From Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
The Kwara State Government on Monday began a week-long medical screening exercise for 4,500 food vendors ahead of the official take-off of its Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
‘We are screening 4,500 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,’ said Kwara State Focal Persons for the National Social Investment Programme Hajia Bashirah Abdulrazaq in a statement.
Hajia Abdulrazaq, who said the exercise is taking place in batches, assured applicants that more food vendors would be invited for the medical screening.
Addressing newsmen on the sidelines of the exercise in Ilorin, the Administration Manager of Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre, Yemi Abegunde, said the exercise is 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 said that the government would not enlist into the school feeding programme those discovered to be medically unfit.
A food vendor Kemi Tejumola from Omu-Aran Irepodun Local Government, for her part, 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.’
Oluwatoyin Aransinola from Aranorin Irepodun said 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 the Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq administration for the school feeding programme which they said would improve school enrolment and reduce the burden on the parents.