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Obaseki Launches ‘Clean Nigeria – Use the Toilet’ To End Open Defecation



Obaseki Launches 'Clean Nigeria – Use the Toilet' To End Open Defecation

Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, on Friday, in Benin, launched the “Clean Nigeria – Use the Toilet” campaign in Edo, in a bid to end open defecation across the state’s 18 Local Government Areas by 2025.

Obaseki, who was represented by the Edo Head of Service, Mr. Anthony Okungbowa, said that the inauguration of the campaign was geared towards creating awareness amongst the residents of the state.

“The objective of what we are doing here today is to ensure that Edo people have access to adequate, affordable, and sustainable sanitation facilities.

READ ALSO: SURWASH: Nigeria Gets $700m Credit From WorldBank

“Landlords are mandated to provide latrines in their homes, business premises, and commercial apartments, inclusive.

“My administration has put in place a machinery to eradicate open defecation in urban, semi-urban and rural areas, through the establishment of a Small-Town Rural Water Supply Sanitation Agency, (STRUWASSA) at the state level.

“The Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) department, at the Local Government Area, is part of the programs for implementing Open Defecation Free (ODF) drive,” he said.

In his remarks, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, implored the people of Edo to own and drive the campaign in their respective communities, to help eradicate open defecation.

Adamu, who was represented by the Director, Water Quality and Sanitation, Mr. Emmanuel Awe, said that the practice of open defecation, which had impacted negatively, especially on women and girls, could be stopped through collective efforts.

In her address of welcome, Mrs. Mercy Omoregie, the General Manager, STRUWASSA, said that it was sad to see Edo identified among states with the high prevalence of open defecation practice in Nigeria.

Omoregie, however, assured that with the intervention of their development partners, such as the European Union and UNICEF, Edo would improve in its quest to exit the status and become a force to reckon with.

Delivering her keynote address, Mrs. Akongie Oboh, the Permanent Secretary of Edo Ministry of Water Resources, assured her that her ministry was working assiduously to ensure that sanitation facilities were provided in public places.

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Health & Wellness

FG Relaxes Covid-19 Restrictions, Makes Face Masks Optional



FG Relaxes Eases Covid-19 Restrictions, Makes Face Mask Optional

The Federal Government has eased the covid-19 restriction, now making the wearing of face masks in public places optional.

The decision on the final relaxation of measures will be taken after Easter.

This was revealed by Dr. Muktar Muhammed, the Head of the Technical Secretariat to Newsmen in a private interview.

READ ALSO: World Bank: 95 Million Nigerians To Be Poor In 2022

Aside from Nigeria, other countries across the world have started relaxing COVID-19 measures.

Our West African neighbors, Ghana, announced that the use of face masks was no longer mandatory.

Nigeria has continued to witness a drop in the number of daily COVID-19 cases.

The PSC also announced that it would stop demanding proof of PCR tests from fully vaccinated travelers.

Muhammed stated, “We are easing up restrictions, but it’s important we do so responsibly.

“Last week, we suspended the limit placed on public gatherings, curfews and other social measures.

“The use of face masks in open spaces is now discretionary.

“We shall not hesitate to remove all mandates once the disease is no longer of public health consequence. We are aware that cases are rising in the Western Pacific and Eastern Europe. The US just mandated the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for adults older than 50. We fear a reversal of the pandemic situation, where largely unvaccinated poor countries will be made to bear the burden because the West has developed very high immunity through large-scale vaccination.

“Our biggest fear now is the upcoming Easter holidays. If we are able to cross and the cases continue to go down with no significant increase in hospitalization and death, then certainly, we will lower our level of alertness and relax most of the measures.

“We are working with data and algorithms to determine our line of action. Everything depends on what happens next. We learn from other countries, but we don’t have to necessarily copy what they are doing. Every country should evaluate its risk and take responsibility.”

Meanwhile, data from the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency has revealed that a total of 12,139,797 persons have been fully vaccinated in Nigeria, while 18,942,020 persons have been partially vaccinated.

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Health & Wellness

Nigeria Accounts For 20% Of The World’s Maternal Deaths – NPHCDA



Nigeria Accounts For 20% Of The World's Maternal Deaths - NPHCDA

The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has revealed that Nigeria accounts for over 20% of maternal deaths that occur globally.

This was made known to the public on the agency’s website, ahead of the Primary Healthcare Summit tagged: ‘Re-imaging Primary Health Care in Nigeria’.

The report also noted that over 70 percent of medical drugs dispensed in Nigeria are low grade.

