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Let’s be swine flu cautious at Umhlanga

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By Times - THE SWAZI TIMES-27-Aug-2009

Let’s be swine flu cautious at Umhlanga

With Africa’s biggest traditional event underway and tourists from world over trekking to Swaziland to witness this spectacle, we should not lose sight of a recently emerged danger, Swine Flu, that spreads rapidly where there are gatherings of multitudes.

Recent reports suggest that a fourth case of Swine Flu has been reported in Swaziland and it is a pupil who recently returned from a trip to Durban, South Africa. About 20 deaths confirmed to have been caused by Swine Flu, have been reported by our neighbours.

With Swine Flu tests costing as much as E600 locally, very few, if any, young maidens would have gone to a health centre to verify if their colds and flu’s are not the symptoms of the dreaded flu before setting out to join the thousands of others at the reed dance.

We trust the Health ministry is wide awake to the possibility of a high spread of the flu at the event and has taken every precaution to ensure that all suspect cases are dealt with immediately.

The minister has called upon everybody to take precautions such as wearing face masks, but these were visibly absent at the start of event. Prevention has always been cited by the ministry as being better than cure and we wonder why it has chosen not to practice what it preaches and provide these masks when it matters most.

That the ministry has secured drugs to treat the flu does not mean we should leave the door of opportunity open because the cost of the tests may leave many unable to afford them and by the time government realises there are more cases than it can cope with, a nation would be on the verge of being wiped out sooner than the minister can shout for help to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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