The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with UNICEF, at the weekend, counseled communities on the need to embrace personal hygiene as a tool to fight the deadly Monkey Pox, which is on rampage.
This is even as the people of Obohia community in Aba South Local Government Area of Abia State were informed that malaria is the number one agent of low productivity.
Sensitising Uzuakoli women (about 400 in attendance) at Ekeukwu-Uzuakoli, Bende L.G.A of Abia State during Social Mobilisation and Technical Committee (SOMTEC), the resource person, Deaconess Alice Chukwuocha, said personal hygiene requires the cleaning of all parts of the body (face, hair, body, legs and hands).
She said clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children, pointing out that without these basic needs, the lives of millions of children are at risk.
She pointed out that malaria remains a major public health problem in Nigeria, revealing that thousands of children die of the disease each year, and many maternal mortality is caused by it.
She said: “It is estimated that about half the population of Nigeria adults suffer from at least one episode of malaria annually while children under five years have as many as three or four episodes every year”.
Chukwuocha, a retired State Director Nursing Services, said malaria can be prevented by simple cost-effective measures including consistent use of long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets by families and anti-malaria treatment for pregnant women.
Earlier in her remarks, the State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Uduma, emphasised the need for mothers to encourage Essential Family Practices (EFPs) in the community and be agents through which the sensitisation campaign will reach to individual homes.
She lamented that in some communities, parents shun immunising their children, thereby not only forming a serious clog in the wheel of the enlightenment campaign but also jeopardising the lives of their wards.
While commending Uzuakoli community for graduating from the practices of open defecation to the modern day method of defecation, she appealed to the communities to register their children in the National Population Commission (NPC) and ensure that their children passed through the immunisation processes
Other issues touched during the SOMTEC Meeting include malaria prevention, birth preparedness, immunisation, need for long lasting insecticidal nets, personal hygiene, dangers of drug abuse, proper child upbringing, ante natal services, open defecation, etc.
Interacting with newsmen respectively, Mrs. Agnes Chinedu Kanu, acting Secretary of Uzuakoli women and Mrs. Comfort Enwere, commending UNICEF/NOA for organising the meeting which they described a memorable one.
Mrs. Kanu further said that the meeting is very important and good for all women to be part of.
She lamented that many homes in Uzuakoli community do not have toilets and appealed to the government, philanthropists and organisations to come their aid, while promising to carry the sensitisation campaign to the community so that the EFPs will be evenly distributed in individual homes.
Mrs. Enwere promised to sensitise young pregnant and nursing mothers on the need to attend ante natal and post natal services, exclusive breastfeeding and immunisation, so that their children will enjoy good health.