Today we visited Obalende, Lagos and engaged female leaders in the community.
Women manage the home, prepare food for their families, and are usually the ones that take care of sick children and husbands. So changing and improving hygiene and sanitation habits in homes and communities starts with them. Also, engaging female leaders in the community ensured that our teachings and messages would have greater impact as these women are well respected and influential.
Apart from being a crowded and highly congested area (at great risk of outbreaks), the first Ebola patient in Nigeria – the man who landed in Lagos from Monrovia, Liberia – ended up in a hospital in Obalende where Dr. Adadevoh worked. So people in this community are very aware of infectious diseases and how scary outbreaks can be. However, since there’s no Ebola in Nigeria right now, for the most part, they’ve stopped doing the important health and hygiene behaviors that can reduce the spread of diseases (handwashing, keeping your home clean, etc). Since there’s a meningitis outbreak in Nigeria right now, we came to remind them.
We started by finding out what they knew about meningitis and the outbreak. Turns out there were quite a few misconceptions from some of them thinking sneezing was a symptom to others believing that heat caused meningitis.
After sharing the correct information with them, we played a few games including hygiene trivia and a contest to see which team could wash their hands properly. We gave out DRASA t-shirts as prizes to the winners.
The women enjoyed our discussion so much they even brought some of their children out to join us so we included them in the session!
And thanks to our partners at Kleanmate, we were able to provide each woman with soap so they can start practicing what we preached.
Click below to view more pictures from the visit.