COVID 19: Protect Yourself , Others NUJFCT Media Committee Urges Journalists

The newly inaugurated media sensitisation and monitoring committee by the Nigeria Union of jourmalists NUJ FCT has cautioned journalists rendering essential services during the COVID 19 lockdown to observe all safety and precautionary measures needed to avoid worsening the pandemic.
In a release signed by the Secetary of the committee, Comrade Titi Olademehin, the committee expressed concerns over the reckless manner with which reporters and cameramen exposed themselves while they covered the arraignment of popular actress Funke Akindele for flouting of the Lagos State government’s lockdown  directives.
‘Journalists, especially photojournalists who responded to the call of duty to serve the public from the field obviously violated the critical safety measure of social distancing prescribed by experts for their safety.
Whilst this happened in Lagos, we are not oblivious of the fact that Journalists in the FCT are also guilty of this fragrant display of recklessness during coverage; It calls for caution and discipline. More worrisome, Olademehin said, was the fact that a large number of them were without face masks.
We fear that such compromised approach to duty does not only endanger the journalist alone but also puts other colleagues, their families and other news sources at risk where they are  exposed.’
The committee which has already started a campaign under the hashtag #nujfctcovid19intervention called for strict adherence to the guidelines issued by WHO and NCDC while in public places.
‘Journalists must understand that they are not superhumans but privileged members of society mandated by the Constitution to serve the public with the right information. That mandate does not include being reckless during a pandemic such as this.’
The committee also called on government, media owners and relevant groups to provide protective gears, security and access to information to media practitioners who are working during the lockdown
‘While we call on our colleagues to be safe we also call for adequate supply of safety gears for our journalists both by their respective employers and other well meaning organisations as the safety of one is the safety of all and the compromise of one person puts all others at risk.
The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical to our operations in the field as social distancing while in open and enclosed areas.’
How A Medical Doctor Died Of Coronavirus In Daura Airforce Hospital — Katsina Governor

The Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Aminu Masari has confirmed the death of a medical doctor, Aliyu Yakubu who was affected by the Coronavirus.

The deceased, aged 60 from Kogi State, died at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Reference Hospital, Daura on Saturday.

According to PRNigeria, speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday evening, the governor said the deceased owned a private hospital in Daura and had visited his home state, Kogi, from where he travelled to Lagos some weeks ago.

Mr Masari said after returning to the state, the deceased fell sick and was admitted at the military hospital, where he died few hours after his admission.

He said the deceased samples were taken to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for diagnosis before his death and was diagnosed positive to Coronavirus.

“We have received bad news of COVID-19. The deceased samples showed COVID-19 positive.

“Before his death, he was also diagnosed for hepatitis and hypertension, three years ago,” he said.

The governor said the state medical response team was in Daura taking samples of all those that had contact with the man before his death.

Meanwhile, it was gathered that the health condition of the patient had deteriorated before he was taken to the military hospital.

A source close to the hospital said that the hospital management could not reject the patient because the NAF hospital was designated by the Nigerian military as one of the isolation centres for COVID-19.

“The late medical doctor sought admission in the facility having realised that the hospital is one of the 17 isolation and treatment centres earmarked by the Nigerian military that are spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

“The medical specialists and health-workers at the hospital were extremely cautious but highly professional while attending to the patient considering some of the symptoms he had exhibited,” the source added.

The NAF Reference Hospital in Daura, the hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari was commissioned in August 2019 to provide healthcare service delivery for military personnel on active duty, especially in theatre of operations and also residents of Daura and environs in Katsina State.

During the commissioning of the 60-bed reference hospital President Buhari said equipment provided in the hospital would minimize the need for medical tourism and help to save the much needed foreign exchange that could be channelled into other sectors of the economy.

The hospital is equipped with the state-of-the-art medical equipment for radio-diagnostics, cancer screening, dialysis and laboratory diagnosis.

COVID-19: GGT Recommends Solar Energy Solutions for Healthcare Centres in Nigeria

 

Good Governance Team (GGT), a Nigerian civil society policy advocacy and research platform, welcomes the plans by Rural Electrification Fund (REF) under the Rural Electrification Agency to light up rural communities with off-grid solutions as part of measures to ease the effect of the COVID-19 in Nigeria.

According to the media reports, the REF intervention will involve emergency provision of solar home system and deployment of solar mini-grid solutions for Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs), COVID-19 Isolation Centers, and NCDC reference laboratory.

Given its importance for powering laboratory tests and support care at this critical moment of combating COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria since grid electricity has long proved unreliable and unstable, GGT strongly believes that access to sustainable clean electricity rightly qualified as a basic right.

GGT thus in a statement signed by Signed by its convener, Tunde Salman, urges more actions for sustained mainstreaming of renewable clean energy solutions for the electrification of COVID-19 Isolation Centers, dedicated laboratories and other critical healthcare facilities, including PHCs across the country which cannot be overemphasized.

