Friday, April 17, 2020 2:19 am
By Sola Adeyeye
The truth is that Bill Gates has NEVER advocated vaccines SOLELY for Blacks. Bill Gates correctly noted the poor infrastructure for health care delivery in Africa. He very correctly argued that the outbreak of any pandemic will devastate Africa unless global resources are deployed for making vaccines. To twist such clear-headed advocacy to impugn Bill Gates is scandalously unfair.
It is said that ignorance is bliss. Alas, where ignorance reigns, knowledge appears like folly. Or else, it is falsely accused of complicity as was done by the protagonist in that video. An untruth that is eloquently canvassed remains an untruth.
Social Science is the scientific study of the human society and its social relationships. Because it is SCIENCE, it conforms to the basic tenets of scientific reasoning, and the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. This implies that you can predict certain things with great accuracy!
So the conspiracy theorists who misunderstood Obama or Bill Gates could in a few years from now accuse me of being privy to the knowledge of the direction of our country in my lecture *Averting the Approaching Gales*.
But we must leave the ridiculous for the sublime.
My own mother gave birth to six children. One died as a result of post-circumcision infection. Two died from the influenza outbreak from 56-57. One almost succumbed to smallpox in 1958. As for me, our secondary school boarding house had a tuberculosis outbreak in 1963. I caught the horrific disease from a student from Lagos whose bed was next to mine. In other words, only three of my mother’s offspring survived past the age of five; two of us made it by the whiskers! This sad experience was common in rural Nigeria of my generation.
Then came visionary Obafemi Awolowo who tapped into global programs of vaccination against small pox, tuberculosis, whooping cough and diptheria. John Wayne movies were deployed to attract the populace to town halls and community centres. An intermission half-way into the movies provided an opportunity for public health education and community vaccination. By 1976, smallpox became the first disease in human history to be completely eradicated. Lesser but still very significant successes were achieved against measles, chicken pox, cholera, tuberculosis and polio. Polio continues to afflict parts of the world that have pooh-poohed vaccination.
For now, no anti-corona vaccine has been developed anywhere in the world. Whenever it is developed, I shall be among the first to rush forward to be vaccinated. Let that vaccine come from Ghana, France, India, the USA or China. I am ready for it. Sadly, one thing is certain; the vaccine will not come from Nigeria!
Established in 1925, the Nigerian Institute of Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR) is the oldest research institute in Nigeria. Seminal discoveries about sleeping sickness were made in that institute. Today, NITR is a tragic monument to retrogression. We can as well go to Benin City to ask about what has happened to NIFOR, the Nigerian Institute For Oil Research. The anecdote is well known that Malaysia took palm tree seedlings from Nigeria but now exports palm oil to our country where palm trees are native. Not far from Ibadan, on the road to Ijebu-Ode is CRIN, the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria; it is another sickening testament to the buffoonery of our republic’s leadership.
Meanwhile, the UK welcomed the Chinese doctors just like the Cuban doctors were welcomed in Italy. Here, we Nigerians keep grandstanding on social media; we have little appreciation for the pathetic situation of our own country.
I will be surprised if there are up to 50 Respiratory Therapists in a country of about 180 million people. So, how does our system cope with a virus that inflicts pneumonia? May God keep corona from exploding in Nigeria. Were that to happen, the silly conspiracy theories being peddled will vanish overnight when our helplessness is manifested. May God forbid.
Africans should pray for two things. First, we should pray that the tropical heat diminishes the survival of this virus. Second, we should pray that hydroxychloroquine works as well as is being hoped and reported. Otherwise, sooner than later, the health care system of African countries will be overwhelmed completely with the outcome of monumental tragedy. Just see the ravages in Ecuador. God, we plead for your mercy.
One epidemiological advantage that Africa has is comparatively slow mobility. This reduces the speed of spreading this virus. But with our slums and ghettos so overpopulated and congested, if this virus is not contained, the angels of death are coming with fury! May God clip their wings.
Thanks to vaccination, infant deaths have become things of the past. That is the reason that so many now revel in arrant silliness and a pseudo-religion that is fixated on the Antichrist and sundry conspiracy theories.