Kwara State Government on Monday began a week long medical screening exercise for 4500 food vendors ahead of official take off of its Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
According to the Kwara State Focal Persons for the National Social Investment Programme, Hajia Bashirah AbdulRazaq, 4500 food vendors across the 16 local government areas for students of primary 1-6 were screened.
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Hajia AbdulRazaq also added that the federal government will take care of primary 1-3 students while the state government will take care of primary 4-6 students. She however said the exercise was going to be in batches and assured applicants that more food vendors would be invited for the medical screening.
Addressing newsmen on the sideline of the exercise in Ilorin, Administration Manager Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre Ilorin Yemi Abegunde said 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.”
“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. Once we observe anything from anyone of them, we will remove such person but will not enlist those discovered not medically fit into the school feeding programme.” Abegunde added.
A food vendor Kemi Tejumola from Omu-Aran Irepodun local government, on her part, expressed delight over the seamless screening process which she said was necessary in the interest of pupils and students who would be the major beneficiaries of the school feeding programme. She also added that no fee was paid for the screening exercise.
Another participant, Oluwatoyin Aransinola from Aranorin Irepodun local government also 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. She commended Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq led administration for the school feeding programme which she said would improve schools enrolment and reduce burden on the parents.
According to report, the World Food Programme (WFP) has six decades of experience supporting school feeding and health initiatives and working with more than 100 countries to set up sustainable national school feeding programmes. WFP’s ultimate goal is to encourage and facilitate national government ownership of these programmes; a transition that has already happened in 44 countries.