COVID-19 Somaliland: important measures to be taken if COVID-19 is to be beaten on top of current initiatives
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- Increase the testing capacity in all regional hospitals.
- Mobilize all available health manpower in a structured way to get the respective work expected of them as per the MOHD guidelines.
- Train to update health workers in a serious and methodological manner.
- Enable the social distancing measures by:
4.1: Easing the congregation of people at the market places (such as meat and vegetable market) by creating smaller centers in and around town (mini markets) to serve various districts of major cities.
4.2: Bus /transport stations to be spread out around major towns and cities to avoid many people coming together in one place.
4.3: Hotels and restaurants should re-arrange their seating to accommodate social distancing.
- Face masks should be made compulsory in public and should be made available to the public.
- PPE should be made available to all health workers fighting the disease. They are the front line soldiers.
- Sentinel sites for testing all should be set up for surveillance in all regions and districts.
- A special contact tracing unit should be set up within the MOHD only to concentrate on CONTACT TRACING.
- Separate Quarantine and isolation units/wards MUST be set up in all the regions of the country.
- Patients with symptoms CANNOT self -isolate at home contrary to our culture and custom. Better quarantine them as with foreign visitors from COVID-19 hotspots.
- Travel to and from major COVID-19 hotspots should be restricted.
- Essential travel between the major centers of population concentration should only be allowed with essential travel allowed with an authenticated permit.
- Hand washing points /stands should be erected not only at the government buildings, hotels, and restaurants, but also at public places.
- The daily briefings of the NOHD are useful and have to be maintained for it’s an important source of information to the public about the disease and its impact on our nation.
- Strict methods of statistical data collection, collation, and analysis should be maintained at all times.
- An initial phase of a nationwide lockdown should commence immediately and then gradually eased as the situation dictates.
- Stay at home should be encouraged at all times if not enforced.
- All public health workers trained in public health should be summoned at the MOHD MOHD to lead the awareness campaign and the contact tracing teams of the MOHD.
- The international community should take an active role in my country’s indigenous efforts to curb the pandemic.
Dr. Hassan Ismail Yusuf, Former Minister of Health and Somaliland citizen