Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Lockdown Without Palliatives Is A Total Knockdown


By Khalid Sunusi Kani

At this trying time of total and partial lockdown across Nigeria, I do shed tears silently in my heart without any obvious sign that might symbolize my tacit lugubriousness. But the only medication I take and get relieved is to engage people around me into a productive conversation that would yield a definitive positive conclusion.

Which I believe is part of psychological therapy. If not subscribing to this startling idea,  I would have been depressed for weeks back, or possibly in my second week on some antidepressants.

The coronavirus is not only a public health emergency. It also poses a major threat to the world’s economy. It has already caused global stock markets to crash, raising fears of a recession and which might subsequently lead to economic depression.

The bitter truth eardrums of our political leaders do not want to transmit to their higher centres for interpretation of the normal song that we have been singing for decades with our baritone voice that; “Hapless people are really suffering” meaning the “Talakawa’s”.

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This has been and continues to be the norm instead of taboo in our local communities. It has reached an extent that, daily three square meals are extraordinary circumstances only a few can step up to such a strange opportunity.

Yeah, of course, it is a strange opportunity in the land of injustice! Out of the estimated 200,000,000 population in the country, a significant percentage of Nigerians are vulnerable and susceptible to any form of dehumanization.

While a trivial percentage of the successful people including the affluent are indirectly not secured as a result of some uncertainties and unscrupulous behaviors the unsuccessful ones might indulge in.

This would certainly continue as a vicious cycle. Collaterally everyone is suffering in Nigeria at ideal circumstances knowingly or unknowingly. Talkless of the period of partial or total lockdown, surely that could be the worst!

We undoubtedly agreed that the most reliable and medically oriented habitual method,  for curbing the spread of infectious diseases more especially COVID-19,  is through physical distancing. Which is perfectly achievable through the lockdown of the city or community.

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I specifically subscribed to this idea, but the question I repeatedly asked myself is; “Is the lockdown practically applicable to African Countries?” The region is well renounced as the poverty endemic area since before the emergence of coronavirus pandemic. Which according to some research, over 30 million people would be subjected to extreme poverty, and probably not less than 200,000 will die as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lockdown without the provision of basic amenities to the good citizens of Nigeria will never be effective and efficient. It is in this country we do not have proper and sustainable water supply, we are still battling with an epileptic power supply in most part of the country.

Unfortunately, we are the dumping ground floor of illiterates,  that’s why a huge amount of the populace amazingly denying the existence of COVID-19 in the country, the rate of unemployment is increasing exponentially, most of all the health care system has collapsed.

However, Nigerian leaders are very good at imitation and following the footsteps of Western world leaders in implementing policies that are neither productive nor beneficial to fellow citizens.

How on earth would you compare Nigeria and any of the European countries in terms of human and infrastructural development? It is conspicuously clearly incomparable.

The countries that have provided all the basic necessities of life to their citizens,  and as well forged ahead to allocate some amount of money as palliative measure to help them comply with the rules and regulations attached to the lockdown policy.

At the same time, some of the European governments have removed some taxes for the whole period of lockdown. So, actually, our leaders are limiting their faculty of thinking that might lead them to be myopic thinkers. And they should boldly inscribe it in their minds that “imitations are limitations”.

Lockdown policy itself is associated with some mental health problems. The likes of anxiety, insomnia, depression, and occasionally stigma as a result of poverty. Nigerians are not an exception from being affected by the above mentioned psychosocial conditions.

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I strongly believe that their conditions could turn out to be more severe, as a result of government cluelessness and negligence to effectively distribute palliatives to cushion their economic predicaments. Subsequently, the poor might be depressed and thought of committing suicide to start resonating in their minds.

Nevertheless, the truth must be told! The government priority should not be only diverted to war against covid_19 in the country. We do have other illnesses that are silently claiming the lives of Nigerians unnoticed. In my previous articles, I mentioned and I quote” Most of the scary and shuddery epidemiological statistics of diseases of public health importance in Nigeria are skyrocketing even in the midst of global coronavirus pandemic.

The maternal mortality is getting higher, people are still dying as a result of simple malaria, you would be surprised digging on the complicated one. Malnutrition in under five is wide-spreading, hypertension, and diabetes at the doorsteps of every household, depression is now the normal song of the day.

So, if that is the catastrophic and worrying condition, do you think lockdown will be a solution in Nigeria without providing palliatives to Nigerians? Actually, the answer is capital “NO”. The reason is very simple, most of the above psycho-sociomedical conditions I have outlined can be properly treated and managed when the patients are on good dietary supplements being recommended by their respective physicians.

Those with malnutrition need to be on a balanced diet, in recent research a state in northern Nigeria happened to be with the highest number of malnourished children in sub-Saharan Africa.

So, if there is no palliative care from the government, how do you think the condition of those children would be at this point in time? I really mourned!

Actually, the lockdown we are witnessing today is not effective and important in curbing the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria. The citizens are still roaming around the streets for them to just earn a living, organizing football competitions to blessed the pandemic, because the government refused to give them sound education that will enable them to understand the existence of the disease, security personnel has continued with their corrupt practices as a result of government failure to provide them with good allowances, politicians are busily politicizing the invisible enemy just for their own benefit, not for the masses. , if that is the case, lockdown without palliative is a total knockdown!

In reality, we are left with only two options. The first option is either the government to urgently review the lockdown policy and provide genuinely palliative support to Nigerians that are not in any way politically inclined, but let it be through cogent merit.

Because many people have described the previous distribution of palliatives as a scam and scum. The second option, which is the hard way and the only way. Government to instruct Nigerians to brave the pandemic out by seeking herd immunity.

Herd immunity according to gavi “is the indirect protection from a contagious infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through the previous infection”.

This means that even people who aren’t vaccinated, or in whom the vaccine doesn’t trigger immunity, are protected because people around them who are immune can act as buffers between them and an infected person. Once herd immunity has been established for a while, and the ability of the disease to spread is hindered, the disease can eventually be eliminated. This is how the world eradicated smallpox.

If and only if the government will properly look into my suggestions without underrating my age, influence, or power, I have no doubt COVID-19 will soon be history in Nigeria and Africa at large.

I am very optimistic the world would definitely defeat the invisible enemy that is trying to eradicate human beings from the universe. But, we must show the act of oneness, brotherhood, sisterhood and follow all the expert advice.

As a Young Potential Medical Doctor and an advocate for community development. I do believe in youth capacity to help our country to curb the spread of COVID-19 and the globe at large. We must do everything we can to prevent and delay the further spread of COVID-19. I cannot do it alone but together with your support we can actualize our dream.

Khalid Sunusi Kani is a Medical Student with Bayero University Kano.

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