Our response to global health challenges

Man does not learn from history. Nothing is new. Every bad thing has happened at some point in time, the coronavirus scare is no different, why then therefore does man never prepare for emergencies until they befall man?

Nigeria is a country with too much potential but she is one of the poorest countries in the world. This status in the public domain should make her catalogue her problems like the Dutch did with their Dutch disease and solve her problems but she never finds a way to address critical issues in time.

When some of the wealthiest countries in the world began to panic and started putting measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Nigerian government waited until the virus entered Nigeria and started the rat’s race.

Government officials politicize everything, even a simple assignment as the president addressing the nation. I wonder when our emergency response will become fully functional. I see the governor of New York address the state periodically on CNN.

Life is gradually beginning to return to China before the second wave reported from people just returned to China (with the virus) and Nigeria is advocating shutting down the country. What does that say about the type of response system in place in Nigeria to tackle challenges?

Is health care a priority for our society or not? If it is, our borders should have been shut before the first case was reported in Lagos. Leadership is a gut-level occupation.

It is hoped that this virus wouldn’t overwhelm Nigerians as it has Italy. aStay safe; but people cannot be safe without money and food to eat. Many Nigerians are facing financial stress. I do not see strategic food reserves anywhere as in the days of Egypt of old.

Hand sanitizers are expensive only because many sellers have latched in on the universal health challenge to dupe Nigerians. Many a Nigerian profits from adversity without dissimulation instead of showing love.

Leaders at this critical period in our history should decide what role they want to play in the lives of Nigerians – a positive or negative part, action or magniloquence for its sake. This is no time for people who can afford to feed on government’s purse to put fears in the minds of Nigerians; they need to help Nigerians in deed because the currency of fear in the air is becoming worse than the virus itself.

They have to show that they care and are interested in citizens in the real sense or else we are in trouble. I know we are already in deep trouble because we did not carry out a capability audit to handle this virus before it entered Nigeria. Some religious leaders carried out campaigns of protection to members, but others went busy daring fate, soon we shall have anointed men, proclaiming that they can banish the virus from Nigeria. This is no time to play to the gallery.

Our shared sense of purpose, community and pride if the latter is present at all should inspire us to have faith and believe that this virus like others before it will become a thing of the past.

Shutting down the country as a measure to slow down the spread of the virus and safeguarding the most vulnerable should be done with love and concern for those not financially secure to be sequestered or those who frown at sequestration or who may resist it from their body language especially since there wouldn’t be palliative measures by government to make life bearable for them. Nigeria is a country of self-help people. 

Simon Abah,


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