by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Since the inception of the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria, Plateau State has recorded about 10,279 confirmed cases, 75 deaths and 21 persons on admission as of 23rd to 25th July, 2022.
“This indication shows that, the virus is still around us and there is the need for citizens to be vaccinated so that we can achieve herd immunity, while it is important that the citizens do not loose guard because of the relaxation of the COVID-19 protocols, which were in place, and meant to stop the spread of the virus.”
The Coordinator of CITAD MACATHUR Foundation, Mr. Friday Bako, disclosed this during a Media Parley in Jos with newsmen, when he also noted that, “The COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan China but later spread throughout the world (affecting 228 countries and territories) on account of its contagious nature – being a highly communicable disease – and the world has been battling to overcome and completely wipe it out as it brought about unimaginable global health challenge and adversely affected humanity.”
Mr. Bako added that, “This also affected economic, social, cultural, religious, educational and almost every aspect of human endeavors.”
He explained that, the global figures of the pandemic, as at Tuesday, 26th July, 2022, are as follows: total cases 576,590,997; total deaths stood at 6,406,003, recovery figure 546,531,513 and active cases of currently Infected Patients 23,653,481 out of which 23,612,044 (99.8%) are in mild condition and 41,437 (0.2%) are in serious or critical condition, while new deaths in France is 119 persons.
The coordinator revealed that, “Nigeria has recorded 260,764 cases, with 3,147 deaths so far and 4,025 active cases from 23rd to 25th July, 2022; 425 new confirmed cases were recorded in 14 States of Nigeria with Lagos State having as whopping 124 cases (29%).
According to him, the ongoing COVID-19 Vaccine Public Awareness Campaign by the Foundation is to execute a one-year project sponsored by CITAD/MacArthur Foundation to promote vaccine acceptance and access for marginalized groups in the Northern States of Nigeria with the core objectives to carry out public education on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 Vaccines to tackle vaccine-resistance and hesitancy, which in turn will increase the rate of vaccination in the State.
The Project is to monitor the deployment, distribution and use of vaccine, in order to promote accountability and transparency in the management of the vaccine working with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the state level counterparts, as well as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as well as other civil society actors working on health sector accountability.
Others are, to increase level of information about access points for getting vaccination working closely with the State Primary Health Agencies.
Mr Bako narrated that, “CITAD is a Nigerian Non-Governmental Organization with Office in Kano State with, Alh Yunusa Ya’u as Executive Director. MacArthur Foundation is an International Non-Governmental Organization with Headquarters in Chicago, United States, and supports creative people, effective institutions and influential networks building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. It also places emphasis on transparency, accountability, justice and respect for the rule of law in governance.
“The Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsive democracy, and has a 40-year Legacy of global social impact and it supports people and organizations working to address a variety of complex societal challenges.
“The Foundation understands the critical role being played by the Media, who are opinion molders, gatekeepers and source of accurate information as well as their ability to hold those in authority accountable.
“This necessitated this parley, as we have observed how fake news, conspiracy theories and other false claims not scientific-proven, have adversely affected the uptake of the COVID-19 Vaccines,” he noted
The Media, he said, “is the watchdog of the society, and are partners in progress, and engaging them will have a significant impact in the actualization of this project, he pointed out, while commending them for their relentless efforts in disseminating accurate information.
He assured to work with them to change the perception of the public about the COVID-19 Vaccines, which have gone through the rigorous processes and approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for both emergency and full use.
The coordinator was affirmative that, the COVID-19 Vaccines in circulation have been certified by the WHO, which is responsible for international public health, to be safe, efficacious, harmless and useful in eradicating the virus.
He also commended the efforts, synergy and the collaboration of World Health Experts, which worked round-the-clock to make sure vaccines are produced with the shortest time to tackle the virus.
He cautioned that, “It is important that the media rise up to its responsibility of feeding the public with accurate information about COVID-19 and the vaccines by dispelling fake news that have heightened hesitancy.”
Mr Bako further called on the general public to ensure they get their information, especially concerning the COVID-19 Vaccines, from reliable sources such as the WHO, NPHCDA, NCDC and other health professionals to avoid being misinformed.
He stated that the Foundation has far conducted two (2) town hall meetings, one each in Plateau North and Central Zone, while two are in the pipeline to be consummated soon.
“45 Radio Programmes where we continuously engage public health experts, especially those in vaccine production, and other critical stakeholders to increase awareness on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 Vaccines, drama play, aired 58 Jingles.
“We have produced banners and placed at strategic parts of the State – all in our effort to sensitize the public on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 Vaccines and the need to be vaccinated.
“We are committed to engaging the media, traditional rulers, religious leaders, CSOs, Youths/Women Groups, and other community-based organizations to drive this awareness campaign effectively, owing to how important they are,” he stated.