By Regina Igwebuike

Agulu (Anaocha LGA), Dec. 25, 2020 (MOI) UNICEF in collaboration with Anambra State Government has concluded the sensitisation of community women on preventive measures against a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

The sensitisation also covered healthy hygiene practices in the state.

The exercise, which cut across three communities in each of the five Local Government Areas, had started on Dec. 7.

The UNICEF Desk Officer in the Anambra Information Ministry, Awka Mrs Chineze George-Ileka, said the second wave needed to be managed well this festive period to avoid community infection.

She noted that people would travel home from far and near to join their families for Christmas celebration, emphasising the need to adhere strictly to all the COVID-19 protocols.

According to her, the influx of people for the Yuletide celebrations can give rise to fresh cases, urging the women to be role models in the campaign against the spread of the virus in their respective communities.

The UNICEF desk officer listed most common symptoms of COVID-19 pandemic to include dry cough, difficulty in breathing, high fever and tiredness.

The lesser symptoms are aches, pain, sore throat, conjunctivitis, headache, diarrhoea, loss of sense of smell/taste and discolouration of fingers and the toes.

She emphasised the need to quarantine oneself on noticing any of the symptoms for the safety of the family members.

Mrs George-Ileka listed the COVID-19 preventive measures to include proper donning of face masks, sneezing inside bent elbows or inside disposable tissue papers, avoiding crowded places and observing physical distancing.

Other measures are regular hand washing with soap under running water, use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers where soap and water were unavailable and avoiding handshakes.

She expressed worries over people mainly from rural communities who were yet to believe that the virus was real, explaining that the second phase was a challenge that needed to be contained.

“If there is non-compliance to the protocols this period, it can lead to the second phase of COVID-19 lockdown as has been obtainable in some states and countries.’’

Mrs George-Ileka emphasised the need for pregnant mothers to access healthcare facilities for antenatal care, instead of patronising Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) or quacks.

She urged nursing mothers to breastfeed their children properly, noting that the decline in breastfeeding is likely to lead to higher rates of malnutrition and deaths among under-fives resulting from diseases such as diarrhea.

She also advised them to immunise their children promptly as this could help to check preventable diseases.

State Director National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Charles Nwoji enjoined all to adopt behavioural change, putting into practice all that were taught them.

“Adopt behavioural change communication, avoid crowds but if you must attend any gathering, you must attend prepared.’’

Dr Rose Amasiani, Anambra State Hygiene and Sanitation Officer urged women to have functional latrines for proper feaces disposal to avoid open defecation, noting that 90 per cent of our sickness was due to unhealthy hygiene practices.

“Some of you are not sufficiently aware that by defecating on the surfaces, you are contaminating the water and creating serious health risks.’’

She informed women that the Federal Government had declared a State of Emergency on Anambra in Open Defecation, warning all to desist from it or face the full weight of the law if caught.

Dr Amasiani urged women as agents of change to support in this clean Anambra campaign, mobilising others to imbibe the culture of cleanliness and good personal hygiene.

Mr Promise Ezewuzie, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Orumba South LGA enjoined nursing mothers to wash their hands properly, observing every hygienic situation when breastfeeding their babies.

He said that without achieving ODF and quality water, our lives would be jeopardised, calling for government sustainability.

President-General Oraukwu Town, Mr Cyril Ejidike said the second phase of COVID-19 is deadlier than the first, calling all to comply with the protocols even as he prayed to God to end the pandemic.

Mrs Cecilia Eresimadu thanked the Anambra Government and the team for the enlightenment.

She said that their group sewed 633 pieces of face masks to support the Isulo community in containing the virus.

Other women leaders promised to step up and to collaborate with UNICEF and the state government’s vital work to save lives of children and to protect health. Communities also visited are Amanuke, Isulo, Adazi Ani, Adazi Enu, Nawfija, Ihite, Oraukwu and Agulu. (MOI)

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