CORONA VIRUS: CISLAC URGES PALLIATIVE MEASURES FOR CITIZENS
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Transparency International Nigeria notes with concerns the current trend in the spread of Covid 19 virus pandemic. The increasing global spread as well as the latest sporadic spread in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja is worrying.
We also note the continual shut-down of government offices including the legislative arm of government both at national and state levels, schools, some international airports and private sector offices within the country.
CISLAC therefore urges citizens to abide by government directives on mass gathering and to observe personal hygiene, and imbibe healthy eating habits.
CISLAC advocates that governments at local, state and federal levels be more prepared for disaster response and management to be able to curb the spread of Corona Virus and other epidemics. COVID 19 has, as of now, infected over 350, 000 people worldwide and killed 15, 000 globally.
CISLAC observes that inadequate preparedness for the management of epidemics, such as the Covid 19, is a result of poor funding allocation for the health sector, widespread corruption and lack of palliative measures.
Nigeria has only two doctors per 1000 citizens and 0.5 beds per 1000 citizens. Health personnel is unable to effectively deliver essential health services. In addition, over 90% of the Nigerian population is without health insurance coverage and cannot afford even basic health care.
CISLAC’s long-term experience in the health sector shows the inability to effectively address numerous public health challenges. Political instability, corruption, limited institutional capacity and an unstable economy are major factors responsible for the poor development of health services in Nigeria. Households and individuals in Nigeria suffer from dysfunctional and inequitable health system, which prompts them to delay or not seek health care and having to pay out of pocket for health care services that are not affordable. This could prove disastrous in the context of the fast spreading COVID 19 pandemic.
CISLAC therefore calls on Nigerians to comply with health experts’ advice and government directives in order to stay safe from contracting Corona virus.
CISLAC urges government in this crisis period to waive taxes for citizens as part of socio-economic palliative measure to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic.
Learning from previous diseases where stigmatization was a major killer, CISLAC also urges every Nigerian not to stigmatize affected persons as stigmatization is more devastating than the disease.
Finally, CISLAC calls on the media and civil society organizations to continue to sensitize the public and work with the government to curb the spread of the virus.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director, CISLAC