With the Corona-virus pandemic still without a viable vaccine, there is no doubt that the pandemic which has altered the status quo in diverse ways will be with us for quite a while. It is against this backdrop that the Onitsha Community Covid-19 Response Team was set up to provide aid and address the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic within Onitsha metropolis.
Given this uncertainty as regards when the pandemic will be wiped out completely, the OCCRT has gone on to develop some measures; that is, viable medium and long-term programmes that would ensure that our people, particularly the vulnerable, are able to engage in meaningful existence.
These measures include the following;
- Establishment of a panel of experts to consider Post-COVID Empowerment programmes targeted at Micro, Small, and Medium-scale sectors of our community.
- Arrangements for the creation of a framework that facilitates registration of vulnerable members of our Community in a Group Health Insurance Scheme to ensure access to quality health care.
- Discussions on the viability of a facility for the provision of community-based specialised medical care.
- Updates on these and other sustainable community intervention measures will be provided regularly.
In terms of activities and results of the OCCRT so far, the community has been able to implement various aspects of its programme ranging from fundraising and finance, field operations, medical response, surveillance and enforcement, mobilization, and communications.
As a matter of fact, Sixty-eight ndi Onicha including 24 Volunteer Wellbeing Ambassadors, 23 ndi Diokpa Ogbe, (heads of kindred groups) and 21 others were trained in the use of the kit. The training focused on increasing participants’ understanding of COVID-19 by providing them with the information and knowledge for the prevention and mitigation of the disease. The participants are also expected to extend knowledge of the use of the kit to the general population of ndi Onicha.
In the same vein, the OCCRT was instrumental in establishing a mapping criterion for distribution of palliatives. This was used during the second phase of the distribution of palliatives, which ran from June 24 to July 4, to identify persons who need support. This resulted in the compilation of a database of home-based indigenes, which will be useful for future interventions.
Furthermore, there has been a partnership with The Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) which is geared towards eradicating COVID-19 from Nigeria and Africa at large. The Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) a private-sector task force has sought the support and partnership of community leaders. In this regard, His Majesty has recorded messages to sensitize ndi Igbo and Nigerians in general on the dangers associated with the pandemic.
In terms of financial status, as at July 15, 2020, a total of N53,516,267, has been received as donations in cash and kind. The sum of N21,527,100 has been spent on palliatives, and prevention and mitigation activities. The current financial balance left to continue this project stands at N29,889,167 in cash, and in-kind donations to the value of N2,100,000.
It should be pointed out that, the OCCRT is still working towards its fundraising target of N100m. The response, however, has been particularly good. This is given the fact that up to four hundred indigenes and a few friends in Nigeria and abroad have contributed to the fund, not counting the indigenous organisations like Agbalanze, Otu Odu, Onitsha Improvement Union, Onitsha community organisations abroad.
Content Credit: OCCRT Newsletter