The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, on Saturday, said the scheme would continue to offer healthcare and environmental protection services to Nigerians.
Ibrahim gave the assurance at the inauguration of the 2021 NYSC National Environmental Sanitation Exercise, tagged: ”Clean Environment/Good Hygiene: Panacea For Good Health and Long Life”, at Kogi International Market, Lokoja.
Ibrahim noted that environmental sanitation had been recognised globally as one of the key requirements for prevention of diseases.
He stressed the need to step up the enlightenment of the general public especially the rural dwellers on the health risks caused by poor hygiene.
The director-general added that there was a dire need to particular focus on the prevention of food contamination, water, and the entire environment.
”To achieve this, every member of the community will have to be mobilised for participation in the exercise, which will feature sensitisation, disease surveillance and report of outbreak.
”Indeed, the call to action will promote cooperation and reduce indifference and ignorance. We can no longer afford to be indifferent to anything that will be detrimental to public health and safety,” he said.
Represented by the state Coordinator of NYSC, Olayiwola Lasaki, Ibrahim noted that the nationwide medical outreaches recently conducted under the NYSC Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD), showed that most of the ailments diagnosed were due to poor hygiene.
He stressed that efforts should be made to save more lives by empowering the people with adequate information on good grooming and environmental hygiene.
According to him, the NYSC sensitisation efforts will focus on regular environmental sanitation on fortnight basis, clean food and water intake, proper waste disposals, food and water protection from contamination and regular hand wash, among others.
He added that the public would be educated on decontamination of foods due to exposure, environment disinfection, handling of toxic materials, bush burning, pollution and tree planting to support health ecosystem.
”It is heart warming to note that communities that benefited from the recent NYSC HIRD medical outreaches have been sharing their testimonies on its enormous impacts.
”I wish to assure Nigerians that we will not rest on our oars as we continue to offer health and other services including environmental protection.
”I am particularly hopeful about the prospects of the exercise because with regular sanitation, malaria and other related diseases will be reduced to the barest minimum,” Ibrahim said.
He, therefore, commended the state governments, traditional rulers, community leaders and other relevant stakeholders for supporting the noble cause.
Earlier, Mustapha Abdulsalam, Assistant Director Transport, NYSC Abuja, said the essence of the sanitation exercise was to sensitise the general public on environmental hygienes.
”We want to make sure that every community is clean and neat to avoid outbreak of diseases, because cleanliness is next to godliness,” Abdulsalam said.
He urged Nigerians to always imbibe the habit of maintaining clean environment and personal hygienes to prevent outbreak of diseases.
Some of the corps members who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressed their delight in participating in the national sanitation exercise.
Nora Chukwu, Kassim Adamu, Chinelu Okorie, Taiwo Elebisi, Opeyemi Adeoti; from Abia, Niger, Ebonyi, Ondo and Kwara states respectively, commended the director-general for the initiative, and for the privilege in contributing their quota to nation building.
The corps members engaged in several sanitation exercises such as sweeping, cleaning of drainages, waste evacuation and cutting of grasses, among others.