As predicted by health experts, the COVID-19 pandemic got to our shores and had profoundly negative socio-economic impact on the generality of Nigerians just as has been witnessed all over the world. With the unfolding of each new day, many nations in the world are coming to grips with the massive devastation occasioned by this global
scourge. Clearly, it will be quite a while before life returns to normal for the citizens of the world.
Fortunately for us in Anambra State, the index case has been discharged and test results so far obtained from people who had close contacts with the index case came back negative. As our amiable and indefatigable Governor noted, “with these results, we are encouraged to do more together to ensure that our beloved state is safe for all of us”.
Consequently, the State Governor introduced measures aimed at easing the burden on the citizens resulting from the lockdown introduced at the height of the battle against the Virus. These included the lifting of restrictions on intra-state and intra-city movement, reopening of all food and drug markets, lifting of the ban on all religious and social
gatherings, and finally, after consultations with leaders of markets in the state, announced plans for the re-opening of all the 63 markets in the state.
We salute the courage and resolve of the State government to get the economy back on track to forestall further deterioration in the quality of life. On the issue of the re-opening of the 63 markets in the state, the Organized Private Sector would rather that we thread with caution. Members of the OPS would want to suggest a gradual/phased re-opening of these markets A situation where about 50% of
the markets are opened and all the recommended safety and precautionary measures are put in place, the State task force on the pandemic could in conjunction with the market leaders monitor compliance for a certain period. Where the monitoring team confirms
compliance on the part of the traders and customers, the government can then proceed with full re-opening. The OPS is very much in support of full business resumption across board while at the same time aims to guarantee the health and well-being of the very Same people that will drive that economy.
Since the major thrust of the State taskforce on COVID-19 (given the negative test results so far) is the prevention of interstate transmission, efforts should be made to ensure that all loopholes are firmly plugged.
During the week, our dear Governor announced plans by the NCDC to upgrade the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu UniversityTeaching Hospital Amaku, Awka to a test center. This is a welcome development and it is hoped that it will serve as a catalyst for the government to develop the capacity for testing throughout all the cities in the state.
Lastly, we wish to appreciate the efforts of the government and members of the Organized Private Sector in the distribution of palliatives. To ensure that the required impact on the vulnerable is achieved in the shortest possible time, a more robust framework should be put in place for proper identification and settlement of these needy segments of our society. As the saying goes, “…we are only as strong as our weakest link…”
Pharm Sir Chris Ukachukwu