Eritrea and the battle against COVID19!

Throughout history, obligations to science have brought answers for many difficult questions. Famous scientists like Albert Einstein, Galileo Galilee, Aristotle, Isaac Newton and others had contributed for the establishment of a world of facts over a vestiges of the world of misconceptions, which is still a positive derive for humanity to renovate.

Similarly, paying tribute to sets of beliefs in scientific inquiry, an online meeting was mobilized by UNESCO on 30 March of this year. Attended by the representatives of science ministries from 112 countries, the meeting created an opportunity that all attendees could possibly share their concerns on views related to why and how to invest in science in a milieu of COVID-19 invasion. During the COVID-19 crisis, for the first time in history all countries underwent an identical experience and no war in the past produced so practically reminiscent of social impact across all borders that triggered identical reactions. Respectively, such an occasion sent some novel message regarding a developing trend. This is, as the COVID-19 crises encountered the world, countries are greatly tempted towards science and its statistical indicators- the only way forward.

Scientific inquiry fills how and in what terms the immutable segregation of kinetic or non-kinetic component influences human life. Kinetic components include studying all spectrums ranging from all chemical options (space weapons, nuclear, biological, chemical options); to microscopic ingredients that facilitates our day to day activities while non-kinetic spectrums covers  the behavioral element of human interactions.

Thus, human being unexceptionally needs science in order to survive.  Furthermore, science creates wars and so do end wars. Some of the farfetched scientific activity of today is due to the lessons learnt in war; say in medicine for instance, war might stimulate a killer virus to get applied against an enemy as a direct consequence of hostilities. But, as we all accepts, the creator of the virus world cannot contemplate war with any complacency, considering it would surely wipe out all that has been achieved over the centuries and might even endanger the survival of the creator by itself. Therefore, a scientist needed to be as creative as enough to identify the problem and so do the solution all together.

Science always works through combination but not separation. To this end, thanks to its critical curiosity, the world has been swiftly transforming in all aspects. Likewise, as a saying states ‘Gold is not important, good soldiers are, because good soldiers will find gold, not the contrary’ , a creative and devoted scientist is the best asset a country might ever posses in relation to its whatever resources. Notably, during this testing times of the COVID19 invasion nothing will ever contribute like what scientific approach do, in the medical and economical battle encountered humanity. Contemporarily, we all witness a sense of disruptive mood due to a shift of our old routines.

A sense of felling guilty of many things still dominates our passions all the way round. Feeling guilty of not on the front lines to safe humanity, feeling guilty of not being helping enough, and above all, feeling guilty of not being a member of physicians, nurses, assistants, technicians, orderlies, administrators, volunteers, drivers, porters who are fighting at front lines to eliminate the virus dominates the feeling. Guilt is a wired-in emotion brings to mind when we believe we have done nothing.

Similarly, with all seeing how to fight a scientific battle, it reminds that what it costs to fight conventional warfare is literally convincing. In conventional warfare you contribute, you survive. But, in the context of scientific battle, this is a myth. So, the battle is solely belongs to knowledge and research.

Conversely, a moment like this also offers an opportunity to endorse better paths. Once we hear news reports that tell 21 doctors from Philippines or more than 1000 health physicians from 64 countries have died from Pandemic infections while curing patients, this is a platitude that reminds us that humanity is facing a new version of war. Despite a conventional war, which still remains as demanding or as dangerous as ever, a new version of warfare exploits our emptiness on operational and tactical spectrums. Thus, this means that an assemblage of a scientific army will determine everything. With no virologists and epidemiologists for instance, can move a single step in refuting dangerous swamps like the current pandemic for instance?

Under those circumstances, Eritrean government during the past two decades invested substantial amount of capital in health sector to make a health care as an indispensable social right. To put it differently, the country’s initial success in the battle against the pandemic is as a result of its past investments. First thing to remember, since the first report of COVID-19 pandemic in Eritrea on 21 March 2020,  until the end of May, the number of people that tested positive for Covid-19 stood at thirty-nine. By now, Eritrea has become the third African country after Mauritania and Mauritius to record highest per cent patient recovery from the deadly disease. Further, to maintain the flattened curve, random testing to scale the spread of Covid-19 in the country in a comprehensive and more reliable manner is underway starting from May 18, which is an essential for the full review of the situation. Of course, this pandemic is  too surprising and troubling to be deeply understood at present, when we are still under the immediate impact of fluctuating emotions. But, what it has been achieved neither by the super-doctor, nor the supreme problem-solvers but by simple devotees is still inspiring.

Therefore, from horizontal and vertical point of view, this is frenetic background that demonstrates the presence an energetic scientific community within Eritrea. From now on, scientific warfare will rule contemporary battleships and the pursuit of objectivity will be determined by what scientific tools provides. Accepting this, Eritrean president in his key note to address the nation during May 24 congregating speech underlined that the careful consideration of the role of science in policy matters.

According to president Issayas’s key notes, upgrading qualitatively and expand spatially our research institutions and laboratories; strengthening the Health Services in terms of their organizational structure, outreach, and equipment; developing effective and professional human capital above and beyond other factors; upgrading our capabilities in the manufacturing of drugs, medical equipment, and facilities; fostering and enhancing technical cooperation with various foreign institutions and experts will be Eritrea’s core objectives in the upcoming times. Accordingly, those notes pay special attention that the greatest approach to deal with contemporary social questions is greatly influenced by science boom, which a progressive societies precipitate change in all its forms.

Amanuel Zekarias

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