By Bennett Oghifo
The Coalition Against Covid19 (CA-COVID), the umbrella body of organised private sector operators, supporting Nigerian government’s efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, has called for sustained individual commitment in the effort at curbing the Community transmission of the pandemic
The Coalition made the call during the flag-off of the second phase of its grassroots awareness campaign in Lagos. The second phase of the campaign was also simultaneously flagged off in Ogun, Bayelsa and River State, hotbeds of the infectious disease in the country.
CACOVID leaders explained that the Grassroots Awareness Campaign is aimed at forestalling further spread of the viral disease to suburbs and other rural and semi-urban communities, especially through community transmission.
This is in addition to efforts to further promote individual responsibility to stay safe through the practice of protocols prescribed by the World Health Organisation(WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
CA-COVID said it has put structures in place to distribute palliatives to about 1.7million vulnerable households across the 774 local government areas of the nation simultaneously with the grassroots campaign.
Speaking on the flag-off of the campaign, Zouera Youssoufou, the Chief Executive Officer of the Aliko Dangote Foundation and administrator of CA-COVID, explained that despite the successes of the first phase of the grassroots awareness campaign, there is need to further reinforce the message as people have become complacent and are no longer taking stringent preventive measures against the spread of the pandemic.
Zouera Youssoufou said: “There is still work to be done as the Covid-19 disease is real. When you go to different neighbourhoods, even here in Lagos, people have let down their guards as they no longer wear their masks properly and this could erode previous gains if not immediately addressed. We are therefore challenged to further embark on this grassroots awareness campaign to sustain and directly engage people in the rural and semi-urban communities on the basic safety protocols by encouragingthe use of face masks and frequent washing of hands with soap and water.”
Elaborating on the distribution of palliatives, Zouera Youssoufou added that it is being done in conjunction with the states. The palliatives will be handed over as donations to all the state governments while CA-COVID will have a monitoring and evaluation team to ensure that the distribution gets down to the individual families.
Also speaking at the event, Tony Chiejina, the Group Head, Branding, and Corporate Communication, Dangote Group said the second phase of the campaign will move from just awareness and sensitization to communication for attitudinal changewhich CA-COVID is championing in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
Chiejina said: “People should know that they have to take their safety seriously, as the survival of the nation is in the hands of everybody. It is not a matter of going to an isolation centre. Individuals must take the responsibility to protect their selves, their families and friends as well as colleagues at the workplace.”
He noted further that this phase of the campaign will strengthen the efforts of the government in the fight against community spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria through inter-personal and sustained enlightenment campaign.
The first phase of the campaign had seen CACOVID campaigners storming major markets and motor parks across the country enlightening the people on their safety and distributing nose masks to the people free.
Since its inauguration earlier this year, CACOVID in partnership with the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) the UN System and the World Health Organisation (WHO), has been in the forefront of uniting the organised private sector to execute initiatives aimed at combating community spread of the global pandemic in Nigeria.
CA-COVID has so far provided testing supplies, and isolation and treatment centres, in Lagos (500 beds), Kano (500 beds), Rivers (210 beds), Abuja (200 beds), Enugu (200 beds) and 100 beds in all the other States of the Federation. The centres are fully equipped with medical supplies and trained personnel to cater to affected persons.