As part of measures aimed at protecting Kwara State students, the Kwara State Government has begun a week-long medical screening exercise for no fewer than 4500 food vendors ahead of the official take-off of its Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
The move, the government explained, has become imperative to ascertain the vendors’ health status, particularly during such times the country was battling with second wave and variant of coronavirus.
The state’s Focal Persons for the National Social Investment Programme, Bashirah AbdulRazaq, said that the exercise was to have clear records of the vendors’ health bill in ensuring the students were being fed by healthy people which would, in turn, eliminate any sort of communicable disease from food or vendors.
AbdulRazaq who disclosed that the exercise was in batches in a statement on Monday, assured applicants that more food vendors would be invited for the medical screening in the coming days.
“We are screening 4500 food vendors across the 16 local government areas for students of primary 1-6. The federal government will take care of primary 1-3 students while the state government will take care of primary 4-6 students,” she said.
Addressing newsmen on the sideline of the exercise in Ilorin, the Administration Manager, Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre, Ilorin, Yemi Abegunde, said that the exercise was to ascertain the health status of all candidates for the state home-grown school feeding programme.
“This exercise, as you are aware that the state government wants to start feeding school children is to screen food vendors. The government wants to ascertain if they have any ailment that could affect the children (students) that they will be catering for,” Ajegunle said.
“We want to know if they have liver problem, if they are HIV positive, if they have tuberculosis, if they have chest or long problem that could affect the health of the children they will be providing the food for.
“Our assignment (screening) here is to find out if the food vendors have ailments that could affect the school children. Once we observe anything from any one of them, we will remove.”
Abegunde, however, said that the government would not enlist those discovered not medically fit into the school feeding programme.
Speaking after undergoing her screening, Kemi Tejumola, who is food vendor from Omu-Aran Irepodun Local government expressed delight over the seamless screening process which she said was necessary for the interest of pupils and students who would be the major beneficiaries of the school feeding programme.
“We are doing this screening as food vendors candidates for the Kwara State school programme. They have taken our blood sample, urine sample and we did chest screening too,” she said.
“They did not collect anything from us. All the tests we have done are free of charge.”
On her part, Oluwatoyin Aransinola from Aranorin Irepodun local said that the screening exercise was seamless and important in order to ascertain the health status of all food vendors before the start of the school feeding programme.
The candidates commended Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq led administration for the school feeding programme which they said would improve schools enrolment and reduce the burden on the parents.