COVID 19: TEAM puts Smiles on Faces of the Vulnerable
By Danjuma Auta & Ralph Madugu
In its bid to curb the spread of Coronavirus in Plateau State, The ECWA AIDS Ministry (TEAM), with sponsorship from TEARFUND, has presented sanitizers, liquid soap and Personal Protective Equipment worth millions of naira to over 300 households in rural communities of Bassa LGA, Plateau State.
During the ceremony at Jebbu-Bassa, Coordinator of TEAM, Mr. Ezekiel Bala, disclosed that the gesture was part of ECWA’s contributions to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic aimed at complementing government’s efforts.
He added that the organization had undertaken a needs assessment and advocacy visits before the distribution and that the exercise was extended to Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths in dire need.
Said he: “Our team before now has done so much work with the help of TEARFUND Nigeria who are our sponsors and community leaders to identify beneficiaries who are the poorest of the poor irrespective of their religious belief which is culminating with the distribution of these items today.”
He noted that until all the vulnerable in the society were reached and declared safe, all other people were prone to contracting the disease and urged Nigerians to contribute in identifying and helping the poor.
Speaking on behalf of TEARFUND, Mr. Istifanus Gimba, expressed gratitude to God for the initiative and lauded TEAM for “being a wonderful partner.”
He disclosed that TEARFUND and TEAM planned to assist communities ravaged by attacks with some palliatives and appealed to the communities to imbibe the culture of peaceful coexistence.
Responding on behalf of the Muslim beneficiaries, Deputy Chief Imam of Jebbu-Bassa Central Mosque, Mohammed Audu, thanked the donors for the gesture which he said was coming at a time the people were in dire need of assistance to help guard against the spread of the coronavirus.
“Many of these villagers you see are too poor that they can hardly get one square meal per day not to talk of buying hand sanitizer or the liquid soap,” he remarked.
The Village Head of Asak, Rukuba Chiefdom, Utu Timothy Amanchi, expressed gratitude to TEAM and TEARFUND for choosing his community as a beneficiary, adding that this would remain indelible in their hearts.
The items were presented to widows, orphans and physically challenged persons, among others.
Speaking separately to this magazine, Mohammed Yahaya and Pastor Victor commended the donors for coming to the aid of the needy and praised them for the transparency demonstrated in the distribution process.
… Advocates Personal Hygiene, Supports IDPs
As the deadly COVID-19 pandemic dominates media space all over the world, the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bassa LGA of Plateau State has remained an issue of grave concern to those who have followed the trend of events in those violence-ravaged communities. These IDPs, mainly women and children, have been rendered homeless by incessant attacks by Fulani herdsmen and are currently taking shelter at various camps spread across the local government area.
At last, succour came their way, courtesy The ECWA AIDS Ministry (TEAM), when they were presented with personal care products and other sanitary items to assist them in maintaining personal hygiene, especially now that the world is battling with the Coronavirus pandemic which has lead to scarcities of these products.
According to experts, maintaining basic human health depends largely on proper hygiene, hence the need for promoting regular hand washing, especially in rural communities.
The items distributed were sponsored by TEARFUND, an international Christian relief and development agency that has been working in Nigeria since the early 70s providing support for some Christian organizations involved in development work.
According to Mr. Ezekiel Bala, TEAM Coordinator, the gesture is part of the Miango Internally Displaced Emergence Response Project being implemented by the organisation.
He added that the items were specifically meant for women of child- bearing age and households of most of the people displaced by herdsmen’s attacks currently taking shelter in camps.
Said he: “Because they are displaced due to attacks at a time the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the sanitary conditions of such IDP camps we saw the need to help the women of reproductive age to maintain good personal hygiene in these camps.”
He explained that the items comprised sanitary towels, hand sanitizers and hand washing liquid soap meant for 360 women and 36 households, adding that the sanitary towels were meant to last for three months.
Among the communities that benefitted were Kwall, Te’egbe, Ancha and Huke.
At Kwall, women taking shelter at the Kwall Youth Development hall were presented with sanitary towels. 31-year-old mother of 8, Sarah Stephen, told this magazine: “I have never used sanitary towel in my life. I have given birth to 8 children and you can see I am expecting another child. There is no need to lie about it.” She promised to make maximum use of the items and expressed gratitude to the donors.
At Te’egbe Village, a sensitization talk on maintaining good personal hygiene and healthy environment was presented, followed by a demonstration of the proper way to wash hands. A father of 4, Kpe Goh, who could not hide his joy for the hand sanitizer and other hand washing products he received, assured that his family would make adequate use of the products to protect themselves against the coronavirus disease.
Two hundred women and 20 households received the products at Huke and Ancha communities where chairman of the Huke elders expressed gratitude to the donor organizations for also including them among the beneficiaries.