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“In the DRC, many people are hiding because they are ashamed of being sick”

Vidiye Tshimanga, adviser to the Congolese president, announced that he was infected with the coronavirus. He tells franceinfo Afrique why he chose to testify, while the disease is taboo in the country.

Vidiye Tshimanga, special adviser to President Tshisekedi, is one of the first Congolese to have been tested for coronavirus in Democratic Republic of Congo, March 23, 2020. After a positive result and difficult care, he tells his story on his Facebook page.

“A shameful disease”

Vidiye Tshimanga, in her forties, lives in Kinshasa, where there are the largest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus (154 cases to date) from the country. When he becomes ill, some ill-informed caregivers refuse to care for him. The medical staff was not prepared and the majority of the Congolese are insufficiently informed. This new disease is scary and people stigmatized with the virus. Some patients sometimes hide so as not to be reported.

I would not be surprised to see someone say, 'Burn him because he has Covid-19.' We risk being overwhelmed by uncontrollable situationsVidiye Tshimanga, adviser to the president of the DRCat franceinfo Afrique

“An impressive wave of headaches”

And it is precisely to avoid psychosis and to give a positive example that this father recounts his illness, then his remission. Vidiye Tshimanga, who had mild symptoms, was treated with chloroquine combined with Zithromax (azithromycin) while remaining in isolation at home. This political official insists a lot on the transmission of information so that the Congolese understand the situation better without feeling guilty. He also believes that the Coronavirus was present in the DRC at the end of last year and that several people have already contracted it without knowing it. According to him, there was a wave of migraines, headaches and fever that we took for flu.

I feel like we were affected by this virus several months ago. There was an impressive death rate in Kinshasa in DecemberVidiye Tshimanga, adviser to the president of the DRCat franceinfo Afrique

“We have the Ebola experience”

The first confirmed case of coronavirus was announced on March 10, 2020, but there is very little screening (barely fifty per day) and all the figures that circulate are below reality. The mobilization against the epidemic began in a chaotic manner. In Kinshasa, a city with more than twenty million inhabitants, it is extremely difficult to impose general confinement. Only the commune of La Gombe, considered to be the epicenter of the epidemic, has been quarantined to prevent the spread of the virus. As the country lacks the means to treat the most serious cases, Vidiye Tshimanga insists on awareness and prevention.

This disease, if we transform its perception and adapt our mechanisms, it should be more manageable than EbolaVidiye Tshimanga, adviser to the president of the DRCat franceinfo Afrique

Vidiye Tshimanga recognizes that the coronavirus is “a sneaky disease“He himself lost a close friend. He nevertheless recalls that his country has known and fought other sometimes more deadly diseases like Ebola, of which the last epidemic, which hit hard in the east of the DRC, is circumscribed The response was led by Congolese professor Jean-Jaques Muyembe and the co-discoverer of Ebola is now at war with the coronavirus.

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