The Public, Media Need to Leave Anambra’s COVID-19 Index Case Alone
- The Anambra State Government has noted with dismay the sudden appearance of propaganda materials against the person purported to be the state’s coronavirus index case. The materials, including social media broadcasts, began to emerge within 24 hours after the state recorded its index case on Friday, April 10.
- The materials are slanderous and violate all known medical ethics. They were obviously made by persons who want to raise a false alarm and create panic everywhere. The state government has not revealed the name of the index case, nor have the hospital authorities where he is receiving treatment now or has been treated in recent times. Therefore, the identity revealed on the social media broadcasts is merely speculative.
- No COVID-19 patient anywhere has received the kind of attention given to Anambra’s index case. Yet, there are about 300 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Nigeria alone. The social media does not publish their identities until when they have been treated successfully and the persons affected decide to speak in public forums about their experience. It is difficult to understand the hoopla over Anambra’s index case.
- COVID-19 is no death sentence. Its mortality rate is far less than that of, say, Lassa fever, another viral disease which reared its head in the state some two months ago. It was treated with the same clinical efficiency with which the COVID-19 index case is being treated. It is, indeed, reassuring that the index case is in stable condition.
- The despicable behavior of the people making and promoting the propaganda materials against our index case does not define the character of ndi Anambra. We are known for superabundance of humanism. We are famous for our acute sense of solidarity. We are reputed for tremendous support especially to those in distress, hence the popular aphorism, onye aghana nwanne ya, is at the centre of our world. We have always been our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.
- We would also like to caution a section of the media keenly interested in causing a press war between the index case and the government. No controversy is needed. This is no time for any form of sensationalism. It is in no person’s interest. The country, like the rest of the world, is at a critical moment.
- To repeat the obvious, Anambra’s COVID-19 index case does not deserve the kind of publicity he is receiving, nor is he deserving of the opprobrium which his detractors want him to go through. His privacy must be respected. He is a law-abiding citizen, a philanthropist and a major investor in key sectors of the state. He needs peace, cooperation, emotional stability and prayers from all and sundry, apart from sound medical attention.
- Of course, he is getting excellent attention in one of the finest protection centres in the state. We are proud we built the first protection centre, otherwise known as isolation centre, which meets World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. We have also trained the personnel, including cleaners, to manage COVID-19 cases professionally.
- We are in the Easter week like the rest of the world. Peace, unity, reconciliation, solidarity and the wellbeing and future of all our people should guide our thoughts, utterances and behavior.
God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.
C. Don Adinuba
Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment.