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COVID-19: Experts say Interventions Based on Fear, not Evidence

Speaking during a webinar held Wednesday morning to discuss the broader public health impact of COVID 19, Prof. Freddie Ssengooba, an expert in Health Policy Planning and Management at the Makerere University School of Public Health said most of the interventions so far implemented in the country are copy and paste without paying attention to the evidence available in the country.
Prof Freddie Sengooba

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Public health experts have said decisions into tackling the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are largely based on fear than scientific evidence.

The experts revealed that because of this it could continue keeping the country under unnecessary lock in some areas with nothing much to yield.

Speaking during a webinar held on Wednesday morning to discuss the broader public health impact of COVID -19, Prof. Freddie Ssengooba, an expert in Health Policy Planning and Management at the Makerere University School of Public Health said most of the interventions so far implemented in the country are copy and paste without paying attention to the evidence available in the country.  

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Prof. Ssengooba who sits on the advisory committee of the Ministry of Health taskforce says because of fear, the country may take longer than it should have been to lift the lockdown and yet when it comes to deaths if compared to other diseases, COVID-19 shouldn’t be causing all that scare with less than 2% of the people worldwide succumbing to the viral respiratory infection.

He said yet this statistic is only derived from those that have so far been tested. In Uganda, no one has succumbed to the disease yet.

On his part, Dr. Henry Wamani, a lecturer in the department of Community Health and Behavioral Sciences said that the current interventions meant to prevent infection at any cost that include closure of schools, business, and transport for every one without identifying who is most at risk are inconceivable and that continuing them for a long time will not be helpful without reviewing what else can be done.

He proposes that decision makers should start measuring the extent of herd immunity developed in the country.  Herd immunity happens when so many people in a community become immune to an infectious disease that it stops the disease from spreading.  

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Many experts during the meeting spoke of the possibility of the existence of herd immunity especially that previous studies done under the programme of influenza surveillance found that 1 to 2% of the new viruses found were Corona viruses.

Dr. Fred Wabwire-Mangen, an Associate Professor in the department of Epidermiology and Biostatistics at Makerere University who conducted those studies in 2008 and continues to do influenza diseases related surveillance said herd immunity cannot be ruled out but recommended that to establish that for a fact, they will need to embark on immunological research.

He said, when they conducted the studies in the Karamoja region, they found Corona viruses in camels. However, all experts agreed that COVID-19 will be here for a long time shifting from the current pandemic status that it is to being endemic as many existing diseases like malaria.  

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