in Clinical Medicine & Public Health from Maridi Health Sciences Institute. He can be reached via: jubainstitutehsc@gmail.com

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