The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has trained leaders of various unions and organisations on requisite strategies to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection through testing and vaccination.
Presenting an “overview of Social Mobilisation for the Update of COVID-19 (C19SM) testing and vaccination at workplace/guidelines on the virus prevention and control” at a two-day training held in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, Tahir Hashim, an assistant secretary-general, NLC, explained that the programme aims to upscale awareness among Nigerians to be tested and vaccinated.
He disclosed that “as of February 28, 2022, there have been 434, 154,739 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally with 5,944,342 deaths reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) out of which Nigeria has 254,560 confirmed cases with 3,142 deaths.”
According to him, different variants of SARS-Cov-2 have been identified so far; Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron with main symptoms of fever, tiredness, sore throat among others.
“There is no cure for COVID-19. However, vaccines are available to reduce morbidity and mortality. The non-pharmaceutical measures include wearing nose mask, physical distancing and frequent hand washing, general and respiratory hygiene are some of the effective ways of preventing the spread of COVID-19 virus” he said.
On the rationale behind the training, Hashim noted that the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria continues to evolve in the light of changing circumstances and risks posed to the health systems and economy.
He added that “the development of guidelines has been necessitated by the spread and consequences of the virus in Nigeria and the world at large. It is also in realisation of the key roles that governments, employers and workers can play in ensuring safe and healthy practices in the workplace and as well to provide information on strategies for the containment of the spread and the mitigation of the impact of COVID-19 in Nigeria.”
Hashim informed that the global funded sponsored-programme was targeted at training over 200 peer educators, who are expected to replicate same in at least 20 persons in their various organizations for the message to percolate the grassroots.
He said that the occupational safety and the health department of the federal ministry of labour and employment would continue to train and equip factory inspectors in collaboration with relevant stakeholders for effective and safe monitoring and support compliance with the guidelines as the battle against COVID-19 continues.
Earlier, Aliyu Issa Ore, the NLC chairman in Kwara State, stated that COVID-19 has ravaged the world and the adverse effect was devastating since its outbreak in 2019.
He expressed worry about the lingering COVID-19 outbreak, saying that it was against this backdrop that the leadership of the NLC in partnership with other organisations like NCDC and NACA organised the training to scale up preventive measures.
While advising participants to make use of whatever they learnt judiciously, Ore said, “When we thought we were overcoming it, scientists discovered another variant, which was stronger and killing faster.
“We appreciate the Nigeria government for its foresight, and to have worked assiduously with states and other countries in sharing information towards ameliorating the virus transmission.
“With the training, participants will undergo a series of presentations with facts and figures on the effects of the disease. Valuable suggestions would be made available to assist Nigerians, and the world at large to overcome the crisis”.
In her goodwill message, Akinrongbe Jessica Toyin, senior emergency response officer for Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Abuja, spoke of the readiness of NCDC to partner NLC in the fight against the virus.
“Our hope is that at the end of the training, people would be able to realise that if you save a family, you save a nation”, she added.