As the world is constantly chattering about the COVID-19 pandemic, as the WHO has officially classified it on the 12 of March, 2020, it is important to know how Botswana can prepare. The director general of the WHO stated, “If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases [from] becoming clusters, and those clusters [from] becoming community transmission.” (emphasis mine)
In the next few weeks, it may be important for Batswana and expats living here to practice social distancing if/when cases of COVID-19 surface within our borders. Events may need to be cancelled in order to curb the spread of disease. If/when a quarantine comes to you or your community, you’ll need to be prepared to shelter in place at home for 2-3 weeks. Most cases of confirmed COVID-19 are required to quarantine for 14 days, as are those who have been exposed to the people confirmed as carriers of the disease as it can take 14 days for symptoms to develop.
While you’re out shopping in the next few days, just periodically pick up an extra package of the following items so you can build up your emergency preparedness kit. Please don’t panic buy and hoard items. It’s okay to make a small stockpile, but not to hoard goods. Also don’t stock up fresh foods as they will likely spoil. Things that need little cooking & preparation as well as a long shelf life are ideal for preparing meals. Here is my list of supplies for a family of 4.
*Bread loaf – freezer
*Cheese – freezer
*Frozen meals such as frozen fries, fish sticks, pizza, and chicken nuggets
Juice in box
*Long life milk
Maize – maize meal, samp, etc
*Meat – chicken and/or beef – freezer
Tins of beans, tomatoes, puree, vegetables, etc.
Tins of fruit
Tins of soup
Disinfecting cleanser spray
Bleach based cleanser (e.g. Domestos)
*Garbage bags – 1 roll of small bin liners, one roll of large bin liners
*Bleach (e.g. Jik)
Tissues – 1 box per person
Toilet paper – 2 packages of 18 rolls each
*Hand Sanitiser (if available)
Hand soap – bar soap and liquid soap
Cough expectorants, decongestants, cough suppressants
ORS – oral rehydration solution (e.g. Rehidrat)
Wound cleanser (e.g. Savlon)
Craft supplies (Sewing, knitting)
Airtime (prepaid) voucher
Electricity Voucher for BPC meter
*Notes about the list:
A few extra items/prepared meals in the freezer will help as sometimes the lack of variety with non-perishables can be monotonous.
Honey is great for a cough with those over 1 year of age to add to a mug of warm water and squeeze of lemon/lemon juice.
Long life milk (UHT – ultra high temp) milk is key because if imports are slow due to community spread in SADC, then fresh milk may not be available in abundance.
Garbage bin liners and bags will be needed if you have infectious items like tissues to dispose of. Bleach, surgical spirits, and hydrogen peroxide can be added to homemade cleansers to help disinfect.
People may be panicking about hand sanitiser missing from the shelves, but if you have access to running water, then soap and a 20 second hand wash is more effective at removing germs from your hands. You can also make your own liquid soap from a bar of soap in a cinch! I recently did this and it was super easy and made a huge batch (even with the half-recipe).
If COVID-19 doesn’t come to Botswana, then we are all ready to pitch in to our community food pantries and health clinics with our stockpiles if we escape this virus.