At this point in time, no matter your Political, Ethnic or Religious affiliation, you have to do just three things … Learn, Act and Pray.
Let me explain it all in clear terms.
The fight against COVID-19 aka Corona Virus is for all Nigerians, because Nigerians are getting infested every minute and the Government does not have all the resources to fight the virus in a systematic way. Factors at play now, include lack of comprehension by the ruling class, a huge divide orchestrated by Politics, Ethnicity and Religion, limited resources due to falling oil prices in the global market, excessive drain on our foreign reserve due to lack of foresight, inability to procure any loan as this is a global pandemic, inconsistent and invisible Central command, (I don’t even know as much as you do on this one) and Citizens who are standing aloof. Yes, YOU!
B. WHO SHOULD BE IN CHARGE?
At this time, it seems it is the National Center for Disease Control NCDC, but I have not seen any commander come out to state that clearly. Looks like most states are coming up with their own command structure and action plan. For us, we want to recognize and channel our efforts through the NCDC.
C. WHAT IS THE NCDC DOING?
It started its preparedness and activities since COVID-19 broke on 31st Dec 2019. A technical working group was set up which was inter-ministerial and multi-sectoral. So immediately the first Nigerian case was detected, Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated and response activity commenced
It proposed 4 scenarios and had a plan for each scenario. It has state epidemiologists in all the states of the federation and has a forum for them. It established public health emergency operations centers in 23 states (out of 36+1, so 14 needed now) and these states are connected with ZOOM Teleconference facilities.
Most of the states have isolation centers (mere buildings) without equipment and consumables, so it needs help.
NCDC has 5 thematic areas (3) that citizens can plug into. These are:
1. United Nations (UN) roles. Handled entirely by the UN
2. World Health Organization (WHO) roles, handled entirely by WHO
3. Risk Communication: There are so many fake news that it has to debunk and give valid and preventive information. It needs to continually sensitize the populace on what COVID-19 is, what to do to get protected against this deadly disease
4. Real Time Technology: Where all the states will be reporting real time data and other information using Technological tools and data aggregation techniques.
5. Public enlightenment via Print media, Social Media re-broadcasts, TV and Radio jingles. Same message from multiple sources will get the needed traction.
Because the Virus is new, scientists are just trying to unravel it, there are little information about it and NCDC is trying to characterize it. They have succeeded in sequencing the genome of the index case
E. WHAT DOES THE NCDC STILL LACK OR NEED?
1. Mass media communication & information dissemination to all mobile phones concurrently
2. A reporting portal to include tracking, tracing, citizens action points, etc
3. Facilities & Equipment at State level.
4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and protective instruments
5. Training and Training for staff
6. Call Centre staffing and training. Current system inadequate for now
7. Teleconference facilities in 14 states
8. Materials, drugs and supplies (Compilation in progress, I will outline these later)
NCDC has started working on these, and many other more. If you want to help, Please Email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
A very critical need is the ability to send information through mobiles (in different languages) to the people at the bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) on what COVID-19 is, what they need to do to stay out of infection, and which line to call for any suspicion or any query. NCDC is looking service providers to help on this. Socially Responsible Citizens can also do this.
E. WHAT ARE WE (MYSELF AND SOME LIKE MINDS) DOING?
2. Seeing how best to provide good coordination and support to the ongoing efforts to fight the COVID-19 Virus
3. Concentrating intellectual and financial resources within our various communities at this time
4. Being a model for providing private sector-led leadership in times of crises like this.
5. Supporting the Government through coordination with the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC)
1. Pray that God will inspire and direct all those working in one way or the other, to make an impact in the fight against the pandemic, in good time.
2. Not to pray alone, please respect the orders and rules from Government at this point in time, irrespective of your Religious, Ethnic or Political leaning.
3. Join our various efforts as enumerated above, in your own small way.
4. Stay informed, with the following sites and more, as I expand the list
– The Liquid Telecom’s effort to crowd-source COVID-19 data in Africa to assist in the analysis and tracking of people working from home, self isolating and other such things, so that the data can be used to assist in the global response effort.
vi. If you know of any other effort, reach me and I will expand this list.
6. If not, continue to practice the Hygiene of Washing your hands regularly, Maintaining Social Distancing, Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, and practice respiratory hygiene.
G. IF YOU WANT TO DO MORE …
i. If you have hospital equipment that can be pledged, used or repaired if faulty, log on to Equipment Bank in Nigeria at http://quip.lifebank.ng/
ii. If you have an idle hotel, pledge it via http://hotels.ng for caring for those who want to do self isolation away from their families.
iii. Share this post with your friends and family, so that they can do something too
iv. Donate money to the effort. Details later, when I edit this post and add a functional account number and process here.
H. AND THE REAL REVOLUTION ….
Get our leaders to act! If you are part of Government, and you want to join us ….
i). Get Baba Lai Mohammed to lead the Ministry of Information, NAN, NTA, FRCN, Startimes, NOA and other similar structures to educate the people on the Virus
ii). Create trust for those with symptoms to come forward
iii). Get FEC to commit to treating them at NO COST
iv). Rapidly test the remaining population that has no symptoms, effectively tagging the population
v) Speak it, as it is. We need to rebuild trust across the country
vi). Further test those suspected as infected, with the more precise test kits
vii) Treat citizens at no costs, because COVID will not separate the rich from the poor. Only the living will spend what we accumulate for now.
Finally, dear people of Nigeria, irrespective of your ethnic, religious or political affiliation, relax and Pray for the President, Nigeria and the entire world.
This too, like all problems that confront us as a nation shall pass away, and things greater than football will continue to unite us.