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COVID-19: Group educates Abuja villagers on good hygiene

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A coalition of civil society and non-profit organisations has called on the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to educate rural dwellers on Corona Virus pandemic.

Speaking through the Executive Director, Number Two Initiative for Healthy Environment, Fati E. Abubakar, the group expressed shock that some communities in Abuja still lived in ignorance of Covid-19 and measures necessary for containing it.

While calling on the federal government to step up measures for sensitization exercise, the group expressed the need to mobilize traditional rulers of various rural communities across the country.

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According to Abubakar, method of information dissemination should be given priority to ensure that the people are communicated in the language they understand.

“It is not just about NOA engaging in awareness creation exercise, the mode of passing information is also important.

“They should engage the traditional rulers in reaching out to people on what is happening and the kind of safety measures to adopt. This is because the traditional rulers are closer to the people”, Abubakar stated.

Three different organizations, including No Two Initiative for Healthy Environment, Team GMB & Co as well as Safety Awareness for Environment Support Initiative, had engaged health officials in educating the people of Aliata village and environs in the Federal Capital Territory on a four-hour sensitization exercise.

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Beyond informing them about the pandemic, the people were enlightened on measures necessary to contain it, and in the case of a possible suspect, the need to alert health officials.

They were also educated on personal hygiene, including the imperative of regular hand washing.

Meanwhile, items such as hand-washing liquids and other sanitary materials were distributed to the people.

According to Abubakar, the occasion was originally to celebrate this year’s World’s Water Day but the outbreak of Corona Virus necessitated extra measures.

She said: “We planned a rally to mark this year’s edition of World Water Day but with the ban on rallies across the nation, we decided on a roadshow to sensitize people on the imperative of washing their hands regularly and the need to maintain personal hygiene at this period of the nation’s history.

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As a grassroots intervention group, we are aware that the majority of rural dwellers do not have access to radio, television or the internet. Most of them are also not literate and as such, can neither read nor write while the majority of the communities lack access to potable water.

So, we felt that these people need to know about the pandemic and what to do at every point in time should it break out in Nigeria.

“It was surprising to discover that a lot of people in the communities we visited today have not heard of the virus.

“That is more reason this intervention is important. But beyond our effort, the government has to reach out to the people at this period.

“We are not just concerned about the need to reach out to them; we are also worried about the method of communication and information dissemination.

“They should engage traditional rulers across the country in reaching out to people on what is happening and the kind of safety measures to adopt”, the group held.

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