The coronavirus emergency is often spoken of as a war, as indeed it is. Like all wars, it is asking a lot of people, it is reminding us all of how much we rely on “key workers” and how much we take many of our public services and our way of life for granted. When we emerge from this crisis, the world will feel very different and there will be a lasting public impact.
After the exit of this coronavirus, our leaders should be able to realise that, health is wealth and as such our hospitals deserves the best. Institutions that offers health related courses should be well-equipped, the government should release funds to technology institutions with laboratories, beginning from secondary education to tertiary institutions so as to enable those who studied health related courses to have more knowledge, graduates of health courses should always be put to test.
Research should be the common goals of all institutions that offers health courses. More so, government must as a matter of seriousness frown against examination malpractices in schools.
Employment of Lecturers and teachers to institutions and secondary schools should not be base on the popular Nigerian system, known as “Man-Know-man”. Employment of any kind should be base on individuals with core knowledge on a particular discipline, individuals with technical knowhow and not on favoritism.
Wars leave a lasting social and political legacy. By the looks of it, so will the war against Covid-19. The welfare state is making a bit of a comeback. Frankly speaking, for some time now the social security system was something that most of the population didn’t give much thought to. Now, there is talk of another million on the dole. People are suddenly facing up to being thrown back on their own scant resources. They are realising just how useless the modern welfare safety net can be.
Even those fortunate enough to hang on to their jobs will be having second thoughts about an economic system that can see you go from full time, if precarious, employment – “just about managing” – to eviction and homelessness in a matter of weeks.
How many Conservatives can be content to see people who have built up their own successful small business over decades pushed into poverty through no fault of their own? Or “rescued” via another huge debt loaded into their backs? There is a powerful sense of injustice around these shocking events.
Suddenly we realise the inestimable value and reliability of a system of social insurance. There is no private insurance-based health system that could ever deal with an epidemic such as this. That is a crucial, abiding lesson of current events. We seem to have had enough of private affluence and public squalor.
I have to add a note of bitterness, owing to the fact that our civil service and government agencies prefer to spend the nation’s resources on their private establishment, while neglecting some pivotal resources.
With the outbreak of this dreaded pandemic disease, which have caused not just an international panic, but a total breakdown of economy, living some business crashed.
So we know now how much we rely on our under-appreciated, neglected public services, the welfare state and key workers. Things will change. Just as the Great War gave us votes for women and council housing, and the Second World War, the Beveridge report and the original welfare state, so now will this “war” yield some unexpected revolutions in attitudes and our way of life.
If we can do all these things in War time, and borrow such huge sums, why not in peacetime?
Or should we always pray for times like this before the Grace of to Abound?
Or who else noticed that the rate of overseas trips have suddenly stopped?
Jake Clifford is the publisher of www.weetalknaija.com.ng