GGT however laments that long before the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system is known to have been totally neglected to the extent that an overwhelming percentage of our over 30,000 PHCs across the country have collapsed and remain in comatose thereby further overwhelmed both secondary and tertiary health facilities in the county.

As it is widely known, an efficient healthcare delivery system is a product of many factors, including physical infrastructure and human resources for health, which is the more reason the National Primary Health Care Development Agency’s minimum standard for basic health stipulates a set of minimum standards for health infrastructure at PHC level in line with WHO’s guideline.

Meanwhile, an analysis of this minimum standard for PHC physical infrastructure for different categories of PHCs as evidenced from a situational report (HBS 2018) reveal gaps in the design of PHCs electrification plan with undue emphasis placed on fossil fuel generators and overreliance on increasingly unavailable grid electricity even when the PHC facility is located outside grid connectivity zone.

For example, many remote rural healthcare facilities are not connected to grid electricity lacking access to reliable clean power source and safe water.

Therefore, whilst urging more actions for sustained mainstreaming of renewable clean energy solutions to power PHCs across the country, GGT believes that resuscitating the PHCs remain crucial and critical for guarantee basic healthcare services during this period of responding to COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria and beyond in order to accelerate the achievement of universal health coverage.

WHO Decries Global Shortfall Of Nurses By 5.9 Million, Calls For Urgent Investment

Report, by the World Health Organization (WHO)  in partnership with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Nursing Now, reveals that today, there are just under 28 million nurses worldwide.
 Between 2013 and 2018, nursing numbers increased by 4.7 million. But this still leaves a global shortfall of 5.9 million – with the greatest gaps found in countries in Africa, South East Asia and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region as well as some parts of Latin America.

Hence,  Covid-19 pandemic underscores the urgent need to strengthen the global health workforce. This report,  the State of the World’s Nursing 2020, provides an in-depth look at the largest component of the health workforce.

 Findings identify important gaps in the nursing workforce and priority areas for investment in nursing education, jobs, and leadership to strengthen nursing around the world and improve health for all.
Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers, providing vital services throughout the health system.
 Historically, as well as today, nurses are at the forefront of fighting epidemics and pandemics that threaten health across the globe. Around the world they are demonstrating their compassion, bravery and courage as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic: never before has their value been more clearly demonstrated.

‘Nurses are the backbone of any health system. Today, many nurses find themselves on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19,’ said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General. ‘This report is a stark reminder of the unique role they play, and a wakeup call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy.’

Revealingly, more than 80 per cent of the world’s nurses work in countries that are home to half of the world’s population. And one in every eight nurses practices in a country other than the one where they were born or trained. Ageing also threatens the nursing workforce: one out of six of the world’s nurses are expected to retire in the next 10 years.

To avert the global shortage, the report estimates that countries experiencing shortages need to increase the total number of nurse graduates by on average 8% per year, along with improved ability to be employed and retained in the health system. This would cost roughly USD 10 per capita (population) per year.

“Politicians understand the cost of educating and maintaining a professional nursing workforce, but only now are many of them recognizing their true value,” said ICN President Annette Kennedy. “Every penny invested in nursing raises the wellbeing of people and families in tangible ways that are clear for everyone to see. This report highlights the nursing contribution and confirms that investment in the nursing profession is a benefit to society, not a cost. The world needs millions more nurses, and we are calling on governments to do the right thing, invest in this wonderful profession and watch their populations benefit from the amazing work that only nurses can do.”

About 90 per cent of all nurses are female, yet few nurses are found in senior health leadership positions– the bulk of those positions are held by men. But when countries enable nurses to take a leadership role, for example by having a government chief nursing officer (or equivalent), and nursing leadership programmes, conditions for nurses improve.

“This report places much-needed data and evidence behind calls to strengthen nursing leadership, advance nursing practice, and educate the nursing workforce for the future,” said Lord Nigel Crisp, Co-Chair of Nursing Now. “The policy options reflect actions we believe all countries can take over the next ten years to ensure there are enough nurses in all countries, and that nurses use of the full extent of their education, training, and professional scope to enhance primary health care delivery and respond to health emergencies such as COVID-19.  This must start with broad and intersectoral dialogue which positions the nursing evidence in the context of a country’s health system, health workforce, and health priorities.”

To equip the world with the nursing workforce it needs, WHO and its partners recommend that all countries:

increase funding to educate and employ more nurses;

strengthen capacity to collect, analyze and act on data about the health workforce;
monitor nurse mobility and migration and manage it responsibly and ethically;
educate and train nurses in the scientific, technological and sociological skills they need to drive progress in primary health care;
establish leadership positions including a government chief nurse and support leadership development among young nurses;
ensure that nurses in primary health care teams work to their full potential, for example in preventing and managing noncommunicable diseases;
improve working conditions including through safe staffing levels, fair salaries, and respecting rights to occupational health and safety;
implement gender-sensitive nursing workforce policies;
modernize professional nursing regulation by harmonizing education and practice standards and using systems that can recognize and process nurses’ credentials globally; and
strengthen the role of nurses in care teams by bringing different sectors (health, education, immigration, finance and labour) together with nursing stakeholders for policy dialogue and workforce planning.
COVID-19: FG Approves $150m Stabilisation Fund

 

The Federal Government has announced the approval of $150million stabilisation fund to meet shortfalls in monthly allocations.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, announced this on Monday, in Abuja during a media briefing on the measures to tackle the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

She explained that owing to the decline in the monthly allocations from N716 billion in January to N645 billion in February and N581 billion in March, the Federal Government has approved a stabilisation fund of $150 million to meet the short fall in monthly allocation.