READ ALSO: Three Governors On Watch List By Security Agencies, Here’s Why.

The reports read;

“The majority of Nigerians do not have access to health services; 20 percent of all maternal deaths globally occur in Nigeria; infant mortality occurs at a rate of 19 deaths per 1,000 births; children under five are dying at a rate of 128 per 1,000; over 70 percent of medical drugs dispensed in Nigeria are substandard.

“The weaknesses of the PHC system led to the under-utilization of the PHC, resulting in significant burden within the health sector, with patients over-lying on tertiary and secondary health care services.

“Exorbitant health expenditures to access care place huge financial burdens on households and drive poverty.”

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Health & Wellness

WHO Confirms Omicron Spreading Faster Than Delta Variant



WHO Confirms Omicron Spreading Faster Than Delta Variant

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says there is now “consistent evidence” that the Omicron variant was outpacing Delta, as COVID-19 continues to account for around 50,000 deaths worldwide every week.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus told journalists at the agency’s Headquarters in Geneva that it was also more likely that people who had been vaccinated or recovered from the virus, could be infected, or re-infected.

“There can be no doubt that increased social mixing over the holiday period in many countries will lead to increased cases, overwhelm health systems and more deaths.

READ ALSO: Ex- NIPC’s Boss ‘Yewande Sadiku’ Cleared Of All Fraud Allegations

“All of us are sick of this pandemic. All of us want to spend time with friends and family. All of us want to get back to normal.

“The fastest way to do that is for all of us – leaders and individuals – to make the difficult decisions that must be made to protect ourselves and others,” he said.

He said delaying or cancelling events, was the responsible thing to do: “An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled. It’s better to cancel now and celebrate later than to celebrate now and grieve later.”

More than 3.3 million people have lost their lives to COVID-19 this year – more deaths than from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined in 2020, and Africa was now facing a steep wave of infections, driven largely by the Omicron variant.

Just a month ago, Africa was reporting its lowest number of cases in 18 months, Ghebreyesus reminded reporters on Monday, whereas last week, it reported the fourth-highest number of cases in a single week so far.

“None of us wants to be here again in 12 months’ time, talking about missed opportunities, continued inequity, or new variants,” he said.

The director-general emphasised that for the pandemic to end in 2022, “we must end inequity, by ensuring 70 per cent of the population of every country is vaccinated by the middle of next year.”

Around the world, the WHO was working with countries to restore and sustain essential health services disrupted by the pandemic.

According to new data released this year, 23 million children missed out on routine vaccines in 2020, the largest number in over a decade, increasing risks from preventable diseases like measles and polio, the UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.

Progress is, however, still being made in many other areas of healthcare and medicine.

Five countries were able to introduce the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) to prevent cervical cancer, and a further nine are planning to introduce it over the next six months, and in September, WHO launched a global road map to defeat meningitis by 2030.

The pandemic has also caused setbacks in the agency’s efforts to defeat the world’s leading infectious diseases, with an estimated 14 million more malaria cases and 47 thousand more malaria deaths in 2020, compared to 2019.

“However, WHO certified two countries – China and El Salvador – as malaria-free this year, and a further 25 are on track to end malaria transmission by 2025,” Ghebreyesus said.

He said the WHO also made a historic recommendation for the broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine.

Services for non-communicable diseases have also been hit, with more than half of countries surveyed between June and October, reporting disruptions to services for diabetes, cancer screening and treatment, and management of hypertension.

Summing up a tumultuous year, he also noted that several important steps had been taken to strengthen the global health architecture, and WHO itself.

“We launched the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin; We broke ground on the WHO Academy in Lyon; We established the WHO BioHub System,” he said.

In early December, Member States agreed to negotiate the world’s first new agreement on pandemic preparedness and response.

“We have also taken decisive steps to address instances of sexual exploitation and abuse and to make sure that our people meet the high standards that we, and our Member States, expect of them.

“We took decisive steps to address sexual exploitation, following shocking revelations of alleged abuse committed by some WHO staff during the deadly tenth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,’’ he said.

“2022 must be the year we end the pandemic,” said the director-general, but to prevent a future disaster on the same scale, all countries must invest in resilient health systems, build on primary care, with universal health coverage as the goal.

“When people can’t access the services they need, or can’t afford them, individuals, families, communities and entire societies are put at risk.

“In the year ahead, WHO is committed to doing everything in our power to end the pandemic, and to beginning a new era in global health – an era in which health is at the centre of every country’s development plans,” he said. 

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