COVID-19 Eroding Milestones in SDGs, Says Professor Iweala
A senior faculty in the Department of Biochemistry, Covenant University, Professor Emeka Iweala, says COVID-19, an infectious disease caused by the dreaded coronavirus poses enormous health, economic, environmental, social and political threats to humanity. He said the pandemic was eroding gains made in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it continued to spread throughout the world.
The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030
Professor Iweala, who is the Director, Covenant University Centre for Research, Innovation, and Discovery (CUCRID), said that almost all nations of the world were struggling to slow down the transmission of COVID-19. He said, slowing down the transmission involved testing and treating patients, quarantining suspected persons through contact tracing, restricting large gatherings, and imposing complete or partial lockdowns of vital human activities.
He, however, posited that despite the global scale of the impact of the pandemic, it would not cripple the world as long as humanity, in solidarity, commits to adhere to medical and non-medical advisories from the World Health Organisation and other related agencies.
Professor Iweala explained that global pandemics caused by viruses were usually associated with a large number of mortalities, morbidities, and by extension, impact other human activities. He stated that the COVID-19 pandemic, first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, compared to other outbreaks such as SARS, H1N1, polio, Ebola, and Zika could easily pass as the worst that had affected humanity since the 2nd World War.
He recalled that in 2002, over 8000 people suffered infection by a coronavirus known as SARS with more than 700 killed. He added that in 2012, more than 800 died when another coronavirus, MERS-CoV, infected over 2000 people. COVID-19, he said, was expected to cause much more impact and suffering on humanity.
According to the Professor of Biochemistry and Principal Investigator, available reports of the World Health Organisation as at June 13, 2020, showed that COVID-19 had infected over 7 million persons, and killed more than 400,000 people in more than 200 countries. “These statistics are rapidly changing, and there is yet no valid report of any clinically approved drugs or vaccines that are effective against COVID-19,” he stated.
While commenting on the growing spate of COVID-19 cases and casualties in Nigeria, and doubts in some quarters over the existence of COVID-19 in Nigeria, Professor Iweala stated that the expression of doubts about the presence of COVID 19 infection was quite unfortunate despite reliable reports and sights of persons infected and killed by the virus.
He advised health agencies to be proactive by using evidence-based campaign and unambiguous communication to remove misconceptions, promote public awareness and sensitization on the pandemic.