THE PANDEMIC AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY
To understand the pandemic; Covid-19, you have to appreciate where it’s coming from.
In 1960, the first case of Coronal virus was notified as cold. According to the Canadian Study 2001, approximately 500 patients were identified as Flu-like system. 17-18 cases of them were confirmed as infected with coronavirus strain by China reaction. In 2003, various reports were published with the proofs of spreading the virus in many countries such as United States of America, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.
Therefore, the outbreak of Covid-19 first appeared in the Wuhan city of Hubei Province in China and was declared a global health emergency by the WHO on 30th January, 2020. Nigeria recorded its first case of Covid-19 on the 27th of February, 2020. This index case was an imported case by an Italian on a business trip to Ogun State, and this disease has spread around most of the States in the Country.
The common symptoms which are present in a Covid-19 patient includes; fever, dry cough, fatigue and shortness of breath. However, some patients may even complain about sore throat, headache, diarrhea, runny/stuffy nose and body ache.
How can one prevent this disease? The World Health Organisation and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control have released a series of recommendations for the prevention and control of the disease which are:
- Wash hands properly with alcohol based hand wash or sanitizer or daily using soap.
- Avoid frequent touching of the eyes, nose and mouth as they are most exposed sites for catching the infection.
- Maintain social distance of about 1 meter between persons who are coughing or sneezing.
- Maintain respiratory hygiene like covering of mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing.
- Wearing a face mask when in contact with another person.
- Cleaning and sanitizing home and workplace.
- Avoid all non-essential travel to all countries.
- Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, please call NCDC toll free number which is available day and night, for guidance on 0800-970000-10. Do not engage in self medication.
- Stay informed on the latest development about Covid-19 through official channels on TV and Radio.
The outbreak of Corona virus has a lot of negative effects on Nigerians from the Healthcare sector, economic and social sector. In respect to the Healthcare sector some of the effects are:
- Challenges in the diagnosis, quarantine and treatment of suspected or confirmed cases.
- High burden of the functioning of the existing medical system.
- Patients with other disease and health problems are getting neglected.
- Overload on doctors and other health professionals who are at a very high risk.
More so, the effects on the Economic Sector are:
- Poor cash flow of market.
- Disruption of the supply chain of products.
- Slowing of the manufacturing of essential goods.
- Significant slowing down in the revenue growth.
Not leaving out the social sector, the effects are:
- Postponement of examinations.
- Avoiding the national and international travelling and cancellation of services.
- Disruption of celebration of cultural, religious and festive events.
- Undue stress among the population.
- Closure of hotels, restaurant and religious places.
As deadly as the disease is, it has brought a lot of positive effect on Nigerians which are:
- Improved hygiene: at individual level, most people forget to wash their hands as often as necessary perhaps because of hectic lifestyle. But part of safety precautions to keep the corona virus at bay requires improved hygiene such as consistent washing of hands. This habit will most likely remain in people lives long after the pandemic is over.
- A catalyst for digital transformation: The widespread disruption of global economic and individual activity has forced many organization or institution to speed their space of digital transformation. This has pushed everyone toward digital transformation across many sectors, like the adoption of online classrooms or educational platforms by schools and government.
- A cleaner world: The lockdown have seen global greenhouse gas emissions drop significantly. Under measures to prevent the spread of the new corona virus over the last few months, local businesses have been shut, factories closed, social movement restricted and transportation brought to a halt. As the burning of fossils fuels reduces, carbon footprint has lessened and air quality has improved significantly.
- Private Sector rise to a social cause: With government resources under strain as public health officials ramp up efforts to test more people and provide care for corona virus patients, private sectors have stepped up to fight the public health disaster by donating millions and billions of naira and dollars to support the government in the battle against the corona outbreak.
Currently, there is no approved medication for the treatment of covid-19, so it is advisable to use as much natural vitamin C as possible to help strengthen the immune system.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a wake-up call to policy makers as the unusual and unprecedented nature of the crisis has made it impossible to rely on foreign health services and more difficult to solicit for international support given the competing demand for medical supplies and equipment.
Therefore, to reduce unemployment and poverty, which are inevitably linked to this pandemic, it is imperative that policy makers provide relief packages tailored particularly to Nigerian vulnerable citizens. Nigerians can as well introduce measures to protect their workers, from the impact of the quarantine measures. Such measures as:
- Unemployment benefits
- Employment retention
- Social assistance benefits
- Financial support and tax relief.
While these measures will not single-handedly contain the pandemic, it will encourage the citizenry to stay home, reduce the spread, and also help reduce the level of unemployment, daylight robbery and poverty ensuing from the pandemic.