Feature: Home-based care solutions for COVID-19 prevention in Zambia on the rise

Source: Xinhua| 2021-01-20 18:05:27|Editor: huaxia

LUSAKA, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Zambia has seen a rise in home-based care solutions as a prevention measure against the COVID-19 as the second wave of the pandemic takes its toll on the southern African nation.

Local people have resorted to using local-based solutions to prevent contracting the pandemic apart from the solutions provided by health authorities such as wearing face masks, social distancing and frequent washing of hands.

The desire to resort to home-based solutions has taken a surge following remarks by President Edgar Lungu who recently urged citizens to take up the use of home-based solutions to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Zambian leader said home-based care solutions are some of the tested remedies that health experts have recommended.

Minister of Health Jonas Chanda said local home-based and traditional remedies were vital in managing less severe and non-symptomatic patients at home.

"This is what we have always used before the western medicines came," he said.

He said the home-remedies should be used as a supplement to the conventional methods provided by health experts.

Among the recommended preventive remedies includes "hot steaming", consuming Vitamin C, ginger, garlic, honey and cinnamon concoctions.

And the demand for use and these remedies is suddenly on the rise.

Some people, including the mayor of Lusaka, the country's capital, have posted pictures of themselves applying these remedies.

For instance, the local "steaming" remedy involves collecting leaves of trees such as mangoes, guavas and eucalyptus which are then put in a pot and water is added.

The mixture is then put on a stove to heat.

After the heat up, the user gets the pot and covers himself or herself with a blanket and removes the lid to allow the vapor from the pot to envelope the body.

After some minutes, the user removes the blanked drenched in sweat.

Rodwell Vongo, President of the Traditional Health Practitioners Association of Zambia (THPAZ) supports the move, saying it has proved to be effective in healing various ailments like malaria and flu in the past.

He said indigenous methods of managing sickness such as steaming have been proven over the years and people are encouraged to use them in the management of COVID-19.

According to him, steaming is key as it kills viruses in the respiratory system and depends on the concoction of the herbs used. However, the best thing is to start before the virus reaches the lungs. This is especially important for front-line workers who are at high risk of contracting the virus.

But Aaron Mujajati, a renowned medical practitioner expressed misgivings on the effectiveness of steaming in the prevention of COVID-19.

He said on his Facebook page that there is no scientific evidence that steaming is effective in preventing COVID-19.

Some users of the alternative home-based solutions are happy with the solutions, saying the fight against COVID-19 needs a multisectoral approach.

"This corona is not playing and we need to be serious as well. That is why I am using this concoction as a preventive measure apart from what the Ministry of Health is telling us," Stephen Mbewe, a Lusaka-based resident said.

On the other hand, the demand for other remedial traditional herbs like ginger and garlic is on the rise.

Ireen Mwewa, who sells various herbal medicines in Ngombe compound in the Zambian capital is happy with the rise in business.

"I have seen that my business has now picked up. We have many people coming to buy these herbs like ginger," she said.

Lewis Lungu, who was found to buy ginger says he buys the herbs every week because he has heard that it is effective in curing and preventing many diseases. Enditem