Corona Virus Outbreak in Nigeria: COVID-19 Sensitization in March 2020
Mid-March 2020 is a month no one will forget in a hurry in Nigeria. The month when everyone was mandated to stay at home as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic that was reported in the country. Less than a week later, it happened. A total lockdown was declared in Abuja and Lagos as a result of the number of affected persons. This meant no movement, unless it was absolutely crucial and a temporary interruption or shut down of all activities, including some activity from our ongoing project in Enugu State on preventing elder abuse in communities.
Elderly persons were and still are the most vulnerable and endangered population with the pandemic, therefore unnecessary contact with them is discouraged, in order to reduce their level of exposure to the virus. Fortunately, before the lockdown, on 20th March 2020, Dewdrop Foundation had organized an activity to sensitize the Seenagers (elderly persons) in the project communities, about the COVID-19 outbreak and preventive measures to adopt for their self-protection during this pandemic.
Welcoming the Seenagers and Community Mobilizers to the meeting, Mrs. Agatha Nnaji, Executive Director of Dewdrop Foundation, spoke about the pandemic which many were ignorant about, the need for each of them to understand the risks involved, the challenges they could face in their various communities, and advised them to communicate their needs to the Foundation so that we would know how best to support them. This may include involving the community leaders, key influencers and stakeholders to provide solutions to each challenge as much as possible.
The workshop included health talks and two focus group discussions with representatives of the Seenagers Associations, and members of the Community Mobilization team. They discussed their personal experiences with ageing and life-cycle issues, their communities’ culture and traditions towards the elderly, lack of adequate health care facilities, the various challenges they face, especially the younger generation’s attitude towards them. Their most pressing issues to included; cautioning youths who disrespect or steal from the elderly, sensitizing youths on the proper way to care for elders, and engaging the community leaders in ensuring that the livelihood of the beneficiaries (rights holders) are protected.
Mrs. Agatha Nnaji assured the Seenagers that the Foundation will state these issues in the project team’s next advocacy meetings with each community’s leadership.
Finally, the Foundation donated tap buckets with covers and other sanitary items to 11 leaders of the Seenagers Associations from the project communities.