Our response to COVID-19
Nonprofit organizations across Nigeria and around the world are rapidly adapting to the coronavirus. The situation is evolving by the hour with a dramatically increasing impact on individuals, organisations, governments and the economy. During this time, we must work together as a sector, sharing resources and advice, and keeping spirits up during this time of physical distancing.
The COVID19 pandemic calls upon us to move quickly to save lives as we manage grief, fear and frustration. It also calls us to leverage what we know about social change and recognise that emergency responses to this crisis are seeding the future right now.
We switched to a mandatory remote work mode in an abundance of caution and playing our part to stop the spread of Covid19. We continue to be available remotely for any work-related engagement.
Empowering Women For Excellence Initiative (EWEI) strongly believes that now is the time to do work with partners in meeting critical needs in communities, implement policies and practices that place beneficiaries, employees and the environment at safety. This policies and practices we believe, will steer us towards a just transition to sustainable economies, and embrace connection and cooperation as we protect each other and rebuild from the scares caused by the COVID19 pandemic.
We also believe that community engagement with and for women and girls are essential to understanding the impact of the epidemic and meeting the needs of affected populations effectively.
We will continue working with our existing women’s networks and youth rights groups to strengthen the leadership and meaningful participation of women and girls in all decision-making processes in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak.
Although the COVID-19 threat is real and has already disrupted majority of the activities we planned for the year 2020, we will not lose sight of the bigger picture. We don’t know what the ultimate impact of COVID-19 will be in our communities, but our work as a girls and women focussed nonprofit will be critical during and after the crisis.
Visit the National Centre for Disease Control Nigeria for updates on the Covid-19 situation in Nigeria.
Together we can Beat COVID19
Since the December 2019 outbreak of the novel coronavirus, also known as “COVID-19”, in Wuhan, life has changed dramatically for many people. Many people are left confused and left with many questions about what they are to do to prevent the spread.
A virus is a tiny infectious agent that is too small to be seen with the human eye or even under a normal microscope. They can only replicate and multiply if inside a living organism such as a human, animal, or plant which acts as the host.
Respiratory viruses like to infect the lungs and airways. Respiratory infections tend to affect the normal function of the lungs causing breathing problems.
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
It is spread from one person to another primarily through respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. According to recent reports, it may be possible that people infected with the novel coronavirus spread the virus before showing significant symptoms.
Some patients with confirmed infections with the novel coronavirus have showed little to no symptoms while others have become severely ill and died. Symptoms of infection include: Fever, cough and shortness of breath. At this time, it is believed that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Scientists are working hard to understand this new virus and produce a vaccine. Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections. Therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention.
There are three main modes of transmission of COVID19
- Droplet Transmission
- Contact Transmission
- Airborne Transmission
Chain of Infection
A chain of infection refers to the path that viruses take to enter a person and to be transmitted from one person to another.
There are six steps in the chain of infection, and we know that transmission will only take place if all six elements in the chain are present. That means, we can break the chain!
Element 1 (Infectious Agent):Refers to the biological agent that can cause infectious disease. Examples are virus, bacteria or fungi.
Element 2 (Reservoir):Refers to a place where the infectious agent resides, thrives, and reproduces. It can be a person, an animal, soil, food, water etc.
Element 3 (Portal of Exit):Refers to the way the infectious agent leaves the body. It can be through the mouth if the person coughs or sneezes, through a cut if the person is bleeding, or during diaper changes or toweling.
Element 4 (Mode of Transmission):Refers to how the infectious agent is transmitted from one person to another it can be in form of droplets, direct or indirect contact or through airborne transmission.
Element 5 (Portal of Entry):Refers to the place where the infectious agent enters into another persons’ body this is similar to the Portal of exit, so it can be through the eyes, nose, ears and open cuts etc.
Element 6 (Susceptible Host):Refers to a person who is at risk of developing an infection from the disease. It can be a baby, an elderly person or someone with a weakened immune system.
To prevent the spread of the disease, one of the links in the chain of infection must be broken.
How Can we break the chain of infection?
Yes, we can! Each and every one of us can do our part to slow and stop COVID-19 from spreading.
How to Protect and Prevent the spread of COVID 19
- Practicing good hand hygiene (hand washing)
- Cough and sneeze etiquette
- Cleaning and disinfecting our environments
- Practicing social distancing
Washing my Hands – Does It Really Work?
Yes! Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent you or someone you know from getting infected.
Washing your hands frequently helps to remove potentially harmful microorganisms from your hands. And this helps stop the spread of infection.
The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends washing your hands by following the 7 steps shown in the image
What about Hand Sanitizer?
When you don’t have access to soap and water, using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol is a great way to ensure your hands are clean.
However, the best way to ensure sparkly clean hands is still by using soap and water for 20 seconds.
Droplets from coughs and sneezes travel…far! This is why we must practice cough and sneeze etiquette.
These simple steps can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19
Cleaning Your Everyday Environment
How many times a day do you touch your phone? The steering wheel of your car? The doorknobs in your home?
Now think, how many times have you cleaned those surfaces?
To break the chain and prevent infection, it is important to be more mindful about the surfaces we touch and to keep those surfaces clean.
There are a number of ways to keep your surfaces clean and disinfected. And you probably already have some of these ways in the house!
Do you have bleach in the house? Follow this recipe:
You can also use a regular household disinfectant or using an alcohol spray of at least 60% alcohol. Both can be purchased at any grocery store.
And don’t forget to clean your cell phone!
Physical distancing is a public health measure known to help stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. This is especially important with COVID-19 because even those who do not show signs of illness may be sick and can spread the virus.
Ways to social distance include:
- Closing schools and moving to distance learning
- Working from home
- Postponing or cancelling social events and travel
- Maintaining a physical distance of at least 2 metres between other people
If we stay at home and limit contact with others, we will slow the spread of COVID-19.
Do I need to wear a face mask?
No doubt you have seen pictures or even people walking around wearing surgical or protective N95 masks.
While this might seem like a good idea, wearing a mask in many cases does more harm than good to you and your community.
Healthcare workers are the only people who can help us get better when we are sick. Because of the current shortage of face masks in the world, healthcare workers are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. If healthcare workers get sick, there will be no one to take care of the sick people, and COVID-19 may continue to spread.
So…do you need to wear a mask? The answer to this question for most people is No.
When to wear a mask…
You should only wear a mask if:
What is a N95 Mask?
An N95 mask is specially designed to filter airborne particles.
It needs to be fitted properly to ensure its effectiveness.
Purpose: Prevent inhalation of airborne particles (that may contain infectious agents)
Usage: When there is air pollution such as haze, caused by minute particles in the atmosphere
N95 masks are recommended for healthcare workers.
What Is a Surgical Mask?
A surgical mask has 3 layers (3-ply) which serves different functions:
- Outer layer – fluid-repelling;
- Middle layer – barrier to microorganism entry; and
- Inner layer – moisture-absorbing.
Purpose: Provide barrier protection against droplets including large respiratory particles
Usage: Protect both residents and healthcare professionals against possible respiratory infection
Surgical masks are recommended for those who have infections or those looking after close contacts with infection at home.