JPM: Produce Covid-19 protective gear locally

23Apr 2020
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
JPM: Produce Covid-19 protective gear locally
  • Questions quality of imports, rules out city lockdowns

​​​​​​​LOCAL manufactures need to produce Covid-19 protective gear like facemasks as the quality of imported ones cannot always be assured.

President Dr John Magufuli

President Dr Magufuli made this observation in a televised address from his village residence in Chato, Geita Region when he met heads of the country’s security organs to exchange views on the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Ministry of Health and other agencies should take extra care on donations provided by various institutions and people specifically facemasks as some of them have been reported to spread the disease. Local manufactures should invest heavily in producing more protective tools including ventilators and sanitizers to meet the country’s demand,” he stated.

He urged routine focusing on the number of people who have recovered from the disease, saying from his understanding there are quite a number of people who have recovered, around 100 by his understanding, but not much was being heard officially.

“Preach positive messages about the pandemic because it is not true that everyone who dies it is because of the coronavirus,” he said, noting that more people are still dying of malaria and other diseases.

He strongly objected to tendencies of stigma on people for instance traveling upcountry from Dar es Salaam, where some of them are quickly suspected of spreading the disease to the regions, urging heads of security organs to check that inhospitable behavior.

“There are people in the regions stigmatizing people from Dar es Salaam, saying they are coronavirus positive, while it isn’t the case,” the president underlined.

President Magufuli also warned on chlorine fumigation, which some to officials have been conducting, saying that the move doesn’t kill the coronavirus, but insects such as cockroaches.

 He directed security organs to conduct intensive investigation to find out if the fumigation may have helped to spread Covid-19 especially in Dar es Salaam region.

On chances of a lockdown in the city of Dar es Salaam, the president made it clear that the government will not lockdown any city including Dar es Salaam.

“We will not close Dar es Salaam city whatever comes. This is the centre of our economy. Do you want Dar residents to die of hunger? Do you want people not to conduct businesses?” he demanded.

He said Dar es Salaam is an economic pivot of the country where the government collects almost 80 per cent of the country’s revenue.

“We can continue taking all measures to curb the virus but not by locking down Dar es Salaam,” he stressed.

He also urged various medical authorities to promote the use of natural remedies to fight the disease.

“Natural remedies are also important to fight Covid-19. We should also prioritize this, and scientists have proved that the virus can be battled in vapour which is above 100 degree centigrade.

“So people should be educated on various home remedies to fight this disease,” he said, citing home remedies like hot water mixed with ginger, lemon and other ingredients as helping to treat symptoms of the disease.

He also appealed to global financial institutions to suspend debt servicing for the country to strengthen its hand in the battle against Covid-19.

“Tanzania pays 700bn/- every month to clear international debts, with over 250bn/- being directed to the World Bank (WB), so it is high time these institutions consider exempting debt payments and reducing interest rates to give us more strength to fight the disease,” he appealed.

The president directed the police force and the internet regulator, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to deal with those who misuse social media platforms by posting information meant to raise fear among the people.

“Fear is a greater threat than the coronavirus itself,” he declared, underlining that people should make well use of social media. They should not to pay attention to unnecessary or fear cultivating information about the pandemic.

 “We should also be open to those who recover. Reports should be clear so as to destroy fear which is now rooted among the people,” he said.

He asserted that the health ministry does not need to keep people on isolation for long; if they haven’t developed symptoms of the disease they should be discharged.

He said this was the right time for political leaders of all persuasions to come together to join efforts to curb the spread of infections.

Dr Magufuli lauded health workers in the frontline against Covid-19, noting that they are offering invaluable service to the nation. He encouraged them to continue with the spirit of sacrifice to save lives of people during this pandemic.

“The job you are doing is incredible. Continue doing the best you can to save the nation from this scourge,” he said.

He also urged people on all fronts to adhere to personal protection measures as advised by experts and emphasized by institutions such as WHO.

He said individual protection measures are key to the nation winning the war against the highly contagious viral disease. Health experts recommend observance of social distancing as useful in preventing further spread of the disease, he pointed out.

“Make sure you adhere to preventive measures as advised by our experts,” the president added.