By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
Voluntary Oversea Service (VSO), in partnership with the Nigeria Youth Engagement Network (NYEN) has trained 162 vulnerable women, persons living with disabilities and youths on production of face masks and hand sanitisers.
Mr Pius Oko, Project Team Lead , VSO NYEN, in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, stated that other partners in the project include Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) and SDGs Thursday driving the project as grantee.
Oko, who is also the Project Officer, CSDevNet, stated that the aim of the training that included the use and distribution of the sanitisers and facemasks was to help end communal spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
He said the training, which took place in Abuja and Kano state had 132 women and girls, four persons living with disabilities and 26 boys as beneficiaries.
“COVID-19 has affected over 216 countries, areas or territories, with an average case fatality ratio of over four per cent from January to June 2020.
“As the number of cases climbs, countries as well as Nigeria and its citizens need to enhance effort to try to curb the spread, discontinue community transmission and ‘flatten the curve’ to prevent health care systems from being overwhelmed,” Oko said.
Oko said masks could be used either for protection of healthy persons (worn to protect oneself when in contact with an infected individual) or for source control (worn by an infected individual to prevent onward transmission).
He, however, said the use of a mask alone was insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection or source control.
Mr Lucky Abeng, Team Lead, SDGs Thursday and VSO NYEN Abuja,was quoted as saying:
‘” Other recommended health protocols and safety measures should be adhered to by individual and at community level adopted to suppress transmission of respiratory viruses and current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whether or not face masks are used, compliance with hand washing hygiene, physical distancing and other infection prevention and control measures is critical to prevent human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.
Abeng said the purpose of the lead capacity building programme, face mask and hand sanitiser training, distribution and use in vulnerable communities in FCT, Kano and Adamawa state was to support efforts, tackle and prevent person-to-person transmission against the infection.
Ms Paschaline Eze, VSO Return Volunteer and NYEN member, said the initiative was pioneered by the VSO COVID-19 Response Small Grant Project.
Eze said all materials for the production of the fabric facemask were sourced locally, with NYEN volunteers mostly contributing immensely to train and boost the output in capacity building and production.
Mr Jamila Musa, representative from VSO NYEN Kano, was quoted as saying: “Soft loan and grant for fashion designers to produce at a subsidised rate are also major challenges confronting the further engagement, face mask use and up scaling this initiative to other communities.”
Goodness Oluchi Obijuru, VSO Return Volunteer and NYEN member, said the face masks should only be used by one person, adding that it should be washed frequently with hot water and were not available, wash with soap/detergent at room temperature water and handled carefully.
“So as not to contaminate other items, if the layers of fabrics look noticeably worn out, discard the mask properly into a waste bin,” he said.
A beneficiary in Abuja, Miss Shawulu Faith said the training was a motivation and eye opener to contribute her little quota to curbing the spread of the COVID- 19 virus in her community.
“I will try to seek funding in order to keep up the production and distribution minding the importance of face-mask now,” she added.