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COVID-19: Again, NPHCDA urges Nigerians to get vaccinated

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The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has again appealed to Nigerians who are yet to be vaccinated to get the COVID -19 vaccines.

The Executive Secretary of the agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib made the call at a one-day evaluation meeting for COVID-19 vaccination exercise.

The meeting was organized by the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF), an independent partner, assisting the Agency to drive the campaign for vaccination against COVID -19.

NSSF entered into agreement with NPHCDA in September 2021, to support COVID-19 vaccination campaign across the country, but kick-started the project with six states, including Edo, Ogun, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Katsina and Imo.

The goal, of the agreement is to vaccinate one million eligible Nigerians in the states.

Shuaib, represented by Dr Bassey Okposen, Director of Disease Control and immunisation/Programme Manager, COVID-19 vaccination war room, NPHCDA, said: ”The virus was still very much in the circulation.

”COVID-19 is still very active and there is need for Nigerians to get vaccinated and stay safe.

”People are still dying globally, there are countries that are still having new outbreaks, it is good we take the vaccine and kick COVID out of our country.

“We are not only doing COVID-19 vaccination at the moment, we are also doing integrated vaccination, along with routine immunisation, maternal services and other care at the primary healthcare level.

“As a nation, we have not achieved credibility on this, we need to get vaccinated so that we can still be safe as a country,” he said.

He said till date, 55.6 per cent of Nigerians have taken only the first dose while 44.6 per cent of Nigerians are fully vaccinated.

“The current drive under the leadership of the Minister of Health, with the support from the President and the entire presidential steering committee on COVID-19, has made us move the figure from 13 per cent.

“Our target is to ensure 70 per cent of the population get vaccinated before December 2022, we are working hard on this”.

Also speaking, Dr Fejiro Chinye-Nwoko, General Manager/CEO, NSSF, said the organisation, conceptualised the meeting to get brief on the improvement of the vaccination on states the partner was already supporting.

She said with the coming of the independent partner, NSSF, the vaccination figure had risen from over four million Nigerians, where it was met, and had been able to increase the vaccination figure tremendously.

“In September 2021, NPHCDA approached us for support to increase the vaccination coverage, as at that time, the coverage was just over four million Nigerians who had vaccinated for COVID.

“We supported NPHCDA by donating N300 million for the vaccination in six states, and with that support, we were able to vaccinate over two million Nigerians.

“Apart from the direct support vaccination that we got from the six states, we were able to accelerate the vaccination all over Nigeria, which also led to the current number of 40 million Nigerians who have vaccinated.

“We have gotten the partnership and we will remain partners, we are working with them, advocating for more support, for more coverage, for more mobilisation to reduce vaccine hesitancy in Nigeria,’’ she said.

She added that availability of the vaccine was not a challenge, but the hesitancy is the major challenge, stressing that, NSSF was also working with NPHCDA to increase mobilisation and reduce vaccine hesitancy in other states.

According to her, in no disttant time, the NSSF will get the 70 per cent coverage which is the country’s target.

Also contributing, Mr Adis Mohammed, Executive Secretary, Nasarawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, appreciated the NSSF, for the funds.

Mohammed said the fund and with the support of the state government, the state healthcare agency was able to get the people to access the vaccine.

”When the fund came the state government and other partners like UNICEF, the state healthcare was able to mobilise the people easily.

“We were able to penetrate some communities, mobilise the people, as well as use the money for other activities like, jingles, buying T-shirts, handbills and posters to drive the campaign for people to get vaccinated.

“Our success story is also driven by Gov. Abdullahi Sule who gave us the enabling environment, no matter the strategy, if you don’t have the support of the government, the right environment will not be able to implement your plan.

“We have a government that gave us all the needed support for us to go out and mobilised the citizens of Nasarawa State to access this vaccine, this also included our strong vaccination team within the state, all what we carried out was team work,’’ Mohammad said.

