In News by Oluwaseun Samuel on the 23rd, July, 2020

It Takes God’s Grace Not To Contract Coronavirus In Nigeria’s Markets

It Takes God's Grace Not To Contract Coronavirus In Nigeria's Markets

Uchenna Emelonye

Dr Uchenna Emelonye

Dr Uchenna Emelonye is the Nation Consultant of the UN Workplace of the Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights in Liberia. The highest-ranking Nigerian within the UN human rights system shared his household’s battle with COVID-19 with DAYO OJERINDE

How did you and your loved ones members contract the virus?

Frankly, I don’t know and doubtless solely God is aware of. To supply you with our context, I’m presently serving in Liberia and my household resides in Abuja, as a result of my present posting is a non-family obligation station. However, my eldest son was enrolled for a postgraduate programme on the Tsinghua College, Beijing, China, and was dwelling for Christmas in December 2019 earlier than the outbreak of COVID-19 in January 2020 and eventual lockdown of China. Since then, he has been dwelling and doing digital research.

On my half, I reside in Monrovia and returned to Abuja on March 12, 2020, to rejoice my 53rd birthday with my household and I used to be on this journey when the world and Nigeria shut down and I used to be caught in Abuja, gladly with my household. In the course of the lockdown and taking into consideration that my spouse is a public well being professional, she instituted and we noticed the requisite well being and security protocols at dwelling, together with putting in a hand washing station at a stand-alone home, the place we dwell solely. As a part of our precautionary well being measures, we disallowed each customer and he or she prevented each particular person in my family from going out for no matter motive, together with our chef.

Believing that she would deal with the specter of contacting the virus higher, she assumed the accountability of doing all purchasing for the home, together with foodstuffs purchasing in open and unregulated markets. Since I used to be dwelling, I couldn’t conceal beneath my quilt in concern of COVID-19 and see my spouse expose herself in an open market. So, I joined her and we had been each uncovered in these bi-weekly purchasing in open markets in Abuja.

I recall the expertise and was definitely certain that it takes the grace of God for somebody to not contract the virus as a result of social distancing measures are impracticable and unattainable in an Abuja open-air market and ostensibly different open markets in Nigeria. On the finish of those dangerous purchasing workout routines throughout the lockdown, we diligently noticed precautionary ablutions and sanitisation earlier than making contact with youngsters or doing another factor at dwelling.

I recall additionally that my spouse was so meticulous about contracting the virus that she stopped placing cash from ATMs or wherever in her purse, however somewhat she put them in disposable plastic baggage. She additionally purchased and positioned sanitizers in any respect corners of our home and in all our autos. Suffice it to say that we did all inside human diligence to evade the virus, however sadly, our greatest was not sufficient.

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Did you report your self or how did you get to the isolation centre? The place did you obtain your therapy, together with different members of your family?

I obtained to know that I had COVID-19 in an odd approach and seemingly via an ambush. Taking into consideration that I had been dwelling and out of my obligation station for over two months and recognising that working from dwelling in Abuja was not the identical as working from dwelling in Monrovia, my workplace requested me to return to Monrovia amidst the worldwide lockdown, utilizing the UN particular flight operated by the Phrase Meals Programme. So, on Saturday, June 6, 2020, my household drove me to the Abuja airport with all of us hale and hearty and bade me farewell. My unknown well being situation defiled all of the precautionary measures on the airport in Abuja, together with the temperature examine.

I flew from Abuja with about 5 different passengers to Ndjamena. In Chad, few passengers disembarked and a few others boarded and ultimately we had been seven passengers who arrived Accra, Ghana, and we had been all subjected to well being screening, together with temperature checks. Having handed the anecdotal well being checks, I used to be taken to and quarantined with different passengers at a chosen resort in Accra.

I stayed there and in full isolation for 2 nights and on Monday, June eight, 2020, I used to be taken to the airport, went via the related well being screening and boarded a flight to Monrovia. On arrival in Monrovia, I underwent the same old preliminary well being screening efficiently and after passing via immigration, I used to be examined for COVID-19 as a compulsory protocol for all incoming guests throughout the lockdown in Liberia. I used to be launched to go dwelling, isolate and await my take a look at end result. On the night of Monday, June eight, 2020, that I arrived Monrovia, I abruptly started to really feel unwell.

