The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has appealed to traditional rulers in the northern part of the country to partner with the federal government in the fight against Covid-19.
The major areas of interest include efforts to halt the community spread of the disease in the country and the troubling aspect of stigmatization and discrimination of Covid-19 patients.
He made the appeal during an emergency online meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee (NTLC) on Primary Health Care (PHC) delivery, organized by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), in Abuja.
The meeting was convened to discuss issues around the ravaging COVID-19.
He described the high level of discrimination and stigmatization of Covid-19 patients as “an unfortunate development,” expressing optimism that the leadership of the traditional rulers will also come to bear in reversing this ugly trend.
While commending the efforts of the traditional rulers in creating awareness to their subjects on issues relating to the Covid-19, the Minister said: “Your Highnesses, it has therefore become imperative that as our respected traditional leaders, safeguard your communities by mobilizing, sensitizing reporting and monitoring activities within your domains to ensure preventive measures are being adhered. Protection of the people is a divine responsibility bestowed on our royal fathers.”
Ehanire stressed that the spread of the Covid-19 has gotten to community transmission, hence, the need for both the government and traditional institution to work together to salvage the situation.
“We are faced with a pandemic that is ravaging through our communities, killing our people, hence, the need for us to work together to save our communities and our dear country from the grasp of this deadly virus,” he said.
The Minister, specially, commended His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, for chairing the emergency meeting of the NTLC, saying: “I am optimistic that with your involvement in ongoing control efforts, we will soon stop community transmission of coronavirus.”
The Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, applauded the northern traditional leaders for their support for the health programmes of the government.
Shuaib recalled the role of the traditional rulers in the fight against polio and in curbing the spread of Ebola in the country.
He, therefore, commended them for taking proactive steps to limit the spread of COVID ‐ 19 in their communities, but however, pleaded for greater efforts to stop the community transmission of the virus.
“We can use our comparative advantage working in our communities with the community ‐ based health workers to make sure that the correct messages around Covid-19 actually reach our community members.
“We want to appreciate the NTLC members for all of the works that they have been doing to support government since the outbreak of this disease,” the NPHCDA Executive Director, said.
He appealed to the royal fathers to work together to mitigate rumours, stigma and discrimination against COVID-19 patients in the country.