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Thursday, March 23, 2023

COVID-19: Groups train women, PWDs, youths on facemask, hand sanitiser production

Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in partnership with Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) and SDGs Thursday through the VSO – Nigeria National Youth Engagement Network (NYEN) have embarked on the training of 162 vulnerable women, families, persons living with​ disabilities (PWDs) and youths on production​ of facemasks and hand sanitisers.

Facemask Production Training
Women and girls during the facemask training session in Dukpa Community in Gwagwalada, Abuja

Mr. Pius Oko, VSO NYEN Team Lead for the project and also Project Officer, CSDevNet, who ​disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, July 6, 2020, stated that the aim of the training that included the use and distribution of the sanitisers and facemasks was to help end communal spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

He said the training, which took place in Abuja and Kano states, had 132 women and girls, four persons living with disabilities and 26 boys as beneficiaries.

“COVID-19 has affected over 216 countries, areas or territories, with an average case fatality ratio of over four per cent from January to June 2020.

“As the number of cases climbs, countries as well as Nigeria and its​ citizens need to enhance effort and advocacy to try to curb the spread, discontinue community transmission and ‘flatten the curve’ to prevent health care systems from being overwhelmed,” Oko said.

Oko said masks could be used either for protection of healthy persons (worn to protect oneself when in contact with an infected individual) or for source control (worn by an infected individual to prevent onward transmission).

He, however, said the use of a mask alone was insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection or source control.

Mr. Lucky Abeng, VSO NYEN Team Lead and deputy coordinator, SDGs Thursday, ​was quoted as saying: “Other recommended health protocols and safety measures should be adhered to by individual and at community level adopted to suppress transmission of respiratory viruses and current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whether or not face masks are used, compliance with hand washing hygiene, physical distancing and other infection prevention and control measures is critical to prevent human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.”

Abeng said the purpose of the lead capacity building programme, face mask and hand sanitiser training, distribution and use in vulnerable communities in FCT, Kano and Adamawa states is to support efforts, tackle and prevent person-to-person transmission against the infection.

Ms Paschaline Eze, VSO Return Volunteer and NYEN member, said the initiative was pioneered by the VSO COVID-19 Response Small Grant Project.

Eze said all materials to produce the fabric facemask were sourced locally, with NYEN volunteers mostly contributing immensely to train and boost the output in capacity building and production.

Mr Jamila Musa, representative from VSO NYEN Kano, was quoted as saying: “Soft loan and grant for fashion designers to produce at a subsidised rate are also major challenges confronting the further engagement, face mask use and up scaling this initiative to other communities.”

Goodness Oluchi Obijuru, VSO Return Volunteer and NYEN member, said the face masks should only be used by one person, adding that it should be washed frequently with hot water or washed with soap/detergent at room temperature water and handled carefully.

“So as not to contaminate other items, if the layers of fabrics look noticeably worn out, discard the mask properly into a waste bin,” he said.

A beneficiary in Abuja, Miss Shawulu Faith, described the training as a motivation and eye opener to contribute her little quota to curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in her community.

“I will try to seek funding in order to keep up the production and distribution minding the importance of face-mask now,” she added.

Ms. Hauwa G. Suleiman, a trainee on hand sanitiser from Kano, exclaimed in Hausa language “Lallai ashe haka akeyin sanitiser’’, meaning, “So this is how they produce hand sanitiser?” She enjoined everyone to make regular use of it to prevent COVID-19 spread.

Mr. Oko concluded that all must take responsibility to “stay safe, our live matter”!

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