BusinessDay

MTN intensifies fight against COVID-19 with WearItForMe campaign

Statistics from international health organisations have shown that over 30 million people across the world have so far contracted Covid-19 since its outbreak in China in November 2019. Research further revealed that while about 962,000 persons have died from COVID-19-related complications, close to 21.3 million people have recovered from the virus as at September 21, 2020.

Nigeria recorded its index case of the virus in Lagos on February 28, 2020, and there has been a gradual spread of the virus across the country, resulting in 57,437 confirmed cases with Lagos State recording 18,982 cases as at September 21, 2020.

To salvage the situation, the Nigerian government imposed a series of mandatory restrictions and measures to reduce the rate of community transmission of the virus.

This was accompanied by gross socio-economic complications that stunted the growth of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The most recent macro-economic report by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that the country’s national income dipped by 6.10 percent in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020.

READ ALSO: Pandemic: Business, communication, and performance

The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, during a press briefing after the first virtual meeting of the National Economic Council, had disclosed that the country’s economic growth could contract by almost 8.94 percent at the most, hence the NBS report did not come as a surprise.

Meanwhile, financial reports indicate that concerned individuals and organisations have donated N25.8 billion to assist the government in the fight against the outbreak in the country. This is perhaps owing to the obvious socio-economic implications of the pandemic if left unaddressed.

Announcing its first set of investments through the Y’ello Hope Initiative, leading ICT firm MTN Nigeria embarked on interventions targeted at the government, health agencies and vulnerable Nigerians.

In the second phase of the Y’ello Hope initiative, the company has embarked on a social awareness campaign, #WearItForMe, urging Nigerians to continue wearing facemasks wherever they go. This is a timely social campaign as recent events indicate that Nigerians are beginning to ignore the importance of wearing a facemask as confirmed Covid-19 cases seem to be reducing nationwide.

In an interview session with Jimi Disu on the “Daily Digest” programme on Nigeria Info FM, Lagos, Chief Sales and Distribution Officer, MTN Nigeria, Adekunle Adebiyi, stated that the MTN #WearItForMe campaign is an offshoot of the MTN #YelloHope initiative which was created in response to the pandemic. He further revealed the core essence of the initiative and the financial contributions of the telecommunications giant during the peak of the virus outbreak in the country.

“When the pandemic started, a lot of people really needed help. So, the first thing was, how do we buy Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs)? How do we get money to build isolation and quarantine centres? These were some of the challenges that we were facing in Nigeria. We could not leave that to the government alone. At the Federal Government and state government layers, MTN provided support,” Adebiyi said.

“The first thing we did as part of the #YelloHope initiative was to donate N1 billion to the Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID). We also contributed N250 million, through our Foundation, to support the purchase of PPEs, including masks for health officials, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),” he said.

Linking it with the organisational support provided for Nigerians, he disclosed that MTN Nigeria provided N60 billion worth of free data services for its subscribers to access verified information on the World Health Organisation’s website as well as the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC).

He emphasised that the NCDC website and that of the WHO were “zero-rated” in order to promote the consumption of accurate information.“A lot of these things are still ongoing,” Adebiyi said.

He hinted further that free facemasks will be shared to anyone who visits any MTN service centre across the country without wearing a facemask. This is expected to encourage people to continue wearing facemasks as it plays a crucial role in flattening the Covid-19 curve.

MTN is creating an innovative buzz around the importance of wearing masks to put an end to the spread of the Covid-19 across the country.

To this effect, it dedicated its entire media assets not only in Nigeria but across all operating markets in Africa and the Middle East for the month of September towards ensuring this initiative achieves the desired results.

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