Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) likely will reach rural areas, and Center for Rural Affairs and Community Development are offering advice on how rural dwellers can prepare. While it is reasonable to assume that the entry into rural areas may be lower and it may be easier to do some social distancing because of the lower population, awareness and precautionary measures should be heightened without assumption that any part of the country is going to be spared.
COVID-19 test centres are not widely available to cater for the teeming populace, rural residents inclusive though the government at the federal and state level make contact numbers available for reportage in case they suspect the symptoms of infectious disease. The spread of the virus in the rural communities can and should be avoided as much as possible since they are at the advantage in terms of low population as compared to big cities. But, on the other hand, it can be to their disadvantage since the level of literacy in the areas is low that they may not consider the novel coronavirus as a treat to their life’s and others. What then is Coronavirus Disease?
What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
This current form of coronavirus is a respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How is COVID-19 spread?
For now, evidence suggests that the transmission is mostly via droplets. What it means is that the virus is carried within droplets emitted from an infected person over a short distance such as when the person coughs or sneezes. If the droplets come into contact with eyes, nose or mouth of an individual directly or indirectly through hands that that have come into contact with these droplets, the individual may become infected. It could also transmit through surface contact whereby if the droplets fall on surfaces of table or chairs, the virus may remain alive for up to a few days.
What can I do to avoid contracting COVID-19?
Basic hygiene practices are the best way to avoid contracting the epidemic illness.
- Wash your hands often, using soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Maintain social distancing and avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- Stay home when you are sick;
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Doing all the above are very effective in preventing all kind of infection
How do I get tested for COVID-19?
Only a healthcare provider provides the COVID-19 test. If symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider for evaluation and information about how to be tested.
Should I wear a mask?
World Health Organisation (WHO) does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people showing symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the illness to others. The use of facemasks is crucial to healthcare workers and people who are taking care of someone in a close setting, such as a healthcare facility or residence.
- COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather or cold weather
- Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease
- The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.
- Hand dryers are not effective in killing the COVID-19
- Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body
- There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.
- People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (COVVID-19). Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?
No specific medicine has been widely accepted to cure COVID-19. There are still on-going research and development efforts to get medicine for the COVID-19 treatment worldwide by scientists, researchers and specialists. However, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have been reported to be efficient in Chinese COVID-19 patients and in some other climes.
Approach to curbing the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas.
Rural areas are perceived to have more supportive social networks and this must be utilized in combating this common enemy – an enemy against humanity. The virus is presenting us with an unprecedented threat and we have to fight for our dear lives.
Preparedness and response to emergency and disease outbreaks like COVID-19 by rural communities and residents are faced with challenges that include: Resource limitations, such as equipment and supplies, training, and infrastructure; Access to healthcare for higher levels of care; Remoteness and geography; Communication issues.
Communication is a very important tool to help minimize the effects of disaster or disease as ravaging the world right now. Since every community and rural town is characterized with traditional and or political leader, they should take it as a point of duty to orientate and educate the residents of their community about how the virus spread and ways to curb its spread.
Emphasizes should be placed on the fact that Basic hygiene practices are the best way to avoid contracting the epidemic illness while rolling out ways to avoid contracting COVID-19 as described above.
Who should be involved in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in rural communities?
Many community members are responsible and should be involved in curbing the spread of the disease outbreak for their rural community. This is achievable by adhering to the basic protective measures as described above while those that are aware of deadly virus educate others.
What resources are available for communication planning in a rural area?
During emergencies such as this, it is important to identify strategies for communicating and engaging with rural residence. Sharing information through verbal, pictorial and written means is important for a planned, coordinated, and appropriate response to an emergency such as COVID-19.
In conclusion, the lesson learnt from the COVID-19 is that;
- The outbreaks globally shows that it is highly contagious
- Over 85% of the confirmed cases shows mild symptoms & with this, we can infer that protective measures is very important
- If the basic protective measures are observed, the spread of the virus will be contained in our communities.
For more information and update on COVID-19, kindly visit the links below
- World Health Organisation https://www.who.int/
- Center for Disease Control and Preventionhttps://www.cdc.gov/
- Nigeria Centre for Disease Control https://ncdc.gov.ng/