The European Union and the United Nations (EU-UN) Spotlight Initiative, in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), have distributed no fewer than 60 tap-fitted branded buckets, liquid soaps, hand sanitizers to some communities in Ebonyi.
Prof Ngozi Obichukwu, Director, Ebonyi Women Initiative For Acceleration (EBOWOIFA), said during the event yesterday in Abakaliki that the initiative was aimed at fighting the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic.
Obichukwu, also a partner, said that the branded buckets would be used to provide running water and would be used by the locals to fight COVID-19 through regular handwashing with soap under running water.
She explained that the items which were locally produced would be stationed at strategic places in the benefitting communities and accessed by members of the communities.
She added that the initiative would improve personal hygiene of the people and contain the spread of the COVID-19 infections in the state.
She said that the essence of donating the materials was to ensure compliance by the grassroots with the handwashing rules and other preventive protocol introduced by relevant authorities aimed curtailing spread of COVID-19.
She explained that the items would be distributed and installed in markets, places of worship, palaces of traditional rulers among other strategic places in the state.
“The buckets which will be used to provide running water are going to be placed in churches, mosques, markets, palaces of traditional rulers, village squares and other strategic places so that our people can easily access them and wash their hands regularly.
“This EU-UN initiative is to reduce the effect of the pandemic and ensure that people wash their hands properly and as often as possible .
“We will also monitor the installations to ensure the items are put to use as directed,” Obichukwu said.
Mr Benedict Essong, UNFPA representive in Ebonyi, on his part, said that the initiative was to ensure that the society was free of COVID-19 spread.
“On behalf of EU-UN and UNFPA, we are proud to partner with the state government through EBOWOIFA.
“While we fight gender-based violence, we should be free from COVID-19 pandemic,” Essong said.
Mr Rex Eze, the General Manager (GM), Unity FM Abakaliki, charged traditional rulers, town union and religious leaders to re-orietate the people on the virus and the need to take the preventive measures, seriously.
The GM encouraged the beneficiaries to ensure the buckets and other items were put to proper use.
“I commend the EU-UN initiative and the various programmes it partners the state government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presentation of the materials donated by EU-UN and UNFPA
“We must ensure that the message against the virus is taken to the grassroots and we all must learn how to stay alive by adopting preventive and precautionary measures while the pandemic last.
Mr Uchenna Oji, the commissioner for Information and State Orientation, assured that the ministry would provide a platform for continuous dissemination of informations to curb the pandemic.
Orji was represented by Mr Ken Uhuo, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary.
Mrs Chinwe Okah, the Commissioner for Market Development and Management, expressed in a goodwill message, expressed satisfaction with the collaboration between the EU-UN and the state government.
Okah said that installation of the wash items at strategic points of Margaret Umahi International market, would go along way to prevent spread of the virus.
“This initiative is a welcome development, especially to markets places where people are crowded.
“I commend the EU-UN, other partners and state government for this initiative and we will continue to enlighten our people on the importance of regular handwashing and other safety measures ,” Okah said.
Dr Sorochi Otu, Head of Medical Department, Social Works and resource person, recommended that all preventive measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, should be a continuous practice beyond the trend.
Otu educated the stakeholders on the importance of wearing face masks, handwashing, using hand sanitizers among others.
“People should adopt these practices and make it a life style,” Otu said.
Mr Sunday Opoke, the General Manager, Ebonyi Rural Water Sanitation Agency (EBRUWASA) and a facilitator, said that effective and regular handwashing remained one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the dreaded novel Coronavirus.
Meanwhile, traditional rulers, town union and communities leaders, who attended the event pledged their commitments to continue to sensitize their subjects and people at the grassroots.