Few Months ago, there was panic and terror in Nigeria, Lagos to be precise. The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) had struck and no one was safe. Hand sanitizers that were hitherto abandoned on supermarket shelves, sold out faster than anyone could imagine, Suya stands were deserted because we were told to stay away from certain kinds of meat, suya included, and people made conscious efforts to wash and sanitize their hands often. On the other hand, those that believed in bitter kola, salt and water therapy, and ewedu, indulged to their hearts content.
Handshakes and hugs reduced to a minimum, even in churches! Lagosians became civilized, frighteningly so that even at Oshodi and other rowdy bus stops, people formed queues to get into buses, and all the rushing, pushing and shoving became history.
Thanks to God and to the valiant effort of the Lagos state government, the disease was contained and mercifully the death toll wasn’t alarming. Gradually, things have returned to their status quo. The hand sanitizers that were suddenly so scarce and expensive have slowly returned to their places on the shelf. The Mai Suyas are smiling to the bank because their booths have been restored to their former glory and slowly but surely, people have gone back to washing their hands less and less.
Though it took the scourge of Ebola to remind humanity of basic hygiene, we should know that Ebola or not, washing our hands is key. Especially before and after meals, after using the restroom and whenever necessary. Keep your surroundings clean as can be, wash fruits thoroughly before consumption and avoid unnecessary body contact.
Nigeria is free from fresh cases of EVD, but other African countries are not and people are dying by the numbers. Husbands have lost wives, children have lost parents, and families have been decimated. Let us remember them in our prayers.
Cleanliness is not next to godliness, It is part of it!