Flags-Off COVID-19 Outreach In Delta Schools
By Ovie Okpare
The Delta State branch of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on Thursday assured Nigerians that the COVID-19 vaccine that recently arrived the country has been scientifically proven to be safe, effective and reliable for consumption by Nigerians.
NMA also dismissed misgivings by cynics about the vaccine, declaring that “It is not meant to harm anybody or indoctrinate anybody.”
Nigeria received 3.92 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India on Tuesday, March 2.
Delta State NMA Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Nwose, stated this during the flag-off of COVID-19 outreach for schools in Delta tagged ‘School COVID-19 Awareness Programme,’ at Unity School, Agbarho, Ughelli North LGA of the state.
Nwose, accompanied by other executive members of the Delta NMA including the state secretary, Dr. Innocent Okoacha, said the vaccination would help tame the spread of the pandemic in the country.
He stated that the school outreach is aimed at tackling the spread of the virus through propare enlightenment of pupils on COVID-19 prevention measures, handwashing techniques, demonstration of proper wearing of face mask and use of sanitizers at the school level.
The Delta NMA chair admonished Nigerians to discard whatever doubt they have about the Coronavirus vaccine and make themselves available for vaccination to stop the spread of the disease to enable socio-economic activities return to the country.
Dr. Nwose disclosed that Delta NMA has lost three top medical practitioners to the virus while several of its members had tested positive and recovered from the disease.
“COVID-19 has really impacted so much on the lives of doctors and health workers in the state, first of all, increasing workload, putting pressure on them. Because with the pandemic, a lot of people became sick, the facilities were stretched and manpower was also stretched. The lives of health workers were really put at risk.
“You know the health worker managed the patient directly, so by virtue of that many got infected. Some even died at the end of the day. As I’m speaking Delta NMA has lost three notable doctors in this state to this pandemic.
“That is why we are here today. Because the best way to control it is to go to the community. The school is one of the first community level. If the community does the needful, the pressure on the health workforce will be reduced.”
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Speaking on the arrival of the vaccine, he said, “We also want to tell the general public that with the arrival of the vaccines, whatever they are thinking of it, they shouldn’t fail to take the vaccines because taking it is one of the quickest ways we can come out of this pandemic. Whatever negative message they heard; they should endeavor to take the vaccine whenever it is made available to them.
“The vaccine was scientifically proven and tested. There is no ulterior motive about the vaccine. It was produced like any other drug that has been produced. Ethical principles were followed to the latter and nothing was compromised.
“The vaccine is safe, it is effective and it is reliable. It is not meant harm to anybody or indoctrinated anybody. The vaccine is for control of a disease called COVID-19 and that is what we are preaching. This is not the first vaccine, as we have for many other diseases.
“Whatever misgivings you have about this vaccine, it is for the betterment for human. It’s not for destruction of human.
“In Delta state, we have gone to the State Primary Health Care Development Agency and their facilities are prepared to receive the vaccine. So yes, we have verified that Delta State have the facility to receive the vaccine.”
Delivering lecture on COVID-19 prevention and protocols, chairman, Delta NMA Committee on Infectious Disease, Dr. Idaboh Okeydiachi, told teachers and pupils that coronavirus was preventable through adherence of the relevant protocols.
Okeydiachi, represented by secretary of the committee, Dr. Ilikannu Samuel, urged the staff and students to always wear their face mask as well as avoid crowded gathering to stop the spread of the virus in the state.
In her remark, acting principal of the school, Mrs. Enweliku Matilda, thanked the union for the choice of their school, promising that the school’s management will ensure that COVID-19 protocols are sustained.
Highlight of the programme was the demonstration of precautionary measures against the virus by NMA officials, as well as students of the school and donation of preventive items including customised face masks and sanitizers to the school by the NMA.