FG should start manufacturing things to curb COVID 19 – Asawalam

Mr. Emmanuel Ifeanyi Asawalam,  a health safety and environmental practitioner is calling on the federal government to take Innovative steps to protect her citizens in COVID 19. BINTA SHAMA reports.

Let’s meet you Sir.

My name is Asawalam Ifeanyi. I am an Environmental Scientist with a Master of Science degree in Environmental Chemistry and Pollution Control from the prestigious University of Ibadan. A fellow of Leadership for Environment and Development (FLEAD) International Cohort 16. A member of the Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria (ICCON) and the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES).

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) which I simply call “21st Century Global Calamity” due to the way it has unexpectedly shut the whole world down, is an infectious disease caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, and has spread globally, resulting in the ongoing 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic.
Common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, sore throat, loss of smell and abdominal pain. While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms, some progress to viral pneumonia and multi-organ failure.
As of 5 April 2020, more than 1,280,000 cases have been reported in more than 200 countries and territories resulting in more than 70,400 deaths though with more than 270,000 recoveries Nigeria inclusive where about 232 infected persons have been confirmed with 5 deaths and 33 recovered according to the information made available by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) consistent with the protocols developed therein.

Is the coronavirus real?

Yes! Scientifically, Coronavirus is real and exist among people. One major concern generated by this monster, is in its mode and rate of transmission which most often are easy and exponential. In environmental science, there is what we call pollution pathway i.e. the source, the agent, the transmitting medium and the polluted entity which most times takes a linear approach but in the case of this virus spread, it usually takes a multi-directional infection pattern. The actual source of this virus has stirred several controversies in the world today with most of them lacking even a fundamental scientific basis. No matter what the real source is, the undisputable news is that COVID-19 and its mode of transmission is true and real.  

How has this pandemic affected Nigeria?

It has affected Nigeria more negative because Nigeria which has been running a near single based economy with a high dependency on oil has all of a sudden experienced economic woe with the global oil market shutdown. For instance, the Nigerian government had last year placed its oil benchmark at $57 per barrel in the 2020 budget while the coronavirus effect has consequentially forced the global oil price to below $30 per barrel. On the other hands, when all these troubles are over, one will expect that our leaders must have learnt some bitter lessons through the hard way in terms of diversifying the Nigerian economy and considering urgently a true federalism. It has also exposed the long age rote in the Nigerian health sector. A sector that has zero preparation for health emergencies. For sure, we can only survive this pandemic by divine intervention.

Who is to blamed?

While we agree that this is not a time to start apportioning blames but you will agree with me that the leaders of this country has been most unfair to its citizens. A government that lacks focus, desired political will, sincerity of purpose, trust and dependable system. A country that up to now, cannot boost of a reliable database of her citizens not to talk of an independent system that can run with precision in times of national emergency. 
Despite these leadership uncertainties, the citizens must learn how to take their destinies in good fate, relying on ideologies that work to assist the government instead of blame games. The delay in action by the government of the day to take proactive actions on the announcement of this global disease outbreak not to talk of immediately the Nigerian index case was registered is the reason we are being reactive today. 

What’s the effect of the temporary shutdown?

Unfortunately, this is the only proved way to go at this time. This is the only way we can curtail the continuous spread of this disease. It is noteworthy that on its own this virus cannot move unless people moves it.
The big question remains, are we doing the lockdown in the most effective way to gain result, and the answer will be NO! If this government has a strong political will, they should be able to give an order on total national lockdown to achieve this intention once and for all. The way and system the lockdown policy is given and implemented, I don’t see this country achieving much.
The truth is that it’s high time we all realized that there is an abnormal situation in the land that demands an abnormal approach to curb. It is a time for sacrifice, it is a time of self-determination, it is a time to live again.
What innovative measures, do you think the federal government should take to manufacture what we may need to curb this virus?We should be grateful to God that we live in this part of the world where I think we inadvertently has developed natural resistance to most of the illnesses that trouble the rest of the world. From all our statistics, one cannot but agree that Nigerians must have developed some natural immunities that keeps us within the mild region of this disease manifestation.
Unfortunately, at this emergency period, we have neither the capacity nor the time nor the money to help ourselves technologically. By the 27 February 2020 the index case was confirmed in Nigeria, the giant of Africa barely had only one infectious disease control center to commence isolation – very unfortunate

What’s the fate of Nigeria post COVID 19?

Coincidentally, in my personal conviction, this pandemic might be a blessing in disguise because by the time this calamity is over, it will set a new record for the nation. A disease that reversed what could be political class wish and took the path of natural without consultation. An outbreak that disrespected the elites and obeyed the poor. A disease that doesn’t look at faces but attacked at the slightest chance. 
I see a nation that will resolve to self-truth and seek the opinion on the way forward for this nation from her citizens post pandemic. To me, it’s a warning to the elites that things aren’t always as planned, that this country belongs to all of us. I expect the conscience of every leader to prick after this pandemic, where they will think and ask where, when and how things went wrong, lessons learnt and how to put it into governance to better our situation more especially on the economic part because this is a biological war which is more than the physical war we know because even the World’s super powers have surrendered. 
On the other hand, the pandemic has brought out the capabilities of governors in the sense that they are beginning to exercise powers within their states and this is what most Nigerians have been calling for – True Federalism. 

What’s the take home?

If the world was warned, they would have taken more proactive measures before now. Speaking of Nigeria, we never envisaged it coming and because we never had any preparation, we have found ourselves in this present situation. It is said that, it’s better late than never, my advice to all Nigerians is to obey all the public health advisories especially on hand hygiene and social distancing, in that way we can stay save and alive because prevention is better than cure. Let’s take responsibility.

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