ACTING chief executive officer for Ingutsheni Psychiatric Hospital in Bulawayo Dr Nemache Mawere, who led his pack from the front by taking a Covid-19 jab last week, has stepped up the process to motivate his staff, family, colleagues and the rest of the population to go for vaccination.
The country received 200 000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine a fortnight ago from China and has started administering it to frontline workers who include health workers, the security sector and members of the media, among others. For Dr Mawere, the idea of taking the vaccine was because of the high levels of exposure that he has to the virus as he fights while in the red zone, attending to psychiatric patients and also helping to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“I am exposed every day, because mental patients are everywhere, so we also go everywhere which makes me exposed more than everyone else, some workers can choose where to go but not for me, I go everywhere where I am called. I then realised I really needed the vaccine,” he said.
Dr Mawere said he also wanted to clear myths about the vaccine.
“I also got vaccinated because I wanted to motivate everybody including my family, staff, colleagues so that we dispel all the myths making rounds about what the vaccine does to people. There is a lot of misinformation so obviously when you step in and show the people that there is nothing to be afraid of, then we actually get more coverage in terms of vaccinating people,” he said.
Being very mobile because of the nature of his job, he said his staff steps in where the rest of the medical fraternity would not ordinarily do.
“If there is a patient who is admitted at Materdei, United Bulawayo Hospitals or Covid-19 centres we go. People can be admitted at quarantine centres with mental problems at the same time. Again, the stay at a quarantine centre left some people anxious after being there for a long time, so we attended to them. Remember mental problems have been here before Covid-19 started, people have gone through a lot of anxiety, depression, grief reaction and all that,” he said.
Asked on how he was feeling after being vaccinated, he said all was well and he encouraged people to get the jab and avoid listening to naysayers.
“I am not feeling anything at all, I do not have pain or anything. I encourage people to get vaccinated. Do not listen to people on the streets who are giving their opinions, there are many misconceptions going on. People who are spreading these lies are not okay, they need help mentally, why should one go about lying, to whose benefit? We are living in a society where we are trying to put our heads together to say let’s do this and save lives and someone says it’s wrong, just to slow down the process and see others suffer. We should not allow such things to happen,” said Dr Mawere.
He acknowledged that numbers of people seeking psychiatric help increased when the pandemic commenced and warned of even more problems post-Covid-19.
“Certainly, as a direct reaction to Covid-19, people were worried about it, it’s always like that though. In life, whatever will be happening at that time is what people will be worried about, be it a cyclone, violence, elections, people are always reacting to situations around them. But this time it’s worse and will still be bad when it is all over. We are going to have what is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it’s going to come when people are trying to return to work, to take stock of who died and who survived. Imagine you are thinking your friend is alive somewhere enjoying and that friend is also thinking you are alive only to discover you are gone or the whole family is gone.
Looking also at the type of burials we are having now, we cannot go and bury our relatives and friends like before so people have to process a lot of things,” he warned.