Debunking myths on COVID-19: United Purpose conducts sensitization tour in Nigeria


By Olajide Adelana

ABUJA, Nigeria - United Purpose (UP), the executing agency of WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund programme in Nigeria, completed a two-day sensitization tour in April to debunk myths and correct misconceptions about COVID-19 in communities in the states of Cross River and Benue.

The initiative was carried out to put an end to the spate of wrong information about the coronavirus pandemic among the populace.

“Our teams went out to educate people in their neighborhoods, and there was a sense of appreciation from the public, especially those who are uninformed about the very infectious virus,” says UP Programme Manager, Nanpet Chuktu.

“It is believed that this event will help in addressing the belief in some quarters that coronavirus is not real,” he said.

The awareness sessions held in Cross River were convened on April 9, in collaboration with the state’s Primary Health Care Development Agency and the Ministry of Information and Tourism. The Benue sessions, which took place on April 10, were convened in collaboration with the state’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (BERWASSA).

Mr Chuktu commended the two state governments for taking the lead and creating the enabling environment that led to the partnership.

“The governments of Cross River and Benue have done very well for partnering with us to achieve our aim of reaching the grassroots,” he emphasized.

According to the Communications Officer of United Purpose (UP), Boluwatito Awe, in Cross River, no fewer than 40 trained health care professionals joined the UP team during the event while, in Benue, the Ministry of Information and Tourism and BERWASSA mobilized its officials, equipment, and a number of civil society organizations (CSOs).

During the event, common myths about coronavirus were debunked and information was provided on how to curb coronavirus and other preventable diseases through the practice of hand hygiene.

In Benue, the UP team was divided into ten groups with each group visiting 10 clusters covering the state capital, Markurdi. Each group had a vehicle equipped with a sound system, playing State-approved jingles on COVID-19 to create awareness, says Shadrack Guusu, a UP technical officer in Benue.

“They also went with hand washing stations, stopped at junctions, markets and other relevant places to demonstrate proper handwashing,” says Mr Guusu.