COVID-19 in low resource settings - a potential disaster in the making
Spare a thought for those who don't have a strong health system during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Whilst we are all occupied with our struggles to adapt to this new normal, let us take a moment to remember how lucky we are. We have water, we have soap and we have (well some of us at least) hand sanitizer. We have strong health care systems who can rise to the challenge. We have the ability to implement social distancing. We are able to effectively prevent the transmission of COVID-19 if we put in the effort.
Let us spare a thought for all the countries and billions of people who do not have access to water, or soap or hand sanitizer. Who live in such close proximity to each other and rely on daily interactions with each other to survive, in essence making social distancing almost impossible. People who live on less than $2 a day and can't afford access to healthcare. People who struggle to put nutritious food on their family's tables. The virus has leaked into their borders, it entered their cities and has made its way into their villages and there is not much that they can do to protect themselves. A sizeable proportion of these populations will have significant co-morbidities such as HIV, heart disease or other infectious diseases such as malaria or dengue. They are at high risk of severe or critical infections. They have stressed and overstretched healthcare systems, some barely have a functional health system at all. These people are at risk of far worse.
Let's take a moment to think about them and the numerous national and international organizations working themselves to the bone trying to reduce this risk by throwing themselves into the middle of it. National governments in partnership with international organizations rising to the challenge to the best of their ability and within the constraints of their purse strings. Let us remember that the world is a far bigger place than our homes and it is our job to help protect all life from the harmful effects of this virus.
The impact of the virus has the potential to be far worse in such countries than in our own. So, if we can, even in the midst of our own turmoil, let us open our hearts to these people and donate to these organizations battling COVID-19 in resource-poor communities. If you can't donate then send a silent prayer for them and let us try and stop the spread by doing our part and at the very least stay home.
Because every life is sacred and every person deserves to wake up with their loved ones safe and healthy around them.
Dr. Mo Assoum
Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and Global Health Specialist
(The above are the views of the author and do not reflect his current employer)
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