By Precious Ukeje and Uchechukwu Enem
Awka South Local Government Council, under the leadership of Mr. Leo Nwuba, Wednesday 26, has flagged off a campaign against the fast spreading twin pandemic,Lassa Fever and Corona Virus, report Precious Ukeje and Uchechukwu Enem.
This was even as they began moves against the practice of open defecation obtainable within the local government area and beyond.
Nwuba, who hosted heads of schools at the local government secretariat prior to the flagging off, for a sensitization programme in collaboration with the Environment and Sanitation Department of the local government, said it was necessary that they came together to be briefed on the surge of the twin viruses, so as to help carry the messages to their various schools where the pupils and students would be sensitized as well.
He also added that Awka South Local Government Council was at a strategic location where it attracted visitors from different places, noting that it kept the council as well as residents of the local government area at risk of exchanging handshakes and hugs with people who could be bearers of any of the viruses.
The local government boss who thanked God that no case of Corona Virus had been recorded anywhere close to Anambra State, urged everyone in attendance to take preventive measures against the viruses.
He however, regretted that the spate of their spread was dreadful, noting that the Corona Virus had reached Spain.
He hoped that through prayers to God for aversion of the diseases and strict adherence to regular washing of hands with soap and water, it would be difficult for the viruses to spread among people in Anambra State.
Similarly, in a lecture on preventive measure for Lassa Fever and Corona Virus, delivered by Sanitarian Isionu Augustine of the Environment and Sanitation Department, Lassa Fever was said to have been first diagnosed in a Nigerian town called Lassa in Borno State in two missionary nurses.
Augustine described it as a hemorrhagic fever that affects the flow of blood and could lead to permanent deafness, and added that while the method of transmission could be through direct contact with urine, feaces, saliva and blood of infected rats, the symptoms were high fever, sore throat, chest pain, general muscle pain, diarrhea and similar symptoms.
Advancing preventive measures for both Corona Virus and Lassa Fever, Augustine who did not say much about Corona Virus, said regular washing of hands with soap after every use or contact with anything was a first step.
The Sanitarian also added that one should cover his/her mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; avoid close contact with anyone coughing or sneezing; cook meat and eggs thoroughly; be wary of surfaces they touched; isolation and quarantining of suspected carriers.
In a bid to drive the message home, Theresa Egwuatu of the Environment and Sanitation Department did a demonstration distinguishing between proper and improper hand washing.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Mr Nwuba, while addressing the press, said that the motivation behind the sensitization as well as the campaign was the observation that the diseases were widely spreading.
‘We embarked on this sensitization because of the ravaging effects of Lassa Fever and Corona Virus. We want to take proactive steps and preventive measures in order to stall the incidents of similar issue like we have in parts of the world like China,’ Nwuba said.
He added that they had made provision of water containers and soaps across various flashpoints of the council secretariat and hoped that as the sensitization messages circulate, churches, schools and organized market places would adopt same approach to help combat the problems.
Nwuba who noted that the adage, “Prevention is better than cure” was a statement of wisdom, added that the population of Awka increases during the day and reduces to normal at the close of the day and was a leeway for exchange of body fluids and other elements which could easily lead to contracting the viruses.
Nwuba added that men of the Environment and Sanitation Department would go into action to make sure that anyone found in open defecation would be disciplined in the most appropriate manner.
Responding to further questions from the press, he said they also depended on the media as collaborative agencies to help push the message of the campaign against Corona Virus and Lassa Fever to places they would not be able to reach.
The event had a good number of teachers, heads of schools, environmentalists as well as other dignitaries in attendance.