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Health

NAFOWA MARKS 2023 BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

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In commemoration of the 2023 Breast World Cancer Awareness Month, the Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA) under the leadership of its National President, Architect (Mrs) Rakiya Abubakar has joined other well-meaning individuals, corporate and government entities worldwide to beam attention and raise awareness about the ravaging disease.

To commemorate this year’s awareness month, the Association organised a one-day health walk, lecture and free cancer screening exercise in Abuja earlier today, 7 October 2023.

Speaking at the lecture with the theme, “Routine Checkup, a Panacea for Early Detection,” Architect (Mrs) Rakiya Abubakar disclosed that in 2020 alone, available statistics by the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that about 78,899 cancer-related deaths were recorded in Nigeria while women often bear the brunt as breast and cervical cancers account for over 40 per cent of all cancer-related deaths.

These statistics were, according to her, disturbing hence the need to pay greater attention and create awareness on the benefits of early detection, which is critical to the survivability of cancer patients.

According to her, “Health experts have also noted that if cancer is detected early and in the localized stage, a patient has a high chance of survival. This is why NAFOWA has taken it upon itself to lend its voices towards creating awareness across our various barracks and communities.”

Architect (Mrs) Abubakar also announced the approval of free cancer screening for wives of Air Force personnel and other Services on 9 October 2023 as well as 50 per cent discount for others from 10 -17 October 2023 at the NAFOWA Cancer Screening Centre situated at NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja.

In her remarks, the Special Guest of Honour and the former Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen commended the National President of NAFOWA for organizing the Breast Cancer Awareness Lecture and Walk which, she said, will no doubt draw attention to the dangers breast cancer poses to women in general.

She also expressed her satisfaction with the theme selected for the 2023 NAFOWA cancer awareness campaign, just as she emphasized the importance of routine medical checkups which allow for early detection of not only cancer but other ailments that can be detrimental to women in particular.

NAFOWA remains at the forefront of advocating for the well-being of women, youths and children. Aside its numerous poverty alleviation and empowerment schemes, it has, since 2008, established the NAFOWA Cancer Screening Centre which has continued to play a major role in the early detection of breast cancer among women.

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Speaker Abbas Appoints Dr. Jake Dan-Azumi as Chief of Staff , Mourns Professor of Medicine, Umaru Shehu,

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, Ph.D has approved the appointment of Prof. Jake Dan-Azumi as his Chief of Staff.

The appointment, according to a press statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Musa Abdullahi Krishi, takes effect from October 17, 2023.

Prof. Jake Dan-Azumi is to take over from Mr. Wasiu Olanrewaju-Smart, the Acting Chief of Staff to the Speaker, who is taking another appointment.

Mr. Smart became the Acting Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives following the expiration of his tenure as the Chief of Staff to the Speaker in the 9th Assembly.

Until his appointment, Prof. Dan-Azumi was the Technical Assistant to the Director General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), National Assembly.

Jake Dan-Azumi is a professor of Political Science and Development Studies. He has extensive experience in development work focusing on democratic governance and public policy, parliamentary institutional strengthening, research, peace and security, human rights, conflict and peacebuilding and gender.

He previously worked as a Special Assistant to the President of the Senate, Sen. (Dr.) David Mark, GCON, between 2011 and 2014.

Prof. Dan-Azumi, who has over 14 years cumulative experience in the National Assembly system, is an expert in the design and delivery of parliamentary and democratic support programmes.

He holds a Doctorate Degree in International Development from University College London (UCL); MSc International Human Rights Law from Oxford University; a BA (First Class) from the University of South Africa, and a BA (First Class, Honours) from the University of Zimbabwe, where he was awarded the Book Prize for the Best Student.

His other qualifications include a Postgraduate Diploma in Research Methods from the University of Bradford, UK, among others. Prof. Dan-Azumi hails from Zing Local Government Area of Taraba State.

Meanwhile the Speaker has expressed sadness over the demise of a foremost academic and Professor of Medicine, Umaru Shehu, CFR.

