Fri. Jun 5th, 2020

COVID-19 MITIGATION: Risk Management Using Spatial Mapping

Prof. Halimu Shauri at a past function. Image: (Courtesy)

Episode 12

BY PROF DR HALIMU SHAURI

(Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Pwani University)

As COVID-19 infections sore day by day, we are obligated by the guidelines of our professional ethics to also step up mitigation measures.

The government and other stakeholders have unveiled a raft of measures up to now as a strategy to tame the spread of coronavirus.

Today, I want to take the opportunity of applying the technique of risk analysis and management to help escalation of personal measures to avoid contamination with the virus.

We must do all what is humanely possible to save ourselves from extinction through the excruciating pain of COVID-19.

Everything has a risk attached to it. Just like there is day and night, mono and di-cot, good and bad, so is risk and un-risk things, behaviour and actions. We must therefore identify risk and do something to mitigate its adverse effects.

In an attempt to understand risk, which was not a serious subject a decade ago because humanity thought they could do nothing about it, risk measurement was developed.

Accordingly, today risks can be weighed on a scale of H=High, M=Moderate and L=Low. Applying the science of risk identification and management to COVID-19, may help ourselves and others to stay safe.

MAPPING SOCIAL SPACES

How does it work? I hear you asking! It’s simple, what we have to do is to map social spaces, behaviors, and actions that can help spur the spread of COVID-19.

This can begin by asking ourselves, which are the social spaces I frequent most in a week?

Once you map these social spaces then you rank them based on their likelihood of being COVID-19 transmission spaces.

In your ranking, group them into High, Medium and Low risk spaces.

For example, I personally frequent these social spaces that I have ranked them High risk myself.

Public gatherings where I give lecturers, funerals, weddings, congregation prayers, supermarkets and shopping malls, open air markets, parties and other social gatherings.

I have recognized this and taken personal steps to cancel, minimize or take great care when visiting such places as my mitigation measures.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe in a recent daily briefing on COVID-19 pandemic. The CS banned all social gatherings including funerals and weddings. Image: (Courtesy)

The behaviors that I have ranked as high risk include handshakes, hugs, maskan engagements, sharing personalized items such a cigarettes, sharing microphones, Goggles, touching goods while making purchases in the markets etc while there are many medium and Low risk spaces, activities, behaviors and actions, what constitutes the rank is a subjective decision.

What I consider high risk maybe low or medium risk to another person.

EMPHASIS

However, what we emphasize is that you identify your own risky social spaces, behavior and actions by asking yourself these simple questions of what do you prefer doing daily or weekly? Or where do you frequent most in a typical week?

Then rank, H, M or L, the likelihood of COVID-19 infection due to this behaviors, actions, social spaces or actions you do.

What then do you take as your personal steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 contamination in each case?

Don’t wait for President Uhuru Kenyatta, or CS Kagwe or your health workers or me to tell you what to do, do something for yourself.

This war will only be won at a personal and not social level. The later is just a motivation that we are all doing the same things: hand washing, sanitizing etc, but the actual doing is V_R_S, only I and U, ViRuS.

I wash my hands and so you wash yours, I keep social distance and so you do, that’s the spirit, doing alone and me doing alone, but together we conquer COVID-19.

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