Now that WHO has declared Nigeria Ebola free

Casual Musing with Chioma

Email: Twitter: @cutechyoma

ChiomaOn Monday the 20th of October 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Nigeria free of the Ebola virus.  This came 42 days, approximately six weeks since the last reported case of Ebola. A spectacular success story indeed.

Congratulations to Nigeria and the entire citizens who put aside differences, faced the monster called Ebola and clipped its wings. As Nigerians, we remain eternally grateful to Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh who stood her grounds and refused to allow the American-Liberian human bio-hazard known as Patrick Sawyer to leave the confines of the hospital in Lagos and attend a conference in Calabar. God knows that if that travel had happened, we would have been telling a totally different story today. Thank you Dr. Adadevoh. May your soul find peace with God. We are also grateful to the rest of the staff who lost their lives to Ebola. We make bold to say that you did not lose your lives in vain.

Now that the WHO has declared Nigeria Ebola free, would it be business as usual? I have to highlight a few things I feel may change due to this ‘clean bill of health’.

First of all, the price of hand sanitisers would revert to normal. The advent of Ebola in Nigeria caused so much panic that the demand for hand sanitisers sky rocketed. The price of a small bottle of hand sanitiser which used to be between N200 – N300 rose to N600 – N800. In fact, the product became scarce. Lots of business minded individuals capitalised on the increased demand, ordered container loads and made huge profits. The hand sanitiser business was good…until now….now that Nigeria has been declared Ebola free.

What will be the fate of the businessman who may have collected a bank loan in order to import a container load of hand sanitisers? What if these sanitisers are waiting to be cleared at the seaport? This is what we refer to as ‘BAD MARKET ’in Nigeria.

The second effect this declaration would have is that two of our favorite delicacies in Nigeria, suya and bushmeat, will regain their ‘pride of place’ once again. All the Ebola awareness campaigns warned all and sundry to desist from the consumption of these delicacies. This caused huge concerns for consumers but worst hit were the dealers as their sales took a nosedive. It was no longer business as usual. Now all that is about to change. Bushmeat and suya joints will rise again and start enjoying patronage as they did in the pre-Ebola era and people’s means of livelihood will be restored.

However, how do you think the ‘various bushmeats’ roaming freely in the forests would feel right now? The air of freedom they breathed while the Ebola ban lasted is about to be cut short. Poor things.

Thirdly, some adjustments that were made in churches would have to be reconsidered. One of such churches is the Catholic Church. The Ebola outbreak in Nigeria caused some alterations to be made by the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos in order to help contain the spread of the virus.

The Catholic Church is known for having filled water troughs strategically placed at all entrances in almost all its parishes for worshippers to dip their fingers in and make the sign of the cross on their foreheads, as they enter or exit the church. The outbreak made the church to empty all water troughs in order to reduce the risk of infection. Now the troughs will be filled to the brim as usual.

Also, most Catholics in Nigeria receive ‘Holy Communion’ by having it placed directly on their tongue by the Priest. Due to the Ebola outbreak, this changed as Communicants were given the option of either receiving communion on their tongue or have it placed on their palm.

Furthermore, the exchange of the ‘Sign of Peace’ during worship was totally omitted. This was done to prevent people from shaking hands or hugging so as to avoid contact which was one of the ways the virus was spread. One Sunday I overheard a ‘brother’ complain bitterly to another ‘brother’ that this trend of no handshake was ‘knocking his job’ He has been ‘shadowing’ this particular sister in church and sits beside her because it affords him the opportunity to shake her hand which really makes him very happy. I guess with this pronouncement by WHO, the church would have to revert to the status quo. Worry not dear brother, soon you will get to shake or even hug your ‘sister’.

In conclusion, we give kudos to the World Health Organisation for doing the needful and putting the minds of all Nigerians to rest. Having said this, we are not expected to rest on our oars. Vigilance and high hygiene standards have to be maintained at all times to prevent ‘affliction’ from arising a second time.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.