Overcoming COVID myths and fears in Malawi | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

19 June, Saturday


Overcoming COVID myths and fears in Malawi

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Healthcare workers in Malawi are concerned that misinformation about COVID-19 is preventing patients in dire need of medical attention not related to the virus, from seeking what could be live-saving treatment.
 
When Eunice Marorongwe, a senior nurse at a rural hospital in Malawi, received a child patient with a serious leg infection, she was shocked at how her parents could keep her at home for a month, without getting treatment to save her life.
 
“It was at lunchtime at the end of last year when the 14-year-old girl came to the clinic with her right leg in a very bad state”, she says.
 
The leg could not stretch and, from the foot to the knee, it was very bad. It had turned into a green colour and was producing a very bad smell.
 
A tree branch pierced through the girl’s right leg, but her parents stayed put at home; not because they saw no need to rush to the hospital for treatment but because of fears and myths surrounding COVID-19.
 
Festering wound
 
“By the time they brought her to the hospital, the leg could not stretch and, from the foot to the knee, it was very bad. It had turned into a green colour and was producing a very bad smell”, says Ms. Marorongwe, who works at Mangochi District Hospital, about 250 kilometres southeast of Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
 
The girl was admitted after her parents were convinced the hospital could safely treat her.
 
“I am happy that we helped her, but I am worried that more people don’t come to the hospital for treatment. The situation worsened with COVID-19 as some are scared of being tested for COVID-19, while others are misinformed that they would get COVID-19 and die at the hospital”, says the nurse.

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