By Ummul Idris
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control ((NCDC) on Thursday called for more sensitisation on the COVID-19 pandemic and regretted that many health workers, who should champion the campaign, were still doubting its existence.
“Health workers should create awareness on COVID-19, but many of them still doubt its existence. We must work hard to remove such doubt,” Dr Oladipo Ogunbode, Assistant Director, Department of Prevention Programmes and Knowledge Management of the NCDC, said in Abuja.
Ogunbode spoke at a conference to mark this year’s health week. The theme of the conference was “Disease outbreak in Nigeria, are we ready?”.
He said that it was “amazing and inexplicable” for medics to doubt the fact that the pandemic was a reality, and particularly regretted that many express such doubt openly.
“To handle the doubt, there is the need to increase the level of awareness on the virus.
“As health workers, there is no one of us that does not know at least one person that has not been confirmed COVID-19 positive,” the official pointed out.
He said that the perception about COVID-19 was still low and people were not adhering to the basic protocol of wearing facemasks.
The official called for increase in communication and the need to engage the media on the pandemic, urging front line health workers to be COVID-19 ambassadors by speaking the message and letting people know that the disease was around.
Dr Olaolu Aderinola, Head, Response Division, Department of Health Emergency, Preparedness and Response, also urged various partners involved in the COVID-19 fight to speak up.
“We have so many partners working with us to bring out this message on COVID-19. As NCDC, we are working very hard and things are going smoothly but our partners are the ones that will speak for us,’’ Aderinola said.
He, however, said that a survey conducted by the centre revealed that people still trusted health workers passing the message, and called on medical doctors to continue speaking up and living by example.
The expert observed that some patients who visit hospitals were often forced to wear facemasks, adding that some health workers were also not wearing facemasks appropriately
“You find patients shaking hands even in laboratory, but the message is for us to wear facemasks consistently and in doing this, we must ensure social distancing.
“Health workers must lead by example. NCDC has come up with a travel advice on our website; we need people to stay at home until it is very essential to travel,’’ Aderinola said.
He said that NCDC was expecting a different Christmas and New Year celebration this season.
“We expect a difference in the festivity because everyone will need to maintain physical distance, especially in crowded arenas,” he said.
Dr Roland Aigbovo. President, Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, said that news of the development of vaccine for COVID-19 was cheering.
Aigbovo advised doctors to continually observe precautionary measures to reduce the spread of the disease.