Uwode E.Josephine
Heightened exercised doubt have stemmed out of the manner at which Covid19 is being managed, thus questioning if the pandemic is actually a reality or a stage managed ploy by Nigerian politicians.
The recent audio note/video making the round over the verbal declaration of one Miss Omamuzo Ijala in Delta state as  corona virus positive, contrary to the required standard of medical diagnosis to certify an individual covid19 positive or negative, leaves many in doubt over governments resolve to tackle the dreaded virus with outmost transparency.
The sketchy circumstances surrounding the isolation of Omamuzo Ijala at the Central Hospital, Warri poses fundamental questions beckoning for immediate response .


There are clear indications of mediocrity,  unethical conduct amongst medical personnel and politicisation of the pandemic situation following the suspected unscrupulous  desire for state governments to partake of the robust financial contributions made  globally and domestically aimed at combating Covid 19. If a cross examination is carried out base on the testimonies of the alleged corona virus victim (Ijala), the above assertion can be said to be true and not falsehood.
Deducing fact from the voice note and interview granted by miss Omamuzo Ijala, she was said to have gone to the Warri Central Hospital over a case of chronic cough which generated the suspicion of her being a corona virus infected person. Although she claimed to have had the nagging cough before now and considering her medical history of having suffered pneumonia, there was the tendency to have manifested symptoms which necessitated her visit to the hospital for medical attention. In a close to five minutes conversation with the interviewer, she didnt manifest the cough symptom which could have possibly interrupted her speech for such a time of communication. However, it can be said that the hospital made no wrong in raising such suspicion because cough is one of the signs of the corona virus. The grievance here is declaring one corona virus positive without a confirmation test to actually ascertain that. The best option at the time of suspecting her to be a victim would have been isolation within the confines of the hospital and not to be given a leper treatment like the medical personnel did via the act of scrambling for safety over her cough.
At the Central Hospital, Warri where she went for check and at a time where people are refusing to go into self isolation, she would have been quarantined immediately to contain the spread if actually it was a suspected case. Rather she was asked to retire home after taking her samples for corona virus test,surrounded by so much drama and embarrassment. The big question is, letting her home , if truly it was a suspected case, is it not rational to think that the commuters and co-passengers she must have had contact with could have possibly contracted the virus and if its an actual case of covid19, how can they be traced?.
Secondly, she was traced to her abode days after samples were collected claiming she finally tested positive to the virus. The medical team were able to force her from her house to go on isolation following the intervention of her mother. Also at the isolation centre where she placed order for food but her request was not granted, she had to call her mum to intervene who finally created a scene. The disturbing question is, was the mother not suppose to be at an isolation centre as one of those she had close contact with it in order to contain the spread of the virus?
Another mind bugling question beckoning for answer is that at a point where Nigerians are engulfed with so much fear and placed with a puzzle of if truly the pandemic is a reality or a scam, is not considered the right time for the medical personnel to provide the doubting the public  with the Corona virus result of miss Omamuzo Ijala?.
One will argue that in line with the NCDC’s directives, the identity or test results should should not be publicised to avoid stigmatisation of infected persons  that can constitute psychological trauma, except with the consent of the victim or the family. Another question stems. Was it with Omamuzos consent that her name was published as a covid19 infected person in Delta state or how was she granted an interview at the isolation centre contrary to the NCDC set rules ?.
In developed societies where this is the ravaging presence of the  enemy of the human race (Covid19), there are footages showing identities of infected persons, aimed at giving a conviction that the virus is a reality. I wonder why in the Nigeria context, even if for the fear of stigmatisation, why can’t there be footages of people in emergency centres even if they have to be blinded like non convicted criminals to conceal their identities ?. This can help convince Nigerians that the virus is not a scam but a reality . Rather than use such local victims as proof on our sensitisation techniques to showcase the presence of this foreign uninvited guest (covid19) to our homeland , what is obtainable is the use of white man’s photo to advertise the ravaging effect of covid19.
As long as people are not convinced of the presence of the virus in the state, covid19 preparedness/ management such as hand washing, social distancing, masking, shutting down of the formal and informal sector (lockdown) e.t.c, will be treated with kid gloves and will end an exercise in futility. The resultant effect may just be a waste of economic resources expended on palliatives. To buttress this point, we are still well informed with the identity of the man that imported Ebola into Nigeria and that was Patrick Sawyer and contact victims like the late Dr Stella Adedevoh. The precautionary measure taken by Nigerians and the doggedness to curtail Ebola spread emanated from clear evidences of its presence. Today, the identity of the acclaimed Italian who brought the virus to Nigeria is still made obscure while in Italy there are clear showcasing of the extent of damage of the virus with proof.
If omamuzo’s name can be published without penalty for the publisher, the names of other corona virus victims should be made public and also republished after being released from isolation centres to avoid stigmatisation.
Also worthy of note here , is that contact tracing has been a great obstacle to containing the spread of the virus in Nigeria . How do we trace in totality contact when the identities of affected persons are made obscure ?. Its advisable to be made public so that persons who have had contact can voluntarily submit themselves for medical scrutiny. We cannot continue to excuse covid19 management lapses on the fear of stigmatisation. This is not a sexually transmitted virus or a penalty for moral decadence.
The manner at which patients at isolation centres are treated is also constraining the management process which can be attributed to the dehumanising treatments given  and explains also the rational behind the refusal of persons to voluntarily surrender.   The absconding of persons from isolation centres is also a function of this excruciating treatment of covid19 patients. This scenario is evident in the ordeal of Miss omamuzo who narrated the untimely provision of food and the sliding of the food through the toilet entrances. Is this not enough stigmatisation from health workers who are suppose to give a psychological boost to affected persons?.
Besides, the panacea to fighting ailments either bacteria or viral induced is good food which builds the immune system and guarantees resilience. In a scenario when one requested for lunch at 1pm and the meal delivered at 7pm undermining the need also for balance diet, how can an infected person recover or even a suspected person bounce back from the psychological effect of being within a confined space ?.
The circumstances surrounding the Omamuzo Ijala’s story is an unearthing of the mediocre style of covid 19 management in Delta state. This is obviously contrary to the NCDC set standards and global best practices .
Well meaning Deltans at this critical time are calling on the Delta state government and concerned individuals to do a thorough investigation into this matter. It is considered  necessary because at the moment ,the medical team of the Central  Hospital Warri accused of gross misconduct considered unethical, have failed to provide earth cracking evidence to counter the Omamuzo Ijalas allegation, who is yet to be medically proven to be corona virus positive.
Failure of government’s intervention in this case, will portray all the razzmatazz surrounding the covid19 outbreak in Delta state to mean , a movie script , ill managed by the Directors and Producers (a ploy).
I am also using this medium to appeal to the family of Miss Omamuzo Ijala and the lady herself to relax and allow justice take its full course. The world is waiting to see how this drama unfolds  and with a sense of optimism I believe her “uzo” will sure “Mamus” (justice ).
%d bloggers like this: