13th July, 2021
Cambodians are suffering from Covid-19 fatigue and discrimination
The Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation’s Cambodia representative have both sounded on more than one occasion that Cambodia is at the red line and extreme measures will have to be taken to contain the spread of the pandemic.’
The pandemic has seen a surge despite almost 5 million people being vaccinated and last week, Phnom Penh declared more than a dozen districts as areas which are high risk for Covid-19 infections.
However, they failed to provide information as to how these areas could be classified as high risk when vaccination numbers were high and at more than 90 percent.’
In addition, the MoH should address issues pertaining to how it handles Covid-19 positive victims from the time of their detection to hospitalization, treatment and discharge.
They face discrimination from the positive stage to the time they are discharged and forced to stay home for 14 days.
In many cases, positive cases are left to wait for up to seven hours before am ambulance picks them up. There are cases where no medication is provided supposedly because the patient has no symptoms other than a paracetamol or a strip of Chinese Traditional Chinese medicine tables.
They remain in hospital or the quarantine cum treatment centres for days without medication, without tests and just left alone with occasional visits by nurses and hardly any doctors who are in short supply because of the huge number of cases.
The affected person’s home is also barricaded and this causes further mental anguish and trauma for the inhabitants, especially children.
Could these be part of the reasons for the people’s lethargic response to the warnings issued by the MoH, which seems to operate largely as a headless chicken and have many sub committees formed to look into implementation and leaving the MoH as just the figure head to issue meaningless case reports daily and other statements.
Testing centres are over flowing and it takes hours to be tested, increasing the possibility of contraction of the virus in these places. There are no controls and systems in place nor discipline as testing officials are lackadaisical in their testing approach and often start their testing process very late.
Are these the reasons why people are hesitant to get tested unless and until they are sure someone they knew or have been in contact with has been hit by the virus and hospitalised.
After more than 18 months of the infection rearing its head in Cambodia, there seem to be no standard operating procedures for many things which affects everybody.
If the Ministry of Health was to release specific information on where the cases are, which location, which province, which locality, which variant, people may be more alert to the virus. Otherwise, the lethargy will continue as there is no outlet for them to release their pent up stress – no cinemas, no museums, no gymnasiums and no nothing except to continuous extensions to ban on these outlets and ban on sale of alcohol.
Worse still is the discrimination and profiling of Covid-19 victims and their families.
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