The Borno Elders’ Forum had via a statement announced Prof Shehu’s demise on Monday morning at the age of 97.

Speaker Abbas lamented the scholar’s death at a time when Nigeria most needed his wealth of knowledge and experience to develop the health and education sectors.

The Speaker noted the sterling records of the late elder statesman while in service, urging the younger generations to emulate his virtues of discipline, dedication and hard work.

Speaker Abbas recalled with delight how the late Professor of medicine made Nigeria proud both at home and abroad.

He said Nigeria lost one of its finest academics and doyens of medicines, noting that the legacies of the late Prof. Shehu would live on.

Speaker Abbas commiserated with the government and the people of Borno State, while praying Almighty Allah (SWT) to grant the late Prof. Umar Shehu Jannatul Firdaus.

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Health

Crisis Looms In Health Sector!

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.. As Nurses, Midwives Lament Exclusion From 40 Per cent Pay Rise For FG Workers

“Nurses have suffered enough neglect and deprivation as front line workers in health sector,”

NANNM is happy that civil servant salaries are increased, but would resist such exclusion for its members if steps are not taken regarding nurses pay rise”.

There are clear indications of possible unrest in the health sector nationwide if the parting 40% pay rise promised federal workers by President Muhhamadu Buhari does not benefit nurses and midwives in federal government hospitals, agencies. They are ready for a show down in a statement weekend lamenting their exclusion

According to the National Association Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Federal Health Institution (NANNM-FHI) sector, they decried the exclusion of its members in the recent 40 per cent pay rise for federal workers.
The association expressed its displeasure in a statement issued by Mr Morakinyo-Olajide Rilwan, National Chairman, NANNM-FHI sector, to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
Rilwan said the attention of nurses and midwives in FHI of Nigeria has been drawn to the commencement of 40 per cent peculiar allowance pay rise for workers in the Federal Government establishment with outright exclusions of its members.
He described the exclusion as an aberration and attempt to cause problems in the system.
He said that nurses and other health workers have been calling for salary adjustment since 2016, with several committees set up to this effect.
Rilwan said the committees are yet to see the light of the day with their report.
The national chairman recalled that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had earlier said before the payment that the pay rise was to justify the current economic reality of the country.
Rilwan quoted Ngige as saying that, “the pay rise for Federal Government workers was to cushion the effects of inflation, rising cost of living, hike in transportation fare, housing and electricity tariff.”
He said that the federal government had no justification to exclude some sections of civil servants, especially in the health sector from the pay rise since everyone, including the workers patronise the same market and pay same bills.
He said the action was also coming when there is mass exodus of nurses and midwives out of the country for greener pastures with aftermath effect of increase workload on the few nurses on ground.
Rilwan said, “Instead of motivating those health workers, who have agreed to stay in the country to salvage the health system by this pay rise, the best thing government could do was to exclude nurses.
“The last time Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS) was adjusted was in 2010 and most of the allowances due to nurses were being short paid, for instance 30 per cent shift allowance with less than 10 per cent being paid to nurses.
“Many things are causing agitation, including Nurses Special Salary Structure.
“However, we are just getting the news this weekend and we are studying the situation while consultation with relevant stakeholders is ongoing, especially our parent body.
“But the fact is that our members are not happy with the exclusion and we cannot continue keeping quiet.
“Nurses have suffered enough neglect and deprivation as front line workers in health sector,” he said.
Rilwan said that NANNM is happy that civil servant salaries ere increased, but would resist such exclusion for its members if steps are not taken regarding nurses pay rise.
He said that the nurses association had remained calm over time despite the series of neglect and government had been taken that for granted, but this time around, it was not easy calming members down as they are ready to take action.
The national chairman, FHI sector, said that NANNM would resist any form of deprivation in the health sector, especially in the area of remuneration, training and policy making.

Courtesy NAN.. Headline, First paragraph changed

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