by: Deji Yesufu
Yesterday I had two interesting but revealing chats with friends. The first person told me he read my suicide notes – where I had readily volunteered myself to work with UCH medical team in the coming days when people would be needed. He knows I’m not a medically trained person and understands I wouldn’t be able to do more than carry bed pans and stuff �. He then said: “…o boy, you’re on your own o…” And we laughed over it.
Later in the evening another friend got in touch with me. He is a Consultant with UCH. He told me that I should begin to sensitize my readers towards the laudable efforts of volunteering in times like this. He said information reaching him has it that the federal government will soon start to disburse resources towards training volunteers and the remuneration is very good. They will be needing essentially doctors, nurses and medical lab scientists. These two discussions has led me to write this piece: friends, we are face to face with war in this country. It is a Germ War. Unfortunately the Nigerian military cannot fight this thing. It is you and I that will do it.
First, let me begin with the first obstacle to this matter: the fear of death. What of, in the process of fighting this war, I contract the disease and I’m killed. Leaving behind a family – especially young children. It is a laudable concern and I’ll answer this way.
When war breaks out in a nation, it is human beings that fight it. First the country rolls out a battalion of trained soldiers. If those are not enough, they call for willing volunteers. If they are not enough, government compels all young men to join the army. Particularly those between the age of 18 and 25. All young men in the University will join. It becomes a criminal offence not to join the war effort.
In a Germ War, the first battalion that go out are medical folks. If they are not enough, all those who are still healthy and have some education must join. If those are not enough, they will come for you.
Sometimes during the Second War, the first born of the Kennedy’s, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, a pilot, was flying a mass of explosives to troops at the war front. Something went wrong and his plane exploded mid-way. At peace time, his younger brother, John F. Kennedy, went on to become President of the USA. Most of his siblings became prominent American politicians but one person died so that they all could live.
This America we are all seeking to run to was brought to greatness by the blood of young boys. America only became a super power after helping Europe defeat her enemies. The price was paid by young boys between the ages of 18 and 25. Go and read the battle of Normandy. How young boys sailed through bullets, while thousands of others were felled. The ones who succeeded in reaching the Germans on the shore eventually took the sea port that looked near impossible to reach and won that battle. If Normandy was not invaded the Germans would have overrun Europe.
Friends, we face a Germ War. COVID-19 is a Germ War and someone will have to fight it or all of us will perish in the security of our homes bc we fear death.
This is a particular call to Christians, men and women who believe that Jesus Christ has obtained eternal salvation for them; to step out and prove the worth of their faith. If your faith is sure, this is the time to join other historic Christians who have always led the way during humanitarian crisis.
As I write to you the Executive Governor of Oyo State has tested positive to Coronavirus. The UCH CMD is also positive. The Provost of College of Medicine and his deputy are positive. Thankfully none of them have started to show symptoms. In another two weeks, those who have cut this bug and may not have tested themselves will begin to swam the hospitals and isolation centers. Doctors and nurses are going to be overwhelmed, and then they would need you. Get ready to volunteer to help.
Thankfully this is not a suicidal mission. You would be properly trained, properly equipped and sufficiently remunerated. I write this to ask you to prepare your mind to join.
Lagos State has already rolled out their call for volunteers. Those in Lagos can go to lsvc.ng to enroll and read up requirements. As at the time of this writing, 2,500 people have indicated interest to work as volunteers in Lagos. I hope the number increases and they all do come out eventually.
This note is a call for preparation and not to go out yet. For now we are required to remain at home and stay glued to our media outlets. Soon enough there would be that call for medical volunteers. Most would simply need to fill out forms online. Then you would be called for short training and dispatched out. Subsequently and depending on how serious the pandemic gets, those of us who are not medical folks but are willing and able will be sort for.
Do not fear. You would be trained and usually if you follow guidelines well enough, you will come out unscathed.
This is my first major writing on the matter of volunteering. I’ll update you as I get more information. Again, for now remain at home and watch out for the call.
One last reason why you should volunteer: no one knows who will need the help. My friend who said I was on my own maybe the one that would need this mass of volunteers we are calling for. We are in this together: this is war, a Germ War.
(First published on Facebook on March 31, 3:34am)