The Commissioner for health in Oyo State, Dr. Bashir Bello has explained that factors like stigmatization and fear is responsible for the reduction in the rate COVID-19 tests conducted in the state.
Dr. Bello revealed this while reacting to questions from newsmen during the sensitization journalists for COVID-19 held at Kakanfo Inn on Tuesday.
“We are meant to give people initiative. As you have seen that the problem of stigmatization is one of the problems that we are having. You could now see that the few positively tested ones are refusing to give us their contacts. First of all, they don’t want the public to know that they have tested positive. Two, since they know it has affected you, you are now pointing to other people.
“So what actually happen is that we have left those centres, about 27 centres out of the 33 LCDAs so that people can willfully go without the problem of being stigmatized. It’s a place you can walk to without people knowing you. It’s like the HIV in those days that we were begging people to do test. HIV has now become a common thing even every pregnant woman is ready to get tested.
“So this COVID-19 issue has not been… although we still know we have it. For example, we are having high rises in the positivity rate which the government is steering up to and thanks to God we are not unprepared. We have had a very good output. A reliable arrest of the case but it is just like the motto of the boy scout which is: we are prepared. We are only telling the public that COVID-19 is still very much around and we implore each and everyone of us to at their own free will go and get tested. Nobody will report that because we only send you the result through a coded number and a coded message to your personal phone number which you will have given in the form which is a fairly confidential way,” he said.
He also revealed that Oyo State is the only state where residents can undergo COVID-19 test free of charge noting that other states now charge various amounts of money.
He however stated that the only set of people who pay to undergo COVID-19 test in Oyo State are those who are planning to travel out of the country and they need a proof to certify that they are COVID-19 free.
He also revealed that the flout of COVID-19 protocols during the EndSARS protests which rocked the country over the last few weeks is no doubt going to increase the rate of transmission of the virus but noted that the state is prepared to tackle it because permanent structures have been put in place to fight the virus on a long term.