By AYOADE OLATOKEWA |
THE STORY BEGINS…
Coronaaa! abeg he no dey warri, ee no even dey Delta sef,na poverty and hunger dey kill us for here ooo,Na only for tv den just dey talk say people die
For further explanations; na only rich people from abroad wey come delta dey die,na abroad dem take bring am.
In the world of this 23-year-old Anastasia omonigho, COVID-19 pandemic is only real on the pages of newspapers and television screen.
On June, 19 2021, Delta State topped Nigeria’s coronavirus infection chart as the state recorded 13 new cases.
According to an update by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, that Saturday morning, the new cases raised the total infections in the country to 167,155.
But health experts still want Nigerians to apply safety, saying the actual severity of the outbreak in the country could be masked by acute under- testing in some states
According to the Centre, Delta State reported nine of the 13 new infections with Gombe and Rivers State sharing the remaining four cases equally.
THE REIGNING VIRUS COVID-19
Coronavirus (CoV) is a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control, NCDC Covid-19 update,as at 8th of August 2021,Nigeria has confirmed188,880 cases,17,210 active cases, discharged 169,382 and recorded 2,288 deaths.
Delta state in its portion has confirmed cases of 2,860 on admission, Number of Cases Discharged 229 2,556 and 75 deaths.
When COVID virus infected the world in 2019, countries imposed lockdown, vehicles locked at their garages across the world.
Almost all industries of the world were closed and aircrafts landing were banned. People stayed at their houses, only hospitals were opened for the treatment of sick people in the world because of this the consumption of the oil decreased and so declined the demand of the oil in the world.
The GDP growth was highly affected due to corona virus locked down, but after months, culminating into year; governments across the world are gradually opening up.
As the world began to celebrate the discovery of vaccines, the DELTA variant of the Covid-19 crept in with unpredictable symptoms at a faster deadlier rate.
As the more contagious Delta variant gathers pace in Europe and the U.S, some regional officials have turned to vaccine and mask mandates to manage the spread or ease restrictions, alas, this is when the residence of Delta State in Nigeria are more relaxed with the perceived denial that the death rates only exist on the pages of Newspapers and television scroll bars.
Delta State is an oil and agricultural producing state of Nigeria, situated in the region known as the South-South geo-political zone with a population of 4,098,291.
The capital city is Asaba, located at the northern end of the state, with an estimated area of 762 square kilometres (294 sq mi), while Warri is the economic nerve center of the state and also the most populated. It is located in the southern end of the state. The state has a total land area of 16,842 square kilometres (6,503 sq mi).
PERCEPTION OF COVID-19 AND ACCEPTANCE OF VACCINATION IN DELTA STATE NIGERIA
At the Traditional rites and the inauguration of 36-year-old Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko as the 21st Olu of the oil-rich Warri Kingdom on August 21, 2021 at Ode-Itsekiri, which gathered large crowd and dignitaries across the country, few people wore nose mask despite the crowd the event gathered.
At the popular Warri main market, Osas, a POS operator, that uses machine for mobile money transaction in his words ‘‘Most people don’t believe there is covid in Delta’’ and he asked ‘do you know somebody who know somebody that knows somebody that has died of covid?’’
He believes there is no one around them that has died of covid-19 even though the number of deaths is increasing, but they are not seeing persons dying of the virus infection.
Osa’s further said…’Yes when the ban came for the closure of churches, social gatherings and all, then they were very strict with the nose mask rules, I remember when there was a time some police officers, they had road blocks along the road to check for nose masks and there was a bike man who didn’t wear his nose mask they chased him and those that don’t have nose mask would buy or pay 2000 naira and even the social distancing rules were very much in place ,but gradually with time everything just started fading off. The police and all don’t even wear their nose mask not to talk of us who do not have nose mask on, so the rules in wearing nose mask and social distancing, limitation in terms of gathering and all those rules are not really existing in this area’.
So, the question that then comes to mind is what happens at the Isolation center when majority of the people lives in disbelieve of the covid-19 pandemic
In the account of Mary Ogah, a fuel attendant in Jeremy, a locality in Warri, Delta state. ‘For now I can’t really say for isolation centres now but I know there was a time that I knew they said there was an isolation center in Delta state in Warri and I think there is one in Asaba, but in Warri here there was a time they said there was one in central hospital Warri, where they said that last year they took a lady and she was in isolation center and she was treated very badly and she had a disease, they didn’t really give her food and when they did they will pass it through the window and stuffs like that and nobody really came to attend to her and she did not really have Covid-19 and she don’t know why she is locked up and that was the only person I heard of then and I don’t really know how functional it is now.
Also all those that went for checkup for malaria their names would be added to the people with Covid-19. After doing their test just to increase the number of people, most doctors know the number of cases you have the more funds you get from the government as Covid -19 relief funds and stuff like that especially patients who come for normal checkup like malaria and typhoid they will tag them to the number of persons who came or claim they are infected and things like that and even at that they will send them home’.
According to map of vaccination from world data, Nigeria total doses given 3.97 million, with 1.42 million fully vaccinated and in all 0.7 percent of Nigeria are fully vaccinated.
As the world continues to battle COVID-19 pandemic, two discharged patients in Delta state affirmed that the virus is real and urged the public to adhere to declared protocols for protection and stemming the spread of the scourge.
