Covid19 is still a threat: Avoiding post lockdown Cognitive dissonance

Andrew Besi works with Ministry of ICT&NG (PHOTO /File)

By Besi Andrew

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are
presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is
extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” — Frantz Fanon

On the second to last day of July 2021, H.E. Yoweri Museveni addressed all people within what is the territory of Uganda.

The gist of his address was addressing concerns of what is now a global nuisance – Covid19 – and the subsequent second lockdown imposed on us as a measure to contain its spread among our communes.

This lockdown was a cheaper option. Cheaper in the sense of protecting our fragile health care system as well as the delicate fabric that constitutes our society.
Of course, lockdowns world over, in poor and rich states alike, have a negative effect on traditional economic activities.
In Uganda, our economy was only beginning to recover from the effects of last year’s lockdown.

Today, following a relaxation of lockdown by His Excellency, Kampala’s streets are once again bustling with activity – activity that hopefully will translate to improved commerce in our malls, arcades, factories et al.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Health – Hon. Mutahi Kagwe, today (1st August 2021) announced that all dedicated hospital beds for Covid19 in Kenya were, once again, full. Kenya, like many territories of the world, had partially opened up following a reduction of cases during their Second Wave. This second wave was a result of the new and more lethal “Delta Variant”.

Five days ago, in a departure from the policy of her predecessor Pombe Magufuli, H.E. Samia Suluhu, president of the United Republic of Tanzania, took a Covid19 jab and urged all Tanzanians to get vaccinated, saying the country was “not an island”!

On 24th of July, Tanzania received from the US, a donation of 1m doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Todate, Uganda’s Ministry of Health has vaccinated slightly less than one-fifth of our population. During the last week of vaccination, about 2,393 doses of AstraZeneca (AZ) were administered each day. This brought the total number of doses administered to at least 1,110,867, enough for only 1.3% of our population.
At these rates of doses administered, Uganda will require another 3,700 days to administer enough doses for another 10% of our population.

Of course, as president Museveni noted in his latest address, the government has stepped up efforts to procure more doses of AZ vaccine as well as purchase, through COVAX facility and the African Union, vaccines from Johnson and Johnson.
Indeed, a down payment of USD 3m for 2 million doses was made to the African Union for the purchase of Johnson & Johnson with delivery expected this August.

In addition, Uganda received, this past Friday – 3oth July, a donation from Norway and China of 286,080 doses of AZ and 300,000 doses of Sinovac (Sino vaccine) respectively.

Over the last two or so weeks, our media spaces – indeed our social spaces – have been filled with the welcome news of natural herbal remedies that apparently “treat” this global nuisance that is Covid19.

With direct intervention from president Museveni, promising leads in research for herbal remedies such as those developed by Dr. Ogwang of Mbarara University (Covidex), Dr. Alice Lamwaka of Gulu University (Covilyce-1) as well as UBV-01N being developed by Dr. Nambatya and her team are ongoing.

All these herbal remedies have so far shown remarkable results against the SARS-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid19.

Therefore, as we start our post lockdown lives, it is important that we firstly ignore those among us who would seek to downplay the severity of Covid by making false claims.
We should not become victims of cognitive dissonance lest, like our neighbor Kenya, we find ourselves in a 3rd and most unwelcome wave.

Let us fold our sleeves and continue to do battle against this nuisance of a disease. The road ahead is still a precarious one.

The writer works with Ministry of ICT&NG

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