Godwin AJOM, Calabar
Rural dwellers in Cross River communities are consistently taking advantage of the opportunity provided by a Non Governmental Organisation to get vaccinated against the dreaded COVID 19.
As at the end of September, more than 521 people from Ediba in the Abi Local Government had been vaccinated, according to Owai Ebenezar of the Community Based Organisation known as Positive Care and Development Foundation.
Ebenezer spoke to TNN on the organisation’s experiences with rural dwellers in the course of the exercise, saying “the number has increased reasonably. Those who took this September are all those who are taking their first doses. So, we have 521 persons vaccinated this September of their first Covi-19 dose only in Ediba community in Abi LGA.
The community was said to have had an average of 250 vaccinated persons per month, between January and February, but upon the intervention of the civil Society in Malaria control, immunization and Nutrition ,ACOMIN, in August 2022, the uptake has soared to 521 per month in September 2021.
“Our role is to work with the community members, we lead monitoring teams; what we do is to conduct focus group discussions with the chiefs , pregnant women, youth leaders, women leaders and members of the communities on the need for community ownership of health facilities and why they should both take care and patronize the health facilities.
“We have recorded a huge increase in patronage like in Covid-19. The community leaders are also rising to the sanitation and cleaning of the Primary healthcare facilities too, so we are making progress.”
Speaking further on other health matters, Dr Kenneth Takim, programme manager, state malaria elimination programme said “the CSO ACOMIN is a very critical partner in malaria elimination too”. He added that, “they are working with us at the grassroots level creating demand and awareness that enable members of local communities to access health services.”
On his part, Pastor Effiong Udobong, ACOMIN state coordinator said his organization was working in five LGAs in Cross River state. “We already know that we don’t have the desired turn out at our primary healthcare facilities.
“So, we are moving to increase access, demand and services at health facilities in the targeted Local Government Areas, which are Abi, Boki, Obudu, Odukpani and Yala. We have identified reasons why people don’t go to health facilities, the reasons include poor environmental clean -up at the health facilities, lack of community ownership status to the health facilities, so we are stepping in to bridge these gaps,” he said