By Dickson Tumuramye
On June 10, 2021, my wife and I reached home at around 7:30pm and found our six-year-old daughter complaining of fever. We gave her Panadol and the temperature minimized, but when I checked on her at around 3:30am, the temperature had increased again. Since she did not show serious signs of flu, we decided not to give her flu medication. At 9:00am, I took her to the nearest clinic for medical check-up and her temperature was at 38oC. A malaria test was recommended and it turned out negative. The doctor recommended we do a Covid-19 test and gave us a referral to a nearby government hospital. I went for a test reluctantly, being convinced that she was developing a mere cold, since her sister had been with flu the past week. Reaching Mukono Hospital, there was an overwhelming number of people, but we managed to successfully get her tested and she was diagnosed with Covid-19. All along my daughter seemed okay except that she only complained of tiredness.
When I received the results, I first thought I had read wrongly or because we had irritated the nurse and since she was rude to everyone who tried to question her professionalism, she could have made a mistake. I could not believe the results and decided to go for another confirmatory test in a private hospital. The test was done and within 15 minutes, I got my results. From this facility, the results were also positive and it is here that I realised Covid-19 was existent even among children. She was put on medication immediately, to be administered from home since she did not warrant an admission.
I write this story to inform parents to be vigilant and watchful. If you think Covid-19 is a joke or if you still think it is among adults only, you may be heading for the worst – death! My daughter heard me tell someone that we have tested positive and her response was: “Daddy, you mean I have coronavirus; I am going to die?” I had to first counsel her and tried carefully to craft this bad news to her level of understanding without hiding the truth. I also started wondering at how other children at home will handle this situation. A lot of questions lingered in my mind, especially where she could have contracted it from. Anyhow, I resolved to go home and deliver the news to my household and ask them to ensure we observe all standard operating procedures (SOPs) and treat her well without stigmatising her.
Other family members
The following day, I took all other members for testing and fortunately we were all negative. This brought relief from the night of anxiety some members had experienced. My mother-in-law is in a category of the most vulnerable; so, we had to ensure she blocks any contact with our girl and she also tried her best.
We also ensured to put on masks all the time, whether we were in the house or outside, as well social distancing. We started steaming, taking immunity boosters and used whatever was recommended by doctors as well as what we read on social media as a remedy for prevention and treating Covid-19. We did exercises every evening and sunbathing every morning. My wife and I stopped going to work and stayed at home. The biggest challenge was how we could isolate this girl from mixing with the rest. This was the hardest because she would tell us that we no longer love her because she has Covid-19, but since I explained and counseled her about the disease, she also tried her best to do better.
Keeping calm, trusting God
God took us through this situation and now our daughter is fine. I would like to encourage you not to panic when you are faced with this pandemic. Stay calm and ensure that you take all your medication and follow the SOPs. If you have not been there, try to see how to protect yourself from this hell. It can be devastating. Put your trust in God and keep praying for good health. Where possible, stay at home and stay safe.
The author is child advocate,
parenting coach and marriage counselor.