Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala says traditional rulers are major stakeholders in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
This is because they operate at the grassroots level, being closer to their subjects.
Dr Okpala said this while addressing the Executive Council of Anambra Traditional Rulers on COVID-19 preventive measures at Government House, Awka.
The commissioner noted that the recently inaugurated Molecular Lab COVID-19 Diagnosis Testing Centre at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Awka could test not less than 2,250 samples daily.
We want to get the support of our royal fathers, to make sure that they help us to mobilise members of the community.
“So, Ndi Anambra will avail themselves of this great opportunity that we currently have in the state and go for testing.
“Our prayer is that citizens should utilize this opportunity. The test we did two days ago came out within 24hours and we are moving on to treat those individuals who tested positive.
He said that people with certain symptoms; cough, fever and individuals who really want to know their status should go for the test.
“It must not really be anybody that is sick, if you mix up in public and you feel like running the test, please go and get tested immediately.
“In communities, every political ward has five members of the Ward COVID-19 Action Team; these individuals are helping us with surveillance.
“So in the 326 wards right now, we have those that will help get people for testing.’’
He explained that his ministry was intensifying community based search following the state government establishment of COVID-19 Task Forces in the 21 Local Government Areas in the state.
Dr Okpala urged the traditional rulers to help spread the message of testing in their communities and as well as inform them that early detection of an infection has helped.
Chairman Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe commended the state government’s determination and commitment in fighting and containing the pandemic.
Igwe Achebe appealed traditional rulers to take government directives on COVID-19 burials, other activities very serious.
According to Obi of Onitsha, all royal ceremonies in the state have been suspended by the council of traditional rulers till further notice in compliance with government directives.
He explained that the commissioner with his team has carried out testing and collection of samples in his palace twice and called on people to also use the opportunity to know their status.
Special Adviser (SA) to the Governor on Traditional and Herbal Medicine, Dr Onyeka Ibezim emphasised on the importance of natural food, which help to boost the immune system.