Gift Tabona, a teacher by profession who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on February 4, 2021, is one of the patients who accuse health workers of negligence stating that he almost lost his life.
According to Tabona, he fell ill on January 28 as he was experiencing flu-like symptoms, but continued going to work thinking that it was a simple case of flu since it had been raining. Narrating his ordeal, Tabona said a few days later his symptoms worsened as he started sweating while experiencing body pains and severe headache.
“That is when I decided to visit my doctor and tested positive for COVID-19. Then, my doctor contacted Francistown District Health Management Team (DHMT) and alerted them of my status and they promised to do a follow-up. Until today health workers are yet to contact me. I am still in self-isolation and it is not pleasant. I am depressed, it’s a horrible feeling not being able to go out and it is quite frightening. I am depressed because health workers never contacted me for health tips,” he said.
Tabona added he had expected that health workers would at least contact him and advise on what to eat or drink to help him recover. He revealed having relied on home remedies for flu. He stated that what frustrates him the most is that the Francistown DHMT never made the effort to do contact-tracing at his workplace to test learners and his colleagues because they are vulnerable. Tabona said he contacted his area councillor, Lesego Kwambala, and pleaded with him to intervene in the matter, but even his (Kwambala’s) efforts did not bear fruit. “Even though I have recovered because I no longer experience flu-like symptoms, I feel neglected because I am still in self-isolation and health workers never made contact. Every day when watching television and listening to the radio hearing of death reports of COVID-19 and the escalating numbers, it scares me. I am emotionally stressed and need emotional support,” he said.
Tabona suggested the government should consider giving people on self-isolation attention because if a person is not strong enough they might commit suicide.
Reached for comment, acting coordinator of Francistown DHMT, Dr Nkele Ndolumingu said they are overwhelmed with the rising numbers of COVID-19 in the Francistown district. He said this has made it difficult for them to visit nor contact each and every person who has tested positive for the virus. Ndolumingu added their focus is mostly on people experiencing serious symptoms.
“We monitor and take care of people on quarantine in lodges and hotels, provide them with food, but those who are on self-isolation we encourage them to self-isolate themselves and to contact us by phone only when the symptoms get serious,” he said.
He added that it is not like they neglect people, saying the district is overwhelmed with the rising numbers of infections. Ndolumingu stated that just two weeks ago they had almost 1,400 people on isolation in the district and the numbers have since increased.