The second wave of coronavirus pandemic has whipped the country in recent weeks, killing many and infecting thousands.
In a bid to stem the wave, President Museveni last week ordered a 42-day partial national lockdown that included sending learners back home and instituting a ban on inter-district movement.
However, there has been information overload on social media about the deaths and impact of the pandemic. In the process, the wave and alarm on social media platforms have triggered panic and frantic search for solutions among Ugandans.
It does not help that hospitals are charging an arm and leg to admit and manage patients with Covid-19. It is also worse that there has been a very high demand for oxygen in hospitals and homes. Besides that there are reports that hospital facilities are full to capacity, meaning some cases can only be managed at home.
Pushed against the wall, Ugandans have taken matters of health into their own hands. There is an avalanche of information – and misinformation at that circulating on social media platforms about management of Covid-19.
The first wave saw a high demand of lemon, ginger, garlic, and pepper after reports that a concoction of these would boost one’s immunity.
However, the second wave has come with another layer of management.
There have been claims on social media of steaming or boiling all sorts of vegetation, whose liquid is then taken to keep the virus at bay.
Some reporters from this newspaper at the weekend saw many people mowing down bushes in the search for herbs heralded as effective in Covid-19 management.
We applaud efforts yesterday by the National Drug Authority to explain that it was still gathering deeper information about the acclaimed Covid-19 cure, Covidex, before guiding the public on whether to use in or not.
Senior scientists at Mbarara University-based firm Pharmbiotrac are said to have been manufactured the medicine.
The crux of the matter is not in the use of alternative forms of treatment. Our major concern is how safe these treatments are. Who exactly is prescribing what sort of leaf to boil or steam with? What side effects might they pose? What dosage does one need? We do believe that fighting the pandemic needs everyone’s input. We all have lives to protect, but while at it we should exercise thehighest level of restraint and judgment. Otherwise we might end up with complications of higher proportions. Lastly, let’s observe the standard operating procedures and keep safe.