Dr Luunga Ziko (Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, 2019) works as an Registrar in Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. Here, he explains how COVID-19 has taken over his work.
How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected your work?
My work is centred on infectious diseases such as HIV, TB, and many other bacterial, fungal and viral infections as well as Antimicrobial Stewardship. The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted my attention towards its response and so I have not been able to deal with my usual duties. I no longer work in the medical wards but have been working in other hospitals and provinces helping set up facilities and offering technical support to the health care workers.
How have you been responding to the outbreak?
As part of the country wide infectious disease team in Zambia, we have been training health workers countrywide in Case Management and Infection Prevention. We have been involved in coordinating activities at various isolation facilities, as well as attending to patients. We have come up with strategies to ensure other essential services such as HIV care and TB are not neglected. The success of the COVID-19 response has been largely due to the programme riding on already existing health systems used successfully in the HIV/TB fight.
How has your country’s response to the outbreak affected your work?
The national response to the outbreak has resulted in the complete upheaval of my daily duties from being a hospitalist to more of a public health clinician. This has helped enhance my practise of Infectious Diseases on a larger scale than I had imagined previously. My country’s response has affected my work by shifting my area of duty to align with COVID-19 response. This has helped me practice more of infectious disease in the area of disease outbreak and public health.
How has LSHTM’s training helped you during this outbreak?
My training in DTM&H at LSHTM has broadened my understanding of medical practice, not only from a clinical point of view but public health as well as global health.