The second post in our series about researcher experiences in light of COVID-19 comes from Mildred Zulu, a lecturer, researcher and PhD student from the University of Zambia with research interests in non-communicable diseases and Zoonosis.
When I first heard of the outbreak of a novel corona virus in China, my mind was at peace knowing that it is a disease just in China, but fear came in when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. When South Africa announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19, it brought more fear to me especially that we have human traffic on a daily basis to and from South Africa; with this in mind I knew that next it would be in Zambia, my country.
My fears came true on 18th March when Zambia announced its first two cases of COVID-19. With the announcement of the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19, Zambia has not been the same since; COVID-19 has not affected only me but almost all sectors of the country have been affected.
Being an academician and a PhD student, at first in my mind I thought during this period of staying at home I would maximise and finish up my write up (my review article) and update my lecture notes, but alas with children and load shedding, topping it all with the anxiety of COVID-19, working at home is not yielding much of the fruits. Besides this, I was supposed to be in the field collecting samples for my PhD but all this has been put on hold till further notice. Therefore, instead of finishing my PhD in three years’ time, I now have no idea as to when I will finish.
On the other hand, staying at home has made an opportunity for me to do some online courses and also attend Zoom sessions, which I could not do before due to time constraints, thereby increasing my knowledge. I would advise my fellow researchers to take advantage of the lockdown and finish all the pending work and also to take up online courses available in your area of interest.
For now, the question on everyone’s mind is when is this pandemic going to end? Currently, no one knows the answer. Our only hope lies in the maker our God and, as citizens, to follow the guidelines provided by the ministry of health; to stay at home, practice social distancing, wearing masks if you are going anywhere, wash hands with soap and use an alcohol-based sanitizer when water is not available and also to avoid going to the epicenter. Together we can conquer the virus.