By Omon-Julius Onabu
In a bid to arrest the rising cases of COVID-19 infection in the state, the Delta State Government in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has begun the process to strengthen measures to contain the spread at the different community levels.
In line with the initiative, the state government has commenced the training of over 100 selected women across the different local government areas of the state in the production of Liquid Soap and Alcohol-based Hand sanitisers.
Flagging-off the three-day training programme in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area yesterday, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Barry Gbe, said that “the Okowa administration is irrevocably committed to the fight against the COVID-19 scourge.”
Stressing the importance and relevance of the training, the commissioner, who was represented by his Special Assistant, Dr. Alexander Ighoro, said that the state government decided to embark on the training exercise in order to scale-up the production of the essential products, which has been in short supply since the outbreak of the global pandemic.
Gbe describiled the training programme as apt and timely, especially in the light of the prevailing health challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the training would help in curbing the growing community spread of the pandemic, cushion the associated economic hardship on the the citizens as well as increase the nutritional status of families and household as a result of the extra income derivable from the production of the items.
The commissioner said, “It is pertinent to mention that in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19 prevention guidelines and protocols, as reiterated by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), regular hand-washing with soap and running water, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers and social distancing, among others, remain key to efforts to combat the Coronavirus.
“Consequently, there has been a marked increase in the demand for soap and hand sanitisers. The increase in demand and limited local production has resulted in scarcity and increse in price, particularly in rural areas, thus this training is apt as it is targeted at increasing production to make these items available and easily accessible at the community level and at reduced prices.”
Earlier in her address of welcome at the event, the Director, Overseas Development Assistant (ODA), Ministry of Economic Planning/State UNICEF Programmes Director in the state, Lady Patience Ogbewe, said that the need to check the spread of the Coronavirus, particularly in the rural areas of the state, was what informed the collaboration between the Delta State Government and UNICEF in organising the training programme.
Mrs Ogbewe pointed out that the programmme cuts across the three senatorial districts of the state with Agbor, Warri and Ughelli as the choice centres for the training exercise.
Some of the trainees told THISDAY they were grateful to the state government for the training programme, noting that it was unwise to continue to doubt the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is a reality in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the 100 beneficiaries of the training have been empowered with starter-packs to commence their respective businesses.