COVID-19 Awareness targets vulnerable groups

-      Nigel Akuani

 

Port Moresby:A simple yet captivating COVID-19 and hygiene awareness was recently carried out with children from the St Michael’s Catholic Parish in Hanuabada.

 

Held beside the Parish at the Missionaries of Charity (MC) House on Tuesday 7thJuly, the occasion had present MC Sisters, staff of Caritas Australia and Colgate-Palmolive (PNG) Ltd, parish ground workers, and more than sixty children from the Goilala District in Central Province, residing in settlements behind Badihagwa. 

 

The awareness facilitated by Caritas Australia, was targeted towards younger vulnerable groups who were more prone to unhealthy hygiene practices and COVID-19 exposure and part of the Catholic Church's Covid-19 Joint Response Plan funded by the PNG Australia Partnership. It involved lessons on correct brushing of teeth and washing of hands, preventing contraction and spread of COVID-19, distribution of 240 Hygiene Kits, and demonstrations for use of hygiene products.

 

According to Ms Charlotte Vada, Caritas Australia COVID-19 Disaster Management Coordinator, the development and distribution of Hygiene Kits is an activity under the Catholic Church's COVID-19 Joint Response Plan funded by the PNG Austlralia Partnership. “The kits contain hand sanitizers, alcohol wipes, vapour rub and locally made soap and re-usable masks. Colgate Plamolive Ltd made a generous donation of 1000 sets of oral care products including toothpaste and toothbrushes which were added to the kits,” she stated.

 

Ms Vada added, “We reached out to the MC Sisters for this activity because they work directly with vulnerable children. For some of these kids, this is the first time ever that they are accessing these hygiene items." 

 

She said that they were thrilled to receive the generous donation from Colgate Palmolive who is also supporting this initiative with their educational awareness

 

Mr Robin Lesley, Protection Coordinator of Caritas Australia, explained to the young audience the dangers of the coronavirus and encouraged them to put into practice the six key messages essential to preventing the spread and contraction of the virus. ‘We all say we know it but do we really practice it. COVID-19 is a diseaseaffecting people on a global scale and practising these key messages can save our lives,’ he said.

 

Vincent Memafu, Health Educator of Colgate-Palmolive PNG Limited, stressed the importance of good oral hygiene during the COVID-19 outbreak, and commended the collaboration between all three organisations. “COVID-19 spreads and kills through the type of hygiene practices we conform to, and it is vital for organisations to come together to advocate society on this aspect,” he said.

 

Regional Superior, Sr Anto Theresa MC, thanked both organisations for their support. She said despite the overwhelming number of children, she reassured that the Sisters of MC would continue its efforts to help and advocate for proper hygiene practices.

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