Coronavirus: UI experts want Makinde, Sanwo-Olu to deploy taskforce to urban slums

Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, have been advised to deploy COVID-19 task force teams to urban slums in their respective states in order to prevent community transmission of the pandemic.

The Head of the University of Ibadan Urban Health Research Team,  Akinyinka Omigbodun, a professor, who gave the advice in a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan on Wednesday, also asked the two states to consider creating access points for COVID-19 testing in the slum communities.

The UI Urban Health Research Team, which is funded by the National Institute for Research (NIHR) the UK, had earlier carried out stakeholder engagements in Bariga, Idi-Ikan, and Sasha slum communities in Lagos and Oyo States.

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But Omigbodun said the “slum communities in question displayed poor adherence to advisories on prevention issued by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) due to the peculiar nature of their communities.”

“Non-adherence to preventive measures and lack of protective kits such as sanitizers and facemasks could negatively affect efforts at curtailing the spread of the virus”, he added.

While calling on the Governors to engage in massive sensitisation in these and other slum communities, as well as distributing free facemasks and hand sanitizers free of charge, the don maintained that the distribution of palliatives must reach urban slum dwellers who have become very vulnerable owing to the lull in economic activities.

According to him, the primary healthcare professionals should be equipped with personal protection kits to prevent them from being exposed to infection before patients are transferred to test and isolation centres.

“The access and utilisation of health facilities in urban slums are not encouraging. With COVID-19, the governments of the two states need to do more about community sensitisation, the supply of palliatives, and provision of testing facilities in slum communities,” he stated.

He, however, lamented that health care professionals are not supplied with sufficient numbers of personnel protective equipment saying this is not good enough, considering the crucial role they are playing in health service delivery at the community level.

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