A cross section of some participants at Total Healthy Living Awareness campaign for offshore communities held in Port Harcourt.
From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
An oil giant, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, TEPNG, has continued to sensitise its offshore host communities on healthy living.
Speaking at the 2020 Healthy Living Awareness campaign held yesterday in Port Harcourt, a programme organised by NNPC/TEPNG Joint Venture, for their host communities in Rivers and Akwa-Ibom states, Mr Obinna Ofoezie, Total’s General Manager, Community Affairs Project and Development, disclosed that the objective of the programme was to raise awareness on topical public health concerns.
Unveiling this year’s health talk theme as “Managing Infectious Diseases- Covid-19, HIV, Tuberculosis Awareness” Mr Ofoezie noted that over 570, 000 persons fall ill with tuberculosis disease in Nigeria each year.
He revealed that the recent statistics of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has confirmed over 70, 000 cases of Covid-19 infection with about 1000 death.
Represented by Mr Goodnews Mbonu, Head, Healthy Women and Youth Development of Community Affairs and Development, Ofoezie stated that the programme is part of Total’s Social Responsibility, to ensure the wellbeing of its host communities.
“It is against this backdrop and as a demonstration of our commitment to the comprehensive wellbeing of residents of our communities, that we have continued this Cooperate Social Responsibility Action on Public health education in order to draw attention to easily overlooked public health concerns and lifestyles that can drive our people of their wellness and confine them to sickbeds in hospital, sometimes with fatal consequences”, Ofoezie stressed.
In his presentation, Dr Eyo Ekpe, Associate Professor of Surgery/Chief Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, University of Uyo, stated that while the whole world is battling with the Covid disease, other dreaded diseases like HIV/AIDS Tuberculosis are been neglected.
He advised participants at the training to workout a good hygiene environment so that animals and reptile around the area will not transmit diseases to human habitants of the community.
Speaking on managing of infectious diseases, Dr Ekpe stressed the need for team work, calling for community engagement which he said will help in reducing the spread of the diseases and save people during an outbreak of any diseases.
Dr Ekpe said: “Our experience in the community is that some level of tradition and culture are still being practiced even when such are retrimental to signs in the prevention of Covid-19 disease.
“Right now we tell you that in the community people are still shaking hands, in the community people are still crowding in the burial even when government say they should not be more than 20 people in any funeral ceremony, people still fill and crowd and shake hands at such ceremonies.
“Again, at the community level do not still believe that Covid-19 exist, people think that it is propaganda, that people are using it to steal money, so those are the things and we are working hard to take the community to the level of believing that Covid-19 exist and preventive measures must be followed with constant enlightenment”.
Some of the participants that spoke with The AUTHORITY, lauded Total for the awareness, saying that the knowledge gathered will save them of future health crisis.
Egopataisi Ekeneokan, a native of Ebukuma in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, said “Personally, when I get back home I will sensitise my community people that Covid-19 exist and this is what Total has come to enlighten us. I wish Total will extend this training to the various host communities for this will save more lives who are languishing in ignorance”.
Also, Joyce Rogers, a native of Nkoro in Opobo/Nkoro LGA of Rivers State, expressed “The healthy awareness Total has created is good, now we know how to take care of our environment, our family and community, following the teaching on tuberculosis and its preventives.
“Before now I didn’t know tuberculosis is that highly contagious. I didn’t know one can be infected by staying very close to a infected person while he or she is caughing. I also understand the signs of Covid-19 and that HIV/AIDS do not have cure.
“I appreciate Total for this health awareness programme, they have been doing their best in enlightening the host Communities”, Joyce adde.