The Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria (PPSN) has expressed concern that poor adherence to safety measures is encouraging community transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic within the country.
The group also said there was the need for more action to be taken in enlightening and educating rural dwellers on strict observance of personal hygiene.
Its National President, Prof. Chinyere Ukaga, who addressed reporters in Owerri, the Imo State capital, lamented that many Nigerians were yet to understand that the need for regular hand washing with soap is to prevent transmission of COVID-19 through surface contact.
“When droplets from infected persons fall on surfaces such as table tops, chair arms, door knobs and others, the virus can remain viable in these droplets for a few days. When these surfaces come into contact with human hands, they can be picked up and transferred to either the nose or eyes or mouth when the person rubs his eyes or nose or puts the unwashed hands in the mouth. This is the main reason to wash hands frequently and why infected persons are quarantined or confined to an isolated place. This is also the reason individuals who have been in close contact with sick persons are sought out and quarantined,” she said.
Ukaga called on the NCDC to allow members of PPSN to contribute to the struggle against the pandemic, especially “as we have membership spread across the country.” She urged members of the society to create special awareness on the need to obey the Nigerian government on social distancing.
“COVID-19 is less deadly than SARS but is far more transmissible than SARS. Wherever you are, help the others to understand the urgent need to avoid any form of gatherings. Some local people still dismiss COVID–19 as a gimmick and blame the government for making things very difficult. When countries like Italy, Spain, and United States cannot contain the virus with their medical gadgets and modern technologies, and their people are dying in numbers on a daily basis, what will happen in Nigeria to Nigerians with poor medical facilities?” she said.
Despite that many communities do not have regular tap water, Ukaga advised the PPSN members to help the locals to construct ‘Veronica buckets’ or buckets with taps, which can be placed in each home so that anybody who comes into the house is made to wash their hands with soap and water on entry and on exit. While advising Nigerians to take in things that boost their immune system and avoid sugar, Ukaga equally urged them do seek medical attention when feeling sick and not to self-medicate.