Family’s tale of escape from the coronavirus

FOR the Kudya family of ZimRe Park in Ruwa, the past month was a trying time, as four of them tested positive for Covid-19.They heaved a sigh of relief this week when all of them recovered from the coronavirus, bringing the number of recoveries recorded in Zimbabwe to five.

BRIDGET MANANAVIRE

The country’s recovery rate has been worryingly low, with the only other case being that of a Victoria Falls man who was one of the first to be diagnosed with the respiratory infection.

“We are feeling so excited. Many cannot understand because they might doubt that we were even sick. We cannot hold a party at the moment but we are really happy,” the father, Saul Kudya, who contracted the disease on a trip to Dubai, said.

Kudya returned from the business trip on March 18, after which he tested positive for Covid-19.His wife and two children got infected thereafter.

“It was not easy having to separate from the five members of the family who were negative and trying to protect them from getting infected. And the negative are still dependent on us,” Kudya told the Zimbabwe Independent.

As of Wednesday, Zimbabwe had recorded 32 official cases, four deaths and five recoveries out of 7 287 screening and diagnostic tests.
Kudya attributes his family’s recovery to God’s grace.

He said a positive mindset was helpful on the path to recovery.Although he used a number of concoctions and supplements, Kudya, a member of the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe church, said God was his ultimate healer.

“I just have to give glory to God for healing me and my family. I was even talking to Dr (Prosper) Chonzi (Harare City health director) and he said it was surely my positive mindset that pulled me through and it was surely God because this thing (Covid-19) has no cure,” Kudya said.

“So, it starts in the mind, really believing that you shall recover really helps. We were given some pain medication and some antibiotics. What we used most, however, was Vitamin C supplements and we drank the lemon, ginger and garlic concoction while also steaming.

“With Vitamin C, we took a lot of it. We were taking like three (pills) at a time, after a doctor friend of mine advised that there was no harm.”
The four members of the Kudya family have finally reunited with those who were negative.

They likened the feeling to starting a new life. “We are back together as a family. We disinfected everything using Jik (bleach) and sprayed the whole house. We washed everything plus the blankets and are starting afresh,” Kudya said.

“For now we have just adopted a certain kind of living to tread carefully and treat everyone as positive. We have not yet been out, but that is what we are doing because you do not know where the next person has been or whom they have met. And we want to treat ourselves as if we are positive, until further notice.”

After having been recorded as the third confirmed positive case of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe, Kudya, was the first person to recover from the disease in the country. The Health and Child Care ministry this week also announced that the rest of the family members, including Kudya’s wife and two children had also recovered.

Five people have recovered from the virus in total, including case number one based in Victoria Falls.Although the Health ministry’s update states that the Kudyas have recovered, the family has not yet been formally informed.

Kudya said they went through a lot as a family trying to separate the five negative members of the family from the positive ones and ensuring that the negative would not get infected as they were sharing cooking and bathing spaces.

He said he would not mind being an ambassador in order to bring awareness to the public on the Covid-19 disease.His family, Kudya said, was also stigmatised while on the recovery path.

“That stigma is still there, there are people who do not even want to be near our home. The other day someone greeted me from afar and as the person drove past our gate they closed their windows. I can say that really hurt me,” Kudya said.

“Social distancing helps, and the lockdown will help a lot. I would not mind educating people. My family and I did not spread the virus to anyone else because we made sure we self-isolated and did not get in physical contact with anyone.

“We are not going to impose ourselves on people and even our family. We will wait for them to visit, because not many people do not really understand what it is to recover and test negative.

“The authorities really have to work more on educating people on the disease because there is stigma. Someone might actually die of stress after recovering from Covid-19.”

Kudya was the worst affected of his family members as he experienced difficulties in breathing. He was also having difficulties in walking.“My journey to recovery was, however, difficult because I was the most affected. I had sore throat, cough, headache and chest pains.

“My joints were painful and my back was so painful that sometimes walking was difficult. Sometimes I experienced breathing difficulties, but it was not severe enough for me to get oxygen support.”

Having arrived from Dubai on March 18, Kudya started experiencing symptoms on March 20. He then went for testing on March 22 after the symptoms persisted and got his results on March 24 confirming he was positive.For now, he is a relieved man, eternally grateful to God for this new lease on life.