St. Bakhita Initiative, an NGO, commenced a three-day sensitisation programme on COVID-19 prevention for border community residents, religious leaders and other stakeholder in Sokoto State on Thursday.
Its Director, Rev. Fr. Emehel Lawrence, told newsmen at the event that no fewer than 5,000 persons were targeted for the programme, aimed at strengthening people’s ability to prevent the spread of the disease. He said that the choice of border community residents and religious leaders as participants was borne out of their strategic position, saying “these category of persons have contacts with different people on daily basis.”
The director said that residents of border towns were vulnerable, following the influx of people into their domains. He added that “we need to take the programme seriously to address the spread of the disease, which has entered its second stage. Similar programmes will also be organised for health workers and security agencies operating in border towns. ”Lawrence urged the media to sustain awareness creation on the need to prevent the spread of the disease. In his address, the District Head of Gagi, Alhaji Sani Umar-Jabbi, described the programme as a step in the right direction, adding that awareness was crucial in safeguarding the lives of the people.
He urged religious bodies in the state to support experts’ guidelines and directives toward tackling the spread of the Coronavirus. “The disease does not have regard for religion, race, ethnic or political backgrounds, its a big health challenge that requires our collective will to combat,” he noted. He commended the group for organising the programme and urged participants to positively utilise knowledge garnered in the process. Dr Bello Ali-Inname, a Public Health Expert in the Sokoto State Ministry of Health, expressed concern over the wrong perception being held about the disease. He said “the issue of wrong perception is a major challenge in the fight against the disease; we must realise that this ailment is real, and that it is here with us.” He explained that the ministry would continue to intensify efforts toward enforcing established prevention guidelines to protect the health of the people. Our correspondent reports that the three-day programme has “Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 is Our Collective Responsibility” as its theme, supported by GIZ and the African Union.