Editorial

COVID-19: The Revolution For Nigeria

Rilwan Adetayo Balogun, Phillip Ibitoye, Fehintola Ambali, Omolara Sanni

By far, man’s greatest gift is good health. The common, yet rare ability to move around with a sound mind, and body are features that are very underrated by humans, yet the most important to our existence.

The daily quest for economic buoyancy, and the tussle for power and political dominance may have left the world at the edge as the most vital part of our existence is being abandoned, to rot, especially in this part of the world.

While billions of dollars are committed to purposes which are by no means important too, the most crucial part of our daily lives is left to react to our regular practices.

Yearly, Nigeria quotes trillions of Naira in her budget, and the most critical tools to development of any country; health and education get almost the least of budgetary allocations. Hospitals without equipments, clinics without doctors, and regular strikes from the ones that are available are some of the realities of our situation.

In October 2017, at a stakeholders meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N), which held at the banquet hall of Aso Villa, Mrs Buhari publicly called out the Chief Medical Director of the State House Medical Centre, Dr. Husain Munir, over the poor state of the clinic. Despite the huge annual budgetary allocations to the clinic, the first lady explained that when she was sick, she had to go to a private hospital owned by foreigners when she was told that the x-ray machine in the State House Medical Centre was not working.

First Lady, Aisha Buhari once berated the poor condition of the State House Clinic.

“I called the Aso Clinic to find out if they have an X-Ray machine, they said it’s not working
“In the end I had to go to a hospital owned and operated by foreigners 100 per cent.

“There is a budget for the Hospital and if you go there now, you will see a number of constructions going on but they don’t have a single syringe there. What is the purpose of the buildings if there are no equipment there to work with?”

“You can imagine what happens across the states to governors wives if this will happen to me in Abuja,” she said in 2018.

The House of Representatives had sought to investigate the “deplorable condition” of the State House Clinic despite the N10.78bn budget allocated to it since 2015. These are some of the questions we are answering at the moment. Where have all these monies been going?

Our lawmakers budget N37bn for the upgrade of the National Assembly, yet Nigerians wince at the comatose nature of our healthcare system. Nature was going to ask questions and key answers would be provided.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the entirety of the world to its limit. Nations are seeking the help of others to battle and defeat a common enemy. While some are hard hit than others, a country like Nigeria can only wish that the right things were done when they ought to.

The current pandemic has equated the human race. The rich and the poor are in an unstable state. Fear is driving stricter health practices and uncertainty is birthing medical inventions. We all went to sleep on our health. For a while, humans held their health loosely and chased prosperity, pants down.

When the virus hadn’t bitten as deeply as it has now, and it was still an epidemic, stranded Nigerians in Wuhan, (once the epicentre of the disease), called on our government for help and our lawmakers, who probably never felt we would ever get this low, asked them to stay where they are. It soon metamorphosed into a global problem and everyone is clutching on to strict personal and community hygiene – our answers to the questions of nature.

COVID-19 has come to teach the world one lesson, and it is that NOTHING matters more than good health. Everything that is a threat to the growth of our healthcare system must be battled and discouraged.

Nigeria’s healthcare system must not be treated like miscellaneous, it should be our priority. Good hospitals, well remunerated healthcare providers must always be our target. The doctors have never been enough, contrary to what Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige said. The brain drain is massive, and Nigerian doctors are leaving in droves. It’s a dying sector, living daily with the challenge of raising dying Nigerians.

Nations with better healthcare systems have also been hard done by this disease, but there won’t be better lessons than this. Harsher realities may only be the opposite, if we fail to learn.

What happens if and when this pandemic is over will surely be studied for years to come, but for now, we can focus on the danger at hand and how to curtail the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

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