Since the coronavirus or the COVID 19 ravaged China has spread it to others part of the world killing thousands of people and forcing economics to lockdown, and subjecting citizens of the world into unexpected ‘incarceration’ in their respective homes, the general or global atmosphere has remained tense and precarious. Nations of the world have been combating the outbreak, with efforts geared towards the safety and social security of the citizens whose welfare is paramount while dwelling in various states of lockdown.
Apart from taking emergency steps, the plans that would protect their economics from the attendant economic meltdown are seriously being taken.so that their economics will not go down under a terrible post COVID – 19 crisis.
Nigeria is not left out in all these challenges. But what is important, apart from tackling the outbreak and struggling to save lives, amid the burden of providing palliatives for citizens in a lockdown, is to learn a big lesson from the crisis. Such a lesson would help us look inwards as a nation, to see how the Nigerian health sector can be activated to become reliable and dependable to handle the health needs of the citizens.
The COVID – 19 crisis exposed Nigeria as a nation in dire need of help and as a groping government which depends only on external support, a fact which was manifest in the widespread media reports that the Nigerian authorities seriously sought the services of Chinese doctors as the COVID syndrome raged.
Before now, the Nigerian leaders, from the president to the smallest appointee, were used to running abroad to treat aliments as minor as headache. They did these to the detriment of health sector reform and development.
Sad enough, and unfortunately for all of them, the coronavirus problem was not a Nigerian problem but a global one which even started abroad and forced nations to shut down all the ports, restricting the flow of people, in and out.
It was so severe that the late chief of staff to Nigeria’s president, ABBA KYARI died of the COVID – 19 complications in a Lagos hospital, according to reports.
If not for the peculiar situation of COVID – 19, such a personality would have made the Buhari – presidency dedicate a presidential jet for his movement to hospitals across the world.
This situation should drive Nigerian leaders back to the drawing board to take drastic measures towards achieving the needed world-class health sector that can take care of the health needs of Nigerians from now, in crisis, and emergency times.
There is no doubt that if we have a widespread case like Italy (God forbid), it would be genocidal, due to our poor societal and institutional conditions. Governments at different levels should place a high premium on the development of the health sector, knowing that the health of the nation depends fundamentally on the vibrancy of the health sector.
The era or culture of playing politics with investments in the health genre of the nation should be stopped.
Never should billions of naira be voted fictitiously for the enhancement by this all-important aspect of the economy.
Seriously efforts should also be put in place to boost Nigeria’s research institutes and promote the local content so that from now henceforth, Nigeria can face her health challenges without seeking external help, just like WUHAN, China.
By Prince Chukwudi Timothy Samuel