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‘Nigeria needs more campaigns for people to understand Covid-19 is real’

Rotimi Jaiyesimi, a consultant obstetrics and gynecologist, has said the country needed more campaigns for people to understand that coronavirus (Covid-19) was real.

The expert, at a virtual media roundtable discussion organised by the Nigerian Academy of Science, said Nigeria was currently facing a war against Covid-19 and misinformation shrouded in myths could hinder the progress in containing the pandemic.

“There is no vaccine; there is no definitive treatment. Covid-19 is real and Nigeria has not reached the peak of the disease and far from flattening the curve; there is need to dispel the myths and misinformation. Countering disinformation is a public service and the role of the media is a critical success factor,” Jaiyesimi said.

Speaking on ‘Covid-19 in Nigeria: Knowing the Myths and Facts,’ he compared the fight against the pandemic to a war situation where it is necessary to “know where the enemy is, their strike force and the backup they have.” According to him, “These are vital strategies in defeating the enemy and the same can be said of the fight against Covid-19.”

“This is a new disease; fear factor will not dispel the myths. Nigeria should be led by the evidence, collaborative work, learning from others and educating the public including school children,” the medical expert pointed out.

“A time like this, we need good political leadership and report accurately,” he said.

Obinna Onwujekwe, a professor of Health Economics, Systems and Policy, speaking on ‘Expenses and Health System Responses of Covid-19: What pointers for the future’, noted that Covid-19 actually affects all the building blocks of the health system.

“Governance, leadership and accountability, also health financing and service delivery are approaches to the health system response based on the health system building blocks,” he said.

He added that the federal and state governments have purportedly spent billions of naira on palliatives, building laboratories and constructing isolation centres.

“The main issue with this block is what accountability mechanisms we have for the funding in Nigeria; I mean it’s not clear on what are the procurement systems and actual expenditure. So, I think, resource mobilisation, to be useful to citizens should be accompanied by efficient ways of resources for accountability,” said Onwujekwe.

Chinedum Babalola, a professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Pharmacokinetics, while speaking on ‘Known Local Remedies that may be Useful for Covid-19 and the Need for More Research,’ said that there were some bioactive compounds in plants used as spices, vegetables and fruits that could boost the immune system against coronavirus.

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