A salute to caregivers on the frontlines

THE Covid-19 experience in many parts of the world, though challenging, has definitely brought the invaluable services of caregivers to the fore as humanity struggles to prevail over the daunting pestilential challenge. In many of the countries battling with the Covid 19 pandemic, the courage of the dauntless caregivers has brightened the landscape, giving a ray of hope to a palpably distressed populace.

In many instances, these warriors on the frontlines of the health delivery system have paid the supreme price in the process of saving lives. In the developing world, the health care delivery system certainly has reached definite levels of proficiency that encourages these caregivers to give of their very best, especially given the insurance schemes in place. This is not the case in the developing world, yet health workers in these countries are risking life and limb to curtail the spread of Covid-19. As many are aware, there is no telling what collateral vulnerabilities the pandemic could engender if not quickly tamed.

To say the least, health professionals the world over have been working tirelessly to bring succour to the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic, defying odds in the process of doing so. And one positive development is the fact that the pandemic has brought the phenomenon of globalisation into  broad relief; it has become sufficiently clear that the whole of humanity is tied up by a singular chord. In a profound sense, therefore, nowhere is safe until everywhere is safe.

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At the moment, economies are in shutdown mode, world sporting tournaments are literally on hold; travel and leisure are virtually non-existent, except on home grounds, and millions are unable to gain access to the mundane pleasures to which they have unduly devoted time until now. Even the most developed countries of the world are seeking medical succour from any part of the world. Hopefully, many would now embrace a completely different view of the world.

Perhaps when the world eventually resumes life after Covid-19, it would be time to reorder priorities and appreciate caregivers appropriately. In Europe and elsewhere, medical personnel are being appreciated by people in their balconies. They are being given duly earned adulations irrespective of the relatively high number of fatalities. It is understandably not so here in  Nigeria, at least not at that level. But that is not to say that the caregivers here are not appreciated. For instance, a police sergeant who assaulted a doctor in Akwa Ibom State while on lockdown enforcement duties was promptly given orderly room trial last week and demoted to a corporal, even after apologising for his disgraceful conduct.

Personnel of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the medical teams in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are making great efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic as professionally as possible in spite of the limitations posed by the dearth of infrastructure and motivation. Instructively, members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) who threatened to down tools recently, quickly backtracked on the plan, apparently due to a patriotic zeal to save lives. Happily, as of April 7, 36 of the quarantined victims of the pandemic have so far recovered and been discharged from isolation centres. They have returned to their respective families. It is no doubt heartening to see the low mortality rate in the country. Considering the debilitating state of the health sector, this is very remarkable. Except for the minor complaints from some of the discharged victims of the Covid-19 pandemic, the health sector has certainly given a great account of itself so far.

The quality of human resources in the health sector is no doubt high, as acknowledged by the United States Embassy in Nigeria, but the available infrastructure leaves much to be desired. We expect the Nigerian government to take more than a passing interest in the affairs of the sector and ensure that it is placed on the priority list. It must conform with the international standards.




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