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Covid-19: Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner


If I were working for a UK government health agency, I would be obliged to sign a non-disclosure agreement and would be prohibited from sharing information about the agency. That’s standard, in public and private employment in the UK. 

The BBC and Guardian have been inviting people from government agencies to give them information that would breach such an agreement. Both outlets claim that people working in the public sector have given them confidential information about Covid-19 activities. 

Many, whether working for health agencies or not, will know that certain things published by these media outlets are biased; some of them don’t even sound credible. But who are we to judge the pronouncements of a free press in a democratic country? 

UK media report with glee how horrific things are in Sweden. But a UK doctor posts an article by a Swedish doctor, who writes that Covid-19 has been blown out of proportion. The UK doctor has tried to interest UK media, but only Russia Today ran the article.

Tanzania is reported as taking a ‘faith-based’ approach in an article in the BBC. Like Sweden, Tanzania implemented more moderate measures, sent children home from school, and reassured people that the lockdown was a short-term measure, that no one should panic. 

New Zealand seems to have been lucky, with few confirmed infections. However, a slight rise in cases and the coming election is postponed for a month. It will be in October, like Tanzania’s. 

Australia, in contrast, has announced that Covid-19 vaccination will be mandatory. That’s even before a vaccine, safe and effective for everyone, has been developed. Even people in favor of vaccinations may wish to object to mandatory vaccination against a virus that is not a threat to most people. 

Big social media is being cautious about saying the ‘right’ thing about Covid-19, as if there are true and indisputable things about the virus, and untrue, contemptible things, and moderators who can tell them apart. 

After the 2007 Kenyan election, when the country descended into violence and looting, people said they were told to stay inside, so they did, because there was a curfew. If they went outside for food they risked being shot, and accused of looting. 

This went on for months, there was starvation and displacement, schools, hospitals and other facilities were closed. Banks were closed as food prices rocketed, people tried to move to safer areas, but transport and infrastructure were disrupted. 

President Magufuli warned against scaremongering and advised people to keep working and running their households. He knew that if people panicked, peace would quickly deteriorate. What happened in Kenya in 2008 could happen in Tanzania. Indeed, things in Kenya now look similar to 2008. 

Before ridiculing Tanzania’s leader, accusing him of being irresponsible and undemocratic, implying that he has a naïve belief in religion, check which countries have food security and are at peace, and which are threatened with economic collapse and civil unrest.

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