COVID-19: Group warns govt against neglect of rural populace
By Praise Necherem
The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) Anambra State Chapter, has called on government at all levels to provide timely support and services to the rural communities across the country that would prevent the spread of Corona Virus in Nigeria.
It said the rural areas with a considerable number of the country’s population should not be neglected in the various plans put in place to combat the pandemic.
In a statement signed by the chairman, Ulasi Joachin and Public Relation Officer, Mrs Okafor Jane, the body regretted that the most vulnerable group to be hit hardest were the urban poor living in informal settlements and slums in cities with high population density and absence of basic amenities including water and sanitation.
The statement partly read, “The Corona virus (Covid-19) in the last few weeks has become a global scourge, causing a tremendous internal concern. It has been a huge menace threatening the public health and safety of millions of individuals and has adversely affected the global economy.
“However, APBN by this statement is reminding the public of the importance of the government’s effort in social distancing and hand washing as a key preventive measure against Covid-19. Urban populations are particularly at risk of viral respiratory infections due to population density and more frequent public gatherings in crowded spaces like markets, public transport or places of worship.
“The Association notes that in situations of this nature, apart from the urban population in general, the most vulnerable group to be hit hardest are the urban poor living in informal settlements and slums in cities with high population density and absence of basic amenities such as water and sanitation. Therefore, these areas should be given adequate attention.
“The Association advocates that the rural areas which hold a considerable number of the country’s population (about 45%) should not be neglected in the various plans put in place to combat this pandemic.”
While acknowledging the absence of vaccines for the scourge which could lead to severe respiratory problems, kidney failure or death, the group enjoined residents to obey government order on social distancing, regular hand washing with soap and hand sanitizer, coughing into the bend of your elbow as well as staying at home.
The body also commended the Federal and State Governments on the proactive measures taken so far for the protection of lives against the deadly disease, as well as those working tirelessly to contain the spread.