The world has not remained the same since the outbreak of the dreaded Coronavirus started and it may not remain the same again. The virus has changed everything from economic and social lives to religious activities. The world is currently on a standstill just because of this virus which the World Health Organisation has declared a pandemic.
According to world health body, the COVID-19 pandemic is straining health systems worldwide. The rapidly increasing demand on health facilities and health care workers threaten to leave some health systems overstretched and unable to operate effectively.
Some members of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to halt the spread of the pandemic, shared few minutes of their time to talk on how this national assignment is affecting their family life, among others. Except:
Barely enough sleep –Mohammed Abubakar, minister of environment
Well, naturally in every kind of situation of this type, you just have people whether the actual medical personnel who are dealing with patients in the hospital or you have the administrators or policy makers that will have to sit and think of directions. All these people wherever they are do have families. Of course, there is anxiety from the family of this frontline people who are worried of their loved ones ending up getting infected or not.
There is also anxiety on the part of professionals themselves, but they have to be very careful. But because it has to do with helping humanity, somebody must do it otherwise the entire population will become engulfed in which case the professionals, hospitals and policy makers will become useless if nobody does anything.
So, it is a concern, but we all have to take all the necessary precautions so that is why whether in keeping the social distance, wearing the mask, washing hands, all the things they do at the hospital, we do same here as members of PTF COVID-19. It is a job we have to do, but knowing the risk we have to be very careful.
I will say the same to you reporters, you have to be careful, you have to observe all the safety precautions because anybody in the society that gets infected somebody else is at risk of contracting that disease.
How much sleep have you been able to catch?
Oh my goodness I’m not sure I am getting the required amount. Even as a minister before now it was difficult to get the required eight hours sleep.
These are trying times –Olorunimbe Mamora, minister of State for Health
These are trying times that also demand extraordinary input and reaction. One cannot complain because it is all in the course of service to the nation and, of course, to humanity because this is a global pandemic. So, everyone is involved, the world is involved because it requires all of the society response, so everyone has to do something. One is just privileged to be in this position as Minister of State and particularly in the ministry of health, because what is happening is primarily a health sector response.
So, expectedly one is privileged to be the first respondent because very difficult policies are being reeled out to respond to the situation at hand. We are also involved in directing and ensuring the implementation of these policies particularly as they concern the hospitals, allied health institutions and health workers generally. So, it’s quite hectic no doubt about that, but even when you are doing your own beat you are also monitoring. The structures, setups, strategies that have been put in place and also looking out to ensure that the strategies are working and where there are gaps we are also ensuring that those gaps are filled, making sure errors are corrected. We are also monitoring how people are reacting and where we need to make adjustments. So, it’s a whole lot of things happening at the same time.
On how much this has affected his family time
The truth is that there is not much of that right now because most of the time you are out there either on one meeting or the other. Or you are on the field monitoring certain activities or structures put in place. So, the family time is highly compromised at this point in time. Yes, as a medical doctor you know what the prescription is and how much sleep you need in 24 hours, but you discover that you can’t even key into that now because on average you are talking about four to five hours most of the time and even under that like three hours sleep and then you have to get up, be on your feet and get going. For me is part of the sacrifice to pay when you are in this kind of position and at the same time it’s all in the call of duty.
What one will be happy about at the end of the day is to succeed on the job and succeed with the cooperation of all, we will defeat COVID-19. That is the goal and that will be the joy of all us.
For now, let’s do our best –Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, minister of Interior
I have made up my mind that I am not going to talk to the press on anything about my person for the first six months of this assignment. I’m still very strict on that so I am not going to get into that now, let’s do what we need to do, let’s ensure that we do our best to prevent the communal spread of this pandemic.
In theory we are on shutdown, but work is on 24 hours –Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture
I guess it’s part of the sacrifice to provide leadership especially in times like this. I think we all spend a lot of times monitoring what is going on in other countries of the world, following up on the assignments given to us and, of course, for many of us our families are not even with us.
It means that those who have been used to going home every weekend, I think they are now banished or exiled for the next 14 days. But I believe that it is an honour to serve in this capacity for one’s country. So, I think that is what actually drives all of us. We have less sleep even though in theory there is a shutdown, for many of us it is actually 24 hours work. Again I say one is proud to have the opportunity to serve this country at this point in time.