By Williams Orji
Both the federal and state governments’ responses to the global and ravaging coronavirus are too poor, and therefore if the speed of response is not improved the nation may suffer more casualties.
These are the views of Hon Golu Timothy, a former member of the House of Representatives and a veteran health journalist. According to Golu, the federal government should have moved faster to begin action against the disease when the outbreak was first reported in December 2019.
In a press statement released to media houses yesterday, Hon Golu noted regretted that both government at all levels “felt it was not yet in the country and therefore relax until the first and other cases broke out.
“My concern has been the lacklustre attitude of the managers of our federal and state ministries of health. They are always not prepared for emergencies in spite of huge budgetary allocations. Public health departments are worst. Now that we have started late, there should be massive and intensive training of health workers and volunteers, massive provision of medical equipment and surveillance kits,” he stated.
Hon. Golu said that such proactive action if deployed “will encourage health personnel to be mobilised at all levels down to our communities. There must be dedicated lines of communication just like we have of our security agencies across the states so that cases can be reported and attended to promptly by specially assigned health personnel.”
He added that “now that people have been kept indoors to mitigate spread of the virus, they must have a channel to report any case be it mild, moderate or severe to concerned authorities who should move swiftly when called upon. I support the total lockdown across the states, but the federal, state and local governments must suspend every form of developmental projects to attend to the basic needs of the people such as food and water. “
Without going out many people will die of starvation since many are on daily or weekly income. Health workers must be taken very good care of, to enable them attend to the public. As first points of call, they must be properly kitted to avoid infection and discouragement, he added.
He advised that adequate sensitisation and awareness were need urgently, as he said that “government must equally provide ambulances at every location to enable easy transportation of suspected and confirmed cases without delay. As it is now, response has been virtually absent at the LGA levels because personnel who should be trained by the federal government are not available for deployment to the communities.”
He said that the virus was not an ordinary one that could be diagnosed by just any medical personnel, adding that “people must be trained to do this work. Many health workers are not conversant with this one.”