THE new Coronavirus pandemic has sent the world’s fighting forces on temporary vacation. Apart from areas where Islamic insurgents are active, the world’s armies are in a virtual quarantine.
As the common enemy that faces mankind is invisible, vicious and unpredictable, a different kind of troops have been deployed to exterminate it: medical personnel, consisting of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory scientists, ward cleaners and what have you. These good folks – men and women alike – have, just like regular soldiers, put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us.
Some are getting infected. As of February 14, 2020 when China was still reeling from COVID-19 onslaught, 1,700 health workers had been infected, with six dead. By March 26, 2020, 40 frontline medical workers had died from the disease in Italy.
The International Council of Nurses, ICN, has reported that nine per cent of health personnel attending to Coronavirus patients in Italy had caught the infection, while the figure was 12 per cent in Spain. Medscape, a medical news website estimates that “hundreds” of heroic health workers have paid the supreme price while fighting to save the lives of COVID-19 patients.
Apart from this, the hundreds of thousands of health workers battling this pandemic throughout the world work virtually round-the-clock and away from the comfort of their families. Their work is energy-draining and they endure routines that are better imagined than experienced by those of us complaining about being made to stay in our own homes.
On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, Google released an emotional statement praising these medical warriors throughout the world and followed up with a series of appreciative Doodles which will run for two weeks.
We call on all people of goodwill to emulate this gesture by leveraging their own resources to show love and gratitude to the health workers.
On the part of government, we call for a special and generous incentive package and medals of honour for all persons involved in this fight, including volunteers.
There should also be a special insurance scheme and reward fund to thank them with when the battle is won and life goes back to normal.
We call on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN-inspired Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19, CACOVID, to set aside a generous portion of the funds they are assembling to pat our anti-COVID-19 medical personnel on the back at the appropriate time.
We urge our treasured health workers not to relent in their efforts, but to continue to observe the rules aimed at keeping them safe. It is only when they are safe that they can save others. We are confident that the enemy would be soundly defeated and before long there shall be songs of victory.