From Felix Uka, Abakaliki
About 90 percent of people in Ebonyi state still doubt the existence of coronavirus, COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The Director General, National Orientation Agency, NOA, Dr. Emmanuel Abah said the doubts by the people was their major challenge in convincing the populace to observe the preventive measures against the COVID-19.
Abah in an interview with our Correspondent in his office yesterday explained that. the NOA was in collaboration with UNICEF engaged in stepping down training of residents of Ebonyi state on how best to forestall further spread of the virus and on issues concerning violence against women and children.
He however said that many of those who expressed reservations as to the reality of the coronavirus said that they suspect that some people were taking undue advantage of them.
He said that a number of the residents, including some in the rural areas demand for identity of those said to have been infected or died of the virus, not minding the rights of the patient to decide to make public his identity or not.
Abah said they were training stakeholders in various communities, including traditional rulers, youth leaders, the leaders of churches and other influential groups but noted that each session only had to be with not more than twenty persons because of the social distancing measure.
He said that most of them are interested in getting palliatives than observing the required measures, they complained that “hunger virus” is more deadly than COVID-19, especially on those who rely on daily earnings to survive.
“:The greatest challenge we are facing is that people feel that covid-19 is fake, that there is nothing like the disease. The doubt is much. If you go to the rural areas, out of 100% people we interact with, only about 10% believe that covid-19 is real. The people believe that it is a hoax, that it is what those in authority have manufactured to use and embezzle money.
“Because they don’t believe it is real, they don’t keep to precautionary measures; keeping social and physical distancing, staying at home etc. they see this as something to suppress the people and they asked us to prove who has died of the virus and that we should bring the corpse let them see or show us the names of those who have recovered. You say there is no vaccine, how were the people treated? All efforts to make them believe that they were not treated, they were just helped with oxygen vibrators until the thing fizzled out fell deaf ears and that is the greatest challenge we have.
“There is no herbal or orthodox medicine that can cure Covid. A lot rumours have gone about covid and social media have not helped matters. People in the communities are confused. So, we continued to engage in community dialogue with the people where we interface with them.
“The only solution to covid-19 is enlightenment, health education. Wash your hands with soap, don’t shake hands, don’t hug and when people are sweating, don’t go near them. Wear your face masks and it can only be used when you want to go out. After six hours, wash your face mask or use another one because once it is wet, it starts collecting micros again. We also made the communities to know that they should not go where people are gathered. We noticed that these communities we have enlightened were calling their own members who are in cities to start coming back and we dissuaded them because it was wrong”, he said.