As West Africa and the rest of Africa institute measures to curb the Coronavirus pandemic, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, has called on governments in the subregion to make adequate provision to protect first responders, mainly Doctors, Nurses and other auxiliary medical personnel, who put their lives on the line to respond to emergencies.
Speaking on the global pandemic recently in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Speaker Tunis also noted there may be need to expand existing isolation facilities and get them fully equipped with additional beds, ventilators, and other essential medical supplies.
“The basic supplies needed should be provided, especially hand gloves, face masks and protective jackets. To our citizens, I wish to suggest that we should first avoid any form of panic and face the situation boldly”, he said.The ECOWAS Speaker’s statement on the COVID-19 was contained in a dispatch from Abuja, Nigeria.
He underscored the need for all ECOWAS citizens to adhere strictly to medical advice, especially, constant washing of hands, using soap and running water, use of hand sanitizer, social distancing should be observed at all times, and avoid large gatherings of people.
Speaker Tunis also warned against fake news especially, unscientific theories to the effect that COVID-19 does not affect Africans or that our tropical climatic conditions have significant impact against it.
“These theories do not have any scientific backing and should immediately be discarded; • Avoid self- medication. Where we experience any of the symptoms, the hospital is the first point of call. As yet, there is no proof that herbs and other forms of traditional medicines can cure the disease. Also, there is yet no proof that an overdose of Chloroquine is a cure.”
He said with the exception of Mali, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, all other 12 Member States are impacted, with a total of 7 deaths across 3 States.
“These figures are expected to be on the rise in the coming days. I wish to use this medium to commend the pro-active efforts of our Governments in the subregion”, he added.
He noted governments of ECOWAS have indeed acted fast, under the circumstances, by putting in place several measures that would help limit the spread of the virus, saying, in particular, “I wish to commend the travel restriction imposed on countries hard hit by the disease. Furthermore, the immediate creation of isolation centers, shows the willingness to address the scourge head-on.”
Meanwhile, Speaker Tunis disclosed that he has already directed that all political activities of the ECOWAS Parliament be put on hold, including activities of the Adhoc committee on Election of Members by Direct Universal Suffrage.
“We will continue to monitor the current situation as it unfolds to determine the appropriateness or otherwise of holding the 2020 1st Ordinary Session, usually scheduled in the month of May.”
“As West Africans sharing a common destiny, we should remain optimistic that together we shall overcome this scourge and come out of it stronger”, the ECOWAS Parliament Speaker concluded.
The Government of Liberia recently received two separate consignments of medical supplies both from ECOWAS and Chinese billionaire Jack Ma to help fight the global pandemic.
The items donated include laboratory testing kits, face masks and personal protective equipment or PPEs, among others.