Reporter : UGONNA AGU
The Nigerian Red Cross Society Imo State branch has called on communities in the state to alert it of any suspected COVID-19 case in their localities. The Chairman of the group, Prince Chidi Keke made the call at the end of a two day national training on risk communication and community engagement on COVID-19.
Prince Keke said that the training was aimed grooming volunteers to trace persons with the virus, sensitize the communities on the dangers of the virus and how to report issues relating to the pandemic.
He implored the volunteers to take the training seriously and to transfer the knowledge acquired to the communities to create huge impact and achieve the desired result.
“This workshop was packaged by the National body with the intention of training our volunteers to be able to trace missing persons and to communicate, report on issues relating to covid and emergencies,” Mr. Keke stated.
Earlier, the National Health and Care adviser of the society, Dr. Ahamefula Alozie, decried that people still lived in the denial of the virus and urged the participants to ensure they sensitized the populace to the benefits of adhering to COVID-19 protocol.
Dr. Alozie pointed out that the novel coronavirus disease could be spread through tiny droplets of saliva that fell on a surface and could be active for more than nine hours in a cold weather condition.
The health Coordinator Nigerian Red Cross Society in Imo State, Mr. Ekene Ahaneku, noted that the community engagement programme would be centred on three axis in the state, including Owerri Municipal, Obowo/Ihitte Uboma and Ohaji Egbema/Oguta.
He said the program which would last for six months would also involve sharing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in form of palliative to the communities.
“We take these volunteers overview of COVID-19 response operations. Taking them on epidemic control for volunteers. We give them key messages and frequently asked questions on coronavirus.
“We go on to introduce them to risk communication and community engagement to them as a course, so that they will understand what they are going to the field to do. We’ve already organized a lot of group work for them to handle local rumours and stigma,” Mr. Ahaneku explained.
The training had over sixty participants drawn from various divisions of Red Cross Society in Imo State and the facilitators were health officers from the state and the National Director of Human Resources and Support Services, Nigerian Red Cross Society.