By Gbenro Olajuyigbe

Any country that does not prepare for emergency can never ensure safety nor mitigate disaster. Decisive action in emergency of global proportion in which you are not the first affected population demands that you learn from those affected before.

It is a shame that our request for protocol of treatment from China was made after recording the first index case. The quality of emergency response depends on the strength of your knowledge, information, the will to act and the capacity for action!

Nothing in our preparedness posture suggests that we are willing and able. Telling people not to panic without corresponding effort of hope and support is governmentally idiotic.

‘Don’t Panic’ is not a response. Show people the response resources you have on ground. That’s how to build confidence in emergency.

I suggest that the Federal Government that is leading the national response urgently buy one conducive house in each of the geo-political zone. Equip and convert them to public health emergency clinics for the epidemic. This can be funded from the N5.8 billion the National Assembly is determined to waste on epicurian exotic car spree or the N30 billion budgeted for renovation of the National Assembly, if the parliamentarians patriotically accept this call for sacrifice or funded from elsewhere.

Also, select, insure and motivate at least 50 experienced doctors and health workers in each state. Place them as responding officers at dedicated clinics for surveillance, notification and remedial treatment actions.

Lead responding agency and the
Federal Government must direct people to these dedicated centres/hospitals where Index cases can be taken to for attention.
Population at risk needs to know about the progress we are making at every stage. Daily update is essential.

It should be emphasised that persons affected by disaster, including COVID-19 must never be sub-humanly treated. Appropriate response is about human dignity. It is imperative that government respond timely, speedily and appropriately.

It is not charity! It is duty – the whole essence of government!

•Olajuyigbe writes from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja


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