In light of Coronavirus outbreak across virtually every continent, with the exception of Antarctica, the public has gone into panic mode. Currently, over 80,000 cases have been recorded globally, with the death toll rising to about 2,700 worldwide.
Nigeria recorded its first case of the virus in the nation’s commercial capital, Lagos on 27th February 2020. The Lagos State Ministry of Health in its official statement revealed that this novel virus was brought into the country by an Italian who arrived in Nigeria on the 24th from Milan on a business trip. The victim is however reported to be clinically stable and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is assuring Nigerians and the rest of the world that the country is capable of managing the virus.
Although an outbreak in Nigeria seems imminent, Nigerians should not press the panic button just yet. Here are some reasons why:
1. Level of preparedness: Long before the reports of the first case in Nigeria, the government had already made some provisions to cater for citizens in case of an outbreak. The Nigerian Health Minister, Prof. Osagie Ehanire on the 9th of February revealed to the public how adequate infrastructure has been put in place to effectively contain the virus, with emphasis on the lessons learnt from the previous outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2014.
2. Proven track record should provide some relief: On the 20th of July 2014, the first case of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was recorded in Nigeria, less than 3 months after the first outbreak, the country was declared free of the virus by the WHO. Considering the unprecedented rate at which Ebola spread in other Africa countries and the high death rate recorded, it is fair to say that the Ministry of Health did a great job in successfully containing the virus within a short time-frame and with much more fewer number of deaths recorded. This good track record makes the NCDC seem capable of containing the Coronavirus.
3. Rapid response: As soon as the reports of the first case in Nigeria emerged, health organizations in Nigeria swung into action to prevent an imminent outbreak. The Nigerian authorities have announced that currently, over 60 doctors have been sent to the Lagos international airport to boost screening efforts. Private health organizations are also making efforts to sensitize Nigerians on preventive measures to protect themselves.
Surely, the world is currently fighting one of its worst epidemic outbreaks, but there is no need to create an ‘Infodemic’ with fear-inducing or false news as it will only make the fight harder. Getting the right information and avoiding the spread of rumors and fake news can help individuals protect themselves and contribute in this global fight to end coronavirus.
Photo Credit: The Cable
Article Credit: Ima-Abasi Joseph Pius