Dr. Bangwato Sikwa, Director
We believe our body is the temple of God and as such we have a special responsibility to protect and care for our bodies. The promotion of good health and a healthy lifestyle is an integral part of the mission of the Seventh-day Adventists. The Health Ministries Department of Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division is committed to pursue Christ mission in restoring the image of God in man. “To make man whole” is the primary objective of the department. It seeks to fulfil its role by providing resource support, leadership training, event planning and professional support to Adventist churches and members.
Peter N. Landless., M.B., B.Ch., M.Med., FCP(SA), FACC, FASNC
Director, General Conference Adventist Health Ministries
In December 2019, a new and aggressive form of respiratory infection was discovered in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and recently been named COVID–19. The virus is a corona virus
and of the same family as the virus that caused the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
epidemic in 2002-3.
Transmission occurs through droplet spread when infected people cough or sneeze and gains
access to the body through the respiratory tract (lungs). The symptoms include fever, cough,
muscle pain, shortness of breath and fatigue; some patients may have diarrhea, and others very
mild to no symptoms at all.Progression of the disease may lead to a severe pneumonia with
lung tissue destruction and death.There has been spread outside of China, and there is no way
of predicting how widespread and severe this outbreak may yet become. Many countries have
placed measures in place to contain the spread including making this a quarantinable disease.
The period when an individual may be infectious is between 2 and 14 days. The time period for
quarantine (isolation from others) is 2 weeks.
There is no vaccine as yet, and the treatment is symptomatic. There arepresentlyno known
COVID-19antiviral medications. The production of a vaccine althoughpriority, may take up to a
year toproveefficacy and safety. Reliable monitoring sources have observed that those who
have not had immunization against influenza seem to have more severe symptoms and worse
outcomes. It is difficult to accurately assess the death rate from COVID-19 as notevery case has
been reported, but is presently estimated at 2%.
Please practice the standard universal precautions as we always should:
* Frequently clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
* Coughing and sneezing etiquette:Sneeze into the folded arm; cover your cough. Take
masks with you when traveling. Should you encounter situations where people cough
and sneeze and are in close proximity, have no hesitation to use your mask (airports,
airplane cabin, lobbies, malls, student classes and other gatherings, etc.)
* Maintain social distancing –at least 3 feet or I meter between yourself and other
people. Avoid close contact with those who cough or are sniveling.
* Avoid touching/rubbing your eyes, nose and mouth.
* If you develop a cough and experience changes in your breathing, seek medical help
early and share your travel history with the health care provider.
* Avoid open markets and direct contact with animals/animal products.
* Careful food safety practices (well-cooked food, clean produce, pasteurized milk).
* Do not avoid the flu vaccine.
* Avoid travel to endemic areas; there is a WHO travel advisory against travel to China.
If you think you have been exposed by travel or contact with an affected individual, SEEK
ADVICE from your primary care physician!Be sure to disclose your travel history.There is global
awareness, and this is not the time to panic –rather to quietly trust in God.
For more information:
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) –https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Advice for the public –https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Proper handwashing technique –https://www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/