I have embarked on a personal fact finding mission in the last 48 hours trying to evaluate the response efforts of the stakeholder in Osun State to combat COVID-19 that is a global health crisis.
Osun State may be seating on a time bomb if nothing is done in earnest. My findings are highlighted bellow:
(1) The State’s preparedness and response plan is still rudimentary and needs to be expedited. The state actors needs a roadmap in managing a pandemic of this magnitude as this is not the best time to pay leap service or politics. However, we need to strategically respond to the pandemic, ensure efective and efficient procurement and guide evaluation and monitoring.
(2) The steering committee constituted by the state goverment are needed to do more. The steering committee needs to be expanded to incorporate stakeholders (Directorare of Planning MOH, Epidemiology departments, LGHAs, Gatekeepers of Stakeholders, CSOs). These stakeholders can reach the grassroots effectively. We ask they be included in the core team as a matter of urgency.
(3) Now that Osun State has recorded its first case, the following stakeholders should be included in reaching out to all sundry through their capacity development activity; Healthworkers, Media personnel, CSOs, Gatekeepers of interest groups. We need to identify and train a volunteer Corp for this response.
(4) The toll free line that can facilitate interractions with the masses has been tried with and is not working. This is critical and essential. Please make this work as a matter of urgency. People need to know where to access cares in Osun State. There is no public information about this.
(5) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Healthworkers are not available at the Holding Center equipped in the State Hospital Asubiaro Osogbo.
(6) We urgently need intermittent briefing center by the State Government to inform the masses on their activities, achivements, challenges and the way forward as required by standard epidemic response protocol.
(7) The State needs to know that there is need for technical reviewing meetings by the team and to share outcomes of these briefing with us weekly through the media.
It is very pertinent for the CSOs and all Stakeholders to come together and use their skills and networks to call the goverment to improve on what is currently in place so we can have a vibrant State response.
Together we can help the state win this crisis. Let’s kindly make our recommendations so we can come up with a white paper on this.
Osun State Coordinator, Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Osun State.