PERL fortifies Nigerian journalists with COVID-19 info, says no connection between 5G and the pandemic

…warns against using sanitizer below 60% alcohol

…says ashes can be used to wash hands

The Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), yesterday held a Question and Answer Session with Media Professionals on COVID-19 across Nigeria on Zoom meeting through which they were engaged in about three hours teleconference on COVID-19 response with a health expert.

The PERL Resource Person, Dr. Ifeanyi McWilliams Nsofor told participants that there was no clear connection between Coronavirus spread and 5G network.

According to him, it is misleading to believe that Coronavirus cannot survive in a hot weather as being insinuated by some Nigerians, asking if Lagos state and the Federal Capital Territory, are not hot.

The medical expert noted that Nigeria won’t be able to fight COVID-19 without the religious leaders, saying the country was too deep in religion, hence, the need for government to provide these leaders with right information about the pandemic.

Analysing the Coronavirus data in Nigeria with the participants, the resource person noted that out of the 1000 people interviewed in a poll, 84% were aware of the pandemic, but 40% claimed to be a child of God and cannot be infected, while some claimed to have stronger gene.

According to Dr. Nsofor, men had the higher number of both the confirmed cases and death rates compared to women, reason yet to be ascertained.

He described Coronavirus as a droplet infection which spread through cough or sneezes from person to person, and therefore warned that any sanitizer with less than 60% alcohol won’t be active to disinfect hands surfaces.

He explained that the essence of advocating hands washing under tap water was just to avoid washing in a bowl, noting that in the absence of running tap, one can help another to pour water on his/her hands, and the process must take 20 seconds.

For those in the rural areas who might not have access to disinfectant, the PERL health expert prescribed the use of ashes to wash hands.

He disclosed the global scale of COVID-19 to include 1,447,454 cases, with 83,401 deaths and 309,145 recovered cases, adding that 21.9% were above 80 years old.

Analysing the impact of COVID-19 on global, national and local economies, Nsofor called on the Federal Government to release more money to NCDC, and advised state government to start budgeting for epidemic.

He advocated provision of support for the physically challenged, especially the visually impaired for palliative in this period of time.

He also called for investment in community health workers so that those in the rural areas can have access to adequate information and healthcare services.

On the positive impact of the pandemic, the resource person noted that it helps mothers with more time to breastfeed their babies, and allow partners’ support for household chores.

On the contrary, he noted that the COVID-19 experience could cause cases of mental challenges, domestic violence, malnutrition, poor maternal care, among others.

He, therefore warned against INFODEMIC and enjoined all social media users to desist from forwarding unverified informations about Coronavirus, quoting the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom’s comment, who said, “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic”

Earlier, while introducing the session to the participants, the PERL’s Media Engagement Adviser, Hadiza Abdul Abubakar noted that the purpose of the meeting was to facilitate linkage to experts to enable Media professionals ask critical questions and get access to real time information on COVID-19 pandemic.

She noted that, in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, raising public awareness remains critical as a means of communicating information on necessary measures to reduce/prevent the spread of the virus which are still not being adhered to by many especially in semi-urban and rural areas due to certain beliefs and misconceptions, reason, PERL resolved to provide journalists with adequate information to spread to the public.

Story by Mary Agidi, agidimaria@gmail.com

Published by Wonderlady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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