Special Envoy to the African Union (AU), Strive Masiyiwa, has urged Africans to adopt what he calls the ’ITTIT’ formula to curb the spread of Covid-19 as governments across the continent are gradually easing national lockdown restrictions imposed since the virus surfaced. In a Facebook post, he said that the key to stopping the disease in its tracks is to adopt the ITTIT formula: Inform, Test, Trace, Isolate, and Treat as a collaborative effort among the private sector, NGOs, businesses, and faith-based organisations.
Masiyiwa stated that ITTIT was a simple formula for fighting the virus. ’We all have to go back to work if we still have a job, otherwise, our families will starve, and our already frail economies will collapse. So how do we stop the rapid spread of the disease, other than by lockdowns? For me, to reduce the frequency, duration, and necessity of lockdowns, the answer is and has always been as follows: I – Inform; T- Test; T – Trace contacts; I – Isolate; T – Treatment (ITTIT)’, he explained.
He commented on the need to continually inform everyone, especially the vulnerable, about the virus, and how easily it spreads. He urged everyone to ’remember, accurate information is critical, given the persistent misinformation that goes on, especially through [s]ocial [m]edia platforms’.
He also added that people need a test that detects the virus as soon as someone is infected and the best test available is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. ‘The purpose of testing is to find those people who have the infection, and are spreading it to others near them, usually without even knowing that they have it. Once you identify people who have tested positive for [Covid-19], they must be isolated in a safe place from others, until the virus is out of their system’, he said.
Masiyiwa called on governments to consider working with religious organisations and NGOs to offer the option of self-isolating in groups at churches, mosques, community centres, schools, supported by faith leaders, NGOs, etc, especially since that there is no cure for the virus yet. Isolating in groups will help the victims as they will not be alone.
He called for training thousands of community health workers who are volunteers and highly motivated. ‘This is how we dealt with Ebola. South Africa and Rwanda have already unleashed thousands of community health workers’, he said.
Photo source: Prachatai