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Covid-19: Wake-up call to Nigerian leaders

The coronavirus disease (Covid-19), which broke out in Wuhan, China, has continued to ravage many parts of the globe.

It was first reported to the World Health Organisation on December 31, 2019.

Globally, over 479, 915 cases have been recorded, with over 21, 577 deaths, even as the figures have continued to rise by the seconds.

In Nigeria, the Centre for Disease Control, as at March 25, 2020, said a total of 51 confirmed cases had been recorded across nine states, including the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), Abuja.

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Lagos has the highest figure of 32 cases so far, followed by the FCT with 10 cases, Ogun, 3 while Edo, Bauchi, Ekiti, Ogun, Osun, Oyo and Rivers had one confirmed case each.

Nigeria has so far recorded one Covid-19 death while two of the cases have been discharged.

Of important note is the calibre of people that have so far tested positive to the virus in the country.

Amongst prominent personalities said to have tested positive include the chief of staff to the president, Malam Abba Kyari; Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed, former Vice President Atiku’s son and Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly.

Governors, ministers, National Assembly members and other top politicians who were exposed to the virus following their contacts with those already confirmed positive or by virtue of their visits to prone countries, had gone on self isolation.

While all Nigerians are at risks of contracting the coronavirus pandemic, it appears to be taking more of its tolls within the circle of the top political class right now.

Most of the confirmed cases  were imported into the country by top politicians, who also spread the disease to their close aides, other top politicians, friends and family members.

In the wake of the global pandemic, most of our leaders -president, vice president, governors, ministers and National Assembly members, who hitherto sought medical attention abroad, have been forced to patronise our local health care services.

This is because most of the countries they usually go to seek world-class medical attention have shut down their airspaces, barring visitors from coming in, either for business or leisure.

Ordinarily, the likes of Abba Kyari, Governor Bala Mohammed and Atiku’s son would not want to be treated in Nigerian hospitals because they know quite well that they are not well equipped to meet their health needs.

But given the precarious situation at hand, they have no option than to surrender themselves to the available health facilities in the country.

The current situation should, therefore, be a wake-up call to all Nigerian leaders to give attention to our health care systems across all strata since it is now clear that they too would one day have the need to access health care in those facilities.

Most of our primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems across the country have been in critical condition with ill-equipped facilities and personnel to meet  the health needs of the people.

At the moment, the doctor-patient ratio in the country stands at 1:3,500, meaning that more physicians are needed in the health sector.

It is imperative, therefore, that our political leaders must invest more in the health care system at the local, state and national level.

It is disheartening to note that there are less than 500 ventilators across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT  in the face of the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country.

In the same vein, there are concerns that most states of the federation don’t have facilities to test and manage available cases.

This is the right time for our leaders to do more to boost our health care system to be able to respond to emergencies such as the one ravaging the world right now.

Onogwu Reuben wrote from Utako, Abuja

 

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