• No infected participant in 37 camps nationwide, NYSC insists
• Foundation advocates support for breastfeeding
About 20 prospective corps members have tested positive for COVID-19 in Kano, a reliable source has confirmed to The Guardian. The source disclosed that the would-be corps members were detected following tests at the Kusala Dam NYSC orientation camp in Karaye Local Government Area.
The affected persons have been taken to an isolation centre. 1,900 members were deployed to undergo the compulsory national youth service in Kano.
Kano State NYSC coordinator, Hajia Aisha Tata, denied the development, insisting: “The information about COVID-19 positives in Kano NYSC is false.”
But the state COVID-19 coordinator, Dr. Tijjani Hussain, confirmed the development. Although he was not specific on the number, he told journalists that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) screened prospective participants and detected positive cases.
Deputy director, Press, NYSC headquarters, Mr. Emeka Mgbemene, who did not deny the incident, explained however that those who tested positive were prospective and not full-fledged NYSC members.
He told The Guardian on telephone: “There is no person in the NYSC orientation camp nationwide who has tested positive to COVID-19. The procedure in the NYSC orientation is that everyone, including NYSC staff, is subjected to the coronavirus test conducted by NCDC, meaning that prospective corps members and staff can only be admitted into the camp if they test negative.”
Similarly, the management of NYSC, yesterday, insisted there are no COVID-19 positive corps members in any of its 37 orientation camps nationwide.
NYSC spokesperson, Adenike Adeyemi, who disclosed this in Abuja, debunked news making the round that some participants tested positive for the virus.
He said: “Management wishes to state that the caption and body of the story are very misleading. Please, note that before any prospective corps member is admitted into the 37 camps, they must undergo COVID-19 test. Only those that test negative are admitted. The same rule applies to camp officials. Those that test positive are handed over to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for treatment and management.
“It is pertinent to state that there is a gulf of difference between a corps member and a prospective corps member. One becomes a corps member after admittance to the camp, registers and administered the oath of national allegiance.”
He added: “In view of the foregoing explanation, there is no red alert in NYSC orientation camps, as all corps members, as well as camp officials admitted in the camps are COVID-19 negative.”
This came as Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) said it would help mothers of premature and ill neonates in Nigeria lactate successfully and breastfeed their babies.
Consequently, the Foundation urged the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to draw a new guideline specifically on feeding infants.
Speaking at an event to mark the 2021 World Breastfeeding Week in Abuja, WBFA founder and president, Toyin Saraki, called for the promotion of breastfeeding as the ideal first nutrition in the country.
Represented by WBFA national programme coordinator, Dr Otun Adewale, Saraki explained that the hormone (oxytocin) released during breastfeeding encourages the uterus to return to its regular size more quickly and reduces postpartum bleeding.
Also, while marking the Day in Kano, the nutrition team of the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF), led by Olumiji Oyedokun, said recent findings show that COVID-19 positive mothers could safely breastfeed without the risk of passing the virus to their babies.