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Media: Partner Or Foe In Zim Fight Against COVID-19?

Against the backdrop of the devastating coronavirus which has claimed millions of lives and still counting, media has done little as part of the frontline soldiers in combating the diseases through dissemination of accurate information and awareness.

By Shelton Muchena

Questions would be asked whether the fourth estate is playing its part or is now part of the problem?

Are media houses equipped enough or had they invested in health reporting?

Has social media contributed positively towards the fight or it has further created disharmony and despondency amongst the public?

Back in the days, people living with HIV were stigmatized by the society.

To be diagnosed with HIV was a death penalty but all that has changed through vigorous campaigns and programmes conducted by the responsible officials.

In the same vein, do people who test positive to corona get the same necessary counselling to prepare them psychologically?

How does news of statics, deaths and all related issues affect those who test positive.

“If you test positive, stop following corona related news.  I once had a relative who was in isolation and recovering well but after he was told that his colleague has succumbed to the disease he started to deteriorate and he also died,” said a relative who refused to be named.

Even social media has not made it easier though.

Fake death notices are all over the social media networks and this is also causing serious problems to those affected.

Service providers like Econet Wireless issue statistics to users about the corona virus impact in the country.

While such efforts are welcome, can they be regarded as awareness campaigns or are merely messages that are meant to instil fear to consumers.

Another victim of this virus said after testing positive he started to imagine his own funeral and when he got those sms of people dying he thought that he was also on the line.

“It was a really difficult time. Imagine every platform and every news channel talking about people dying in numbers and yet you are positive. I also started to imagine my own funeral and even when I got into the toilet, the ceiling was like a coffin. It was really tough to think of leaving my family behind. But thank God I survived,” she said also choosing not to be named.

Corona virus is real and by now almost everyone knows of a person or has a relative who has either tested positive or has succumbed to the virus.

It is therefore prudent that authorities invest time and resources in creating awareness campaigns and also create counselling sessions for those affected.

It is also high time social media be regulated so as to curb spreading of fake news and conspiracy theories that has been awash in the wake of the virus.

Whenever you find a Person Infected with Covid-19 in your neighborhood or workplace, being taken to Quarantine or Isolation Center in an Ambulance, Please do not take Video or Pictures, in fact discourage the person who you find making a video or taking photos
Don’t embarrass people who contract Covid-19 in your neighborhoods.

Instead stand on your Balconies or at your Window or your Gate a few feet away and give them a thumbs up, encourage them.

Because the way the virus is spreading, no one is immune.

Please understand how this person must be going through.

Kindly:
1. Respect him/her
2. Pray for Him/her
3. Make him/her feel you are a good human being
4. Do not spread panic and “fear of insult” among others.

The person is just unwell, not a criminal. He/she will be cured but the memory of how people treated him/her, will stay with him/her forever!!

We are all in this fight together!!
Let’s spread love and build confidence. God bless You!

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