KABUL (Pajhwok): Health experts say pregnant women are more vulnerable to coronavirus than other people and they should follow strict medical guidelines and avoid self-medication if they contract the disease.
The pandemic, emerging in China’s Wuhan City in 2019, is an infectious disease. The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or exhales.
In Afghanistan, the first positive case of the disease was registered in western Herat province on February 24, 2020. According to reports, more than 440.8million people have been infected with the virus worldwide and more than 5.9 million people have died from the disease.
The World Health Organization has recommended observation of certain health guidelines, such as observing two-meter distance, avoiding crowded gatherings, using masks and washing hands frequently with soap and water, disinfecting the environment and quarantining of the infected person.
WHO asks people to follow these health guidelines, particularly pregnant women as they are more prone to the disease and in need of special care.
Over 174,000 positive cases of the virus have so far been registered in Afghanistan since the outbreak of the disease, of which nearly 160,000 patients have recovered and 7,620 others lost their lives.
Dr. Malalai Rahim Faizi, head of Malalai Hospital in Kabul, told Pajhwok Afghan News that pregnant women could also be infected with Covid-19 like other people and it was essential that they should follow health guidelines more than others.
She said that pregnancy is a critical period for women and the disease, which causes high fever, cough and severe pain, can lower the immune system of a mother.
However, about the effects of the virus in women, she said, “Even though no specific research has been done in this area, it must be said that the effects of the virus varies according to the immune system of the human body and the nature of the virus. Anyway, women are vulnerable.”
She said that a mother may experience different effects as some may feel worse and some others may be normal.
“Pregnant women cannot use self-medication during pregnancy to treat Covid-19, and the immune system of pregnant women is very low, pregnant women face anemia, especially in Afghanistan, where the problem of malnutrition is very serious and more a person is weak, the more the disease affects her or him,” she said.
Faizi said that infected people should carefully follow health guidelines and if a person becomes infected, the pregnant woman must quarantine herself and take care of her health.
“We have recently created a well-equipped room with all standard facilities for pregnant women infected by Covid-19,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr. ZalmaiReshtin, head of Afghan-Japan Hospital in Kabul, told Pajhwok that pregnant women also get Covid-19 and that pregnant women may be more at risk than other women.
He said “This hospital accepts all Covid-19patients, in the past, we had patients (pregnant women) who came here while in serious condition, we continued their treatment after undergoing cesarean surgery.”
Dr. Abdullahullah Ebad, in charge of communicable control diseases in Afghan-Japan hospital, said that six pregnant women had referred to the hospital since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Pregnant women face serious situation when they are infected by Covid-19 compared to other people because their immunity is weak,” he said. He strongly advised pregnant women to take care of their health and to follow health guidelines.
Women who are infected with the virus during their pregnancy also say that the disease is harmful for pregnant women.
Zainab, a resident of Karta-i-Naw area of Kabul said, “I attended a funeral without a mask, I was infected with Covid-19 and it weakened my body,I cannot stand well, now I visit a doctor to give me medicine.”
She asked other mothers who are pregnant to take Covid-19 serious.
Aqila, a resident of KhairKhana area of Kabul, who was once infected during her pregnancy with Covid-19, said, “Fortunately, I am completely healthy now and my baby, who was born this morning, is in good health, by the mercy of God.”
She described her infection with the virus as a bitter experience and said, “I was in great trouble and was thinking I or my baby or both of us will die, but thank God that has passed and my health which was very weakened, now has improved.”
Aqila also urged pregnant women to take Covid-19seriously and do not be indifferent about the disease.