COVID-19: LESSONS FOR NIGERIA
Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, which officially entered Nigeria on February 23, 2020, through an Italian national, is a reality, and there are a number of lessons to be learned
* No man is an island:
Coronavirus has taught us that everybody is liable to fall sick or to die, and also liable to contract the pandemic, whether you are a governor or an ordinary citizen; big man or poor man; man or woman; young or old; Christian or Muslim; Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, or any other tribe. Nobody is free. Sickness or death is therefore no respecter of persons. Thus, we should learn to respect every other person, and to treat him or her with honour and dignity.
* Home is the best:
North or South, East or West, home is the best, and as you make your bed, so also you will lie on it.
Before now, most of our leaders believe that nothing would make them enter into any Nigerian hospital. Whenever they were sick, they would been flown overseas to access medical attention there. That was why they had left our hospitals in shambles, as mere “consulting clinics”, apologies Sani Abacha.
Now with coronavirus outbreak, nobody travels again. Everybody is compelled to seek medical treatment at home, whether these hospitals have necessary facilities or not. Therefore, they should not hesitate to fix our hospitals and to give those who work there the best attention.
* Provision of essential healthcare needs and public utilities:
Both the federal and state governments have always treated healthcare needs and provision of essential public utilities of the citizenry with levity and utmost disregard – no basic health facilities, no clean water supply, etc., which had resulted to myriads of diseases and sicknesses prevalent in the country.
When they tell us to constantly wash our hands in order to prevent us from contracting coronavirus, we ask them: where is the water with which to wash the hands? None.
Government should therefore wake up from their slumber and give us water. It will not cost them fortune to do so. Even if it does, water is a practical necessity, since as they say, “cleanliness is next to godliness”.
Coronavirus has also made the government to realize the necessity to disinfect public places like markets, parks, schools, etc., against infectious diseases.
*Public health education:
Nobody takes public health education serious. Majority of the citizenry are left to wallow in ignorance, in myths and superstition. Both the Ministry of Information and the National Orientation Agency, are only engaged in politics and propaganda.
Since the advent of COVID-19, we now hear messages and jingles on radio and television, telling us that “coronavirus is real”, that people should constantly wash their hands, keep their environment clean, and maintain social distance.
We wish this health education would continue after coronavirus. Many people die in Nigeria due to ignorance and superstition. When they fall sick they attribute it to witchcraft or to one old nan in the village. They will not go to hospital to seek medical advice, but to prayer houses or to the dibia.
*Decongestion of urban centres:
Majority of people in the country are clustered in few of our urban centres. These are places where things are happening, where government’s attention is most focussed. They are places to look for employment, where there are good roads, electricity and sometimes, water supply. That is why there is congestion in most of these urban areas. No social distance.
When sickness comes, it begins to spread like wild fire and begins to infect many people. That is what is currently happening in Lagos and Abuja, with regards to coronavirus.
Government should therefore try to decongest these urban centres by spreading social amenities to other parts of the country.
DR. DONS EZE