By Chioma Ndife
The general public in Anambra State has been urged to avoid the stigmatization of persons affected by the coronavirus and increase campaign geared at sensitizing the populace on precautionary measures against the spread of the virus.
Mrs. Ngozi Mbachi, a community leader, who made the appeal to women at Aboatulu kindred Women Meeting, Avomimi Village, Enugu-Ukwu, Anambra State, during its COVID-19 palliative distribution, noted that coronavirus was not a death sentence but a health situation.
She beckoned on the public to stop stigmatization of persons already affected by the virus as such act would derail the efforts to contain the spread in various communities across the state.
‘All we need to do at the moment is to observe all the precautionary measures given by WHO and medical experts. Stigmatization will make the people to hide close relatives with symptoms.
‘Nobody would like to live with the stigmatization associated with the coronavirus. The fear of being ill-treated will make people to hide information,’ she said.
Mbachi said that the people in rural areas were already aware of the dangers linked to the coronavirus, but sound enlightenment was required to drum the measures to the people.
Mbachi said that over 50 women from Enugwu-Ukwu in Njikoka Local Government Area, Anambra State, benefited from Aboatulu Women’s Union palliative programme.
She urged the beneficiaries of the COVID-19 palliatives to be prudent in management of the resources available to them to avoid running out of food stock while the pandemic lasted.
The women’s leader appealed to the Anambra State Government to tighten up security at borders in order to forestall the influx of people, as well as prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the state and douse the fear created by the movement of Amajari in the Southern and Eastern parts of the country.
She said that the union empowered ten women after skill training with funds to engage in small businesses like zobo drink, puff puff, chin-chin and buns production to ensure that their families were well cared for at the moment of hardship caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
‘No woman should fold her hands now but should try out their hands in lots of small business ventures and farming to make ends meet,’ she advised.
Mrs Nwabugwu Okafor, a centenarian, who benefited from the palliative, said it would cushion the effects of coronavirus lockdown being experienced in the community and expressed joy over the action.
Okafor commended the union executive for their service to humanity and urged them not to relent in being a good guide to the women of the kindred.
Mrs Elizabeth Okafor, aged 93, grand matron of the Aboatulu Women’s Union, urged the women to use the palliative wisely and ensure that they educated their children on the need to observe COVID-19 precautionary measures.
Okafor said that since there was no known cure for the virus, they would follow all directives given to them so as to stay alive and appeal to government to ensure that security operatives carried out their duties.
Mrs. Grace Anagor, Vice President of the union, revealed that the executive sourced over N500, 000 from their husbands and other public-spirited individuals to achieve the vision to cushion effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their members.
Mrs Patty Anagor, a member of the union, commended the union executive for the training and empowerment given to the women to sustain their families and assured that they would spread the message to others.
Mrs Uju Ekwoanya , the resource person who trained the women on soap making, bleach, zobo drink, buns and other snacks, urged them to ensure that the palliative was used for the purpose it was given.
Fides reports that the beneficiaries, including women entrepreneurs, the indigent and the aged, received cash gifts and bags of rice, while trained women were empowered.
Also that the women were equally educated on COVID-19 protocols, including hand washing, social distancing and use of face masks.