Lagos Living During A Pandemic

The stunning photograph of the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge was taken by my friend and talented photographer, Femi. You can find him on Instagram at @phemie.fly

When the pandemic hit initially, around March, I was confused. It was like a movie trick and I thought I would get to stay indoors for a maximum of a month. Slowly, a month became a month and a half, and then two months, and now look! Can I also just say that “Life no balance” because, in this whole situation, some communities are doing above average, handling the situation better than others while some other communities are in a conundrum. Because of the work that I do in rural communities, I have seen that, the pandemic hit them so bad that they can’t even afford to get as much care as they need. In the grand scale of things, I’d say the negative outweighs the positive.

It hasn’t been so bad for me, I have been able to do the things that I love during the lockdown — read, sleep, cook — still keep up with my role at Communal Health Support Scheme and interestingly, we were able to source for partnerships with the local government and some private sector groups such as Merchlist, Fundall and the Black Kinsungi Foundation in order to locate vulnerable communities and sensitize members on the realness of the virus. In total, about 1000 families benefited from recent outreaches in four communities in Lagos — Alagbado, Sagbokoji, Oregun and Agidingbi — and in Jos — Angwa-Rukuba. We were also able to provide an ample supply of preventive medical supplies such as Immune boosting vitamins as well as hygiene products such as soaps, face masks and hand sanitizers that helped members of the community stay clean and safe.

I was always excited to see the text messages from NCDC as well. To be fair, I think the government’s response was as good as it gets, but I stand corrected. They tried their very best. Innovative solutions like the daily text messages were a good touch. They really pulled their weights, particularly with setting up isolation centres on short notice, even the participation of the Lagos state governor was commendable. My major concern is that strategies and responses were not adequately curated. Without proper documentation, there will be a lack of structured, expository information that can be used as a road map in future, if or when the need arises.

Well, no one saw this coming and I doubt we were in any way prepared for it. To the best of my knowledge, I know emergency responses had to be set up for this situation.

I really don’t want to blame the government but I feel with regards to healthcare, we could have seen significant improvements if the sector had embraced innovation from the get-go. The major problem however is with financing, and not so much innovation. Health care facilities are bootstrapping, the budgeted healthcare allocation is insufficient, thus compounding problems. COVID-19 was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

For the most part, normal isn’t ever coming back.
Human beings have tasted something different, we aren’t going back, instead, we are evolving. My tiny advice is to stay flexible and hop on the new wave.

Before now, I never really enjoyed working in an office space and even after the Coronavirus saga ends, I’d still prefer working from home and managing projects remotely.

Technology is a lifesaver! We can’t continue with business as usual, we need to embrace innovation and this is a new task for individuals like me and you who are passionate about healthcare. We need to start to think up new ways of doing things.

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