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At times of emergencies, national assets are mobilized to be part of collective struggle to tackle various crises, this President Muhammadu Buhari knows very well, thus his call for the mobilization of National assets to contain the novel Corona Virus or COVID -19 was loud. At the drop of the hat, the National Coordinator of Community and Social Development Project (CSDP), Dr Abdulkarim Obaje swung into action. He mobilized the CSDP human and material resources for this national assignment with tripartite impact; local, national, and global. The aim is to reduce the pandemic’s life span in Nigeria.
CSDP has the capacity to join forces with other organizations to chase out COVID -19 in Nigeria. In the words of Dr. Obaje, “the CSDP has many Health Centres and Community Halls that could be used as Isolation Centres or where palliatives can be delivered to poor and vulnerable citizens while maintaining social distance”.
One of the aftermaths of any crises is depression. Like war, individuals that encounter health crisis experience one form of depression or another, which if not well managed, could lead to another crisis. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), believes that Primary Health Care provision and Community Health Revitalization can do the magic in events of depression and the CSDP has answers to these. The CSDP is in fact in a vantage position to assist in this area. So far, the CSDP has facilitated the construction and equipping of 1,980 Primary Health Care Centres that has been providing basic health needs for people in the communities.
Already, CSDP Programme Officers (POs) Information, Education, Communication and Training; and the POs Gender and Vulnerable have been assigned to operate the CSDP helplines purposely created to provide veritable information and psychosocial support to citizens during this period and beyond in states where CSDP is operational. Now, many State Agencies have activated the psychosocial support with community counselling.
Unfortunately, COVID -19 has entered community transmission stage in some locations in Nigeria. However, the assuring news is that CSDP is deeply rooted with structures at the community level to contain the virus from spreading basically through awareness and providing structure for delivering palliatives. The project’s structure has committees that manage its implementation at the community and group levels. CSDP is thus bringing to the table, eight thousand, two hundred (8,200) Community Project Management Committees (CPMCs) and Group Project Management Committees (GPMCs), elected by community members and can serve as agents for awareness creation on COVID -19. These committees can also serve as points of palliatives collection and distribution. These are existing committees that are not ad-hoc and can be contacted at any time to provide records of activities. So, when it was very urgent for the Federal Government to provide a quick Palliatives to Lagos, FCT and Ogun states, CSDP structure came handy and did not disappoint.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) COVID-19 protocols include strict hygiene, regular washing of hands from running water amongst others. The question would be do we have enough clean water? We may not have enough but the CSDP has assisted communities and groups with over 4000 hand pump boreholes that supply clean water to poor communities and vulnerable groups thereby increasing source of clean water in Nigeria, this has a subtle way of driving the COVID 19 virus away.
CSDP vehicles from the coordinating office, the Federal Project Support Unit (FPSU) and the 30 participating states and the FCT have been deployed to either deliver on logistics or other activities that aims to support the fight against COVID-19. If FPSU Head Driver, Paul Musa is not driving to Maiduguri sighting the fringes of Sambisa forest, then Otaba Ignatuis of Cross River State Agency is doing same manoeuvring through the Obudu Ranch to deliver logistics.
By the time the nation is free of COVID 19 pandemic, which we earnestly pray and a review of how we did it as a nation is rolled out, the name CSDP would be amongst organisations who dropped the hat to bring the pandemic to its knees.