The National Council of Women Society (NCWS) on Monday met with the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora.
The team consisting Natal Care Programme officers was led by Mrs. Mary Sodipo who represented the National President of the society.
She said the aim of the visit was to drive home their proposal for a nationwide ward level preliminary mass testing as a prelude towards the containment of corona virus spread at the community level.
She also called on the Minister to include its members in the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
She said, “women, especially our president should also be carried along so that we can relate properly with the grass roots level.”
In a statement issued on Monday by the Director of Media and Public Relations of the Ministry, Olujimi Oyetomi, the Society expressed concern over the welfare of women in the era of COVID-19 especially those at the grassroot.
“We are very much concerned about the Nigerian women in this era of COVID-19 we realized that a lot of women at the grass roots, close to us and around us are yet to believe that COVID-19 is in existence.
“On reproductive health, we find out that a lot of our women cannot access natal care at that level, especially at this time where there is hardship or recession and economic challenges concerning receiving natal care. We have therefore come here to discuss with you sir, how we can collaborate and synergize so that at the grass roots, our women can receive adequate care”, she said.
Amb. Boniface A. Anibodu who presented a proposal for a nationwide ward level preliminary mass testing as a prelude towards the containment of corona virus spread at the community level through which the NCWS seeks to partner FMOH on dissemination of COVID-19 protocols and messages to the grassroots.
In his response, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora stated that the Federal Government has been in collaboration, interaction and partnership with all sectors of the society in the fight against COVID-19 and will not want to leave the National Council of Women Society (NCWS) out.
He expressed gratitude to the team for what they have been doing in terms of support for Government and support for the society in moving the nation forward.
He noted that this is the kind of partnership that the Government looks forward to, adding that the government needs the collaboration of everyone in fighting the virus. “Government does not exist in abstract it is the people that make up government,” he said.
“On wanting to be represented at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), the response activity of Government, Dr. Mamora said everybody is involved, it is an inter-ministerial thing , we have several ministries involved, we have sub-committees that have been brought in because everybody has a role to play, the traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders, women groups, road transport groups, and in the various sub-committees in the PTF because we need to pass information; knowledge is power, and knowledge comes through information. We talk about non-pharmaceutical interventions which are the critical information that we are supposed to pass to all our people, everybody is important and relevant in the fight against the pandemic, we have never had anything like this in human history. We have this collaboration and partnership with all sectors of the society, people bringing in suggestions and helping in information dissemination which is very critical” the statement added
According to the statement, the Minister while addressing the issue of natal care, said it is paramount in the health sector
“We can’t be talking about health care without bringing women in; we talk of maternal care and infant care, so it is important we involve women at that level; if we don’t get it right at the level of the primary care which is the foundation, then we cannot get it right at the tertiary level and that is why the countries that have done well in health care delivery got it right at the primary care level, we are doing everything to strengthen that base.
“He commended the visiting delegation of NCWS for their good work, stating that government is open to more suggestions , we do not claim to have all the monopoly, we are there to listen and see what we can offer in return for greater results.
“Dr. Mamora also charged the NCWS delegation to forward copies of their proposal to the National Primary Health Care (NPHCDA) as well as the National Orientation Agency (NOA) so as to facilitate advantages of inter-agencies collaboration” the statement read.