COVID-19: Red Cross calls for partnership to tackle pandemic

By Chimezie Godfrey

The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), has called on all relevant agencies and well spirited Nigerians to partner with it to scale up the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the country. 

The Secretary General, NRCS, Àbubakar Kende who made the call during a press briefing on Monday in Abuja, noted that there is urgent need to scale up the emergency response in all the states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. 

Kende recalled that the NRCS had placed over one million volunteers on alert to respond should there be any case in Nigeria. 

He pointed out that following the first confirmed case, it trained and mobilized 100 volunteers in Lagos and Ogun state for intensive mass mobilization to create awareness on preventive measures through radio jingles, live radio shows, distribution of flyers, and sensitization in religious centers, markets, motor parks and neighbouring states. 

He said,” As you may be aware, the number of confirmed cases has risen from one to one hundred and eleven (111) in 11 states and FCT as at 29th March, 2020 and still counting.

“Therefore, there is an urgent need to scale up the emergency response in all the affected states, FCT and neighbouring states.

“We commend the efforts of the federal and state governments and philanthropists in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not the time to trade blames but a time for everyone to come together. No one is safe, every one is at risk.

“The Nigerian Red Cross Society hereby calls on donor agencies, international agencies, well spirited Nigerians to partner with the Nigerian Red Cross Society to scale up the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Secretary General, also called on the federal and state governments to support and make use of the Red Cross grass root presence in all the local government areas across the country for more effective community engagement. 

He enjoined Nigerians to contact the NRCS for partnership in order to save lives.

He also advised all Nigerians and all other nationals’ resident in Nigeria to strictly adhere to governments’ directives including staying at home and observing optimal personal hygiene.

Kende promised that in coming days, the NRCS as auxillary to the government, will continue to work closely with the NCDC, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the United Nations (UN), and NGOs to focus on risk communications and community engagement. 

Others are to engage in hygiene promotion, psychosocial support, contact tracing and active surveillance, mass care, ambulance services, evaluation and burial.

He also said that they will engage in support for IDPs, Old people, persons with disabilities, orphans and vulnerable children.