As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, Zimbabwe Open University is working diligently to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff and students. The university has:
- Established a National Health and Wellness committee to assist with the implementation of plan of action. Existing Health and Wellness committees in the Regional campuses have been mandated to take active roles in COVID-19 mitigations. The National Health and Wellness committee will also make recommendations on SOPs and protocols that need to be implemented in conjunction with Deans and Heads of Departments and other relevant stakeholders. The committee is lead by the Dean Faculty of Science. The committee is taking advice from the Health Science Department. The committee can be reached on 0775 108 581
- Disinfected all university facilities prior to opening the campus
- Staggard staff working schedules to maintain the recommended social distancing in the offices
- Launched a Covid-19 dashboard
- Provided face masks, hand sanitizer and temperature checks at all campuses
- Continued to provide online support to students.
- Postponed writing of examinations to allow putting in structures to prevent spread of infection among staff and students.
- Examinations undertaken using COVID 19 WHO guidelines
Ministry of Health and Childcare Updates
- At National arena, the level of risk remains at level 2. For more local updates please visit the official government website:
- Emergency National hotline number: 2019/2023
World Health Organization Updates
- The World Health Organization has revised guidelines on the wearing of face mask when in public in addition to practising physical distancing and hand washing. Click the following link for more information on face masks:
- Preliminary clinical trial results from the United Kingdom revealed that dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, reduces mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support.
Click the following link for more information:
Because the situation is fluid and changing rapidly, access updated WHO resources.
Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID-19
Mental health is as important as the physical health. Several theorists have attempted to define the concept of mental health. Maslow emphasised an individual’s motivation in the quest for self-actualisation. He identified a hierarchy of needs with the lower ones requiring fulfilment before those at higher level. Maslow described self-actualisation as being psychologically healthy, highly evolved and fully mature (Maslow, 1970). WHO defines mental health as the state of wellbeing in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution his or her community. For the purpose of this text, and in line with the framework of stress/ adaptation, Townsend (2009)’s definition is adopted where mental health is viewed as successful adaptation to stressors both from internal and external environment which are evidenced by thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are age appropriate and congruent with the local and cultural norms (Robert, 1983). Anxiety, fear of the unknown and uncertain future are some of the stressors that people are experiencing during this pandemic. While having a flue has been an everyday phenomenon this has been a nightmare because one is not sure whether they have contracted COVID-19 or not. We all have experienced these emotional issues at some time during the prolonged lockdown. And the degree to which we have been able to adapt to these changes defines one’s mental state. To help us maintain one’s mental health here are some tips:
- Eat healthy, if possible, stick to your routine eating schedule and ensure you eat a well-balanced diet. Eat a variety of food, including fruits and vegetables. Poor diet may cause mood swings and lethargy. Make sure there is enough calories.
- Drink plenty of water at least two litres a day. Water has an added benefit of washing away all toxins in your body, reducing chances of getting constipation and improving blood viscosity thereby reducing incidences of blood clots.
- Exercise regularly in your backyard with bodyweight movements or go for a walk or jog or workout with a jump rope. Exercise can make one feel happier and this is attributed to the release of endorphins.
- Engage in activities that enhance intellectual and cognitive stimulation, for example playing chess, tsoro or computer games.
- Reach out to others through social groups to avoid feeling lonely.
These tips are not comprehensive neither are they conclusive, if you think you need someone to talk to call the ZOU Call Centre on +263 242 793003 or toll free number 08677311311 and seek medical help from your doctor.
Click the following link for more information on mental health from WHO: