The United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) is partnering with the Adamawa state government on massive awareness campaign on the dangers of COVID-19 and the need for people to adhere to the non pharmaceutical protocols of combatting the virus.

UNICEF Chief of Filed Office, Bauchi, Dr Bhanu Pathak made this known, on Tuesday during an advocacy visit to the state commissioners of health, information, the chairmen of both Christian and Muslim associations and some traditional rulers.

Dr Pathak who led a high powered delegation on the advocacy visit said they are seeking the collaboration of the state government, religious and traditional leaders became imperative seeing that people have developed nonchalant attitudes towards curbing the virus.

“I’m here with my team in Adamawa on a regular courtesy visit to some of the actors we are working directly with in the fight against COVID-19 and other diseases. Our focus is on how to respond to the COVID issue because there are still some communities that do not believe that there is Coronavirus and people are not the minimum preventive measures; they are not using mask, maintaining social distancing and the washing of hands. That is why we want to work with the government and other stakeholders so that they will use their networks to create awareness in the communities,” Dr Pathak said.

He said UNICEF has lined up activities involving traditional ruler, religious leaders, security agencies and other stakeholders to enlighten them and also find better ways of relaying the message to the people in their various communities to reduce community spread as well as improve good hygiene and observing the COVID-19 protocols.

The Adamawa state commissioner for health, professor Abdullahi Isa who appreciate UNICEF for its continuous support to the Adamawa state government said the cases of the Coronavirus is drastically reducing in the state.

” Clinically the cases are dropping, though the testing too has reduced this is due to sometimes scarcity of test materials. When somebody is sick he will go to the hospital weather there is testing or not. It is the doctors that can now give the triage to know if it is COVID related or not. But even those cases that usually goes with cough, fever, headache and chest pain have drastically reduced. So this is clinical observation has shown that patients going to the hospital with complaints similar to COVID has drastically reduced and this is nationwide,” he said.

He however maintained that Adamawa state is planning to embark on massive testing targeting 89, 000 people in the coming days.

” We still have to test more, like here in Adamawa state we are expected to test 89, 000. We have to increase the testing, it is only then that we can scientifically say that COVID is going down, but for now we can only rely on clinical observation,” the commissioner said.

While on a similar visit to the chairman of the Adamawa State Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza, Dr Bhanu Pathak appreciate the clergy for his continuous efforts and support in combatting polio and the Coronavirus disease. The team also appreciated the CAN chairman for his boldness in becoming the first public figure to announced his positive status when he contracted the Coronavirus disease.

They however solicited the support of all religious leaders through the CAN chairman to use their offices and create awareness on the need for people to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.

While responding, Bishop Mamza who is also the catholic bishop of Yola, appreciate the team for the visit and assured them that he will do all within his capacity to ensure that campaign is emphasise in churches across the state.

” We have been collaborating with UNICEF since the period of Boko Haram insurgency even before COVID-19 and I assure you that we will continue to collaborate. We are grateful also to UNICEF for all the support they have been given us.

” I want to tell you that we are ready at anytime either as CAN or as the Catholic church in order to collaborate with UNICEF on all the programmes you have for our people,” bishop Mamza said.

The COVID-19 awareness campaign will focus on encouraging and emphasizing the use of face mask, maintaining social distancing in public places and regular washing of hands with soap under running water for at least 20 seconds.