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COVID-19: The biggest threat to public health – NGO

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COVID-19: The biggest threat to public health – NGO

By Monday Ijeh

Dr Aminu Garba, coordinator of the Africa Health Budget Network, a non-governmental organization, said on Thursday that the coronavirus (COVID-19) posed the world’s biggest public health challenge.

Garba said this in a keynote address at a security summit hosted by the Crime Correspondents Association of Nigeria in Abuja.

The summit sponsored by the organization had a theme titled: “COVID-19, Addiction, Mental Health: Implications for National Security”.

Garba said the threat of COVID-19 to the world compromises education, social economic development, security and immigration, among others.

He said while the devastation caused by the pandemic in Africa is not as high as on other continents, it called for seriousness and collective support to curb the spread.

Garba said the only way to have an impact was to come up with strategies to prevent and combat crimes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is why civil society organizations will continue to engage with the media and the security apparatus to address security challenges.

“We urge the organizers of this program to come up with recommendations that can be used to strengthen security in the country when they are implemented.

“The objective is to help the media to develop actions and pleas to engage different security apparatuses to prevent and combat crimes,” he said.

Garba said the 2020 Mental Health Conference report showed that the COVID-19 epidemic had reduced the prevalence of mental health problems in Nigeria from 25% to 40%.

“The containment that has been associated with COVID-19 has created a lot of mental and psychological trauma for people, leading to domestic violence within the family, neighborhood and society.

“The pandemic has created a lot of economic depression around the world and an increase in drug addiction due to idleness,” he said.

In his remarks, Mr. Ameh Abba, founder of the Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative, said that the abuse of hard drugs was a predisposing factor for many crimes.

He attributed the growing rate of murders, armed robberies, arson, rapes, sects, kidnappings and acts of terrorism in the country to the increasing rate of drug abuse.

“While the use of hard drugs and other substances does not necessarily cause insecurity, it does make them violent and destructive.

“The problem of insecurity has been further compounded by the consumption of other illicit substances which induce the same effects as those of hard drugs,” he said.

Malam Hassan Zaggi, president of the Crime Correspondents Association of Nigeria, said the country’s security had been threatened by the COVID-19 epidemic and the increasing rate of drug addiction.

He said the summit should bring together stakeholders to think about ways to improve the effects of threats. (NAA)

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