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MEN 70% AT RISK OF COVID-19 DEATH

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MBABANE - Men are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to women.
After the Ministry of Health’s revelation on Sunday that out of the 11 COVID-19 deaths in the country, nine were males and two females, experts have revealed that males were at higher risk of dying from the virus.


It can be revealed that men have a 70 per cent chance of succumbing to COVID-19-related complications than the fairer sex.
This was attributed to their social behaviour and biological make-up.


For women, they have a 20 per cent chance of dying from complications brought about by the virus.
According to Global Health 5050, men’s resistance to do check-ups in health facilities results in their underlying conditions getting complicated after being infected with coronavirus, leading to them having severe cases.


Conditions


The co-existing medical conditions in males can be diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiac disease and asthma.
Also, an enzyme called ACE2 (enzyme 2) is believed to develop the severe case of COVID-19 disease. ACE2 sits on cell membranes and may allow the virus to enter cells more easily, beginning its destructive path. Levels of this enzyme are said to be higher in men than in women, meaning more of their cells may be vulnerable to the virus. In turn, this may lead to men’s higher risk of severe coronavirus outcomes and death.


On Sunday, Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi urged people, especially men, to do medical check-ups.
“Of note is that 10 out of the 11 deaths had either been newly-diagnosed with one or more of the above conditions or had been found to have poor control of these chronic conditions. It is worth noting that nine out of the 11 deaths are males. We therefore urge the public, especially males, to ensure that they do medical check-ups regularly, at least once a year and those diagnosed with a chronic illness should adhere to the treatment as advised by health workers,” she said.


World Health Organisation (WHO) Health Promotion Officer Dr Kevin Makadzange also said men’s behaviour towards utilising health facilities made them more prone to coronavirus death.


“Men, like an omen, have many underlying sicknesses but these go unnoticed because they do not go to hospital until it is too late. Also, men have a habit of self-medicating yet going to hospital is very important,” said Dr Makadzange.
He encouraged men to utilise health facilities for their well-being.


Kwakha Indvodza Founder and Executive Director Tom Churchyard said they were also aware that men did not do medical check-ups.


Treatment


“As men are less likely to visit a clinic, they are also less likely to know, or be on treatment for underlying health issues. This is supported by the Ministry of Health statement dated June 28, 2020. In general, men also present to a clinic at a later stage of most diseases.


“This is true of HIV and TB, as well as cancers and diabetes, and is one of the reasons why men have a higher mortality in these areas too,” said Churchyard.
He said this was because men were more risk-taking in their behaviour and less concerned with preventative measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing or regular hand washing.  “This is a global problem which has been seen all over the world. In fact, some countries have specifically challenged this with ‘wear a mask’ messaging aimed specifically at men. Men have a greater mobility, especially for work and during these tough economic times, they are more likely to spend a long time in crowded areas and more likely to use public transport to get to/from work,” he said.


Kwakha Indvodza is currently planning to sensitise men to visit health facilities more and they have already secured funding from several donors to complement the good work conducted by the Ministry of Health and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) in densely-populated areas outside Eswatini’s major towns and cities.


Screening


They will be conducting community-based COVID-19 screening and contact-tracing exercise, COVID-19 prevention information and messaging, which targets men and vulnerability assessments and health and social services referrals to other government and non-governmental partners.
According to Churchyard, men were also mainly affected by HIV, TB, diabetes and underlying complications derived from obesity and regular alcohol and tobacco consumption.
He said encouraging greater uptake of male health was part of Kwakha Indvodza’s core mission.
“To do this, there are a couple of underlying issues we need to address, on both the supply and demand side. Firstly, we need to change our social expectation that going to the clinic is a weak or feminine thing to do.
“Looking after yourself, both mentally and physically, is not a woman or a man’s issue or responsibility, but should be a concern for everyone, especially when we consider infectious disease, such as COVID-19 or TB. We have been talking about this for many years in response to sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, and the same is true of COVID-19,” said Churchyard.
He said they could not achieve national health goals without challenging the idea that clinics or seeking health services was not ‘manly’.

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: Positive nurses not isolated
Is government overwhelmed or is it just pure negligence on some health personnel?