UNICEF through National Orientation Agency (NOA) has commenced sensitisation of the public on COVID-19 pandemic and its preventive measures.This is to help to reduce high mortality rates in the state and the country at large.The programme, which commenced on July 13, in all the 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the state, would be rounded off on July 17.
It was being conducted by a team, made up of community mobilisation officers, health educators and monitors for each of the LGAs.UNICEF Desk Officer, Ministry of Information and Public Enlightenment, Mrs Chineze George-Ileka had recently in a meeting enjoined the community mobilisation officers to ensure thorough coverage of the communities as well as adequate sensitisation of the people.She noted that some people believed that Coronavirus was not real, while some feared going to hospitals when they have health challenges.Teach them that Coronavirus is real and deadly.
It has no vaccine yet and they should access Primary Healthcare Centres and other healthcare facilities to avoid worsening their conditions or death,” she admonished.Meanwhile, at Aguata LGA, the team plied through the communities in an Outside Broadcast Van (OB van), educating people at village squares, joints and markets on the symptoms and preventive measures of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mrs Ifeoma Umeh, Community mobilisation officer, NOA, Aguata urged the people to always observe COVID-19 guidelines, which included use of face masks to avoid picking of droplets from other people.Others are regular hand washing with soap under running water for at least 20 seconds as well as use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers when water and soap were not available.They were also told to always avoid crowds, observe physical distancing and practice hygiene.
Mrs Umeh listed early symptoms of the disease to include headache, high fever, sore throat, weakness and dry cough, urging the people to always go to healthcare facilities whenever they notice the symptoms.High Chief Ignatius Iloh, Water Chairman and Former President-General, Oraeri thanked UNICEF and NOA for the programme describing it as well coordinated.Mrs Grace Obika, Principal, Christ the King College, Igboukwu said the sensitisation was very essential as it would help to reduce fear and death rate.I will always encourage people to go to hospitals when they are sick.’’
The communities visited and sensitised so far in Aguata include Umuona, Oraeri, Ikenga, Igboukwu, Umuchu, Uga, Akpo and Achina, while Nkpologwu and Aguluezechukwu would be reached by Jan. 17 Similarly, Mr Obi Okeke, a Community Mobilisation Officer, Ogbaru LGA emphasised that easing of lockdown did not mean end of the pandemic.
He stressed the need for people to keep to Government’s and health authorities’ guidelines on COVID-19 as that would help to contain the spread of the disease.
Mrs Fidelia Chidozie, Health Educator, Ogbaru urged the people to help sensitise their friends and neighbours on the symptoms and preventive guidelines for Coronavirus, stressing that prevention of a disease was better than its cure.
Mrs Uju Ugochukwu, trader at Eke Okoti Market, Odekpe, noted that before now, she hardly believed that Coronavirus existed, but was now convinced.Another trader at Odorobber Market, Iyiowa, Mrs Susana Iwunna said she hated the disease as it has caused untold hardships for parents.She assured that she would always comply with COVID-19 guidelines as well as inform her friends, relations and neighbours to do so in order to help prevent the spread of the disease.
Mr Titus Edioke, a butcher at Eke Idemili thanked the team, promising to enlighten his friends and neighbours that COVID-19 was not a death sentence but rather that early treatment would help to prevent death.He prayed God to end the pandemic so that things would normalise.Areas covered so far in Ogbaru are Osomala, Ogbakuba, Ochuche, Umunankwo, Iyiowa, Eke Okoti, Eke Idemili and Odorobber markets in Odekpe.Others are markets in Okpoko including Obodo Ukwu Road, Ogbo Rod, Relief, Ogbo Afele, Ogbo Plastic and Owerri Road, while Atani, Imiyi, Akili Ozuzor and Ohiga would be sensitised by Jan 17.