By Tuesday morning, my situation had developed into full-blown chilly with operating noise and headache. On Wednesday morning, I used to be actually sick to the extent that I admitted to my spouse via a cellphone name that I wouldn’t be stunned if I failed the COVID-19 take a look at. Being the medical practitioner that she is, she inspired me and dissuaded my ideas that my signs would most definitely be psychosomatic, as a result of I left dwelling few days in the past wholesome and all people I left behind was wholesome.

Jiffy after this dialog with my spouse, my cellphone rang and it was a name from the UN physician. I froze momentarily as I held my cellphone with out accepting the decision and it rang out. In that second, my thoughts did a 360-degree scanning of my trajectories previously months and satisfied that I made finest efforts to do the needful. I rapidly braced for the dangerous information and known as the physician again. As a medical physician educated to interrupt dangerous well being information, he started by speaking about generic points. Since I used to be already impatient with my well being scenario, I disrupted him and informed him that I used to be feeling unwell so it was no unusual information if my take a look at was constructive and he stated sure, my take a look at got here out constructive. He requested me to get my issues prepared and he would come to take me to the UN isolation and therapy facility.

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I stood nonetheless within the quietness of my lonely dwelling in Monrovia and after internalising and accepting the unhappy actuality that I examined constructive for COVID-19, my different hurdle was to interrupt the dangerous and sudden information to my household and the truth that they had been principal contacts that wanted to be quarantined and examined. I summoned braveness and experimented the dangerous information with my twin brother and thereafter rehearsed identical with my sister. I then mustered the braveness to tell my spouse, who acquired the information in shock and full disbelief.

What signs did you and your loved ones members exhibited when you contracted the virus? Are you able to share your expertise on the therapy centre and do you or any member of your loved ones have any underlining well being points?

Following my take a look at end result, my whole family organized for checks in Abuja and the results of my spouse and three youngsters got here again constructive. The take a look at of our driver was additionally constructive and it was solely the chef and houseboy that had been unfavourable. It was to say the least agonising that few days after I moved into the UN isolation and therapy facility in Monrovia, my whole household additionally moved right into a UN isolation and therapy centre in Abuja and had been all stored in separate rooms with out the same old familial contact, together with the child of the home, who turned 14 whereas in isolation.

Fortuitously, my household and I had no underlining well being situations and had been asymptomatic. On my half, I used to be usually unwell and my chilly mutated into cough, persistent headache and general physique weak spot, even although my temperature was regular. We had been all lucky that I work for the UN and we had been taken to the UN run COVID-19 therapy facility in each nations, so we had been handled with the best degree of professionalism by the respective medical groups.

How lengthy did it take you and members of your loved ones to get better?

Based mostly on the prevailing well being protocol in Nigeria, my household did their second take a look at after the eight day of the primary take a look at and their end result got here again unfavourable after few days they usually had been discharged. On my half, and primarily based on the prevailing well being protocol in Liberia, which requires two consecutive unfavourable checks after 12 days of the primary take a look at, I had my second take a look at on June 19, 2020, and it got here again unfavourable. I underwent the third take a look at on June 22 and it didn’t shock me that it got here again constructive as a result of I used to be nonetheless feeling unwell. I had my fourth take a look at on June 29 and the end result was indeterminate. It was solely on July 12 that my end result was unfavourable and I used to be thereafter discharged from isolation.

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Because you had been discharged, how have you ever been in a position to cope with the stigma that comes with COVID-19 out of your neighbours, your colleagues at work and relations?

I’m not certain that there’s any stigma concern to fret about for COVID-19 survivors in Nigeria and different African nations the place the degree of testing could be very low. Who ought to stigmatise who right here? Is it the particular person inadvertently coping with COVID-19 as normal chilly, cough or malaria, or the COVID-19 survivor, who was recognized, handled and absolutely recovered? I suppose widespread sense means that the existential risk to humanity is posed by the untested and unaware COVID-19 human vectors, who’re, sadly, quite a few in our communities.

What message do you have got for many who don’t consider that COVID-19 is actual?

Regardless of the debatable conspiracy theories of how the virus emerged, the reality from harrowing private expertise is that the virus is actual, it’s round and a risk to humanity. All of us must be vigilant whereas we pray for our medical consultants to discover a sturdy treatment. Within the interim, the excellent news amidst the well-founded apprehension about COVID-19, notably in Nigeria and Africa, which I have to admit has but to be medically validated, is that the causality charge within the continent is minimal. From private occasion, of all of the those who made contact with me or people who I can recollect making contacts with for the reason that outbreak of the virus in Nigeria and Liberia, I’m not conscious of anybody that has handed away because of any ailment by any means, together with COVID-19.


Supply: The PUNCH

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