In the last few days, I've written some posts on the Ebola disease virus (EDV) that hit West Africa and in particular, Nigeria. I've also thought of ideas through which I can further protect myself and my immediate community like family, friends, coworkers and the small amount of the general public I can reach through this media. On this matter of how I intend to protect myself and community, let me first relay my experience to you. This happened in the last two days from the place I went to eat and then, to church.
- I went out with my friends to eat and we had to use a taxi, been too self conscious, I complained that I didn't know who had open the door before me, or who had sat on the chair. I wore my leather jacket even though I was beginning to get hot. (Thank God it was a short distance). We get to the eatery and start to lecture the caterers on the need to wear gloves. They reassured us that they wash and sanitize their hands every 30 minutes. We paid and looked for the nearest tap to wash our hands. Anyway, long story short, they were true to their words. They even sanitized every table once a client left (not just wiped with a wet rag). I was impressed. Yesterday, I went to church, had to go through the same ordeal of ""who has touched this door handle?" "who has sat on this chair?" Then, I said to myself, "Keren, count your blessing, what about those in the hospitals right now?" After that little pep talk, I relaxed a bit but my mind was on full drive. The next thing I heard were the following as part of the usual celebration of mass
- Priest: "peace of the Lord be with you"
- Congregation "and with your spirit".
- Priest: let us now offer each other the sign of peace.
- Congregation turned around and started shaking each other
- You see I am a catholic and I totally forgot about that part of mass until that very point.
In my mind: are you guys for real? I turned to the woman on my left, she smiled at me and extended her hand, I returned the smile and shook her finger tips while noting that her fingers were dry. After that I folded my arms across my chest and didn't turn again. The lady in front of me turn and was extending her hand. I simply smiled at her and waved. I'm sure I seemed very rude, afterall we were in Church and God would protect us. I mean, we were at least 300 people in the church today and it wasn't full to capacity. One person shakes at least six other persons. Do you now follow my train of thought? After the mass, the announcer started the announcements and the one that caught my attention was when she said summer school registration was still on-going and parents should endeavor to register their children, wards and any child they knew couldn't afford it. It was then that I decided it wasn't enough for me to come here on this blog and lay my complaints. It was time for me to contribute the little that I could. Here are the little things I came up with apart from regular hand washing;
|Let's help One Another (not necessarily by holding hands|
- Firstly, public places like eateries, restaurant, banks, churches, shops and supermarkets that have a high rate of turnover of people coming and going, should make extra efforts in sanitizing their places. For example, these places should follow the example sited above by cleaning surfaces, door and cart handles with alcohol based sanitizers or bleach. The opening and closing of the doors should be done by a limited member of the staff.
- Unnecessary gatherings of a large number of people from different homes or different parts of the country like camps, certain conferences should be possibly postponed for now.
- Churches, especially orthodox churches that receive holy communion should ask their congregation to wash their hands before coming for holy communion, (the priest and people giving communion should also follow suit). The congregation should receive the communion with their hands and put it into their mouths themselves. Not one priest putting in everyone's mouth. (The virus can be transmitted through saliva). About the issue of offering each other the sign of peace, putting your hands together in front of your chest and bowing your head to your neighbor would do. Or simply wave your hands from a distance. (We doctors called it the BLUETOOTH HANDSHAKE OR HUG, Lol). This is already the practice in some countries like India. I admit it was quite strange the first time I experienced it, but now I see their possible reason.
- The offering bowls should be big enough with a wide opening not a peephole. Also, there should be a limited number of people handling the money (while wearing disposable gloves). I must emphasize the need for this. Remember, the money has already been handled by a number of people you know not. I must also stress that the church is also as venerable as hospitals in this kind of cases that have no cure yet, especially in Africa where many people still believe in God and still go to churches to get healed for curable diseases like malaria.
- Corporate bodies, churches, hospitals e.t.c. should hold seminars on educating their staff about this disease, its cause, symptoms, course, progression, available management plans and prognosis. This would help forestall undesirable consequences to rumors. Besides, even though I have said in my previous posts that the government should focus on getting to the grassroots, I know that they can't possibly do it alone. (Not in a country like Nigeria I daresay. In fact, sometimes, I believe they would abandon ship if the worse comes to worst. Afterall, they fly abroad for simple cases of food poisoning). We should take the correct information to our relatives living in the rural areas.
- What I need the government to do in addition, is get much of that corruption money and do some good with it. Buy #zmapp at any cost for your citizens, (experimental or not).
- Lastly, my people, if we don't take care of ourselves, who will? Spread the correct information. If you get an information you are not sure of, open the web on your smart phones and check it out. Or better still, ask someone with the real information on these matters. Buy hand sanitizers, wipes, gloves or even tissue for use especially in public places, to open doors, operate the ATM or POS machines. Make sure to wipe your phones regularly (it is what is always, always in your hands). Ladies even wipe your handbags (especially the handles).
- Also maintain constant hand washing. You can refer to this post for ideas on proper use of your hands
I hope this goes a long way to help, read and reshare to help as much people as we can. If you have any good important information on how to further help, please do enter it in the comment section. Until another time.