For the last three months, Nigeria has struggled to contain the novel Coronavirus, the country’s most robust response to a global ailment since the Ebola pandemic of 2016. For good reason too, unlike Ebola which is well researched and managed, very little is known of the pathology of Covid-19, and the havoc it wreaks on the human body is myriad and deadly. It is also significantly more contagious than other viral infections that the country has had to deal with. However, our aggressive approach to the pandemic has all but obliterated the existing health care protocols for other illnesses and take important attention from the other epidemic Nigeria is currently monitoring, the Lassa Fever.
The viral fever transmitted by infected rodents has reached 29 states at last count and affected thousands of lives. We arent experiencing a more severe epidemic partly because of the lessons we learned from the Ebola pandemic, which forced Nigerians to embrace personal hygiene and community vigilance in beneficial ways. But it is still and active and present threat, which begs the question about Nigeria’s capacity to concurrently manage illnesses.
Our worries are far from over. The Democratic Republic of Congo, the epicenter of the Ebola Pandemic has announced a resurgence of the Ebola virus, and the country has already recorded 6 deaths. Nigeria’s aggressive handling of the Coronavirus has made us a health tourism destination, the same circumstances that led to our first brush with the Ebola virus in the first place.
The country is preparing to reopen domestic flights will be followed by a surge of movement. Already Nigerians stranded outside the country are already preparing to return home and when travel restrictions ease, illegal border crossing will follow. We must be prepared for the increased strain on our healthcare and the possibility of an Ebola resurgence in Nigeria. It is time we atarted looking at the big picture and preparing for a multi-epidemic future.