Nigeria: To Overcome COVID-19 Pandemic, Group Urges Global Action

8 April 2020

A Non Governmental Organisation, Initiative for People Empowerment, also known as 1001-Voices, has expressed worries as the global infections from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) surpass the one million mark.

In a press statement made available to THISDAY, the organisation said, "There is no doubt the world must wake up to the frightening reality of a disrupted, almost unrecognizable social and economic order.

The last half century has seen concerted efforts to integrate human activities, markets and supply chains around a heterogeneous, global village. That was before COVID-19 unexpectedly thrust itself into the front burner of global affairs."

The body went further to add that "Due to the invasive nature of the Coronavirus contagion, the World Health Organization designated it as an epidemic within four weeks of its first series of confirmed cases and since then, the world has been grappling with an alarming heath crisis with the global socioeconomic order seemingly disrupted permanently."

It noted that, "Eventually, and like the pandemics before it; Ebola, Zika and SARS, the immense threats posed by Coronavirus (COVID-19) will fade. However, for that to happen, world leaders must pull together and fight from a common front."

The statement read: "One lesson to take away from the widespread impact of COVID-19 is that the greatness of nations would no more depend on the size of their armies but on the depth of their humanity. At the top of available templates for combating this pandemic is Social Distancing; which, although appears at variance with the global village philosophy, tells the world that combating COVID-19 requires a "we" attitude, a disposition of shared responsibility.

For Nigeria, this pandemic provides opportunity for sober reflection about the state of affairs of our health services sector. Year on year, Nigeria allocates a paltry 5-6 % of its total budget to the healthcare sector, a long shot from the 15% committed to by African Union countries. This has led to an acute and unsustainable shortage of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals."

According to Ide Owodiong-Idemeko, the National Coordinator of 1001Voices, "While the national strategies for a coordinated response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 takes shape, it is important that a longer term vision that addresses the plethora of challenges beleaguering the nation's health sector are decisively addressed."

He stated that, "The first line of defense - personal hygiene - against pushing back the contagion of covid-19 should never be ignored; all the hand washing, social distancing and lockdown protocols recommended by World Health Organization (WHO), which has been localized by individual nations must be strictly adhered to if nation must pull out of this global threat."

The Akwa Ibom based NGO, is at the forefront of the push for empowerment and promotion of basic humanity.

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