Home Free WEST AFRICA — BEYOND COVID-19 –Experts highlight other dangerous viral infections

WEST AFRICA — BEYOND COVID-19 –Experts highlight other dangerous viral infections

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Advocacy & Public Enlightenment — Let’s share information — Next victim unpredictable
There is apparently no issue today that gives humanity greater concern than the Coronavirus pandemic that has wrecked unquantifiable havoc all over the world in the past 15 months. It gives no consideration for strong or weak individuals, neither has it spared the developed and developing economies as it continues its rampage with bewildering strides.

Coronavirus has no respect for presidents and heads of government. Presidents. Prime Ministers and Heads of Government have been struck at different times. On 30th January 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation formally announced that COVID-19 that broke out in Wuhan, Peoples Republic of China in November 2019 is a Public Health of International Concern.
GLOBAL CONCERN
COVID-19, in most instances has turned the counsel of medical experts and scientists into foolishness. It has, since its emergence in China proven to be a novel virus that spreads rapidly and easily. “We are living in a war situation with the COVID-19 virus pandemic; and we need to deal with it with a war economy. “These were the words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his March 2020 interview with EURONEWS in which he called for ‘’a clear and coordinated global response to the coronavirus crisis. Guterres said he wanted to ‘’mobilise a double digit percentage of the global economy to “break not bend” the growth curve of coronavirus. And it is not only breaking the curve of the virus that should be at the forefront of global efforts, he said, but to also seize the dramatic situation “as an opporunity” to create an economy that is more inclusive and sustainable going forward. Guterres asserted that: “Many things will change, I would say irreversibly in our lives”

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva describes the Coronavirus pandemic as ‘truly a crisis like no other. ‘’Looking back to the start of 2020, the world has changed almost beyond recognition. To protect public health, the global economy was put into stasis. Shops closed, factories were mothballed, and people’s freedom of movement was severely curtailed. ‘’No country has escaped the health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Tragically, millions of people have died and millions have been infected. A strong matter of concern is that the IMF has projected global economic activity to decline on a scale not seen since the Great Depression. And this virus is turning the counsel of the wise into foolishness all over the world as vaccines are being discovered, but new strains of the virus emerges almost instantly.

FIGHTING THE ‘’WAR’’ WITH THE PEN
In line with the United Nations’ declaration of ‘’war’’ on COVID-19, four scientists in Nigeria have pushed out a highly valuable book on this dreaded pandemic. Highly notable is the fact that the 613-page book publication goes beyond the matter under reference to include other viral infections. It is titled: COVID-19 PANDEMIC & Other Viral Infections: A Guide for Prevention, Control & Coping Strategies in West Africa. Four scientists in Nigeria came together to author this very valuable book that is a ‘’MUST READ’’ for all policy makers and bureaucrats, particularly those engaged in governments. The publication is coordinated by the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Faculty of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, and that gives the literature a stamp of authority. Those who worked on the book are: Profs. Akiwale Coker, Mumuni Adejumo, Taiwo Hammed & Mynepalli Sridhar. Coker is a professor of Biomedical & Environmental Health Engineering at the University of Ibadan and Vice-Chancellor of a University in Abeokuta.

PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT
Many people have questions on the newly evolved virus and the related aspects. Some of the questions raised and the responses provided here are also applicable for many infections whether viral or bacterial. What is a coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory. Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS).The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease also known as COVID-19.

What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. COVID-19 is now a pandemic affecting many countries globally. What is a coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS).The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease also known as COVID-19. What is COVID-19? COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. COVID-19 is now a pandemic affecting many countries globally.

Why is coronavirus called Novel?
It is called novel because it is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include aches and pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. Who are at risks of contacting the virus? People of all ages can catch COVID-19 and become seriously ill. However, older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, or cancer, are at higher risk of developing serious illness.
What should I do to protect myself from COVID-19?
• The first thing is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick, or suspected even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet (2 metres) between the person who is sick and other household members. Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
• Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
• The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker. If you are around others and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue paper when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
• Throw used tissues in the covered trash bin. Immediately wash your hands as described above. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. These include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks,phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets,andsinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

What are the steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from the sick?
• If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect that you might have COVID19, ensure to take necessary steps to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community. Stay home except to get medical care.
• Take care of yourself; get rest and stay hydrated. Stay in touch with your doctor. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs,orifyouthinkitisan emergency. Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis. Separate yourself from people.
• As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering.
• Avoid sharing personal household items: dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, orbedding; wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher/washing machine.

What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms and when should I seek medical care?
• If you have minor symptoms, e.g. slight cough or a mild fever, there is generally no need to seek medical care; stay at home, self-isolate and monitor your symptoms. Follow national guidance on self isolation. However, if you live in an area with malaria or dengue fever it is important that you do not ignore symptoms of fever. Seek medical help.
• When you attend the health facility, wear a mask (mandatory in many places); keep at least 1m distance from other people and do not touch surfaces with your hands. If it is a child who is sick, help the child stick to this advice. How can we protect others and ourselves if we don’t know who is infected? Practicing hand and respiratory hygiene are important at ALL times.
• When possible, maintain at least a 1 metre distance between yourself and others. This is especially important if you are standing by someone who is coughing or sneezing. Since some infected persons may not yet be exhibiting symptoms or their symptoms may be mild, maintaining a physical distance with everyone is a good idea if you are in an area where COVID-19 is circulating. What does it mean to self-isolate?
• Self-isolation is an important measure taken by those who have COVID-19 symptoms to avoid infecting others in the community, and own family members. When you are experiencing fever, cough or other COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and do not go to work, school or public places for a specified period of time. This can be voluntary or based on health care provider’s recommendation.
• If you live in an area with malaria or dengue fever, it is important that you do not ignore symptoms of fever. Seek prompt medical help. When you attend the health facility wear a mask, keep at least 1m distance from other people and do not touch surfaces with your hands. If it is a child who is sick, help the child stick to this advice.

All views and postulations contained in this piece are entirely those of the authors of the book. Terrific Headlines is only exercising its social responsibility duty by informing the public.

SHARING INFORMATION
Let’s not wait for government to continue to address us and warn us before acting wisely. Let’s share information on this dreaded pandemic that has wrecked great havoc globally. You are free to forward the information contained in this piece to as many people and possible.
FACILITY FOR TRANSLATION ON TERRIFIC HEADLINES
You could read this post in Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba. You could also read it in several foreign languages. All you need do to change to your language of choice is go to the upper right hand corner to select your language of preference. Please share this public enlightenment campaign. You could save many precious lives by this patriotic action. For more information, contact:
Prof. Akinwale Coker
Professor of Biomedical & Environmental Health Engineering
Department of Civil Engineering,
BOOK AVAILABLE AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:
• University of Ibadan Bookshop Ltd, Ibadan,
• Booksellers Ltd, Jericho, Ibadan, College of Medicine Bookshop, UCH, Ibadan,
• Odusote Bookstores Ltd, Oke Ado, Ibadan
Nigeria.
You could also call:
Prof. Akinwale Coker
Tel: +234-8092150892
+234-8033644074
+234-8055633290

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