By Agbonsuremi Okhiria
I HAVE written and shared so much hopes, encouragement and information on the COVID-19 pandemic on my several platforms. This is the time to face the reality. So many Nigerians are beginning to get apprehensive over the spread of the virus.
I am apprehensive too. Some people want to carry out a test on themselves but don’t know how to get it. They don’t know where.
Now let me make it clear. You will not get any test if you are not a big man. You will not likely get tested if you are not already developing symptoms unless you are a governor, minister or very close to a governor and minister.
For now the NCDC and other testing centres don’t have the number of facilities to carry out tests on just anyone desiring a test. The notion that you will get a test to know your status is unattainable for now. And may never be.
When the virus makes a landfall, I pray it doesn’t, treatment will follow the same pattern. You will not likely get treatment if you are not connected. Mark my words. The virus is supposedly only with the big politicians currently. Only them and those in close contact with them are getting attention. This is the reason you should not play around and assume that you will not have any problems if you’re found positive.
If Nigeria witnesses the virus at the base of the society, many will be left on their own. This will not be new. In some endemic states of the US and parts of Italy and Spain, health officials are currently concentrating on those with higher degrees or likelihood of survival. They don’t have enough facilities to attend to already bad cases. The ventilators are not enough to go round. The elders with underlining health issues are being left to die, with attention concentrated on younger patients with higher degrees of survival.
If COVID-19 makes a landfall in Nigeria, I pray it hasn’t already, the ventilators will not be enough for everyone. Only those connected will get one. And the health officials will likely attend to those with higher degrees of survival.
The governor of Kaduna State did a test out of anxiety and curiosity because he had contacts with a primary contact. El-Rufai had no symptoms at all. The Queen of England had no symptoms but went for a test because she had contacts with Prince Charles.
Some of those who were in close contacts with Abba Kyari, Bala Mohammed, El-Rufai, Okiye (Edo Speaker), the late Achimogu, (former MD of PPMC) and all the other persons who have tested positive in Nigeria have been with us in the markets, shops, saloons, taxis, offices, churches and mosques and on the streets.
The rising numbers we are getting are the result of this community spreading of the virus. This is community spreading of the virus. Now how many of us have been responsible enough to isolate ourselves from the public space. How easy has it been. The COVID-19 can be avoided if you obey very simple instructions from our health workers. The best of all the recommendations is to stay at home. Do not go out if you can. And don’t endanger your family by dashing in and out unnecessarily.
You need to isolate your family from this virus. Family isolation means you remain at home with your family. It means you are not opening your doors to visitors. It means any member of the family who goes out to the market, shop, saloon, work or for a walk is potentially at the risk of bringing home the virus. It means such member of the family must practice social distancing, wash hands and enters the bathroom immediately he or she comes back to the house before touching anything in the house.
It means that the family member must be very careful any time he or she goes out. The only sure option is to isolate yourself and your family. This is not the time to receive visitors or pay visits to friends and other family members who are not in your household. When the government says stay at home, please stay at home. You will be embarrassed if it happens.
There is no flight to anywhere and your money can’t help you now. Test kits are not in the market. Treatment is currently managed by specialists in government-designated centres, not in your private hospital. Stay isolated and thank me later.
Okhiria is the Executive Director, Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development, PRIMORG. firstname.lastname@example.org