AS THE WORLD BATTLES the COVID-19 pandemic, it still amazes me how some people in this part of the world, until recently, felt so lackadaisical about it, or cynical at best.
This is the first pandemic the world is seeing in a century, since the Spanish flu. And just like that Spanish flu, this one is also leaving a lot of dead bodies in its wake as it sweeps across the world, sending economies tumbling, stock markets crashing, and lives upended.
The impact had been unprecedented, and as such, the World Health Organization, national governments, and the international body all try to grapple with the sordid situation. With every rising sun, the struggles of the world’s most advanced nations deepen as the disease burden sky-rockets.
About 300,000 cases have been reported across the world. Death toll in Italy had surpassed 6,000; Spain had hit 5000 already.
This has caused the institution of some drastic measures by governments – especially the stay-at-home order – in a bid to tackle the pandemic, limit the spread, and in general, stem the tide.
However, in some parts of the world, especially Africa, there have been a lot of doubts among the “laity”, the “uninitiated”, about the authenticity of such a lethal disease. Is it real? Is it not a gimmick by the Western world to scare the rest of us?
Some even affirmed that it ain’t a disease that affects the black man; some called it cheap international politics involving the WHO, using people’s health as propaganda; while others said it was “God’s divine way of punishing the Western world for their ‘sins.'”
It has been a madhouse ever since.
Our Nigerian government hadn’t been slow to act, either. While a lot of “cheap” politics had gone into how the government, through the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), reported and tracked down the emerging cases, they also have to be commended for their regular updates and attempts to keep everyone well informed, no matter how flawed their figures might seem.
While some Nigerians are making huge jokes out of it (probably as a way to diffuse the tension), in reality, this isn’t a joking stuff. The world is on lockdown, everyone else is at home, leaving the doctors, nurses and other health workers as the exposed.
Where I work, we have raised the index of suspicion. Even a patient with a typical pneumonia is a suspect, regardless of a positive history of travel or contact with suspected cases.
All man dey fear 😲😲!
Now, even doctors are dying, nurses are committing suicide, no one is exempt. Who do we turn to?
As the Nigerian government joins the rest of the world in instituting total lock down, plenty Nigerians are castigating the government online for being insensitive to the plight of the poor masses.
Some think the government wants people to die of starvation; others think it is a selfish move that’ll deprive people of means of livelihood for as long as the Executive Order exists.
But what they forget is this: while their complaints are valid, the move by the Nigerian government is a tough but nevertheless the right decision. Nigeria is not ready to deal with the consequences of a huge outbreak. Regardless of the charitable donations of the likes of Jack Ma, our healthcare system is grossly ill-equipped for such disaster. How many of our federal or state hospitals have functional ventilators? How many standard Intensive Care Units do we have across the country?
If an out break happens in Nigeria, the desire to go out and hustle will be the least of our complaints.
The best move, politically and epidemiologically, is to avoid the out break and contain the existing cases.
So please stay safe and adhere to the preventive measures flying all over the news. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizers, practice social distancing (though impossible), and wear your face masks.
Don’t forget to pray for your doctors and other health workers. The risk is very real.
This one will soon blow over, and we will all live “happily ever after!”😄😄😄.
We go dey alright las las.
+++Impossibility is nothing. Just believe+++