New York, May 02, 2020; The New York USA and Owerri, Imo State based Mbaise Policy Roundtable (MPR), in a recent statement, about COVID-19, by its Health Program Director Dr Keyna Osondu Omenukor, declared “…..we are determined to make Mbaise a-no-go-area for COVID 19. We believe that knowledge about the pandemic put to action, at this time, is the most lethal weapon to prevent its spread. We have deployed about 200 COVID-19 Health Educators across the 36 political Wards in Mbaise, through our MPR COVID-19 Prevention Awareness Program (MCPAP). These COVID-19 field educators have been traversing every nooks and corners of Mbaise educating our citizens about COVID-19 and its prevention, at their natural environments, be it their homes, businesses, farms, markets, street corners, and wherever they can be physically reached. They have also visited and educated traditional rulers, in their palaces, to ensure good behavioral changes from the top. We have only been in the field for 2 days and have so far reached over 10,000 people directly, with the implementable COVID-19 knowledge and actions.” According to Dr Chika Okoro, a World Health Organization officer and MPR member, who helped author this project, and reports to Dr Omenukor said, “we can feel the pulses and passions of our field staff. They know this is war we cannot afford to lose. They, like every MPR member are firm believers, that provided the correct information, via MCPAP person-to-person communication strategy, our citizens, who are known for their wisdom, would adopt the appropriate COVID-19 prevention behaviors. Although I believed we had the best-in-class strategy for the challenge at hand, my concern had always been proper implementation. Not any more, things have gone very well, beyond expectations. It is my hope and prayer that at the end, our goal of making Mbaise a-no-go-area for COVID-19 is accomplished.” Field reports shared by the MPR local government coordinators, indicate that the Mbaise community is responding to the conditioning for war against COVID 19. The MPR Coordinator for Ahiazu, Mr Chijioke Njoku said, “We ran into National Union of Road Transporters (popularly known as Ndi Agburu) who were indeed elated with MPR for showing care and concern towards the wellbeing of Mbaise Nation. They complained that the Lockdown drastically affected their means of livelihood. They as well expressed their optimism in assisting MCPAP in any way they can.” Mr Njoku also said. “The Leadership of Market women in Nkwo Ala Market in Okirika Nweke were indeed happy to have been properly sensitized on how they can prevent COVID-19.”From Aboh Mbaise LGA, the MPR Cordinator, Ms Esther Nwahiri reported that, “At the common gathering place in Egberede, they engaged us in a dialogue about COVID-19, commended the efforts of MPR, and some volunteered to join the sensitization excercise.” Ms Nwahiri got a surprise support when an “Aboh Mbaise LGA Chaplain Pastor Uzoma Paschal mobilized his men to ensure that sensitization was effective in his ward in Lagwa.”Reporting from Ezinihitte LGA, the MPR Coordinator for the area, Mr Bright Ugochukwu said, “Traditional Rulers supported the exercise with either transportation or edibles and some went to the extent of offering accommodation if need be. Okada riders association in Itu volunteered to take us round the ward free of charge. A priest at Ezagbogu joined us to the one market square and his presence drew attention paving way for us to deliver. He spoke off camera and pleaded anonymity.” It must be recalled that in a recent report, the rationale behind this communication strategy, which appears to be bearing desired fruits, was provided by Dr. Jude Iheoma, MPR Chief Program Director, who is a psychologist and endorsed this messaging method. He said, “This messaging approach is referred to Behavior Change Communication (BCC), which is an approach to behavior change focused on communication. The assumptions is that through communication of some kind, individuals and communities can somehow be persuaded to behave in ways that will make their lives safer and healthier. BCC was first employed in HIV and TB prevention projects.More recently, its ambit has grown to encompass any communication activity whose goal is to help individuals and communities select and practice behavior that will positively impact their health.” MPR is the premier pre-eminent Mbaise Public Policy and Business Advisory Council in the World, focused entirely on the development of Mbaise and Imo State, through the facilitation of financial and in-kind resources, private investments and private public partnerships. MPR is situated to liaise, partner, and/or collaborate with international entities, the Imo State Government and agencies, and the private sector to produce and advance policies that will fast track Mbaise and Imo State development to a first world status.
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