As the covid-19 pandemic continues to rise with over 3 million cases globally as well as over 200,000 deaths, there is an urgent need to shift attention and care towards a category of vulnerable people who are not being mentioned during this pandemic. This is the reason why a social advocacy organization, “The Educate Africa project (TEAP)”, with support from “The Pollination Project” (TPP) decided to launch a project titled “protecting the visually impaired and the physically challenged against covid-19.”
The project which was launched on Thursday, 30th of April, 2020 in Akure, Ondo state at the Centre for the visually impaired and physically challenged featured these categories of vulnerable people. Speaking at the event, Mr. Kunle Ajayi, the Program coordinator/Co-founder, said the need to protect the visually impaired and the physically challenged persons against the covid-19 pandemic is very critical particularly at this moment when globally all countries are seeking to flatten the curve. Mr. Ajayi, a Clinical Biochemist and Social Advocate further stated that, according to the World Health Organization, countries easing their lockdown measures also need to apply caution as a resurgence of this pandemic could be so deadly.
This is because there will be movement and if these category of vulnerable people are not aware and if there is possible contraction of the virus by them, being a part of the society, resurgence could be sparked which could cause millions of death all around the world. Hence the reason why the project was launched to teach and sensitize them on the preventive measures, symptoms and effects of covid-19.
In attendance were about 100 visually impaired and deaf persons. Following the rule of social and physical distancing, they were attended to in batches of 10 persons per time. The major highlights of the project were: Health Talk and COVID -19 pandemic awareness; the participants were taught about COVID -19 pandemic, how it can be contracted and how it is spread. They were equally taken through practical sessions of how to wash their hands, use of alcoholic based hand sanitizers as well as seek help in the Health Centre close to them for temperature check because normal temperature range between 35-36 degree Celsius. They were also taught on the symptoms of the COVID -19 as well as the phone numbers to call in case they notice anybody having the symptoms around them.
Finally they were told to wear nose mask as a way of protecting themselves and their loved ones, free temperature check, two brand new Infra-red contactless thermometers were donated to the Health Center close to them to be handled by the health professional who was present at the event.
Other items donated are; alcoholic based hand sanitizers, liquid soaps as well as food palliatives.
The participants who could not hide their joy expressed their gratitude to “The Educate Africa project (TEAP)”, as well as “The Pollination Project” (TPP), saying that they have not had any sensitization or campaign like this. Although they have received food palliatives from other well-meaning individuals, but they are so happy with the detailed health campaign given to them by TEAP. Few of them who spoke with our correspondent said they would appreciate more focus from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Federal Government as well as Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDCp. Mr. Alade Adefemi, a visually impaired person, said the preventive measures he has learnt today, he will ensure he takes it to his community. Mrs. Ogunbiyi Moradeke, one of the deaf persons, equally said that she didn’t know that the spread has gone this bad. She therefore called on other well-meaning individuals all around the world to emulate the kind gesture of Mr. Kunle Ajayi and provide more support to the physically challenged now and beyond the pandemic. Mrs. Esther Anuga said she will like to appreciate all the health workers who are on the front line saving lives globally. “The heart of all the physically challenged are with them, Anuga asserted.”