Barely five years after the outbreak of Ebola, Nigeria, like the rest of the world, is confronted with another pandemic that threatens our common existence. The dangers presented by the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are potent and lethal. Economies of the world are groveling at the outbreak of the pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives globally. Its effects do not look to be cooling off anytime soon.
Covid – 19 is an infectious disease that affects the lungs with resultant coughing, fever and shortness of breath. It is a pandemic ravaging countries across the world. In Nigeria, virtually all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), have announced various measures including a “stay at home” order to effectively check the spread of the virus.
While the virus continues to spread, sweeping across states, the situation has also presented an opportunity for individuals and organisations to make one form of contribution and the other. The National Youth Service Corps have joined the national crusade to halt the spread of the virus. From the north to south, east to west, corps members have rendered one contribution or the other as the Federal Government grapples to contain the virus.
FG turns NYSC orientation camps to isolation centres
For example, in view of the alarming rate in which the virus keeps spreading globally and Nigeria in particular, the management of the NYSC, in its determination to effectively contribute towards national effort at stemming the tide of the pandemic promptly complied with the Presidential directive by releasing its Orientation Camps facilities nationwide to serve as isolation centres for COVID-19.
The scheme has made adequate arrangements and provided relevant facilities that will enhance effective utilisation of the orientation camps as isolation centres for the treatment of citizens confirmed to have been infected with the virus
Corps medical personnel joins fight against pandemic
The current national effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 and effectively address the pandemic is another clarion call for members of the scheme. This explains the overwhelming response by youth corps members across the country as they consider their involvement as a patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria.
Already, in line with the cardinal objectives of the scheme, Corps Medical Personnel across the states and FCT do not only engage themselves in various activities in hospitals designated for this purpose, they have also been involved in organised enlightenment campaigns through radio, television and other online media platforms to sensitise Nigerians on the adverse effects of the disease and the need to adhere to safety measures outlined by relevant health bodies to stem the tides of the pandemic.
Corps members have been the vanguards advocating for the “sit at home” order considered most effective tool for checking the spread of the virus.
Corps members donate face masks, hand sanitisers
They (Corps members) have been very active in the activities of COVID-19 Task Forces set up by States and FCT, Abuja. In Nasarawa State, Corps Fashion Designers under the Culture and Tourism ( Fashion Design) component of the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme of the Scheme produced and distributed a customized face mask in large quantity as part of its support towards the effort of the State Government aimed at stemming the tide of COVID-19 Pandemic in the State.
Similarly, in Oyo State corps members under the Cosmetology (SAED) Skill Group produced and distributed hand sanitisers to members of the public as it’s contribution towards combating the disease in the State. Likewise, in Kwara State, a group of corps members produced and freely distributed hand sanitisers and packaged liquid soaps during a state wide campaign organised to sensitise members of the general public on the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Bayelsa State, corps member Enokela Eicha Anyebe (BY/19B/0185 also produced and distributed hand sanitisers to Children, youths and the aged while sensitising them separately in four different communities in the State. Corps member Anyebe also donated same products to his colleagues; corps medical personnel who are actively involved in the activities of the State Task Force on COVID-19.
Corps donates allowance to Cross River state
In Cross River State, a Corps member; Hodo Bassey (CR)19C/3283) donated his monthly allowance to the State Government as part of his selfless contribution to the State’s effort towards mobilising funds to provide logistics needed to address COVID-19 Pandemic in the State.
Another corps member; Adefisoye Adeshola Joseph (OG/19B/1322 from Ogun State equally produced and donated hand washing liquid Soaps to Ogun State Government Committee incharge of the control of COVID-19 Pandemic in the State.
On the other hand, NYSC Editorial and Publicity Community Development Service Group in Sokoto State focused on the production of an audio-visual jingle to sensitise members of the general public on the need to adhere to safety measures and other hygienic best practices advocated by relevant health bodies to check the spread of COVID-19 virus in the country.
The jingle is currently trending online.
NYSC will continue to contribute to national development
As a government youth programme that stood the test of time and still waxing strong after 46 years, the NYSC scheme will continue to serve as a veritable national platform where the youth population in Nigeria look up to youth corps members as role models; drawing inspiration and imbibing positive and higher values of life.
These attributes of the NYSC will no doubt continue to convince every administration in Nigeria of its enduring relevance to the country’s national unity and development agenda.
President Muhammadu Buhari had recently while receiving a delegation of Corps members at the State House on a “thank you” visit over increase in Corps Allowance, restated his commitment to strengthen and sustain the NYSC scheme.
Engage corps members in the distribution of relief materials
While appreciating government at various levels for their abiding faith towards the effective utilisation of abundant resources available in the scheme, NYSC management wishes to advise government at all levels to consider the engagement of corps members in the distribution of relief materials to citizens and other relevant assignments.
The citizens across the country who traditionally see corps members as agents of positive change and development will naturally cooperate with them thereby enhancing a hitch-free distribution of the relief materials and overall success of the national effort to address the challenges associated with COVID-19 Pandemic.
The NYSC Scheme is optimistic of positive outcome as we jointly work assiduously towards stemming the tide of COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria.
Scheme has remained relevant to nation building
The NYSC scheme has since inception contributed immensely to the development agenda of the nation. It has continued to satisfy the needs of the nation at the grassroots, state and national levels; meeting vital manpower requirements and overall objective of various health and other critical sectors of our national economy.
The Community Development Service programme of the Scheme is primarily aimed at harnessing the skills of graduate youth corps members into an effective machinery for national development.
Under this programme, corps members are usually organised to work with local communities to promote and execute development projects as well as complement the activities of government at all levels in the stride for national development.
In conjunction with various national and international organisations, NYSC played leading role in the successful implementation and achievements of the objectives of a number of national programmes aimed at eradicating diseases of public health concerns such as the Guinea Worm eradication programme, National Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS project, National Roll-Back Malaria programme, Campaign against Ebola virus and Lassa fever diseases, polio eradication, yellow fever immunisation campaigns, cholera, cerebrospinal meningitis and other national immunisation programmes among many others.
In clear terms, NYSC presence in the rural communities across the country provide good opportunity to identify national development challenges and commit necessary resources to tackle them. This also underscores the philosophy behind the founding objective of the scheme which seeks ” to develop in the Nigerian youths attitude of mind acquired through shared experience and suitable training which will make them more amenable to mobilization in the national interest.”
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