By Duncan Mlanjira
In his testimony on the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lilongwe-based Robert Chenda Mkandawire, who was discharged from self-isolation on Monday, described his experience as “quite a bumpy 21-day long fight against the virus”.
He said he doesn’t take for granted the total support he received from Lilongwe District Health Office (DHO) frontline COVID-19 health care workers, describing their response as “simply fantastic”.
“The team visited us four times in a space of 12 days for assessment and monitoring,” he said on his public statement posted on Facebook — entitled ‘My COVID-19 Journey’.
“I really needed some hope to hang on to. A work colleague, who is a medical doctor, helped me a lot not to panic [and] Dr. Daniel Dube shared very useful information and tips and the importance of staying calm.
“The care I received from my wife was very critical. She made sure I was well hydrated; I took lots of water and fluids; Vitamin C, Zinc and concoction of ginger and lemon to boast immunity were permanent features.
“And a big thank you to all friends who reached out to me — your kind gesture was timely and highly appreciated. You made my life easier.
“Please stay safe — observe social distancing, mask up and sanitize.”
Mkandawire said it all started with ordinary flu like symptoms — a running nose here and some fever and headache there and he realized on day 3 that this was not an ordinary flu.
“So, I checked into one of the well-known private hospitals. I was diagnosed with infection and was prescribed antibiotics and some strong painkiller.
“By the 4th day I had lost sense of taste and smell and an avalanche of symptoms followed — severe headache, high fever, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, general body pains and cough.
“I began to have breathing problems and irregular heartbeat on day 6 and immediately suspected I had Coronavirus. The following day I called the DHO staff and was tested for Coronavirus.
“The results came out two days later and were positive and I was advised to immediately go into self-isolation for 10 days.
“Meanwhile, my niece got infected too and tested positive — thank God she didn’t develop any serious symptoms.
“Days 6 to 10 were the worst of them all. I would literally feel my life hanging onto a thin thread. The breathing difficulties and high fevers were become scary especially at night.”
His bold testimony attracted over 330 responses and close to 300 likes. All the comments were of encouragement and thanked God for His healing mercies
Ulemu Scott Praise said: “May God continue to be with you. At our lowest moments when life is hanging by a thread that’s when we see the Almighty take full charge of our situation. May His name be lifted up.”
Albert Lobengula Banda thanked Mkandawire for sharing his tough experience “which on the other hand is very helpful in case any of us is infected.”
Patrick Kanyimbo quoted Mkandawire’s testimony that said he felt “irregular heartbeat, breathing problems, life hanging by a thread”, saying that really sounds very scary.
“Glad to hear you emerged triumphant. COVID-19 sounds like a joke when they say 98% of cases recover but personal stories like these offer a stark reminder that we should never relax our guard,” he said.
Kanyimbo’s assertion that people should never relax their guard against the pandemic echoes what co-chairperson of Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka, says in most of his daily situation reports, especially for people that have recovered.
In one of his reports last month when the number of recovered cases surpassed the active cases and that the recovery rate passed the 50% mark, Dr. Phuka had said this was encouraging as it gives hope in the fight against COVID-19.
He, however, stressed that those that have recovered should continue to strictly adhere to all preventive measures to avoid getting re-infected with coronavirus because there is no known scientific evidence to show immunity in recovered patients.
As of Monday, September 7, seven new cases were registered of which one was a new death and 39 were new recoveries, giving the total of recoveries at 3,590 cases.
Cumulatively, there was a total of cases at 5,621 that have been registered since the first case in April.
Of these cases, 1,133 are imported infections and 4,488 are locally transmitted. So far 46,750 tests have been conducted in 45 COVID-19 testing sites of which 114 tests had been done in the past 24 hours of Monday evening.
Data so far indicates that the downward trend in the numbers of new COVID-19 cases and its related deaths continue to decline 7 days into the month of September.