By Maryam Na-Allah
From December 2019 till this day, the world has been thrown into a dystopian almost apocalyptic reality, that seems to have no happy endings. Since the beginning of the dystopian reality two years and some months ago, things seemed to be deteriorating rather than improving especially as the virus has taken various forms ranging from the ordinary covid virus, to Delta, to Omicron, and the average person cannot keep track of the way and manner and the swiftness with which the virus mutates.
A major revelation of the whole pandemic has been how countries have focused and addressed the pandemic with their healthcare systems.
Unfortunately, the pandemic was able to highlight the deficiencies of medical facilities both in developed and developing nations, even those that seemed advanced. Therefore, bringing to our attention to the way different countries handled and are currently dealing with the crisis of covid and failing health care systems. A comparison between Nigeria and UK is provided.
Quality of Government Response
As an outsider, it would appear that the UK government responded to the pandemic proactively and in a timely manner, considering the measures adopted to address the issue. This includes measures like contract tracking, 3 lockdowns (depressing for many, as they are confusing) and access to emergency numbers for the COVID. However, the British public felt the response time was far too late and overdue as it was thoroughly condemned, and the late response caused thousands of avoidable deaths.
The UK suffered one of the worst effects in comparison to other European countries. Following the condemnation, the government acknowledged its mistakes and said it would do better in the future.
Like the UK, Nigeria also took a while to initiate lockdown procedures at the beginning, but an increase in cases prompted lockdown procedures, which may or may not have been helpful. In spite of its poor initial response, the Nigerian government is today taking steps to combat the pandemic by a way of ongoing vaccinations across the country.
Businesses in Nigeria, particularly those that were small-scale and commercially oriented online, had tough times. Financial health and capacity of many companies were affected by lost customers, poor communication, and poor service delivery. Several companies implemented work-from-home policies at this point, preparing their employees to actively engage in production and investment.
In both the local and global markets, the falling number of businesses, commercial and government parastatals contributed to the destabilization of the economy.
The United Kingdom came up with schemes like eat-out to help out, which was a commendable way to help the hospitality (restaurants) businesses recover from the economic loss.
Vaccine Dependence/Independence, Acceptance
With the arrival of vaccines across the globe, 2021 was welcomed with optimism. Although the issue of vaccine inequity became apparent. In terms of vaccine equity between the two countries the rollout exposed the subtle discrimination and favouritism between 1st and 3rd world countries as the COVID-19 vaccines were inequitably distributed, which slowed global economic recovery and fuelled the pandemic.
Unsurprisingly, UK alongside USA was one of the first to receive the vaccines. Compared to the United Kingdom and the United States, where more than 50% of their populations has received a COVID-19 vaccine at least once, African countries have gotten only 2% of the vaccines.
In the UK, you could choose from Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Jansen vaccine (not currently available) depending on what vaccine you wanted. Up until 2022, Nigeria had only one vaccine, which was moderna which may or may not have been suitable for certain demographic groups.
As far as public acceptance of the vaccine is concerned, both countries had and still have something in common in terms of the public reception of the vaccine which was initially deemed sketchy due to its fast and rapid pace of release. With Nigeria, there were more scepticism due to the fact that when the first vaccine was first produced, it was subtly suggested that the first family of Nigeria and other VIPs were expected to serve as ‘lab rats’ ‘for checking out the effects of the vaccine on the family’.
Extent of Devastation/Casualty
Every day of the easing phase of the lockdown has witnessed an increasing number of cases indicating the possibility that the COVID 19 cases may escalate in future dates. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria experienced 3092 Coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began. There have also been 250009 Coronavirus cases reported in Nigeria. UK has so far recorded 152000 deaths out of 270, 000 cases.
Quality of Health Care Services
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK reallocated resources within the health and social care system for the purpose of dealing with coronavirus cases. Covid-19 patients forced hospitals to reallocate thousands of beds, and planned treatments were postponed accommodating the pandemic. As a result, they were unable to meet their health care needs when they had other health conditions, illnesses, or emergencies.
If there is one major thing that the pandemic has done, it has exposed the poor state of healthcare system in both developed and developing countries. In Nigeria, the pathetic nature of the healthcare system has become more apparent.
In Nigeria, the pandemic, coupled with its grim death toll, elicits trepidation among citizens due to its ravaging nature. The fears are not necessarily as a result to COVID-19’s lethality, but rather a series of interrelated factors, such as a lack of resources and poor working conditions in health institutions which evoke fears of COVID-19’s potentially lethal nature.
This unstable environment has served as a breeding ground for the dreaded disease in Nigeria. It can also be observed that the Nigerian government throughout the pandemic has been trying to put more efforts albeit little, into ensuring protection from the deadly virus.
Overall, it is safe to say that the pandemic has brought to light a lack of protection and neglect for healthcare in individual countries, whether the country is in the first, second or third world. For healthcare to succeed in today’s world, as a foundation, a system based on medical intelligence and strict surveillance principles is necessary.