Here’s 5 key strategies that helped save lives during the COVID crisis in Southern Africa.
We share these in the spirit of Ubuntu – we are all united in our humanity. Our health depends on you being healthy. We are all in this together.
1. Focus on treating people in the community.
- During a surge hospitals and clinics may be overwhelmed. Hence it’s a good idea to help people figure out how to cope with COVID at home.
A simple home treatment kit for people struggling to breathe:
- pulse oximeter to measure blood oxygen saturation levels
- Oxygen Efficient Respiratory Aid (“OxERA”, a super efficient oxygen mask with PEEP valve – its 400% more oxygen efficient than high flow treatments and doesn’t need electricity)
- source of oxygen – bottle, cannister, oxygen concentrator if available
- trained care providers who can quickly access medics for advice, supervision, guidance as needed.
2. Equip and train emergency response teams, medics, nurses and people who can monitor and treat people in the community.
- Regular medical supervision is required for people on oxygen therapy. This can be conducted over a phone, internet or other remote access system
- In addition, other medical treatment and nutritional intervention may be needed.
- If possible, please also provide support for the carers as they may be tired, emotional and under severe stress and pressure.
3. Connect people overseas to organisations and people on the ground who can help.
- Many thousands of people want to help India, we just don’t know how. So please, ask for what you want. If it’s money, please be accountable and ensure that funds raised are channelled through reputable and accountable organisations.
- There are other practical ways to help, from providing medical advice to mobilising resources or simply listening to – or entertaining – people who need it.
4. Focus on saving lives and helping people breathe.
- Don’t allow red tape and politics to derail you. Avoid bureaucratic delays. Be entrepreneurial in your response.
- Smaller, more agile responses may be more effective than a bigger more coordinated effort – and in an emergency every minute counts.
We’re all in this crisis together. Stay focused on saving lives.
5. Call on us if we can help.
We love you India. Please keep breathing.
Juliet Le Breton is the Founder of Kufema (“Breathe”), a social enterprise that saves lives and helps people breathe in Zimbabwe through providing innovative oxygen therapy equipment and training to emergency response teams in COVID hotspots.
Before founding Kufema in 2020, she was a senior social and behaviour change consultant for the UN and other aid agencies, having completed over 60 assignments in six continents. She lived in India during her childhood and also worked there with Unicef on a polio eradication campaign.