By Chukwudi Nwauba

Awka, Dec.18, 2020 (MOI) Anambra State Government through the Ministry of Health  organised a training for religious heads on preventive measures against a second wave of Coronavirus in the state.

The training held in Awka had in attendance Catholic and Anglican clerics, reverend Sisters, Pastors and Imams

It was aimed at equipping them with necessary knowledge to ensure the protection of their members against the pandemic.

Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala commended them for the roles they played and their collaboration during the first outbreak in the state.

He said that it was important to engage religious leaders in tackling the pandemic.

“It will help to ensure that the people are protected during this time that the second wave is affecting many countries of the world.

“The second wave is a challenge, which needs to be managed very well and we do not want to lose any Anambra citizen again.’’

He emphasised the need for the public to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols in Churches and Mosques while maintaining that COVID-19 pandemic was real, urging clergymen to spread the information gathered to their members.

“We are engaging religious leaders on risk mitigation and communication against the second wave.

“They will help us to spread the message on the things we need to do to curb the spread.

“People should be doers and not hearers alone because COVID-19 pandemic is real.

“We need to maintain social distancing, hand washing and sanitising and wearing of nose masks; if we do this, we can beat the virus.’’

The commissioner applauded the State Government for its support to the health sector of the state and for having the interest of people of the state at heart.

Health Educator, Mrs Uju Onwuegbuzinem, urged religious heads to mobilise their members to get tested and receive necessary treatment if possible, adding that COVID-19 was not a death sentence.

“Some people don’t believe COVID-19 is real. We need to get it right by wearing a face mask, observing social distancing.

“We need to contain the pandemic, we want clergymen to mobilise their members to get tested.’’

A participant from Catholic Diocese of Awka and a Health Coordinator, Rev. Fr. Felix Efobi said that the training was a good development.

Fr. Efobi assured that he would teach Catholic faithful all the knowledge he received so that they could be taking proper measures to stop the spread.

He called for more support to missions and faith-based organisations so as to help to reach out to people at the grassroots.

“Government should establish testing and sample collection centres at faith based hospitals because the majority of our people like going to mission hospitals rather than state owned hospitals.

“The participants were trained by officials from NCDC and health officers in the ministry on the following; how to find and share correct Health advisories as provided by NCDC, State ministry of Health and Security Agencies. “To encourage members to support the government in the response and build their capacity to effectively mobilise members for COVID-19 testing.’’ (MOI)

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