The Benefits Of Education Outweigh The Fear Of COVID-19 Transmission - NCDC Boss

The Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) says the benefits of having children in school outweighs the risk of COVID-19 transmission.


Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the NCDC, said this at the ongoing virtual plenary session and annual-general meeting of the Pediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) in Lagos on Friday.

Ihekweazu said he supports the government’s decision to reopen schools.

The director-general said Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children, and having them stay at home would further aggravate the situation.

He added that 10.5 million children were currently out of school and closure of schools may result to 10 million being out of school forever.

“You can see why some decisions around school reopening are so difficult to make by the government; how do you balance the need to control this pandemic versus the other requirements children need to live healthy and productive?” he said.

“This pandemic is threatening efforts to prevent major causes of child morbidity and mortality, and threatening the small gains we have made over many years in a very difficult context that is ours.

“I, personally, still support the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools and try as best as we can to mitigate the risks, at least for now.

“If things get out of hand, we may and we will consider this condition but we all understand that the lockdown had a huge impact on children.”

Earlier, the director-general said the presentation of the virus was less severe in children, as they were often asymptomatic and often had symptoms not clinically significant to visit the hospitals.

“Just 10 per cent of our cases have been confirmed in children and one per cent deaths,” he said.

“The few deaths that occurred in children were likely to have happened to them through morbidity that led to deficits in coping with the virus.”

Ihekweazu said the NCDC had played its role in curbing the spread of the virus by supporting the Federal Ministry of Education (FMoE) and the states in developing guidelines and preparing a school readiness assessment which were conducted in schools.

He called for collaboration among governments, schools and parents to effectively protect children from contracting the virus.

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