By OKEKE JANE
The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), has called on relevant government agencies and corporate organizations, to assist in the fight against lassa fever as well as prevent coronavirus from gaining entrance into the country.
The General Secretary, NRCS, Abubakar Kehinde, who made the call on Thursday in Abuja during a briefing with Journalists, said that there was no better time to fight these diseases than now.
“We call relevant government agencies and corporate organizations to partner with the Nigerian Red Cross Society to assist in the fight against Lassa fever and prevention of coronavirus.
“There is no better time to rise to the needs of Nigerians than now as prevention is better than cure.
“The Nigerian Red Cross Society commends the media’s educative programs to create awareness.
“We however, ask the media to do more, partner with the Nigerian Red Cross Society at all levels to reach more people.
“Nigerian Red Cross Society reaffirms commitment to support the most vulnerable and alleviate human suffering.”
Earlier run, Kehinde raised the alarm that rate of infections this year is very high and that Nigeria may record more fatality if immediate action is not taken.
“The rate of infections this year is very alarming when compared to 2019, as at first week of February, 2020, a total of 1226 suspected cases, 365 confirmed cases and 47 deaths had been recorded.
“These were reported from 23 states across the country and in 74 local government areas. It is very obvious that if we don’t act fast more fatalities may be recorded this year.
“We have mobilised about 100, 000 staff and volunteers in all the affected states and neighbouring states who are currently carrying out mass mobilization to create awareness on the Lasser fever outbreak and hygiene promotion through mass media, in churches, mosques, schools, markets and communities and to conduct active surveillance, contact tracing and referral of persons showing case definition of Lassa fever to designated treatment centers,” he said.
The Secretary General also revealed that the NRCS has conducted plans to provide community based psycho-social support services to survivors and families of affected persons in order to reduce stigma and promote recovery, infection prevention and control and to put in place measures and mechanisms for vector control in the affected communities.
“Our branches have been holding Sensitization sessions in worship centers, schools and communities.
“The National Headquarters is mobilizing support to the branches on active surveillance and contact tracing.
“Door to door health education and epidemic control activities, community clean up and vector control activities,” he said.
He added that they have activated an internal funding mechanism (Disaster Response Emergency Fund- DREF) for the operation to support eight most affected states which include Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Kano, Bauchi, Taraba, Delta and Kogi.
He expressed optimism that coronavirus will not find its way into the country.
He however, said that they have placed on alert about one million volunteers across the country, while he encouraged all Nigerians to observe, prevention methods recommended by the Federal Ministry of Health.
He further pointed out that these prevention methods includes regular washing of hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Others are the regular use of sanitizer, avoidance of touching of the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, among others.