Coalescing to cripple Covid-19

As the international community rallies efforts to combat Covid-19 pandemic, the question that should bother us in Nigeria is on our coping capacity for containing the plague that is threatening the entire humanity.

I am surveying global efforts to contain the plague, sourcing statements and releases from the United Nations and its various humanitarian and development organs, to benchmark our coping capacity in the battle against Covid 19 in the country.

To confront the unprecedented worldwide challenge posed by the Coronavirus pandemic, top UN officials, for instance, launched a massive humanitarian appeal to mitigate its impact, particularly on fragile countries with weak health systems.

Similarly, The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is pledging support for those suffering from invisible impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including women and girls whose access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health care may be disrupted.

At the country level in the Asia Pacific, the United Nations is stepping up various efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the region. For instance, in Fiji, UNICEF provided tents to be used as fever clinics to treat patients while in Micronesia, it implemented community hand washing campaign and is working with partners to build 100 hand washing stations as part of a hygiene promotion campaign.

In Solomon Islands, UNICEF Distributed water, sanitation and health dignity kits and is developing training for social welfare officers on managing stress and self-care during the pandemic, just as in Vanuatu where it provided tents to treat patients and training, for community awareness outreach.

According to UNCR, the Boko Haram insurgency has displaced nearly 2.4 million people in the Lake Chad Basin. Now the refugee crisis is in its seventh year and as UNCR observed last year, the Lake Chad Basin region is grappling with a complex humanitarian emergency.

The agency is alarmed that over 3.3 million people have been displaced, including over 2.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in north-eastern Nigeria, over 550,000 IDPs in Cameroon, Chad and Niger and 240,000 refugees in the four countries.

The UNCR explained that refugee crisis has been exacerbated by conflict-induced food insecurity and severe malnutrition, which have risen to critical levels in all four countries. Despite the efforts of governments and humanitarian aid in 2019, some 3.5 million people remain food-insecure in the Lake Chad Basin region and will depend on assistance.

It reasoned that the challenges of protecting the displaced are compounded by the deteriorating security situation as well as socio-economic fragility, with communities in the Sahel region facing chronic poverty, a harsh climatic conditions, recurrent epidemics, poor infrastructure and limited access to basic services.

Fortunately, in Nigeria, one can say we are perfectly in control of the situation with the myriad of efforts at the state and national levels. From Sokoto in the Northwest to Rivers in the South-South and from Borno in the North-East to the South-West particularly Lagos State accounting for majority of reported cases, the emerging story is of unity of purpose, sacrifice, care, concern and caution we are showing from all fronts.

I give kudos to every Nigerian as we combine efforts to cripple Covid-19.


Abdulwarees Solanke



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