COVID-19: UNICEF/NOA collaborate on sensitisation of Ebonyi residents

By Felix Uka Abakaliki

The UNICEF, Enugu Field Office, in collaboration with National Orientation Agency, NOA have engaged on step down training of residents of Ebonyi state on best measures to avoid further spread of Coronavirus in the state.

They also engaged the populace on issues bordering on violence against women, children, and birth registration.

Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Mr. Victor Atuchukwu explained that the exercise followed a recent one-day orientation and capacity building meeting for the NOA, Community Orientation and Mobilisation Officers in the state.

They met with traditional rulers in each of the selected communities
to inform them of the planned implementation of the integrated interpersonal communication (IPC) sessions on child protection through house-to-house visits in their communities, as well as seek their support to identify 6 community volunteers (Man, Woman, Male Youth, Female Youth and Town criers-2) per community that will support the implementation of the activity.

They identified selection of the community volunteers, the COMOs conducted step-down training for the selected community volunteers across the communities, focusing on providing them with the basic information that they will share during the household visits and interactions – on COVID-19, ending violence against children, women & girls, and birth registration.

The Director, NOA, in Ebonyi state, Dr. Emmanuel Abah in an interview with our Correspondents 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 forstall further spread of the virus and on issues concerning violence against women and children.

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.

“We explained to them that 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.

“But you know the danger is that not more than 20 persons attend our programmes and in the same programme, we maintain social and physical distance. So, it is these 20 persons that we actually train to be able to carry the thing down to the people and the training we offer is that hot drinks does not cure covid, salt does not cure it, garlic does not cure it, turmeric does not cure it. Hot water with pepper soup does not cure it. The issue of use of disinfectant is very wrong. Many people have taken detol and other disinfectant and they are no suffering and who sell these things? It is people who are half educated; patent medicine dealers. Some take chloroquine thinking that it cures covid-19.

“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.

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