The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has concluded arrangements to move the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to its six Area Councils, with a view to improving community engagement and participation.
Dr Mohammed Kawu, the Acting Secretary, FCTA Health and Human Services Secretariat, said this while declaring open a two-day FCT EOC retreat and capacity building workshop on Tuesday in Abuja.
Kawu said there was the need to improve community engagement and participation, particularly in the six area councils, while implementing and sustaining safety measures in schools.
“Today, nearly seven months after, the entire EOC response and supporting structures gather to reflect on the journey so far, collectively review and critically analyse the current response approach as well as collectively re-strategise towards an improved response.
“We have so far witnessed remarkable achievements across the nine response pillars, with many of our key performance indicators currently better than the national average. This is commendable; however, there are still a few challenges.
“It is, therefore, my sincere hope that the capacity of our EOC will be strengthened, in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended incident-management structure.
“And consensus building amongst key stakeholders within Health and Human Services Secretariat and supporting structures will be critically improved with specific reference on decentralisation of the response to the Area Councils.
“This is one of the criteria why we are here. We all know that the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 has directed that things should go down to the communities because you can’t fight against the pandemic without going to the communities.
“You cannot control things from the centre, neither from the state level nor federal level. Before now, we have been engaging the Area Councils. We have met the Chairmen of Area Councils and their health team discussing means of decentralising.
“This meeting will further discuss what we discussed with them. Next week or next two weeks, the Area Councils would take over while we supervise,” Kawu said.
Dr Walter Mulombo, the County Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), commended the Federal Government and FCTA for their efforts in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Represented by Mr Ibrahim Mamadu, Technical Officer, International Health Regulations, Nigeria, Mulombo also applauded the FCTA for organising the Intra Action Review (IAR) retreat, as recommended by the WHO.
According to him, FCTA is first in Nigeria to organise IAR and urged other states to emulate the development.
The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said that the FCTA did a lot of work at the peak of the pandemic and tested over one per cent of the FCT population.
Ihekweazu, who was represented by Dr Priscilla Ibekwe, Deputy Director at the NCDC, said the IAR had provided a great opportunity for stakeholders to reflect, learn and move forward in the fight against the pandemic.
He also commended the decentralisation of COVID-19 response in the territory and called on the FCTA to continue to support the Area Councils in that regard.
The retreat was organised by the FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, in collaboration with WHO, Clinton Health Access Initiative and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).