By Ramatu Tijjani
In kaduna state north western Nigeria, A young journalist voluntarily engaged himself towards changing the narrative by taking Covid 19 Campaign to rural communities with the aims of educating ,enlighten and sensitizing the rural dwellers on the importance of regular washing of hands, used of facemask, Hand globe and social distancing saying that During the campaign, he learnt various way on how to takes the danger of the pandemic seriously ,so as to protect himself against getting infected with any patients in the villages while informing them about the out break of the pandemic.
The dead of some doctors and other health practitioners across the country due to the pandemic has forced some rural women to halt coming to cities accessing health care services which include antenatal and other medical diagnosis due to scared of the virus,
Ibrahima yakubu is the team leader of African climate reporters, and who is also an environmental journalist working with Cleaner earth and and a member of west African of science reporters.
he said, in order to support both Government, Civil society organization, and Non –governmental organization NGOs on the daily fight against the spread of the global pandemic , And also to take the Campaign to rural communities that lack adequate information about the Virus due to lack of effective means of communication and distance barrier .
,“one of the best way to support the fight and raise more awareness about the pandemic is through writing more news and in-depth stories and interview with health expects and other stake holders, so as to halt the spread of the Virus that is causing tension and lack of trust among people”
“adding that, as the second wave of the pandemic commences, We journalists should keep reporting about COVID-19,while taking preventive measures , so that people will be aware and be fully informed about it”
“we must engaged every stake holder to succeed the battle ,while calling on young writers ,reporters and scientist and center for disease control to always work hand in hand with journalist when disseminating information to the public concerning Covid 19”
According to him,it became mandatory to visit rural dwellers that stays very far away from cities ,so as to talk to some of them one-to-one and explain to them the danger associated with the virus and the need to always protect little children and the elderly once on various preventive measure to stopped the virus against spreading.
It was reported that rural dwellers from some region in Northern Nigeria never believed in the existence of the pandemic and hence the need to take such campaign to meet them and then spread the message.
Some don’t listened to radio, or watch TV or new papers, very few youth stay on line accessing information about the virus
Nigerian newsrooms are using different approaches to fight misinformation such as fake news amidst of the pandemic that is ravaging the communities .
Some directly address the rumours by producing lists of fake information along with write-ups debunking them. Others have fact-checking teams for in-depth verification.
Majority of rural residents believes that Corona virus is a white man diseases that is why it doesn’t has any significant impact on the people of Africa ,while some criticizes the lockdown been imposes by states and federal government ,some support the moves by the government which is aimed at halting the spread of the Virus.
Some journalists believed that apart from sensitizing the general public through Radio and other means of communications, there are areas that still need information on various ways of protecting themserves against the spread of the second wave of the Virus due to lack of communication and distance barriers and insecurity.
“if you visit local markerts in rural areas,you would be surprise to see human interaction when transacting business”
“Some don’t used face mask due to lack of information and hence the need to educate them”,
People are encouraged to wash hands frequently, use antiseptics to clean household items, wear masks in public places, avoid meeting people with colds and coughs, observe physical distance, avoid crowded places, and stay home as much as possible.
“We have communicated to people to refrain from shaking hands, kissing, and hugging for the safety of their loved ones, family members, and the broader community, as these measures will help us defeat this global pandemic.
To help counter misinformation, African Climate reporyters in Nigeria has trained over 50 journalists which includes Online, TV, radio,streamers etc , focusing on the principles of public health reporting that include information accuracy, data sourcing and verification.
The training also aimed to help change people’s behaviour in the face of COVID-19,as well as to educate them on their tropical diseases that is bedeviling peace stability in the country.
We believed in training more journalists about the pandemic would also help to educate the general public about the existence of the virus.
The team leader also stressed the need for collaborative effort between health reporters and all ministry’s health across the 36 states on Ngeria to be working hand in hands on disseminating accurate figure and information about Covid 19 update