Covid-19: Continuous sensitisation, tool for reducing community transmission in FCT

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By Gami Tadanyigbe

The devastated effect of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in 2020, on humanity grounded every sphere of human endeavour internationally and locally, which include, education, economy and health among others.

Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the number of COVID-19 cases detected in the country recently indicates that a second wave of the outbreak has begun.

Mustapha stressed that the country was at risk of losing not only the gains from the hard work of the last 10 months but also the lives of citizens and hardship if not properly managed.

However, sensitisation campaign in some communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is not enough, hence, the need for continuous awareness at the grassroots through the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other stakeholders was paramount to reduce community transmission.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) observes that people were not adhering to the COVID-19 protocols imposed by the Federal Government, to help prevent spread of the virus.

During market days, burials and other social gatherings in some FCT communities, there is no adherence to Covid-19 protocols on wearing of face masks and physical distancing by the people.

While some residents in Gwagwalada, Kuje, Kwali and Abaji Area Councils in the FCT told NAN that they were not properly informed about COVID-19 pandemic in their localities, some said the virus was contacted only by rich people who travel abroad.

A visit to the ongoing National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), registration Centre in Gwagwalada, showed that most of the people were breaching the COVID-19 protocols imposed by the Federal Government, to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Large number of people were sighted without face masks, while many others were also not observing the physical distancing in the crowd and long queues.

Hosea Gata, an applicant at Gwagwalada NIMC Centre, said that, “The government should halt the mandatory NIN registration process at least till after the pandemic; or it should set up a digital platform.”

Some NIN applicants on a long queue at NIMC office in Gwagwalada

Silas Zakka, another applicant said government should create an app that would ease registration for people instead of going to NIMC office to register, adding that this would help reduce crowding and suffering of the people.

“They should try to create an app to register everyone without going to the NIMC office, so many Nigerians are using fingerprint phones and that could reduce the number of people rushing to register,” Zakka said.

Mr Abraham Gado, a resident of Kuchiyako community in Kuje, said the FCT Covid-19 Ministerial Monitoring Team, led by Mr Sunday Zaka as Kuje Coordinator, during the lockdown flagged-off sensitisation campaign at Kuje Area Council, and there has not been continuity after then.

The sensitization, which was flagged-off at the Chief’s Palace (The Gomo of Kuje) was aimed at educating the residents on preventive measures through frequent hand washing with soap and water and physical distancing.

However, he said the sensitisation was not carried to far-to-reach communities that had difficult terrain.

There is need for National Orientation Agency to carry out grassroots engagement in rural communities to raise awareness of Covid-19 to help prevent spread of the virus.

“The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, also needs to engage existing community volunteers and agents, to conduct house-to-house sensitisation on COVID-19 at community levels in the FCT,” he said.

Mr Michael Bwamba, a resident of Kwali Area Council, said religious leaders at the rural areas also need to sensitise their faithful to the preventive measures of COVID-19 to help curtail community transmission.

According to him, it is necessary for the residents to adhere strictly to the restriction directive and take precautionary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

“There is need for effective engagement of community health workers for an appropriate response to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.

“All hands must be on deck to contain and win the war against COVID-19 pandemic by maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene,” Bwamba advised.

Mrs Sarah Gimba, a medical practitioner in Abaji community, said with the rising cases of COVID-19 in the FCT, there was need for the government to send health workers to the rural areas, deploy rapid epidemic intelligence and scale up the use of mobile Apps for contact tracing.

“This will result in an effective and coordinated response to the ongoing outbreak, sustain routine health services especially at the community level, reduce morbidity and mortality, and preserve health indices in the health system.

The increasing community transmission of COVID-19 infections in FCT can be tied to inadequate sensitisation at the rural areas and paucity of testing capacity and overstretching of health resources,” she said. (NAN)

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