It is true that we have slightly passed the stage of panic and danger of misinformation regarding the current Covid19 pandemic. Our national curve however, is yet to peak. When we reach total lockdown, perhaps only suppliers of essential goods will be exempted.

The above situation provides a positive outlook and opportunity for preparedness, both financially, administratively, socially, and psychologically. Unfortunately, the same has been abused by selfish and rogue individuals.

Ultimately, the lockdowns are meant to allow the governments to build capacity for tackling the disease. It means that there should be a coordinated assessment and balance between level of lockdown desired economically and the prerequisite expansion of medical facilities. This means that regions with good medical facilities can afford a lighter and shorter level of lockdown than those with poor or none.

Likewise, when time comes for lifting the lockdown restrictions, similar considerations will come into play. Regions which would have built better facilities and created spare capacity would be able to lift the restrictions faster because they can deal with the impact of the disease upon reopening. 

The speed of reopening, however, will depend on a delicate balance between level of new infections and the available medical treatment capacity, to avoid the level of crisis, long averted by flattening the disease infection curve.

For the case of our rural populace, massive testing is the best investment to make. That way, the level of the disease presence and level of immunity or recovery in the population would be known, allowing for setting up informed control measures.

In terms of food security, the government should play a major role. This is largely because the cost of subsistence supply is very high and cannot be met by the private inputs. 

The provision of seeds is also a good approach in this planting season, especially the faster maturing and disease resistant food crops. This way, the individuals will only be subsidized in food supply as opposed to total food support.

Lastly, the government’s approach for direct cash distribution to vulnerable families is a welcome approach. However, the beneficiaries should be known to avoid duplication by private or local government inputs, even though these latter entities should also participate in a coordinated fashion.

Brothers and sisters, this is the time to show love and share ideas that will add value to the management of the crisis. Together we can create synergy for success in the fight of the invisible foe, especially as we near the peak of the crisis. Until then, let us carry out positive disease prevention campaigns and build capacity in the key areas and if it is possible, constituency funds for on-going general infrastructure projects could be redirected to water supply, sanitation and health projects or at least more impactful causes.

Eng. Reuben J Onunga, PE

Team Leader and CEO

Rarieda Professionals Trust (RPT)

Harnessing the power of professionals for fiscal development for posterity.