By Amaechi Oken
In Africa, peoples’ reluctance to radically grasp birth control nearly turned counterproductive with a pierced barrage of multidimensional sharpened arrows to depopulate the human race to 20%. Tremendous contributions by seasoned health specialists from World Health Organization (WHO) and other independent body officials regularly brought the plague to a manageable scale. Nigeria has the likes of Prof. Maurise Iwu whose work on prevalent COVID-19 is being examined by a team of other experts in the US. Sadly, a Nigerian medical doctor, Dr. Okunuga Olumide aged 63, resident in Italy died of COVID-19 on 19th March 2020.
History reminds us of huge deaths suffered due to sudden eruption of cholera, tuberculosis, smallpox, malaria, etc. It came a period in Nigeria when Guinea worm which is principally attributed to unclean water afflicted every household, people were disfigured.
It is just recently that we realized polio does not have a spiritual bearing. It is lack of following stages of immunization/vaccine meant for administration on a child from birth to the age of 1 year. In the past, patients were driven to evil forests and abandoned in order to avert widespread infections. Not so anymore because of advancement in Medicine. The patients are tolerated since the effect is minimal. Drugs are given free without cost, if imperative, is always subsidized. Precautions advised.
The outcome of some series of researches informed mankind of the identified vendors conveying various viruses such as malaria- mosquitoes, cholera, guinea worm- bad water, Lassa fever, Ebola- rats, bats, other rodents, HIV- animal to human, meningitis, hepatitis, tuberculosis, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), etc. There are three major means people are infected: body contact with a patient, by air- coughing and sneezing and fluid discharge from the patient.
Information Technology takes communication to our doorsteps globally within unimaginable short notice like the speed of light. News of a strange illness code-named Coronavirus ravaging people at the Wuhan community (remote rural settlement) in china two weeks to the 1st day of 2020 was received almost in all countries of the globe before experts swung to action to find out the source now confirmed- wild animals (rodents). Serious work on prevention, control and cure is in progress. Every person is waiting in suspense for the direction that scientists will come up with.
Layman’s opinion has never helped health challenge which if fiddled with, becomes catastrophic. An available option is to go into hiding, avoid contact with every other person, irrespective of highly related. This sudden upsurge is a sign of how the man will eventually be swept away unprepared by corrosive disease in the future leading to end time. The knowledgeable who ordinarily seeks solutions to rescue in sequence will go first, all others in rapid succession.
At the inception of Lassa fever, we were instructed to avoid rats, stop taking the meat, keep living houses clean, offices, our surroundings, cover foodstuff from the excretion. Ebola called for the intensification of a clean environment and stop eating any wild animal (rodent) and keep away from them. But the caveat by Late Prof. Dora Akunyele, the meat may be taken if thoroughly cooked.
Here comes COVID-19 strictly advised to heed the instruction given against Ebola six years ago, recall the heroism demonstrated by the female doctor (Dr. Adedoya) who sacrificed herself to halt the spread of Ebola by that Ebola patient from abroad, admitted in the hospital the doctor served. She succeeded in physically fighting it out with the patient who tried to force himself out of the hospital bed and associate with the crowd in Nigeria.
The remedy for the drastic reduction of danger in future is very possible since the quantity of meat sourced from wild animals (rat, bat, grass cutter, fox, cat, monkey, etc.) is so small compared to domesticated animals (fowl, goat, sheep, pig, cow, fish, etc.). This major protein intake from specific animals will guarantee healthy living if fish farming is taken up in designated ponds, cattle (cow) ranched, then piggery and poultry all without exception being attended to and given veterinary services.
Given that not all wild animals are infected, there lies the difficulty in differentiating infected from healthy.
Please let us not repeat funny things ignorance compelled us into in 2014 as steps to fight the spread of Ebola, like drinking hot water with salt, pepper and consumption of bitter kola. There is nothing wrong with hand washing and application of sanitizers. How about an end to shaking of hands, hugging, perking, and contact with neighbours? If all these things are taken, then new books on communication, comradeship and socialization need to be written.
China cried that the pestilence has grown out of control.
A well-known Japanese billionaire has just donated over 500,000 certified testing kits, millions of dollars’ worth sanitizers for distribution to people globally, following the US complaint that their testing gadgets are mainly faulty. So, one need be told also that fake sanitizers and disinfectants have flooded the markets. Israel has advanced in the manufacture of vaccines against the dreaded COVID-19. So other advanced Nations have made breakthroughs at this short space of time- less than 5 months. India has announced no money will be collected for the test.
Here an Italian who arrived in Nigeria tested positive with our ‘local’ kit, is index patient. Someone who had contact with him on arrival tested positive and also quarantined. Last week the contact patient was retested and is found to be negative. Our Health Minister is hopeful that the index patient will test negative in five days’ time. The 71 years old woman who previously tested positive, news-making round is that the recent test turned out to be negative. No one is wishing the other ill luck. But for once, let us sit up and sincerely sympathize with those countries dying in their threatening numbers of COVID-19. Don’t turn it to Nollywood drama.
Always think of how lives in this part of the world would have been without foreign assistance in all fields. This makes reckless claims that COVID-19 was divinely targeted to the West. The honeymoon nature bestows on us now may not be sustained for long. There is no answer to the looming doom. The world economy is on standstill because International Trade transaction is slowed down to reduce multi-people to people transmission of coronavirus. As a result, Nigeria’s economy has crumbled since there is no ready market for oil. On the spiritual front, Africa does not claim superiority also. Our prayers will be for the safety of the entire race.
Since the stoppage of handshake does not answer all the problems, enhance the expansion of workload in public places (churches, schools, offices, markets, passenger vehicles, etc.) to hugely restore confidence and trust in one another.
· Store water in medium-size tanks with taps. Have many stands strategically displayed at entrances (doors). Keep soaps for effective hand washing, then bottles of sanitizers. Then handshake will not be inhibited among such persons.
· Mouth/nose masks worn to restrict outlet from one person to others after coughing and sneezing. Frequently wash/rinse with disinfectants public objects, desks, chairs, tables, walls and doors where people are likely to touch severally.
· Home duty on laundry and taking bath. Household cleanliness.
Always think good of your neighborhood and don’t suspect them as carriers. In a nutshell without taking the debate too far, luckily there is no COVID-19 patient in Nigeria, no reliable testing kit/detecting device, no protective mask and sanitizer, no equipped laboratory, and research center outside Nigerian style.