As the world battles the Coronavirus which appeared in Wuhan, China a few weeks ago, fear is spreading as it continues to be reported in different parts of the world.
During the past week or two, at least four countries in Africa,including Nigeria and Senegal, have also registered cases of the coronavirus, now known as Covid 19. The other two countries are Egypt and Algeria both in Africa.
However, as The Gambia borders Senegal on three sides, and keeping in mind the non-policed porous boundaries and constant interactions between Gambians and Senegalese, fears have intensified that it may reach our shores. now it is a question of when.
Countless Gambians and Senegalese and other nationalities cross the land and sea borders of Senegal and The Gambia on a daily basis. Flights also go from The Gambia to Senegal and vice versa. In short, Senegal and The Gambia are so interconnected that one can safely say that whatever reaches Senegal will reach The Gambia.
It is heartening to learn that the government of The Gambia is taking the risk of Coronavirus seriously as it has deployed health personnel to the airport to monitor all entrants into the country with a view to detecting any carrier of the virus for further action to avoid its spread.
What is now needed is a close collaboration between Gambian and Senegalese health authorities to ensure that there is a constant exchange of information and sharing of good practices. Whatever the Senegalese authorities learn about the virus should be shared with their counterparts here.
In addition, a very rigorous sensitisation campaign should be embarked upon to ensure that the general public get all the information required to protect themselves from this virus. The use of radio, television, newspapers and social media should be intensified so that everyone will have access to the necessary information on time.
Prevention, it is said, is better than cure! We should go beyond being given answers to just the frequently asked questions.