By Chukwuemeka Abbah, Abuja
The FCT Administration has agreed to partner with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the FCT Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 to draw up strategies for the implementation of new sensitization and awareness campaigns in the fight against COVID-19 in the Federal Capital Territory.
This was the highpoint of a meeting chaired by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello with the Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr Garba Abari and the Chairman, FCT Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19, Dr Aliyu Modibbo Umar.
While making this known to the members of the press after the meeting, the FCT Minister said that the earlier partnership with the organized private sector coordinated by the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee saw the FCT waging a largely successful campaign against COVID’ 19 with the provision and deployment of adequate bed spaces, palliatives, medical supplies and equipment and personnel.
However, Malam Bello submitted that the FCT was faced with an even bigger challenge taking into consideration the fact that many residents were in denial about the dangers of the virus and therefore not taking the necessary preventive measures against its spread. This therefore necessitated the employment of new communication strategies to spread the message.
In the words of the Minister, “this partnership is aimed at re-invigorating the FCTA’s community communication strategies in the bid to save lives and livelihoods”.
It was therefore agreed at the meeting that an ad-hoc committee be established to work out new communication strategies to be deployed in this next phase of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Committee will be Co-chaired by the DG NOA and Chairman of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee and consist of members drawn from the FCTA, the NOA and the Advisory Committee.
Also speaking, the NOA DG Dr Garba Abari, said that the meeting further brought to the fore the robust partnership between the FCTA and the private sector in the fight against the coronavirus.
He said the new sensitisation strategy to be tentatively known as the COVID-19 New Normal FCT Response intends to go beyond just creating awareness but to begin the process of behavior modification and change of the citizenry. This new strategy he continued is intended to ensure that citizens take personal responsibility for their health.
The NOA, DR Abari added, had the experience and expertise to take the new message to the streets, neighborhood, places of worship and traditional institutions and also create an awareness on the nexus that exists between the containment of the disease and personal responsibility. He also said that the NOA possessed the necessary expertise and experience to spread the new message.
In his Comments Dr Aliyu Modibbo Umar said that it was necessary to come up with a coherent communication strategy to reach the people as many of them were not obeying the basic guidelines and protocols put in place by the relevant authorities to prevent the spread of COVI’19.
Also at the meeting were the Permanent Secretary FCTA, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, the Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Malam Bashir Mai’ Borno, the FCTA Director of Information and Communications, Mrs. Stella Ojeme and other Members of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee