1001 Voices

A Non-Governmental Organization, Initiative for People Empowerment (1001-Voices), has expressed concerns “As global infections from the Corona virus (COVID-19) surpass the one million mark,” maintaining that “the world must wake up to the frightening reality of a disrupted, almost unrecognizable social and economic order.”

A statement by its National Coordinator, Mr. Ide Owodiong-Idemeko, said “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. Due to the invasive nature of the Corona virus contagion, the World Health Organization designated it as an epidemic within four weeks of its first series of confirmed cases. Since then, the world has been grappling with an alarming heath crisis; the global socioeconomic order may have been disrupted permanently.”

“Eventually, and like the pandemics before it; Ebola, Zika and SARS, the immense threats posed by Corona virus (COVID-19) will fade. However, for that to happen, world leaders must pull together and fight from a common front. 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 it appears at variance with the global village philosophy, tells the world that combating COVID-19 requires a ‘we’ attitude, a disposition of shared responsibility. “

The statement further said “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.”

“While the national strategies for a coordinated response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 take shape, it is important that a longer term vision that addresses the plethora of challenges beleaguering the nation’s health sector is decisively addressed.”

“Finally, 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 lock down protocols recommended by World Health Organization (WHO), which has been localized by individual nations must be strictly adhered to,” the statement concluded.