•Alhazan Abiodun Rilwan
The news broke on the 17th January, 2022, as two people were proclaimed dead from the outbreak of Lassa Fever at the Gaa Agbaruru, a farming village at Iwere-Ile, Iwajowa local government of Oyo State.
So many were already admitted at the general hospital at Iganna, the neighboring community, where the efforts of the medical workers were already at the thinning end.
The Oyo State government, under the leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde, swung into action and established a committee of experts in the health, education, social and other aspects of life to restore normalcy to the affected community; this was important because of the number of cases of those already down with the fever and the panic raised afterward, which led to pupils of the only school in the village, Agbaruru, Gaa Agbaruru Community Basic School, Agbaruru, Iwere-Ile, fleeing.
Among the members of the committee set up by Engr. Seyi Makinde in January of 2022 to support the Dr. Bode Ladipo’s Ministry of Health and other intervening agencies was the Oyo State Community and Social Development Agency (OYCSDA), which was represented by its General Manager, Mr. Jelili Salau.
The purpose of the OYCSDA at the crucial moment was to bring forth infrastructural interventions to the people of the community and find further support for the dwellers to nip such outbreaks in the bud in the future.
OYCSDA swing into action immediately the tide of the contagious disease abated and constructed a standard Health Center and a motorized borehole which was to cater for the provision of portable water and avert spread of diseases through intake of contaminated river water.
The agency went further by providing psychosocial materials for the pupils of the primary school, an effort that led to the return of all the pupils that had earlier fled the community and drew many others to the school from neighboring villages.
Among the materials provided as intervention to Gaa Agbaruru Community Basic School, Agbaruru, Iwere-Ile are teaching aids, recreational facilities, exercise books, to mention but few.
According to the General Manager, OYCSDA, Mr Jelili Salau, “we are very proud today to tell you that the intervention at Agbaruru community has yielded immense results for the people of the community, for the first time, the community had a health center with a standard motorized borehole which has made access to healthcare easy to the people of the community and those in neighboring communities as well.
“The intervention, with the blessing of the Governor, also saw our agency providing psychosocial support to the Community Basic School, Agbaruru, Iwere-Ile, where our team of experts in the field gave the teachers and parents soul-lifting talks about the need to encourage the pupils are brought back to school to safeguard their futures.
“To this end, material supports were provided, among which are teaching aids, recreational facilities and exercise books, these we believe would ease the work of teachers and encourage good learning environment for the students as well.
“On our recent visit to the school has shown a prosperous development in the school as all the pupils that fled during the Lassa Fever outbreak last year have returned and others who have seen the swings and other recreational facilities that were provided have left other schools to join the school at Agbaruru.”
The Headteacher of Community Basic School, Agbaruru, Iwere-Ile, Mr Johnson Olatunde Oyeleye could not hide his joy when he spoke with the team that was at the school on inspection, as he appreciated the Seyi Makinde-led Government and OYCSDA for the intervention which he said has restored the confidence of the pupils in education.
“We thought all hopes were lost when the Lassa fever outbreak happened and our pupils were no more coming to school, I could not blame them, the parents feared for their children not to be infected, some people were reported to have died but with the intervention of the State government, the alarm was contained, today our people in the community have access to portable water and a health center.
“Our school is one of the best in the local government today because of the provision of psychosocial materials and facilities to the school, our students almost are rather to come to school during the weekend just to play among themselves with the swing and other facilities donated by the OYCSDA, we are grateful,” he said.
OYCSDA gave the support under the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) Oyo Programme 2022 Micro Project, with support from the Oyo State government, the World Bank and the Federal Government.
•Alhazan Abiodun Rilwan is the Project Public Relations Officer (Project PRO), OYCSDA