Esther Chiyeke, Zambia, retired Nurse– Global Perspectives: Stories of Solidarity during COVID-19

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 is difficult for so many people across the world. In uncertain times like these, it is heartwarming to see communities uniting in solidarity, and even song in some cases.We are reaching out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We want to identify and share the positive stories emerging from the situation as a source of inspiration for people in these challenging times.

Click here to view the Map of our Global Perspectives : solidarity stories 

Esther Chiyeke, a retired nurse,  is in Kalulushi in the industrial Copperbelt in Zambia

Zambia is considered by the World Health Organisation to be particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 because of its strong economic links with China and the significant Chinese community.  Zambia is also one of the most urbanised countries south of the Sahara. Zambia reported its first 2 cases of Covid-19 infection on Wednesday 18th March – both detected at the airport on arrival from France.

Esther says: “People are scared of this virus. They are taking measures for themselves. Those who can afford it are buying masks and gloves. The few restaurants, banks and other public places are using this for hand washing. (pictured below left)

“It has always amazed me that in the UK so few restaurants, cafes, bars and takeaways have no public hand washing  facilities like ours. Maybe they can learn from us. However, I spoke to some people in the street and few seemed to know much about Corona.”

“People are scared of this virus. They are taking measures for themselves”

The Ministry of Health has set up critical care beds in all 9 Provinces in preparation and is importing more supplies. Despite only having 0.09 physicians/1000 of the population (UK 2.8/1000) Zambia has 2 hospital beds/ 1000 (UK 2.5/1000) * and even before any cases were reported started preparing and stepped up precautions. Hygiene on public transport is enhanced. At the moment travel is not restricted but many are avoiding travel.

As of March 23rd, Ethiopian Airlines started distributing coronavirus donation support to nine countries a further nine countries in Africa, which included Zambia. News reports said according to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the support includes 1.1 million testing kits, 6 million masks & 60,000 protective suits.

  • Source: OECD Health at a Glance 2019.


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