The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has concluded arrangements to move COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to its six Area Councils with a view to improve community engagement and participation.

The Acting Secretary, FCTA Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr Mohammed Kawu, stated this while declaring open a two-day FCT EOC retreat and capacity building workshop on Tuesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the retreat was organised by the FCT Health and Human Serviced Secretariat in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO), Clinton Health Access Initiative and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Kawu said there was the need for improvement of community engagement and participation particularly at the six area councils as well as to implement and sustain 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 Service Secretariat and supporting structures will be critically improved with specific refer 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 center 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 council would take over while we supervise,” Kawu said.

The WHO County Representative, Dr Walter Mulombo, commended the Federal Government and the 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.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, NCDC Director-General, stated that the FCTA did a lot of work at the peak of the pandemic and tested over one per cent of the FCT population.

Represented by Dr Priscilla Ibekwe, Deputy Director at the NCDC, Ihekweazu, said the IAR had provided a great opportunity 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. (NAN)

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