Since 1999, the majority of people that seems to have been at the receiving end of the dilapidated medical facility, ill-treatment from the unmotivated medical personnel, and others chronic deficiencies in Nigerian health sector have been the masses untill recently when the elite joined them to share the same experience due to border closure policy in most countries of the world.
On 23rd March, 2020, the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar shared on his tweeter handle that his son has been tested positive for Coronavirus and he is receiving treatment at Gwagwalada Specialist Teaching Hospital in Abuja.
A day later, the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari was also tested positive while the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed and his counterpart, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, were tested positive for COVID-19.
As usual, one would have expected that after being tested positive the next thing is to embark on a medical trip to seek for medical solution abroad but suprisingly they all joined the masses in the poorly funded hospital in Nigeria due to border closure in most of the countries they usually patronize for the relief of their health challenge.
For instance, the United States of America (USA) where they normally take refuge in time like this with the looted and diverted funds are currently under pressure to close down some States within the country due to the spread of coronavirus while China which serves as alternative destination just lifted restriction on Wahun City, a city where Coronavirus was first discovered in the world since 23rd January.
The same thing is applicable to great Britain where President Mohammadu Buhari spent more than 100 days in his first term in office looking for medical solution to his health challenge. Infact, the most surprising aspect of the pandemic in the United Kingdom is the manner at which it penetrated the Prime Minister of great Britain, Boris Joshon.
Probably, this made the government to intesified its effort in renovating the medical facility abandoned for years, calling the retired medical personnel that some times do experience delay in the payment of their pension, purchasing equipment that ought have been purchased years ago to the health centers among other fire brigade approaches embarked upon to reduce the spread of Coronavirus virus in Nigeria.
Suddenly, the government and the elites that seems to be insensitive to the condition of medical facility in the country begin to show concern to the extent of donating money, buildings among others in order to prevent the further escalation of the virus especially putting into the consideration the number of the highly placed individuals being infested by the virus.
Though, this seems to be commendable because it further consolidates the existing efforts to reposition the nation’s health sector but at the same time, the manner at which it was done shows clearly that the fear of the virus at the corridor of power and the elite necessiated the fire brigade approach.
Statistically, the numbers of people that have lost their lives due to hunger related cases in Nigeria since the beginning of this year alone is more than the number of those affected by the Coronavirus yet no serious effort is made to tackle the “Corona of hunger and poverty” rather than the “newspaper empowerment and projects” being displayed on daily basis on media platforms.
Instead of coming up with strong social welfare scheme to ameliorate the hardship meted out on Nigerians by this virus, the government continue to close down shops, market centres among other areas where people get their daily bread all in the name of war against Coronavirus.
However, closing down all these centers in order to curtail the spread of the pandemic is not a bad idea, but closing down people’s stomach due to the insensitivity of the government to the peculiarity and reality in Nigeria is an aspect that needs to be reviewed.
In the other climes, where self-isolation, social distancing among others are adopted to curtail the spread of the virus, serious social welfare packages and other palliative measures are being given to the citizens in order to reduce the resultant hardship. But in Nigeria, opposite is the case as an average Nigerian continues to strive for survival even in the midst of the diverse total shut down of businesses and other sources of livelihood.
No wonder, people continue to violate the directive made to prevent them from going to working place and worship center despite the fact that they are aware of how deadly the virus is to their body, life and family to the extent of burning down Police Station in Katsina State.
In order to achieve maximum result in the war against Coronavirus, the government needs to recalibrate it’s strategies so as to accommodate strong social welfare scheme and other approaches that have human face rather than solely pursing the policy of self-isolationism, social distancing and making unnecessary cry that distance food from the table of the masses.
By Femi Oluwasanmi…
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