CLIMATE and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) has gone into partnership with Voluntary Overseas Service (VSO), Nigeria, to engage more than 50 Community COVID-19 Champions/Volunteers on halting communal spread of coronavirus.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja on Monday, Project Officer, CSDevNet, Mr Pius Oko, said other partners on the project included SDGs Thursday, and the Nigeria Youth Engagement Network (NYEN).
Oko, who also heads the Youth Engagement Innovation Implementation Team on the VSO COVID-19 Response and Action, said the objective of the engagement was to end communal spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The Project Officer said VSO COVID-19 Response Small Grant Project pioneered the engagement and it is ongoing in Abuja, Kano and Adamawa states, with women making up 50 per cent of the volunteers.
Oko listed measures taken by the Federal Government since February 27 when the index case of COVID-19 was recorded in Nigeria, beside the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, restricting movement in the country and nationwide lockdown.
He said: “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) activated a National Emergency Operations Centre, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health to curtail the spread of the disease and protect the health of Nigerians.”
According to him, in spite of all the entreaties from government, development partners and civil society organizations (CSOs) on public and individual responsibilities, problems with perception and public behavioural pattern lingered, “and these problems needed to be tackled in order to discontinue community transmission.”
He disclosed that in April and May, CSDevNet and SDGs Thursday, through many intervention, supported more than 1,500 households and reached more than 3,000 others on COVID-19 response.
“We have done this through education, sensitisation, feed-a-family soft palliatives, and donation of personal protective equipment and hand washing facilities across the nation,” he said.
With the gradual easing of the lockdown, Oko said citizens should be ready to take more responsibility and adhere to all health protocols and preventive measures like no hand shaking or hugs, and inter-state travel restrictions, among others.
The Team Leader, SDGs Thursday, Mr Abeng Lucky, said that the VSO partnership with CSDevNet and SDGs Thursday, was to raise the interventions to reach 2,000 households in satellite towns and rural communities in a month.
Lucky, who is also Head, Youth Engagement Innovation Implementation Team, VSO COVID-19 Response and Action, said this would be achieved through Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP), survey on COVID-19.
He said: “We would also achieve this through identification and engagement of 50 community COVID-19 prevention champions on Advocacy, of which 50 per cent would be women.
“Training of 100 youths in production of basic PPE and distribution of over 2,000 face masks and hand sanitisers, made by trained youths and Street-to-Street public awareness group.
“Periodic sensitisation on COVID-19 prevention and adherence to recommended health protocols and safety hygiene, using indigenous language and online sensitisation and advocacy using various media platforms.”
The intervention, he said, would reduce the impact of COVID-19 and prevent communal transmission through capacity building training production of basic personal protective equipment for youths.
He added that sensitisation and advocacy programmes, using indigenous languages and local action in satellite towns and rural communities, would quickly help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.