A registered nurse, Edith Declan, has appealed to both the Federal and state governments to improve on educating the public on measures to curtail COVID-19 transmission and thus strengthen Nigeria in fighting the second wave.
Ms Declan, also an Adjunct Nursing Professor at Houston Community College, Texas, United States, said this during a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
She said that her visit to Lagos and Owerri revealed that compliance to COVID-19 safety measures of wearing face masks, hand washing and observing social distancing were absent in most places, except the airport.
“I feel that lots of education is required at this point, especially with the second wave that has new variants of COVID-19 which is believed to be more virulent than the first.
“As funny as it seems, we still have a lot of people who don’t believe that COVID-19 exists, if you don’t believe something exists, you are not going to fight it.
“We, as Africans, don’t believe things till we see it. We don’t have this proactive mindset to things, we wait until the disaster happens before we address it.
“Some believe that COVID-19 is malaria or typhoid or other respiratory illnesses, and that it goes away after a while.
“Because the healthcare system and data collection are very poor, it is very difficult to ascertain who has COVID-19, what the numbers are, and how they can be assisted,” she said.
The professor noted that non-compliance to COVID-19 safety measures could be devastating to the country’s income.
Ms Declan stressed that appropriate hand washing with soap and water, wearing of facemasks, and observing social distancing are still the best non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce the virus spread.
According to Ms Declan, the emergence of the COVID-19 vaccine has brought excitement and trepidation globally.
NAN reports that about 50 countries including the U.S., UK, China, Canada, Germany, Russia, United Arab Emirates, have started vaccinating their citizens against COVID-19.
Ms Declan said that a lot of Americans had taken the vaccine, saying that she was yet to have any personal contact with anybody who reported any adverse effects to the vaccine.
“Of course, like the regular vaccine when people take the vaccine, there could be a little soreness, fever, light headedness or dizziness.
“Some people can have adverse reactions and it is a very minute percentage of the recipient, which is typical.
“Even with the food we eat, some people will eat egg and are very good, and some people will eat egg and will die.
“It’s not because the eggs are bad, it means that their system didn’t accept the eggs appropriately. The same thing applies to the vaccine,” she said.
Ms Declan noted that the vaccines had been proven to be safe thus far, adding that while awaiting the arrival of the vaccine across the globe, everyone should maintain good hand washing, wearing of face masks, and observing social distancing.
She expressed optimism that working together individually and collectively would enhance the fight against the virus and ensure global success.