By Abujah Racheal
Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 said it was working with partners to implement comprehensive engagement response to the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The Coordinator of PTF on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, disclosed this at its briefing on Thursday in Abuja.
Aliyu said in the course of this implementation, PTF had come across a lot disbelief, apathy and fatigue which had led to issues and challenges with compliance and behaviour change among Nigerians.
“We recognise that behaviour change takes time and if we are to implement a multi-prong strategy, particularly working with risk communication and community engagement pillar, we should be able to address some of these challenges.
“In the area of risk communication, we continue to communicate messages and the reasoning behind the non-pharmaceutical interventions.
“For instance, why do you need to wear a mask? How do you wear a mask properly?
”Why are we targeting the elderly and vulnerable when it comes to prevention programmes?
”The importance of targeting youths and also providing information on the symptoms of COVID-19 and where to go and get tested,” he said.
The Coordinator said that PTF have started publishing testing locations in all states and their phone numbers to ease access to test.
He said PTF was doing a lot of mobilisation in the area of community engagement, sensitisation and awareness and grassroots mobilisation as it refers to citizen action.
Aliyu said the community mobilisation in high burden local government areas was being done through its partners and state health promotion offices.
He said it was to encourage the use of face masks in a variety of social situations including motor parks, markets, using motorised campaigns, advocacy with community traditional and religious leaders.
“You may have also observed that there’s a lot of campaign going on the social media and TV stations with sharing the experience of COVID-19 survivors willing to share their stories with us and we are grateful for their consent to do so,” he said.
Aliyu said that it was really important that Nigerians dispel the disbelief on COVID-19.
According to him, those that will help do this are those who survive the virus because they know it was real.
Aliyu said PTF has continued to engage closely with states in the area of state alignment and implementation of engagement strategy.
He said that states are involved with activities that were critical for sustainability and impact and this included enforcement of protocols using mobile codes and fines among others,” he said.
Aliyu, however, said PTF would continue to work with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Governors Forum, State actors and partners to execute a coordinated and extensive response.
He urged Nigerians to be vigilant, safe, cautious and to just know that COVID-19 was still very much around and they needed to keep safe.