By Emeka Nwokocha
Warri based nongovernmental organisation, Environmental and Rural Mediation Centre (ENVIRUMEDIC), made interesting headlines Monday 4 May 2020, as it distributed over 2000 quality facemasks in Warri, a bursting city and commercial nerve centre of Delta state, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The well coordinated facemasks distribution exercise was an outstanding feat by the nongovernmental organisation to promote social good and aid government’s efforts towards combating the deadly Coronavirus that is fast making a murderous incursion into the health and economy of Nigerians.
Speaking to journalists at the peak of the exercise, Chief Executive Officer of ENVIRUMEDIC, Chief Monday Itoghor, said the free distribution of facemasks to the populace was aimed at promoting the Delta State government’s directive on compulsory wearing of facemasks as a measure to combating the spread of the virus.
His words, “the distribution of facemasks to Deltans is coming on the heels of the government’s directives on compulsory wearing of facemasks across the state.
“Being a frontline nongovernmental organisation in the implementation of the E-WASH (Effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programme in Delta State, under the sponsorship of USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), ENVIRUMEDIC deems it imperative to complement the Delta State government’s effort at containing the spread of coronavirus in the state.”
He continued, “we have discovered that obeying the NCDC guidelines in sync with the WHO directives on how to curb the spread of the novel Covid-19, the devastating impart of the virus will be cautiously curtailed and safety of the populace will be guaranteed.
“Recall that the feat recorded by Taiwan in combating the virus through compulsory wearing of facemasks by its citizens cannot be overemphasized, and we hope to replicate that success in Delta State and Nigeria through our community service initiative.”
Noting the yawning gap in healthcare delivery in Nigeria, occasioned by the shambolic healthcare facilities worsened by endemic poverty across the country, Chief Itoghor, said the distribution of facemasks availed the populace the opportunity of having a facemask, even as he added that not every Nigerian can afford the cost of providing facemasks for himself and his dependants.
He continued, “concerned about the compelling need to protect the lives of Deltans from the scourge of coronavirus this auspicious time, we at ENVIRUMEDIC acknowledge the huge task the government of Delta State is battling to surmount. On that note, we have embarked on this exercise to support Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s proactive initiative to curbing the spread of the virus. This is what we are doing now by distributing 2000 quality facemasks to the residents of Warri, as we move from house to house, store to store including the markets to ensure everybody gets his or her own facemask.
“In addition to distribution of facemasks, we embarked on sensitization and advocacy campaigns to ensure the populace complies with the guidelines for curbing the spread of the virus, such as staying at home, social distacing, wearing of facemasks, washing of hands under a running water and using hand sanitizer where there is no water. We have made good effort to take this message to the grassroots with huge success recorded in recent times.
“Our advocacy campaign across the state has being impactful as our visit to police stations to enforce unabridged protection of the rights of the people during the lockdown is noteworthy. This became necessary following allegations of violations of human rights levelled against the law enforcement agents during the lockdown. We also visited local government Chairmen, and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), to express concern about the unjustified spike in prices of foodstuffs, transportation and other essential commodities despite the government’s reduction in the price of petrol to cushion the effects of hardship resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The large crowd of beneficiaries of the facemasks applauded ENVIRUMEDIC for the kind gesture.
It will be recalled that ENVIRUMEDIC plays a frontal role in fostering social and economic well-being of the society over the years, with a leading role in promoting good hygiene practices across Delta State through the USAID sponsored E-WASH programme.