Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha has distributed 28 motorcycles to Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNO) in the state to strengthen disease surveillance in communities.
The motorcycles were donated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to the state.
At the handover ceremony at the Specialist Hospital Umuguma in Owerri West, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr (Mrs) Angela Uwakwem, who represented the governor, expressed gratitude to the WHO for the gesture.
She said the gesture would assist the Imo government in her efforts to enhance surveillance and build a highly sensitive and robust system toward rapid detection and response to diseases of epidemic potential.
Uwakwem advised the DSNOs to take precautionary measures in the handling and use of the machines.
Earlier, the State Coordinator of WHO, Dr Sebastian Okwu, said the donation was in recognition of the surveillance role the DSNOs played through visits to communities and health facilities.
He said the officers also acted as links to key community informants as well as facilitate timely investigation and response to outbreaks where they occurred.
“WHO recognises that surveillance is at the core of disease control, elimination and eradication efforts. Surveillance enables the monitoring and assessment of impact of strategies and activities aimed at reducing diseases burden. It enables the tracking of progress towards specified goals and serves as an early warning system for impending public health emergencies,” he said.
Okwu said that 28 DSNOs across the local governments in the state served over 2.73 million persons, especially highly vulnerable populations at risk of acquiring infectious diseases.
He said they also attended to events of public health importance.
The WHO coordinator called for proper use and maintenance of the machines to ensure that Imo people attained the highest standards of health.
One of the DSNOs, Mr K.C Okonkwo, on behalf of the others, thanked WHO for the benevolence.
He pledged, on behalf of Imo Government, that they would put the motorcycles to good use and ensure their proper maintenance.