The Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development, an arm of over 2000 Non-Governmental Organisations and networks coalition working on Sustainbale Development Goals(SDGs) in Nigeria has implored the Oyo State Government, Local Governments , civil society organisations and other stakeholders to deepen and intensify the ongoing community sensitization and awareness on the nature, transmission and prevention methods to help stem the tide of coronavirus in the state.
The group in a statement signed by the State Co-ordinator, State Secretary and National Coordinator, Kolawole Amusat, Femi Gabriel Oyeniyi and Tola Winjobi respectively, said there is need to urgently increase sensitization campaigns to the communities to ensure preventive measures at individual, family and community levels.
The group urged Oyo State Government to intensify the surveillance and contact-tracing for case-finding and monitoring of individuals who are returnees from COVID-19 high prevalence countries by continuous sensitization of the communities, to report cases through the CoVID-19 dedicated hotlines which the government has already made available, adding “this will assist in curbing community transmission.”
The statement read in part: “We seize this opportunity to applaud the proactive steps taken by Oyo State government to curb the pandemic; though there was an initial tardiness. The establishment of the Oyo State Covid-19 Task Force Enforcement Team and a number of sub-committees is commendable. So is the setting up of the Emergency Operational Centres with a Diagnostic Centre in collaboration with National Centre for Disease Control on training and capacity building for Covid-19 fight.
“Though not enough, there has been widespread community sensitization and awareness, the popularization of hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, guidelines for social distancing, guidelines for public transportation. All of these are to maintain proper hygienic standards. There has also been a prohibition of mass gatherings, closure of schools (private and public), nightclubs, places of worship (churches and mosques) in addition to enforcement of stay-at-home orders for Federal, State and Local Government workers for two weeks with the exception of those providing essential services.
“However we believe, as a coalition working on SDGs in Oyo State, much still needs to be done in terms of sensitization and awareness not just for urban dwellers but also the rural dwellers of Oyo State.
“It is sad to note that Oyo State and indeed the whole of Nigeria lack robust health infrastructure to cope with the medical treatment of Covid-19 illness. This is because it is economically and emotionally expensive as well as physically draining even for governments in the most advanced countries.
“We as CSCSD pledge our support in reaching the nooks and crannies of Oyo State with the needed actions for this purpose. Community education needs to be promoted on the importance of self-isolation and quarantine.
“It is understood that the immediate and intermediate impact of the economic dislocation due to market closures, stay at home orders and possible lockdowns would be enormous. As most Nigerians live at subsistence level, Oyo Government with the support from the Federal Government should be ready with suitable palliatives to ease the suffering of the Oyo State population.
“We suggest that government should shutdown non-essential markets, while operators of nightclubs, cinemas, religious worship centres should abide by the directives from both the state and the federal governments. Governments should provide emergency facilities and equipment including infra-red thermometers, ventilators, and other medicaments to savage the lives of the infected while sanitizers should be made available at very low prices.
“When this storm has mercifully abated, it should now be time to face the daunting task of honestly rebuilding the 3-tiered health system which has become moribund and ineffectual, operating at best for the purpose of workers’ salaries and emoluments. It will be time to make painful decisions that will see us put in place effective and efficient primary, secondary and tertiary system that will serve our people with a humane healthcare. This kind of system will help us achieve SDG 3 – promoting healthy life and well-being for all.”