NYSC pledges to protect corps members as camp reopens

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has assured Nigerian of its readiness to protect corps against COVID-19 during the forthcoming orientation exercise.

NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, who disclosed this in a media chat with journalists in Abuja, noted that the NYSC has put in place essential measures in all orientation camps in line with the protocols for the safety of corps members and other members of the camp community.

He added that the measures have been endorsed by the NCDC during its inspection of the Camps.

The DG noted that as at Thursday, 5th November 2020, a total 66,000 eligible graduates had been mobilized for the 2020 Batch ‘8’ Service Year.

“They will all participate in the Orientation exercise, which has been planned to take place in three streams for ease of compliance with the COVlD-19 protocols,” Ibrahim said. “The dates for the three Streams are as follows:

“Following the ease of the COVlD-19 lockdown and the green light from the Presidential Task Force for NYSC to make preparations for safe resumption of our Orientation Course, the Scheme has been working in liaison with the NCDC to achieve the desired outcomes.

“As you are already aware, the Orientation exercises will resume on 10lh November 2020, starting with the 2020 Batch ‘3′ Stream 1A.

“Stream 1A Tuesday, 101” to Monday, 30‘h November 2020; Stream 18 Thursday, 3rd to Tuesday, 22nd December 2020; and Stream 2 Tuesday, 5m to Monday, 25th January 2020.

He added the number of prospective corps members has been limited to a manageable size.

Ibrahim explained that the NYSC, in partnership with other bodies, played a significant role in controlling the spread of the HIV/AIDS and combating the Ebola Virus Disease.

“The responsiveness of the Scheme to prevailing national needs has been brought to light again with our role in the current battle to contain the Coronavirus pandemic,” Ibrahim said.

“Driven by the high premium we place on the welfare of Corps members and our Staff, we took the proactive step of suspending the 2020 Batch ‘A‘ Stream One Orientation Course to avert the spread of the virus to our Orientation Camps. The camps were also prepared for use as Isolation Centres in furtherance of our contributions to the overall efforts to control the pandemic.”

He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a directive to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to ensure the enrolment of corps members in the National Health Insurance Scheme.

The NYSC DG noted that the NYSC has intensified liaison with security agencies to ensure the security of corps members wherever they are serving in the country.

“I wish to use this opportunity to again express our gratitude to the security agencies and other stakeholders for their support. Furthermore, the scheme has concluded arrangement with the NHIS for the enrolment of corps members into the NHIS in line with a presidential directive. We have also expended huge resources on critical health needs of corps members, including footing of medical bills.”

In his remarks, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazu, noted that the compulsory COVID-19 test would be administered to corps members free of charge on arrival at their various orientation camps.

“We have found a way to chart a new course to ensure that the NYSC Orientation camps open safely.

The NCDC DG warned that a second wave of COVID-19 infection is possible in Nigeria.

“There is a need to implement safety guidelines. We have worked with relevant stakeholders to work out ways to safely reopen camps,” Ihekweazu said.

“Confident that the camps will be opened safely over the coming weeks.

Ihekwazu urged the corps members to see the COVID-l9 prevention measures as a personal responsibility.

“Our corps members are young, mobile populations, who have been shown by our social data to have the lowest risk perception across age demographics however, epidemiological data has also shown a high no of infection among young people.

“The increasing number of COVID-19 cases in other parts of the world is a reminder that the virus is still with us, and a second wave of infections is possible in Nigeria if we do not take collective responsibility

“Following our review of lessons learned thus far in response to the pandemic, we have worked with relevant stakeholders and partners to develop guidelines for safe reopening of our economy.

According to him, “Readiness assessments have been conducted across NYSC camps to ensure that all camps meet the key performance indicators (KPIs) of COVID-19 preventive measures and are ready for safe opening.”

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