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Sunday, March 22, 2020


There is an intensive research on the efficacy of chloroquine in the treatment of the Coronavirus Disease. It is true that the drug has some antiviral effects, but it is not yet evident that it cures Coronavirus and hence, the ongoing research. 

Over the years, Africa has been known as a malaria-endemic continent and the use of chloroquine has been effective in the treatment of malaria. Aside the hot temperature and climatic condition peculiar to the Western part of this continent which is a blessing in the management of COVID-19, there is speculation that the overtime use of chloroquine could be another factor which makes Africans a bit resistant to the Coronavirus Disease as compared to many other parts of the world where the spread of the virus is higher. The possibility of genetic variables is implicated here. This is the focus of the ongoing research.

Now, many Nigerians are as gullible as they are vulnerable. My fear on the Coronavirus pandemic is not just about the virulent nature of the disease and its utter resistance to medications, but about the collective foolish actions many people will embark on, especially in this part of the world where emotions are raised higher than reasoning in situations like this. People are peddling the news that chloroquine cures Coronavirus and I could imagine how some opportunists will begin to sell chloroquine at very inhumane prices.

People who have malaria fever will suffer it more. There will be stigmatization, just like in the case of the 70-year-old woman who though tested negative of the virus, but eventually died in a so-called isolation centre in Enugu after returning from UK. Not just this, we remember the times of Ebola Virus and how many people resorted to salt solution and afterwards journeyed to the grave as a result of CVA and such medical conditions. Such might be the fate of some people; cases of choloquine poisoning will be recorded.

Chloroquine has the ability to be distributed in large volume as it diffuses into the body. Similar to other drugs, the liver is responsible for its metabolism (that is, breaking down of drugs in a manner that the body system can make use of). When it is overdosed (taken beyond recommended amount) for a long period of time, we have cases like hepatic toxicity. This is even at the terminal stage.

Chloroquine has some adverse effects, especially when it is abused. There is retinal toxicity (retina is the sensitive part of the inner eye where images are formed) which will lead to blurred vision and eventual blindness if immediate intervention is not taken.  There is also convulsion, hearing loss, pounding heartbeats, shortness of breath etc. Many effects abound when it is taken without precaution. The effects are more fatal in children and much more fatal in people who have underlying medical (cardiac) conditions or people who are addicted to alcohol or drug.

Ladies and gentlemen, to whom brain is given, sense is expected. Coronavirus is actually deadly, but unnecessary fear or panic is even deadlier. Hearken to simple instructions: always wash your hands and do not visit your face or any orifice (opening in your body) with unclean hands.

Get a hand sanitizer which is very useful in cases where you do not have access to water and soap. Instead of shaking hands with people, why not wave or chop knuckles and swagger on your way. Stay away from the crowd and if you must be there like in market places, talk less and be careful not to focus your face directly on people’s faces.

While on the bus and someone sitting next to you for any reason coughs or sneezes uncontrollably, for health sake, try and conquer the instinct of shouting at the person. The best thing to do at that moment is to keep quiet and move your face away and cover your face with your handkerchief.

Giving and collecting cash is something that cannot be completely avoided in this part of the world, especially for traders and bankers. The use of gloves and face masks is useful here, but much more important is hand washing. Using public machines such as ATMs, buttons on the lifts, rubbing off germs on public buses etc are just inevitable.

Therefore, as soon as you get home, wash your hands before anything. It is also important to take our bath after sweating and mixing up with people in public. Always drink water. Copious fluid intake is encouraged. Boost your immunity with fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid much cold or humid environment such as air-conditioner. This is a time to take warm tea even in the noon. This is not just about the Coronavirus, but also about wellbeing; how to keep neat and healthy!

Many schools have closed, either by strike action or government action. Except few students who do one or two business to sustain a living, others still living in school claiming to be doing school politics are either living in a fool’s paradise or running away from their home. Go home and help parents in farm work. The economy of this country will soon go down and everyone will have to lie low.

This phase will soon go and by then, we must have counted the miles we ran and the lessons we learnt: Hygiene and Healthiness!

By Nrs Ikechukwu Ogbu


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Charles Adekunle is a Blogger, Enthusiastic about information and bridging the Gap of information and the World

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