The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has revealed why it is proving really difficult for the agency to effectively enforce COVID-19 guidelines across all states of the federation.
The Acting Director of Prevention Programmes and Knowledge Management at the NCDC, Dr Chinwe Ochu, said that states had a level of autonomy that made it difficult for the agency to enforce its COVID-19 guidelines.
Dr Ochu who revealed this at a webinar on Friday organised by Nigeria Health Watch said that some state governments have relaxed NCDC guidelines such as physical distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19.
He said; “Initially when we started communicating our messages (to the people), we adopted the top-bottom approach. We developed our messages and we let the states adapt them to their own contexts. But we had to move away from that to the bottom-up approach by engaging the communities to develop their own risk messages and we have discovered that this is more impactful.
“We live in a society where almost everything is politicised and we have come to see health being politicised and we had to handle this politics regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been a very big challenge.
“Health is on a concurrent list, so states are given autonomy to decide what they want to do for their own people. When we come out as a national agency and we say people should do this and not do that, the states still have some level of autonomy that makes it difficult for us (as an agency) to enforce whatever it is. And of course, as an agency, we don’t enforce whatever it is that we share with the people,” he concluded.
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