NGO calls for more communication outreach, awareness for rural communities during Covid-19 outbreak

Datuk John Tenewi Nuek

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KUCHING, Mar 19: The Sarawak Initiatives (TSI) urges the Sarawak government to further drive the message to all Sarawakians to take heed of the measures to prevent and limit the spread of Covid-19, in view of the alarming speed and scale of its transmission around the world.

TSI chairman Datuk John Tenewi in a statement said the public, especially rural villagers and longhouse dwellers need to be fed with latest information constantly, especially on government actions to curb the spread of the Covid-19 disease.

According to John, while many Crisis Preparedness and Response Centres (CPCR) or divisional Health Department centres had been set up to handle Covid-19 cases, not to mention the ongoing Restricted Movement Order, TSI suggested that more be done in terms of information dissemination, especially to rural areas.

“TSI would like to urge all elected state assemblymen, local government and village chiefs to enhance communications and awareness among the rural people to further disseminate information on the current Covid-19 situation in the state,” he said.

John also praised the World Health Organisation’s efforts to update the public through daily media briefings on the pandemic and has listed details of the measures for prevention of the spread and extinguishment of Covid-19.

He pointed that there was a need to set up a communication mechanism such as WhatsApp groups to disseminate info to Sarawakians who have no 24-hour access to the news media including online news, as well as social media such as Facebook.

“The association also suggested the government mobilise Health officers to carry out health checks on rural villagers and longhouse dwellers to monitor the situation, while raising awareness on the Covid-19 situation, best protective practices to curb its spread and the urgency of seeking medical care when necessary.

“Community leaders and village chiefs can liaise or collaborate with the Health Department to ensure the health checks can be carried out in an organised and effective manner.” he added.

Meanwhile, John also commended government action to limit border crossings via its Restricted Movement Order to monitor and curb the spread of Covid-19 and hoped that the people understood and adhered to the order.

TSI is a Sarawak-based NGO focusing on issues facing Sarawakians. Among its objectives to promote and help all Sarawakians attain a high level and standard of education, create a peaceful and harmonious living environment, cultivate good values and integrity, create a unique Sarawak identity based on Sarawak cultural diversities, and create a healthy economy. —DayakDaily.