There are several means of fighting diseases and it is not by drugs alone. Sometimes, an unlikely agent is required.

The World Health Organisation, WHO is leveraging this unlikely means – motorcycles, aka Okada - to fight diseases in Nigeria.

On Monday, the UN agency donated 853 motorcycles to Nigeria’s government to strengthen diseases surveillance across the country.

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Dr Wondi Alemu, WHO's Country Representative in Nigeria, while presenting the motorcycles to the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, in Abuja, said that surveillance was critical to disease control, elimination and eradication.

According to him, the 853 motorcycles that have been donated will certainly be used by Diseases Surveillance and Notification Officers, DSNOs in appropriate manner to check outbreak of diseases.

“DSNOs play a major role in active surveillance at the field level through visits to communities and health facilities, as well as in linking with key community informants.

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“They also facilitate timely investigation and response to outbreaks where they occur; this group of professionals deserve to be provided with the most appropriate logistics to enhance their mobility,’’ Alemu said.

He maintained that the “donation aims to build a highly sensitive and robust system to rapidly detect and respond to diseases of epidemic potential” and urged the minister to ensure that the motorcycles were properly maintained and put to good use.

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