Nigeria’s Health System In Coronavirus Acid Test


The first case of coronavirus in Nigeria was confirmed on Friday last week, thereby raising concerns over the ability of the nation’s health sector to contain it.

Since the outbreak of the disease on December 20 of last year in Wuhan Province of China, the virus has spread to more than a dozen countries, infected over 90,936 people and left over 3,117 deaths in its trail.

Already, the World Health Organization (WHO) has described the situation as almost becoming a pandemic and that the window of opportunity to contain it is about closing.

Unfortunately, no vaccine has been discovered to treat the disease and the only way out is just to quarantine infected persons from spreading it.

What started like a fairy tale from a distant land has finally reached the shores of Nigeria.
There is no doubt that the threat of Coronavirus is real and alarming, and we can therefore understand why there are palpable and genuine fears about it in Nigeria.

As the most populous nation in Africa, the fear of disease spreading out of control is stronger than at anytime.
Rhetorically, Nigerians may be asking what would be their fate if already the disease is taking heavy toll on nations with more advanced and sophisticated healthy system than Nigeria’s.

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This is a real challenge before the nation and all hands must be on deck to contain the disease.
It could be recalled that Nigeria once faced a similar and grave situation in the Ebola virus episode of 2014 that ravaged the West African subregion and left about 15,000 dead.

How Nigeria rose to the Ebola virus challenge remains a masterpiece stroke and one that won the admiration of the WHO.

Contrary to fears then, Nigeria was able to contain the outbreak of Ebola in the country such that it did not become pandemic.

Health authorities in the country have assured of the nation’s readiness to contain the Coronavirus disease, claiming that special emergency centres have been set up in all states to handle it.

Public enlightenment on the disease needs to be stepped up, especially when there is no cure for it now. Therefore, prevention remains the only weapon to battle it.

Preventive measures such as good hygiene, regular washing of hands, use of disinfectants and facemasks must be encouraged.

This is a time when Nigerians must be their brother’s keepers and assist one another to ride out this temptous time.

But reports coming in from places like Lagos indicate of Shylocking whereby prices of disinfectants and facemasks have tripled as a result of panic buying.

Government should step in to help matters, especially in the provision of facemasks which, in due course, the whole population may be required to wear as the first line preventive measure.
Also, proactive measures, no matter how inconvenient, may have to be taken where necessary as precautionary steps.

This is a challenging time and an acid test for the Nigerian health system. Hopefully we shall pull through.

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