The reality COVID-19 in the world is in no doubt in the minds of everyone. The truth of corona in Nigeria is still doubtful in the minds of a few, however the extent to which it exists in kano, if it does exist, is a big question demanding answers.
Few days ago, it was reported in the news that medical practitioners were locked up in a room in kwanar Dawaki isolation center in kano state by a gang of COVID-19 patients. On 10th May, NTA 9pm news, reported their visit to Kwanar Dawaki isolation center where the health workers were said to have been held captive. Video clips of sections of the hospital and medical personnels were displayed and the hospital seemed lively with activities, however, none of those clips showed any COVID-19 patient in any of the hospital beds.
This raises the question whether there are COVID-19 cases in kano or not; whether the hospitals, isolation centers, medical personnels are just means of showing preparedness in event of there been a case later; whether there are ulterior motives towards reporting “non existent cases”, etc
If we could cast our minds back when this pandemic issue became rampant initially in Nigeria, although it is still rampant, the most we got as regards evidence of cases in Nigeria were updates by the NCDC and stories about isolation centers that are been built, buildings, hospitals, halls etc that were been converted to isolation centers and medical equipments. Subsequently, we started seeing pictures and videos of hospitals that are in use as isolation centers, beds, medical equipments, and not to forget the daily updates of NCDC, yet no effort was made to show us the alleged patients of COVID-19. If these patients exist, why are their identities hidden. What are the authorities hiding? Or is it for public interest? What is public interest? Simply put, it is having in mind the concerns of the public at large.
Why do you hide the identity those who contracted corona? what purpose does it serve?
Out of about 4150 persons who had contacted corona, not up to 4% of the total number have their identities disclosed.
What then is the interest of the public in this time of corona virus pandemic? The interest of the public is the craving for life and activities in the country to return to normalcy as soon as possible. The public want restrictions on movement to be lifted, people want to go back to the markets, their businesses, freely converge in their places of worship, have fun and social gatherings, go to the bar, clubs and event centers, watch and participate in local football leagues, visit friends, resume and continue their education, lifting of the ban on interstate and international travels, opening the boarders, revamping the economy and a whole lot of others. People want their lives to return to normal as it were before the lockdown and its incidental orders.
Public interest in this time of COVID-19 pandemic include doing everything possible to aid the fight and ultimately winning the war against COVID-19 so that they could return to their normal lives, but it seems the government isn’t taking proactive and radical steps towards ending this pandemic as soon as possible.
This they do by not disclosing or publicising certain information about a COVID-19 patient such as the address and vicinity which in event, makes contact tracing difficult, let alone inspiring voluntary submission for COVID-19 testing.
Records show that disclosing identity of COVID-19 patients makes contact tracing very easy to execute. Mention was made of Governors, Emirs, Commissioners, Atiku’s son, owner/chairman of DAAR communications and his family etc, who contracted the disease, some of who died. When their COVID-19 statuses were made public and people who had had physical contact with them were requested to isolate themselves or present themselves for isolation and testing, there was a high level of compliance. This is because they know these people, they were in contact with them and there is the tendency that they might have contracted the virus and for these reasons, they presented themselves for isolation and testing. People had good and probable reason to believe that there wasn’t any ounce of deceit or falsity in the information about those who were alleged to have tested positive and therefore acted accordingly.
China, France, USA, Germany, Italy etc show you pictures and videos of hospitals with covid 19 patients in them and not empty hospitals and empty hospital beds. If there are no corona cases, make it known and refrain from the secrecy and non disclosure of covid 19 patients.
Finally, we can fight this corona pandemic if we truly want to fight it and with the intention of winning the war, coupled with sincerity of purpose and devotion/commitment towards the fight
Here are the ways we can do this:
1. By observing NCDC guidelines of regular hand washing, wearing of face mask, staying indoors, avoiding crowded spaces, using of hand sanitizers, etc
2. By providing medical equipments such as, ventilators and the likes.
3. By increasing testing capacity as high as possible. (2000 tests per day is a shame to Nigeria, a country of over 200million people)
4. The government should be honest and transparent in the lockdown implementation.
5. Passes should be given to carriers of essential commodity and services,
6. Palliative distribution should be well managed and efficiently executed.
7. Conversion of abandoned buildings and properties confiscated by EFCC, ICPC to isolation centers
8. Make public the identities, residential addresses of those who test positive, so that those in that vicinity, compound, house etc would take cautionary measures and even present themselves for isolation and testing (thereby making contact tracing a lot easier and effective)
9. By providing Incentives and moral boost for health workers.
10. Nigeria should look inwards and engage the services of professionals (doctors, professors, engineers, manufacturers etc) so as to manufacture necessary things that will aid covid 19 fight such as face masks, ventilators, laboratory equipments, hospital beds etc
11. Quarantining persons in a vicinity of an alleged corona suffering patient. Where a sick person shows symptoms of the disease and has been taken to be isolated and tested, even before the test result is out, persons living in the house and vicinity should also be quarantined. In this way, there will be a check on the spread of the virus, supposing the patient tests positive.
We will come out of this pandemic stronger than ever!
About The Author,
Obi Ekene Raphael is a law Graduate of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu ojukwu University, Anambra State. A legal researcher and Author.
For knowledge and Justice