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Covid 19: Group advocates intensive awareness in rural communities to curb spread

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A group, South-East Coronavirus Intervention Network (SCIN) has stressed the need for intensive awareness on coronavirus disease and prevention in rural areas to curb the spread.

The group told the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday that inadequate awareness campaign and advocacy had been a major challenge inhibiting the fight against the dreaded disease.

Coordinator of the group, Mr Meekam Mgbenwelu, said that concerned agencies and individuals must brace up to the challenge and ensure that a common goal was achieved.

Mgbemnwelu also advised governments at all levels to adopt transparent and proactive strategies to encourage efforts aimed at taming the scourge.

He noted that it was in an attempt to complement the existing efforts towards curtailing the COVID-19 spread that SCIN was formed by two technology organisations in the South East, NzukoLabs and LearnFactory.

He added that the group had toured over 20 communities in Imo, Abia and Enugu states, wherein they enlightened the people about the pandemic and its preventive measures.

According to him, most of the lapses we witnessed in the course of our visits to these communities across the South East states were as a result of inadequate awareness campaign and advocacy.

“Yes, most people are aware of this dreaded virus but many of them hold wrong impressions of it, while some are misinformed or being told lies about it.’’

“Till date, some people especially rural dwellers still regard COVID-19 as a scam or a ploy by government and political leaders to siphon our commonwealth,’’ he said.

He said apart from consistent enlightenment programmes or activities, we believe that people can be safe from this pandemic if efforts are collective, sincere and proactive.

While commending the government for its efforts so far, the group still advised that more attention and resources should be channeled to the sensitization and advocacy.

“No doubt, our community awareness outreaches, radio phone-in programmes, jingles among others are yielding tremendous results and we urge everyone to join hands with us to get our society free from this dreaded pandemic,’’ he said.

“With guidance from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as well as getting support from Ford Foundation, the SCIN team is working to extend this initiative throughout the South East states,’’ he said.

Edited By: Abigael Joshua/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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