The Federal Government has charged Community Health Officers (CHO) to be prepared for the outbreak of monkeypox disease in villages.

Minister of State for Health Barrister Ekumankama Nkama gave the charge at the 2021 induction of 477 Community Health Officers (CHO) by the Community Health Practitioners Registration Board of Nigeria in Abuja.

According to the Minister, the outbreak of monkeypox and other diseases have made it necessary for the country’s health sector to be ready to track any possible challenges.

He noted that Community Health officers, being among the first-responders because they are closer to the people, must respond appropriately.

The Minister urged the graduates to be more responsive and operate within their level by making the necessary referrals when they are faced by challenges above them as they have been prepared and certified by the Community Health Practitioners Registration Board of Nigeria as full practitioners.

Nkama said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was doing its best in delivering health services to Nigerians and wanted all hands on deck in taking it to a greater height.

The Registrar, Community Health Practitioners Registration Board of Nigeria, Bashir Idris urged them to distinguish themselves as they go into practice in future.

He said: “One of the missions of the Board is to improve the standard of Community healthcare in Nigeria by regulating teaching, learning and practices of community health.”

The registrar said the orientation of the practitioners was essential in giving the newly qualified graduates the best possible start and integration into community healthcare, while proper training they had will help them grow and reach their full potential.

Chairman of Health Practitioners Registration Board, Sule Galadima Sule, while congratulating the 2021 inductees, said the board will continue to offer relevant courses and programmes especially in the emerging issues in the health sector.

He said Community Health Officers (CHO) Training Programme was a full-time Programme of accredited Teaching Hospitals dedicated to promoting the ideals of professionalism and executing its statutory responsibility as mandated by the Act as the certification enables the recipient to perform both technical and managerial functions in primary healthcare facilities nationwide.

About 587 candidates were registered for the examination while 477 representing 81.2% were successful for this year’s induction across the nation.

Most of the graduates expressed their joy at their induction and expressed optimism to excel as they joined the community health association.