In a bid to stem the spread of Coronavirus disease, the Ogun State Government has taken sensitisation to faith-based organisations, with a call on religious leaders to join government in enlightening members of the public on the safest ways of preventing the virus in the State and country at large.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, in company of the Team Lead, African Region, World Health Organisation (WHO), Prof. Bola Olayinka has commenced advocacy visits to religious orgainsations towards collaborative steps in combating the spread of the virus in the country.
Speaking to a gathering of elders and Pastors at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, at the Redemption Camp, along Lagos-Ibadan Express Way, Dr. Coker noted that the global emergency posed by Covid-19 informed the need to sensitise religious leaders, who would in turn take the message to their various communities.
She revealed that the State government had set up two isolation centers, with competent professionals, while one of the facilities at Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH) was being upgraded into a bio-security and containment centre.
Coker explained that their mission was to be proactive by putting in place, necessary measures and educate the leadership of faith-based organisations on the best practice and safest preventive mechanism on the deadly Coronavirus scourge, assuring that the index case of the disease transferred from Ogun State to the Bio-Security laboratory in Lagos was responding to treatment, while the 39 quarantined individuals had not developed symptoms of the disease.
She stated further that the visit was to also spread the message of personal hygiene, such that will cascade to Local Governments and Wards, stressing that health educators have been deployed to the hinterlands to sensitize the rural dwellers.
“Considering your periodic engagements with high concentration of the Faithful and your roles as leaders in the communities, you could reach a lot of people than we can. So, we are craving your indulgence to help us spread the message and we pray that God will contain the deadly virus”, she noted.
Also speaking, Prof. Olayinka, said the visit to the religious center was part of the mission statement of the international body to support government of nations on people’s healthy living, protection of the vulnerable and particularly, spread disease prevention messages whenever the need arises.
“WHO is working with Ogun State Government to pass the message to the people on the safest way to protect oneself and others from contacting the deadly virus. Our visit to the Redemption Camp is to partner religious institutions on preventive strategies, especially among large concentration of Faithful in the Campground”, she added.
The WHO representative stated that the virus had infected no fewer than 90, 000 people from eleven countries of the world, with over 3, 000 death cases confirmed, maintaining that there was no cause for alarm, as WHO and the State government were in synergy to combat the spread of the disease.
She underscored the need for social distancing in the event of respiratory tract infection, urging that the habit of touching face and other parts of the body without washing hands should be discouraged.
‘’The need to keep spreading the message of personal hygiene at different levels is very important. Hence, we want to solicit your support in fighting this disease. The person who is coughing or sneezing is expected to use a mask, not the other way round, as it is being abused nowadays. It is ideal you use tissue paper when you blow your nose or cough and dispose it immediately,’’ she advised.
Responding, the Assistant General Overseer, Administration, Pastor Funso Odesola, thanked Ogun State Government for the gesture, promising that Pastors would sensitise the people in their various localities on personal hygiene.
Highlight of the visit was the presentation of packs of hand sanitisers to the Church by the Commissioner, who applied same on the hands of the Assistant General Overseer (Administration) of RCCG, Pastor Funso Odesola and National Overseer of the Church, Pastor Joseph Obayemi.
Meanwhile, the Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) on Covid-19 had conducted training for Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer (DSNO), as well as Monitoring and Evaluation Officers in the 20 Local Government Areas of the State, with a call on them to go to their various locations and effectively educate the people on the disease.