Sunday, June 16, 2024

Health Minister urges Covid-19 patients to seek attention early


Minister of Health Jonas Chanda has expressed concern that some Covid-19 patients are presenting themselves late to health facilities after developing poor oxygen saturation levels.

Dr. Chanda said some patients have been reporting to the health facilities with saturations around 60 percent or less.

He has pointed out that headache, shortness of breath, increased heartbeat and confusion are some of the symptoms of low saturation.

“We have observed a worrisome trend of patients reporting late to our health facilities with very poor oxygen saturation levels. Oxygen saturation simply put is the amount of oxygen that is in your bloodstream. The normal level should be around 95 to 99 percent. Any level below this is calls for concern,” he said.

Dr. Chanda has however noted that Covid-19 has also been shown to cause silent hypoxia, a condition in which an individual has low saturation but without the proportional features of respiratory distress.

He has since advised the public to attentively observe their symptoms closely once they test positive to Covid-19 and immediately report to a health facility.

“If you test positive for Covid-19, vigilantly monitor your symptoms and present to a health facility early for effective management by our dedicated teams of health workers. Our five golden rules are very clear on this point, ‘seek medical attention early if you are symptomatic,” he says.

The minister made these remarks in a statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka this afternoon.

Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours, Zambia has recorded 1,120 new positive Covid-19 cases out of a total of 9,809 tests.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases now stands at 43,333 with 1,145 individuals discharged in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 32,667.

Further, the last 24 hours, 13 new deaths countrywide were recorded bringing the cumulative number of deaths recorded to 610.

The deaths have been classified as 241 Covid deaths, 346 Covid-19 associated deaths and 23 deaths pending classification.

“We currently have a total of 10,056 active Covid-19 cases. Of these, 9,613 are under community management while 443 are admitted to our various health facilities nationwide with 291 on oxygen therapy and 29 in critical condition,” Dr. Chanda stated.

And the Minister has further raised concern on the excessive use of home remedies such as ukufutikila (steaming) by the community saying this has resulted in causing other challenges.

Dr. Chanda noted that with over 95 percent of cases being managed within the community from the reported numbers, it is important that proven remedies are used safely and in moderation.

“I wish to speak on home remedies. In as much as we have encouraged the use of traditional and proven remedies such as ukufutikila and lemon juice for its Vitamin C benefits, we note with concern a number of reports coming from the community of excessive use of these home remedies which have resulted in steam burns, hypoxia and acidosis. Let us remember to use proven remedies safely and in moderation,” he advised.

He noted that his ministry has outlined clear criteria for community management of cases indicating that only asymptomatic, low risk patients with no co-morbidities or other medical reason requiring hospitalisation should be placed under community management.

“I repeat, if a patient is symptomatic or high risk or where they were initially asymptomatic but during their community management develop Covid-19 symptoms, these individuals must be referred to a Covid-19 facility. A high risk Covid-19 case includes any person with a pre-existing medical co-morbidity or other medical reason requiring hospital admission, or where the patient’s social circumstances pose a risk to other for instance, overcrowding, shared sanitary facilities or living in a household with the elderly or other at risk individuals,” he emphasised.

He has meanwhile expressed gratitude to the country’s diligent health workers who continue to work on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“We are well aware of the great sacrifices you have made over the months including risking your own safety and placing your lives on the line. We are also aware of the challenges you face and are working around the clock to provide you with the necessary support. We have continued to bring on board the private sector to complement our response efforts,” Dr. Chanda stated.

He has also urged the local authorities to ensure that transmission during large gatherings and super spreader events is halted by enforcing adherence to the guidelines.


  1. But you also need to purchase oxygen and airway equipment for all the health facilities in the nation please. Reason you were given the grant/money. I’m on my knees, people will perish. Look at America

  2. Blaming patients is not the solution to this problem. The solution is in preventive measures. And the Vaccine. Lock the country down, reduce the reproduction rate of the virus to at least 1 and ease off with vaccinations.

  3. Fellow Zambians , COVID infection is now at the community level meaning, your neighbor may be asymptomatic but is spreading the infection. so take care.
    The only thing we can do to avoid contracting COVID 19 is to strictly follow the Guidelines. Apart from that please take warm to hot drinks and remeber to daily take the steam just by boiling water and breath it through the nose every time you come home.
    Keep your immune system high by avoiding stress, alcohol and cigarettes. Eat vegatable and fruits with addition of supplementary antibiotics.
    Blessings in the Lord

  4. Have seen how difficult it is for a grown person when it comes to visiting health care facilities?
    It’s common place for a seemingly healthy person to only seek medical attention at their weakest point. Maybe we trust our immune systems more to fight.
    What is striking is that even when people have heard that there is a risk of HIV, they still want to go live; what more on a mysterious SARS-CoV-2?
    Man vs Pathogens – who will win? Pathogens are game changers.

  5. Please seek medical attention but also remember to pray. As a born again, I can assure you that the lord’s protection is powerful. We have lost a lot of our people to this evil virus. Repent my friends before it is too late. I have forgiven all the upnd diasporans including tarino and spaka

  6. All these updates from the Ministry of Health on the Covid situation in Zambia are very much appreciated. Information is important and can save lives. Take heed my people and stay safe!

  7. All the people who I know and have died of COVID were sent away from the hospitals to come back when the symptoms are worse. So, bwana Minister, what are you talking about? This is like fake faith healers who blame the devotee for not having faith when they are not healed by the laying on of hands. You are now blaming patients for dying in the hospitals that provide nothing but a bed and oxygen.

  8. “The Minister has further raised concern on the excessive use of home remedies such as ukufutikila (steaming) by the community saying this has resulted in causing other challenges.” Ba minister, am I the only one who heard Ba ECL encouraging the us to use “ukufutikila”? Are you now saying we should not use this method?

  9. @Bufi Tuutu he is not saying people should stop using the method but that they should do it safely and with moderation.

  10. Prevention is better than Cure. The Rate of Covid-19 infection in Zambia has spiked and is getting out of hand. Clearly all mass gatherings like Churches services, Funerals, Weddings, Bars and Restaurants, Political Meetings etc have become Super Spreaders of the Covid-19 Virus. To contain the Spread of this disease the Govt needs to put a stop to these Super Spreader activities. For now all Church,Funerals, Political Meetings etc should be regulated and conducted virtually to stop the on-going Covid-19 Carnage. Priests,Politicians and other prominent people are dying from Covid-19 Virus in alarming numbers. Covid-19 doesn’t discriminate and Politicians are not immune from this deadly disease.Its high time the PF Govt imposes a National lockdown to contain the Spread of this disease…

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