Two days ago, the Democratic Republic of Congo officially announced that 42 cases of Ebola virus have been reported in the country. Oh yeah, in case you haven’t heard, it’s back again.
It’s being curtained in Congo at the moment, and their government is collaborating with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to import 4,000 doses of Ebola vaccine soon. There is also effort by their government to monitor the human traffic at some of their ports. Basically this whole thing has been on for just over a week now.
This is the geographical relationship between Nigeria and Congo.
Maybe you’re thinking, “who is going to Congo sef”, “It’s still far jare”. I’m afraid to break it to you, it is not. This world is literally a global village. Thousands troop in and out of Nigeria each day from far and wide. We already know that Nigerians are people you can find on any continent, so literally Congo is our neighbour.
After hearing about what was happening in Congo, I was a bit concerned, and for reasons I can’t explain I didn’t really think deeply about it, but at the beginning of this week a few things occurred to me.
First, this is Ebola. Like, E B O L A A A ! This is one of the most contagious infections ever, and it’s not like the cure is sold in your neighbourhood pharmacy.
Second, there is currently a nationwide strike in the health sector. The Joint Health Sector Union (popularly known as JOHESU, it is basically made up of all health workers in the public sector excluding medical doctors) has been on strike for three weeks now. Why a government would be okay with major hospitals all across the country being in this state of affairs? I don’t know, but here we are. A major portion of this country’s health sector is not even performing at its regular capacity, let alone prepared for an emergency if need be. It’s as ridiculous as it is scary.
There’s also the issue that our borders have been (and are) more porous than a mosquito net, with no actual strategy in place to be on the look-out for anything. Just thinking about it makes me really upset.
Well, the Senate called on JOHESU two days ago to end their strike, and has also “urged the Minister of Information to take necessary steps to check immigration, just as it asked the Minister of Health to ensure alertness to combat whatever cases that might arise and get Ebola vaccines ready for an emergency”. I guess this should be a step in the right direction. However, we always “talk” and go away until it usually explodes in our face, but let’s hope that this time it will be different.
In the midst of hoping though, please be careful. I’m not saying you should be afraid of contact with anyone henceforth, I’m just encouraging everyone reading this to be alert. The Ebola outbreak that happened in 2014 would have been worse if not for the selflessness of a few people, but this time if it happens we may not be as lucky.
Now would be the best time to improve on your hand washing and sanitizing game. Avoid being in contact with other people’s sweat or urine, basically any body fluid. No matter where you are, always think about your safety. If your course or job requires you to work in a hospital or handle body fluids please do not compromise on safety procedures.
Please read more on the Ebola virus, its symptoms and mode of transmission here. If anyone around has any of these symptoms please tell them to seek medical help. We really need to be cautious in these times.
Your health is of utmost importance.
Thank you for reading through. If you have any questions feel free to add a comment.
COVER IMAGE EDITED BY: SOPE SOGUNLE