By Momodou A Jeng
Education is not learning what is in books or Google, but the training of the mind to think. Our thoughts should at each time be focusing on the circumstances we are within. Covid-19 which we all woke up and saw is moving like bush fire from one part of the world and then to another. When you look at things at the present moment, you can agree with me that our country is as vulnerable as any other country. At the present moment I have a strong belief that what is saving us and will finally save us are these three among others.
1. The continued praying by both Muslims and Christians to the Almighty God. We strongly believe in the lord’s prayer and the ”Fatiha” with three “Salatul Fatiha” which most of us with clean hearts continuously recite on a daily basis.
2. Our compliance with the WHO guidelines by most of the people in the country.
3. All Gambians coming together to look at where we are now and what we should do at the present moment to curb the spread of Covid-19.
My fellow countrymen, after all these, let us listen to expert advice.
Let us therefore continue praying. Each individual Gambian’s prayers will be answered. It is a pity that we have reduced and relaxed the routine hand washing and other preventive measures. As far as I am concerned, our compliance during the State of Public Emergency is more important than the number of days of the State of Public Emergency.
A good number of us still need a ton of sensitization to ever believe that Covid-19 exists. The global situation however is enough for everyone to know that the pandemic is real and is still within us. Please, please watch international and local news on television to have an update of global Covid-19 situation. Even if we register one case it should still be a cause for concern. At the present moment there is the need for more sensitization. I therefore call on the Executive and the Covid-19 team to use structures (including the private sector) to sensitize the masses. The National Civic Education programme team should continue to tighten their belts. Sensitization is one thing that can make us move from step one to step two to enable us keep the virus out of our world. Parents should do more to ensure that their children stay at home and follow the lessons on TV and radio, which is for now a temporary measure but it is very effective. Students should study at all times.
The signs and symptoms of Covid-19 should be known to all so that individuals can call 1025 when we realize symptoms. We should keep our hands as much as possible away from our faces and from surfaces. I call on to the municipalities and area councils to see that hand washing resources are available and to encourage their use. I was really discouraged when I found out that in most places the hand washing has stopped especially in the car parks. Border patrolling should be added on to the list of tasks. I hereby suggest that we provide the resources and we use other arms of the Security to guard and patrol our borders. There is a thin line between us and our neighbors and therefore what we need is a strong force to control our borders with sincerity, honesty and patriotism. Villagers especially hunters and farmers should report cases. I hereby appeal to all those in leadership positions in the Gambia to kindly endeavour at this point in time to lay more emphasis on the physical distancing, avoidance of gatherings, our borders’ security and on all the other messages of the Ministry of Health.
My fellow countrymen, let us listen to expert advice.
I was full of joy when Mr Alasan Senghore of the Red Cross was appointed to that important position. Senghore, more sensitization and let the word porous not be used anymore to describe our borders. Senghore save us!
I suggest to the Ministry of Health and philanthropists to distribute face masks to all Gambians and let the health authorities encourage the people on continuous hand-washing. Encourage every home and every institution to have a spot for hand washing and to also have sanitizers. Encourage temperature testing kits in institutions and homes.
I suggest to the people responsible for schools to start thinking about how schools are to start when the time comes. The students should continue working hard. I am sure we can rely on them in this crisis situation. They have never in the past disappointed us.
I suggest that teachers be provided buses to commute. They will also need raincoats and masks. Parents to provide for their children/wards raincoats/umbrellas, masks and sanitizers. All schools should endeavour to have covered litter bins and spots for hand washing.
The National Transport Corporation would need funding to ferry more students to schools and back. Schools that flood to be taken care of immediately, as well as the roads leading to the schools.
Again, I emphasise, Mr Senghore- those borders!
Momodou A Jengis a retired civil servant in Brusubi