In a combined effort to ensure that the Lassa endemic remains significantly curtailed, Hypo, makers of Nigeria’s beloved bleach joined forces with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to conduct national outreach programs in major markets especially in the most tensioned states across Nigeria.
The national market outreach program which is meant to cover major open markets across 11 states in the country is designed to enlighten market women and the entire public on the Lassa fever epidemic and steps to keep their environment clean and effectively sanitized towards curbing the spread of the disease.
Both teams combed the entire Wuse Market in Abuja over the weekend to sensitize the marketers, shoppers and entire public about the importance of domestic and environmental hygiene in curtailing the effect of the Lassa virus. It was a detailed exercise where the public has equally presented the opportunity to ask questions and receive free products.
Nigeria has registered an upsurge in the number of Lassa Fever cases since the beginning of the year, with 365 positive cases and 47 deaths reported from 23 states/ 74 LGAs across the country i.e 23 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 74 LGAs.
According to week five situation report on the disease released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the number of new confirmed cases has increased from 95 cases in week 04, 2020 to 104 cases and these were reported from 15 states across. Of all confirmed cases, 76% are from Edo (35%), Ondo (35%) and Ebonyi (6%) states.
Speaking at the event at Wuse Market in Abuja, Ms Omotunde Bamigbaiye, Brand Manager Hypo Bleach said: “We are most excited that with Hypo’s collaboration with Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), a far-reaching impact in tackling the Lassa Epidemic is guaranteed. It has been a successful outing all the way, within 3 days into the launch of this campaign we have been able to reach out to thousands of people in Oke Arin Market Lagos, Oja Oba Market, Akure South LG, Ondo, Ekpoma Main Market, Benin and here in Wuse Market Abuja and the outreach continues till next week”.
The choice of marketplace for the outreach is quite strategic as it is a common knowledge that women remain the custodians of the family and managers of home affairs, so they have a huge role to play towards the success of this campaign. The idea is to have them and the entire public incorporate effective sanitization approach into their cleaning routine while taking them through step by step processes to prevent the spread of Lassa fever both at their shops and at home,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of Dr Chikwe Ihekwazu, Director General, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was Dr Priscilla Ibekwe, Deputy Director, Special Duties NCDC who commended the efforts of Hypo Management for partnership opportunity at this critical stage when corporate support is needed to reach as many Nigerians as possible in tackling this issue of national concern.
“Also, commendable is taking the campaign to the high burden locations which are often hard to reach, with anecdotal evidence of the inverse care law while making the hypo product available for usage. During our meetings, we reached an agreement to apply the 80:20 principle and begin the Public enlightenment campaign in areas/communities with the highest need and we are glad this is being followed strictly,” she stated
L-R: Opeyemi Awojobi, Sponsorship Manager, Tolaram Group, Hannatu Bitrus, Health Educator, Public Health Department, FCTA, Dr. Priscilla Ibekwe, Deputy Director, Special Duties, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Omotayo Abiodun, Public Relations Manager, Tolaram Group during the Hypo Nationwide Sanitization Campaign against LASSA Fever in collaboration with NCDC, Wuse Market Abuja.