Covid-19: How to keep children safe in the home, community

File pic

Muchaneta Chimuka

Senior Reporter

  • One way of protecting children who stay with infected individuals is to allocate them separate bedrooms
  • Any infected person should be isolated such that young children do not play around them
  • In a case where there is one bathroom, the infected person should be the last one to bath, thereafter the care giver can disinfect the bathroom using bleach

Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc globally, resulting in schools’ closures.

This has forced young children to spend most of their time at home and in communities.

It is sometimes difficult to control young children, especially when living in the same house with an infected person.

Advertisement

Although the infection rate is not too high among children in Zimbabwe, continued stern measures are needed to ensure their safety.

Some community health workers (CHW) who spoke to The Herald shared several tips that can be practised at household level.

A CHW, Mr Airman Mlambo, said one way of protecting children who stay with infected individuals is to allocate them separate bedrooms.

He said it is also important to reinforce the use of masks to all those who are eligible in terms of age.

“Regular hand sanitising /hand washing is critical. It is very crucial to catch them young in terms of Covid-19 awareness education and general sanitation,” he said.

Another CHW, Mrs Margaret Johwa, said any infected person should be isolated such that young children do not play around them.

“The infected person can be isolated at the quarantine center in the isolation unit so that people at home remain safe and free from hustles of staying with him or her.

“However, if the infected person cannot go to the isolation center for some reason, they should ensure that he or she is entirely isolated,” she said.

She added that the infected person should stay in a room 24/7 until fully recovered, with windows wide open for good ventilation.

“The infected person should use her or his own toilet, this is done to prevent cross infection, especially to children. Home isolation is ideal for houses with rooms that have ensuite bathrooms, so that the infected person remains entirely isolated,” she said.

Advertisement

However, Mrs Johwa said, people at home should continue to communicate with the infected person to prevent stigma.

She added that it is important for health workers to fully educate people who will be staying with an infected person.

“People should know what is happening and what they are supposed to do, so that they won’t be surprised. For people who want to do home isolation, their home should be assessed by the health workers first. The health workers can see if it is ideal.”

She noted that masking up, hand washing with soap and water should be emphasised.

She added that hand sanitisation can be done whenever necessary.

“Young children should be fed with locally available nutritious food, which boosts their immune system. This helps reduce chances of contracting infection,” she said.

Mrs Johwa added that if there are children at home, adults should closely monitor them, so that they don’t wander aimlessly, least they end up going to the room where the infected person will be.

Another CHW, Mrs Patience Rusare said in a case where there is one bathroom, the infected person should be the last one to bath, thereafter the care giver can disinfect the bathroom using bleach.

“Whenever the infected person uses the toilet, they should flash with the lid closed to avoid aerosols into the air. The flashing handle and toilet seat should be disinfected regularly and every time after use. Open windows for good ventilation,” she said.

She said, masks should be worn all times and surfaces around the house should be cleaned.

Advertisement

Handwashing and social distancing of 3m should practised always when the infected person is in the room.

An infected person should not share utensils as well.

“Utensils should be thoroughly disinfected every time after use,” she said.

HERALD