By: Simon Ushie.
It’s Over 18 months after the first case of Covid-19 was recorded with millions of deaths already accounted for, even at that, many still consider one of the world’s most deadly pandemic a hoax, with it’s vaccination even considered a conspiracy.
These challenges have drawn wide arguments among the traditional Community, religious and social classes with strong resistance on the mandatory observance of laid down preventive protocols and even worst to say, the acceptance of vaccines.
In this light, the Cross River State Government through the state Primary Healthcare Development Agency recently partnered with United Purpose Nigeria to train Community leaders, Community influencers and social mobilizers in the three Senatorial districts on the need to step up enlightenment campaigns in their various Communities on the effects of Covid-19.
Speaking in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State at the flag off ceremony, Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Janet Ekpenyong expressed her satisfaction with what she described as “high level Community engagements” where traditional leaders have spear headed the campaign.
Dr Ekpenyong noted that, as custodians of local laws and strong influencers in their various Communities, their partnership with government in minimizing the spread of the virus has yeilded huge results, a collaboration which saw Cross River recording one of the least cases of Covid-19 during the peak of the pandemic.
She urged them to adopt same strategies in order to get their people vaccinated especially as the nation is set to commence another phase of Covid-19 Vaccination targeted at the aged and those with underlying health challenges.
She said all through the history of pandemics, vaccination has proven to be the most trusted remedy to check mortality, hence the need for Cross Riverians to make themselves available to be vaccinated.
The Director General also called on health workers who have not been vaccinated to quickly take the vaccine to protect themselves, while also charging them to continue to engage with stakeholders especially traditional rulers to help dispel all false information about the vaccines.
Representative of United Purpose Nigeria, Mr Ibiye Wibe who facilitated the training section, emphasized the need for Community leaders to prioritize the fight against Covid-19.
He noted that with deaths and sources of livelihood being affected as a result of Covid-19, the need to maintain safety Protocols and build resistance against the disease cannot be over emphasized , therefore it is essential to embrace vaccines. He
also admonished health workers to intensify mobilization and sensitization at the grassroots to help bridge the vaccination gap.
One of the benefiting Community Leader, Chief Ofem Ubi, thanked the state Government and United Purpose for raising awareness on Covid-19 using key stakeholders to disseminate information to other members of the public.
He promised to ensure that, messages on the safety, efficacy and relaibility of the vaccines are shared among various interest Groups in order to kill doubts and misinformation abut the vaccine.
The training was held across the three Senatorial districts with Ogoja hosting the Northern District while Calabar Municipal hosted participants from the southern Senatorial District.