The patients, Chief Austin Eruotor, the Index Case in the state and Chief Jerry Azinge, the fourth confirmed case in the state, made the call at a news conference in Asaba.
Eruotor, expressed immense gratitude to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa `for the amazing services and care given to me’, Deltans and Nigerians should take the issues of personal hygiene and social-distancing serious, because COVID-19 is real.
He said “A lot of people said COVID-19 is malaria because of the symptoms, but as a survivor, I am in a position to tell the story better.
Eruator said he is married with seven children and based in Canada but became ill when he came into Nigeria on Feb. 5, 2020
“I stayed at the isolation centre at Oghara for 36 days and I must thank our amiable governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, for what God used him to do in my life.
“When I was at the isolation centre, I fought with the virus to the extent that the virus was moving all over my stomach, up to the chest.
Eruotor stated that he came out to sensitise people, who still believed that the virus was a scam, saying “my coming out today is because a lot of people still don’t believe that COVID-19 is real. I am a life testimony.
“The first day I was rushed to Oghara, I got calls from all over the world; they thought it was malaria but I had already treated malaria before I was admitted at the Oghara.
SEGUN ODEGBAMI’S NARRATIVE
In a professional broadcast group, I belonged to; I got an account of a popular former Eagles striker, Segun Odegbami, during his visit to Warri, Delta State for a sports development program for students of Hussey College in,Warri, Delta state.
Excerpts from Odegbami Warri’s experience…
We are met at the Warri airport by an armed escort of policemen, even though we are also assured as we drive into town that Warri is now very safe and very Covid-free.
Outside the airport, there does not appear to be observance of any Covid-19 safety protocols. No one is wearing a mask. As in every other city in the whole of Nigeria, social distancing does not exist.
I ask our driver why. He laughs and says there is no ‘Coro’ in Waffi, and that the only place people wear masks, because without them there is no entry, is the banks.
I don’t think there is any prevalence of covid 19 in that environment because when you go to the bank everybody wears, at the airport everybody wears.
Otherwise, “we no get time for masks here o”.
Nurse, Amunoso Iyenosa who works with the theatre department at Central Hospital Warri, confirmed four isolation centres in Delta state with massive enlightenment in the state, she confirmed that some citizens in Delta were infected with the Virus and were isolated and later discharged in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She however confirmed that the new Delta variant of Covid-19 is not in the state presently as no one was tested for the Delta Variant of the Covid-19 virus,
‘’but in the wake of COVID-19 there were lots of people with covid -19 with functional isolation centre, but as at 25th of August 2021, the isolation centres are empty’’.
AND FOR DELTA STATE GOVERNMENT…
In a conversation with the commissioner for Information in the state, Ehiedu Anyiagwu, explained that there is COVID-19 presence in the state but the people instead of going for test do self-medication, thinking its Malaria and that is why the numbers seem very low.
He said he had covid-19early in the year and has been telling the residence that it is real because he was Isolated with some top government officials.
He further debunks the myth that it is a rich man’s disease as the four isolation centers in the states had patients and were treated.
Anyiagwu said there is an isolation centers in Asaba specialist hospital, the central hospital in Warri, Oghara central hospital and they were situated in places they can be maintained because ‘the isolation centers cost a lot to maintain, as an isolation center is not just in the centers but you also need doctors to man those centers so while centers have declined there are no one who had it and we did not see where to treat the person’.
The state has also established and innovated a steering committee which is chaired by the commissioner for health in the state which is for the purpose of sensitizing the people
THE TAKE AWAYS
According to the Nigerian Health Journal in its volume 2 produced by the Nigerian Medical association, with more than 80million recorded cases and over 1.7million deaths at the time of the research in June 2021, providing safe effective vaccine to curb the ravaging COVID-19 has emerged a global priority. Public attitude towards COVID-19 and interventions like vaccination varies considerably as the access to knowledge. The acceptance of the upcoming vaccination in Delta State with Data collected by Google forms and analyzed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS. Results: For COVID-19 knowledge, 75.6% of respondents were aware of the cause and 81.2% had knowledge of mode of transmission. For preventive measures, 77.6% practice social distancing, 65.6% hand washing, 61.6% use of hand sanitizers and 67.6% wearing of masks. Also, 76.6% knew about the vaccines in development, 53.9% were aware of Nigeria’s interest in rolling out the vaccine and 48.6% were willing to accept the vaccine.
A statistically significant relationship of less than 0.5 was observed between vaccine acceptance and gender, religious affiliation, education, employment status, income, knew a person with COVID-19, self-reported susceptibility to COVID-19, and individual agreement with effectiveness of government COVID-19 interventions.
Few of the population had a good knowledge of COVID-19 and the vaccine, although more than half were not willing to accept it.
This calls for interventions to encourage trust and compliance as the government sets out to invest in vaccine rollout.
Providing safe effective vaccine to curb the ravaging COVID-19 has emerged a global priority. Public attitude towards COVID-19 and interventions like vaccination varies considerably as the access to knowledge.
For Segun Odegbami and some of the residents, COVID-19 and its impact on acceptance of the vaccination in Delta State still call for more advocacy on the part of the state government and the need for more sensitization on awareness of the virus, need to be vaccinated, preventive measures like constant hand washing and use of hand sanitizer, practice of social distancing and convenient hygiene materials in public places in the state.
Ayoade Olatokewa | email@example.com
***This story is supported by the 14C hub through BudgIT Foundation***