|Ministry of Health Advisory|
|Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alert: Avoid travel, parties, and events. Follow expert advice to protect your family.|
Former Presidential candidate Col Dr Kizza Besigye has come out to support the measures that were announced yesterday by President Yoweri Museveni to prevent the rapid spread of the deadly Coronavirus.
Dr Besigye said in a Thursday message, that he “associated entirely” with the announced measures, which include closure of all schools, houses of worship, bars weddings among others.
Besigye however, warned that these preventative measures alone will not suffice in protecting Ugandans once the Coronavirus makes its way into the country.
As such, the doctor said more emphasis needs to be placed on strengthening the immune system of Ugandans to enable them fight the virus when they contract it.
“We haven’t focused on how our people can resist disease,” he said.
“Not all that are infected actually contract disease. We are always infected, but we don’t always go down with disease because our bodies are able fend off those infections without us even realizing that we have been infected.”
“When our immunity is high, the threat and result of that infection is much less.”
Unfortunately, according to Besigye, the immunity of most Ugandans is currently very low because of a number of factors.
One such, he said, is lack of proper sleep by most Ugandans because of the kind of work they do.
“You need to have enough sleep and your sleep needs to be in a regular cycle; that is very important for immunity. An adult need about 8 hours of good sleep every day. But quite often many of our people don’t even get five hours of sleep, because of the hustle they have to go through. Indeed, many when they go to bed, they remain awake thinking of the problems they face.”
According to Dr Besigye, the high level of stress that many Ugandans endure every day does not help with their immune system.
“For instance now, some people are rushing to collect their children from school. Some don’t even have money for food. Some don’t have food at home, others rent…This inherently undermines their immunity.”
While smoking seems voluntary, Besigye says many Ugandans have become addicted and need help to quit.
“Many of our people will tell you they smoke to relieve themselves from stress! Already they are stressed but they are also smoking. That’s very bad for their immunity.
Uganda is said to have one of the highest alcohol consumption per capita in the world, which Besigye warns, will play against the citizens’ challenges to resist the Covid19.
Lack of exercise
Dr Besigye explains that lack of proper exercise affects the immune system because the body cells responsible for immunity are located in the lymphatic system.
“The white blood, unlike the regular blood which is pumped by the heart, is pumped by the muscles. If the muscles are not active, it means that the circulation of the cells that you need to defend you are undermined,” Besigye says.
“But our people either don’t know and those who do, they don’t have time to exercise. They are seated in offices for the whole day and later they go home.”
Besigye warns against taking too much sugar in this pandemic season, because about 30 minutes to 5 hours after being consumed, it suppresses the effectiveness of white blood cells.
“While there are many people who can’t afford sugar, there are many who look for it and poison themselves. It this pandemic, it is important that we lower even altogether avoid taking sugar.”
To be able to boost their immunity more, Besigye advises Ugandans to consume more balanced food.
Among the foods he recommends are those that contain Vitamin C, such as lemon. While many fruits contain Vitamin C, he says it is important to remember that the same fruits contain a lot of sugar.
“Therefore lemons are the best. One lemon a day can provide enough Vitamin C for that day.”
Other fruits to consider include mangoes, guava, papaya. Vegetables too are good, especially chili, Cauliflower and broccoli.
For Vitamin A: carrots, pawpaw, oranges, eggs etc
Vitamin E, ground nuts, and other nuts, avocado and vegetable oils.
Vitamin B: millet porridge, beans, avocado, bananas, dairy products and eggs.