The Oyo State Task on COVID-19, on Wednesday, activated three sites for COVID-19 samples’ collection in different communities within the Ibadan metropolis.
The Task Force stated that the community testing initiative was intended to test about 10,000 samples across the state.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism and chairman of the media and sensitization committee of the Task Force, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, kicked off the community testing drive at the Alegongo Primary School, Lagelu West LCDA, Ibadan.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that two other samples’ collection sites in Olomi Primary School, beside Adaramagbo Primary Health Centre and Agbogbon CHC, began testing on Wednesday.
While speaking at the kick off of the community testing drive, Olatubosun said the Governor Makinde administration believes that the health of the citizenry is paramount and that it would pursue the commitment to the sound health of the citizenry with vigour.
Olatubosun, who maintained that the community testing is free of charge, encouraged people from all the communities to come out and get themselves tested whenever the team moved to their communities, noting that whoever tested positive would be taken care of by the state government.
He said: “Concerning the issue of payment, this is an emergency period. We are not contemplating making people pay at all. We are treating this as an emergency. No amount spent on this is a waste. No matter how expensive this programme is, we believe the citizenry will contribute meaningfully to the productivity of the state and, invariably, increase the Gross Domestic Product of the state when they are healthy. And by so doing, it will improve the economy of the state further. That is why we are doing everything possible to make sure that the people have access to medical care, most especially anything that has to do with the issue of COVID-19 in the state.
“All those people that present themselves for testing will get it free of charge. That is our stand.
“We started with selective testing and later moved on to Drive-Through/Walk-Through testing Adamasingba, where we asked people to drive in and test. But we are reaching a stage where we have to go to the community and that is why we are decentralizing testing, which we call community testing. So, we are now moving to communities, local governments where we have encouraged people from all the communities to come out and get themselves tested. Those people who test positive will be taken care of by the government.
“The essence of this is that we cannot sit down somewhere and be assessing people. In figures, you will realise that Oyo State is rated 4th or 5th but we have tested far more than many states. There are some states that have not tested up to 1,000 and they have number of cases close to Oyo’s. We are doing this for us to have adequate and exact data to work with in Oyo State and arrest the spread of the virus from the community level.”
The Incident Manager of the state’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Dr. Taiwo Ladipo, said that the community testing drive was Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force’s response to the rising number of cases, noting that 10 facilities across 10 local governments will be activated in the first round of community testing.
“We have 10 facilities that are opening up now and this is one of them. Those facilities are across the state. So, we want to use that to be able to get the numbers and be sure that we have enough tests done to make decisions and see how best to follow through with our interventions as it is right now.
“We have 10 facilities across 10 LGAs. Ibadan South East, Ibadan Oluyole and Lagelu are starting today. We will be having Jericho and Ibadan North joining in on Friday. Next Monday, we will have Itesiwaju, Oyo and Ogbomosho. And next Wednesday, Ibarapa North and Saki will be on board. With that, we hope that we will have the spread across the state and should be make informed decision from there. We are targeting 10,000 people.”
The caretaker chairman of Lagelu West LCDA, Mr. Kazeem Gbadamosi Adeyemo, appreciated the governor for kicking off the community testing drive in his domain, urging residents to come out and get tested.