COVID-19 PANDEMIC: An Expert Interview with Dr Laminu Kaumi.

Dr Laminu Kaumi is a Consultant Physician Family Medicine and Community Health trained in the prestigious Hospital Ramon y Cajal Madrid Spain. He got his postgraduate certificate in the famous Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, awarded with both MSc Tropical Medicine and International Health and Masters in Public Health.

As a Global Health Champion, can you please describe what is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease which belongs to a large family of viruses called Coronaviruses. It was discovered during the outbreak in Wuhan China in December 2019. Like other types of Coronaviruses, it can cause respiratory symptoms and infections ranging from common cold to acute respiratory distress.

Please what are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Fever, dry cough and or shortness of breath may appear 2-14 days after exposure with the virus. It has been observed that some patients may present with sore throat, generalized body aches and pain or diarrhea. But don’t forget, we have patients who can be infected but don’t manifest any symptoms and can still transmit the infection. A typical example, are immunocompromised patients.

How does the virus spread?

The disease can be spread directly through droplets from the nose or mouth of a person with COVID-19 to another person by coughing or sneezing. Indirectly, these droplets can land on surfaces or even objects, easily transmitted by touching either the eyes, nose, mouth or surfaces. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) is assessing some ongoing research particularly on other mode of transmission.

For 2 decades, Dr. Kaumi has studied and worked with experienced Infectious Diseases Experts in both Europe and Latin America. Nominated as a Doctoral candidate for the Heart Healthy Hoods project in 2014, sponsored by the well renowned Johns Hopkins Blomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore USA.

Any prospects for a Covid-19 treatment?

There is no evidence if any traditional or western medicine can prevent or cure Covid-19. However, the WHO has confirmed more than 35 ongoing clinical trials conducted in several countries across the globe. Some of these medicines are chloroquine (the famous anti-malaria drug), Kaletra (HIV treatment drug), Favipiravir and Remdesivir (Ebola drug) among others. I am confident that the WHO will immediately provide an updated information as soon as any significant clinical evidence or findings are available.

Do we have any vaccine for Covid-19?

At the moment, there is no any available vaccine or a specific antiviral drug for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You may have heard of some drug treatments and vaccines under investigation, in other words under clinical trials approved by the WHO. Therefore, the most effective method of prevention is frequent washing of hands for at least 20 seconds, to cover cough with a tissue or a bend of the elbow and specifically maintaining social distance from people who could be sneezing or coughing.

There is a lot of misinformation going around on COVID-19 particularly on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, twitter and even WhatsApp. Any advice?

Thank you for asking this important question. In my opinion, the rationale behind these misinformation and fake news is called INFODEMIC. So, it’s very critical to be fighting a pandemic as well as an infodemic. Infodemic is more dangerous than the virus because it spreads faster and even kills. It can also undermine government and health official’s rapid response in tackling the crisis. And for that reason, the most respected Director General of WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on several occasions addressed the magnitude of this pandemic. Therefore, we should be very cautious in sharing articles, videos, pictures or even audio messages unless we verify its authenticity through WHO, Countries Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 Facts and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine websites among others.

In addition, during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa 2014, Dr. Kaumi was the Medical Director of a Children’s Hospital in Abuja Nigeria, were he participated immensely and collaborated with the National primary healthcare development agency(NPHDA), in the effective coordination against the Ebola viral disease outbreak in the country. He presently works as a Family physician in the Republic of Ireland.

Talking about misinformation and fake news, what do you think about the frequent myths related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. I am very sure you have come across some, right?

Yes indeed. Let me make some clarifications about these myths supported by the WHO Myth busters:

Snow and cold weather CANNOT kill COVID-19 virus.

The new virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates.

Mosquito bites CANNOT transmit COVID-19 virus

Taking a bath with chlorine or alcohol will not kill the new virus

Finally, can the COVID-19 Pandemic be defeated? As an International Public Health Expert, what measures has to be used?

Absolutely optimistic that a collective wartime coalition of strategic policies with a spirit of solidarity across the globe involving testing, isolating, tracing every contact and treating every suspected case will surely prevent widespread community transmission and thus defeat the new virus.

Similarly, we should commend the best practices introduced by several countries to tackle this pandemic, such as social distancing, staying at home, protection of healthcare professionals, closing of schools, colleges childcare facilities and many businesses. We have to contain and slow the spread of this virus, so that fewer people will need to seek treatment, in other words we must believe in “flattening the curve”. That will lead us to a slower infection rate and a less overwhelming pressure on our health system.

More information…

WHO launched a messaging service with WhatsApp and Facebook to keep people safe from coronavirus. The service can be accessed through a link that opens a conversation on WhatsApp. Users can simply type “hi” to activate the conversation, prompting a menu of options that can help answer their questions about COVID-19. Also you can send “hi” to 0041 798 931 892.

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  • This is a very helpful information at a time all we can rely on is information from a medical professional rather than the myth and fake news on the social media about the pandemic that has almost brought the whole world to a stand still.

  • Thank you very much sir for the contribution to the public enlighment and awareness, there is no doubt that we need some specialists like you not only during this pandemical condition but always.

    • Thanks Engineer for your positive remarks, it is always our pleasure to educate and help with absolute solidarity.

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