By Anita Ekpenyong
The National Orientation Agency (NOA), Cross River State in conjunction with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), European Union and Communication For Development (C4D) team have carried out an awareness Campaign on COVID–19 containment and key Household Practices (KHHPs) to boost child survival and maternal health care in Cross River State.
The Acting Director NOA, Cross River State, Mr Amissine Ogban who, led the Communication For Development team during the Campaign, remarked that it had become necessary for the excercise to be carried out and observed that “COVID-19 is here in the State, people need to observe NCDC Protocols on COVID-19 in order to stay safe and continue to remain healthy.”
Mr. Ogban said people should practice regular handwashing with soap under running water or use alcohol based hand sanitizer, use face mask, maintain social distancing, avoid hand shake and cough into sleeve when necessary to avoid spreading or contracting the Virus.
He called on youths to desist from cultism, stay off alcohol, take advantage of Freedom of Information Act by exposing negative practices such as rape, violence against the girl child and women by reporting offenders to the police so as to make the society fit for all.
Speaking in Ogoja during the campaign, the Paramount Ruler of Ogoja, Ntol Akpogor Adom 3, thanked the Federal and State Government, UNICEF and other partners for their contributions to ensure healthcare needs of the people is given needed attention inspite of the attendant fears associated with COVID-19 and tensions in the nation.
At Uwanse in Calabar South, the Muri and Clan Head of Efut Uwanse Clan, Ward 12, Calabar South LGA, His Royal Highness, Muri Francis Nsa Bassey the fourth, lamented the problem caused during ENDSARS saga in the area explaining that, the people of the area are very peaceful and are ready to welcome any programme that will create awareness that would be beneficial to them.
Also Speaking at Esierebom, Calabar South, Chief Bassey Ekeng Efiom Ewa Nsa, appealed to the State Government to create an opportunity to help the people of the area who are educationally backward that the people are peace lovers and are ready to support government to move the area and the state forward.
In her message, the State Social Mobilization Officer, Mrs. Nsa Ekpenyong, encouraged pregnant women to register in any health facility nearer to them for ante natal care services which includes; test, health talks, vaccination, HIV testing and counselling. She advised nursing mothers to ensure their babies are breastfed exclusively for six months without water, babies are given complete immunization to be free
from childhood killer diseases, mothers and babies sleep inside insecticide treated mosquito nets to prevent them from having malaria which most often accounts to deaths of mothers and children in Nigeria.
She warned them against patronising Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) that do not have expertise in handling challenging cases except the trained health personnel at health facilities.
The SOMTEC Program Officer, Ministry of Information and Orientation, Mrs Anita Ekpenyong, urged women to be involved in the essential family practices, explaining that Health is Wealth, and therefore, Maternal and Child Health needed to be given priority in order to reduce deaths associated with pregnancy and infant mortalities.
Also contributing, the Hygiene Officer, Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Agnes Ugor, called on people to stop the practice of open defecation. She said that when people faeces are outside, flies will perch on them, later on infect food and causes diarrhoea which if not properly treated, could cause deaths, urging
every compound to build toilet and put it into use and stop contaminating the environment.
The UNICEF Program Officer, NOA Cross River, Julie Atialekong, informed that the motorized campaign among other things was to reduce the risk of community transmission, create the required awareness on prevention and control of COVID-19 and increase participation in ante natal care and routine immunization which are necessary for improved health.
The Campaign in Calabar South and in Ogoja local government areas had interactive session with community leaders/ stakeholders, face to face interactions and airing of public statements by traditional rulers of the two areas.