She added that the amount would be withdrawn from the stabilisation fund component of the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Ahmed during the briefing also announced the establishment of a N500 billion COVID-19 crisis intervention fund.

Part of the proceeds of the intervention fund will go into a special works program, which targets states and local governments and is expected to create one thousand jobs in each local government areas.

Other measures to be adopted by the Federal Government to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, according to Ahmed, include accessing loans from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (ADB) and the Islamic Development Bank.

She gave a breakdown of expected loans from International Organisations to include $3.4 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF); $2.5 billion from the World Bank; and $1billion from the African Development Bank (ADB).

As part of measures to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government also plans to restructure the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

This according to the Finance Minister is to allow for flexibility of donations into the Federal Government’s coffers.

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Release 150 Trucks Of Rice To 36 States, Buhari Orders Customs

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered distribution of 150 trucks of rice seized by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to the 36 states of the federation.

According to PM News, The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists at a news conference in Abuja on Monday.

The news conference was on the fiscal stimulus measures in response to COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock.

Ahmed said the seized trucks of rice had been handed over to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management for onward distributions to Nigerians.

She added that in addition to this, the president had also approved distribution of grains from strategic grain reserves across the country.

The minister stated that as part of the effort to support the farmers, the president also approved reduction of the price of fertilizer from N5,500 to N5,000 per bag.

She added that this was another measure to give subsidy to farmers in view with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

According to her, more measures will be taken to provide more benefits to the citizens.

“We don’t want to rush and announce measures that will end up benefitting only a few of the segments. Our interest is to make sure that as much as possible a lot of Nigerians are productive and have liquidity in their hands.

“This will help to increase consumption, thereby assist to improve the economy.

“This is not something we will announce in a hurry without consulting with the central ministry and also without consulting with the key participants in the sector,” she added.

The minister noted that the emerging health and economic risks resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic and decline in international oil prices posed existential threats to Nigeria’s economy, healthcare system, national security, as well as the lives of the citizens.

She emphasised that extra-ordinary measures would be required, as the situation evolved, to address these challenges.

COVID-19 : NCDC Confirms Six New Infections, Total Cases Now 238

 

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed six new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

In a tweet, the health agency says the total number of cases in Nigeria is 238 as of 9:30pm on Monday.

It revealed that Kwara and Edo recorded two cases respectively while Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) confirmed a case each.

Breakdown  of COVID-19 in Nigeria as of April 6, 2020.

Total Confirmed cases 238
Discharged 35
Death 5

Lagos 120

Abuja FCT 48
Osun 20
Edo 1l
Oyo 9
Bauchi 6
Akwa Ibom 5
Kaduna 5
Ogun 4
Enugu 2
Ekiti 2
Kwara 2
Rivers 2
Benue 1
Ondo 1
Total 238

COVID-19: Mercedez Benz Donates Axor Truck to Support Lagos

Mercedez Benz Nigeria, a frontline automobile company, has donated a Waste Truck to the Lagos State Government as part of efforts to support the present administration in the management of waste as well as containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the State.

Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, the Managing Director, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), who received the 18-Tonne AXOR 1823 Truck on behalf of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu  commended Mercedez Benz for the gesture to boost the operational capacity of LAWMA.

The donated 8-Tonne AXOR 1823 Truck
He explained that the 18-Tonne, Roll-On Roll-Off model truck, with the capacity to lift the 12cbm waste bin, will be ideal in evacuating refuse generated from the isolation units that have been set up by the Lagos State government.

Earlier, the Head of Sales, Mercedez Benz Nigeria, Mr. Umoh Ekanem said that the organisation is proud to be associated with Lagos State through LAWMA, and hopes to contribute more in order to assist the Authority in its enormous job of waste management, which according to him, is the collective responsibility of everyone.

He said Mercedez Benz recognises the great work that LAWMA is doing in ensuring that Lagos is rid of waste, affirming that the streets of Lagos are now much cleaner.

COVID-19: Lagos Set To Create Over 1000 Isolation Bed Spaces

Lagos State Government has disclosed that it would  create over 1000 bed spaces in six isolation centres within the next month in preparation for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Honourable Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this today while updating the press on the efforts of the State government at containing the spread of the virus, revealed that six additional isolation centres are being created across the State to support the already completed facilities.

Abayomi said preparations are being made to handle an exponential increase in the spread of the virus.

He also revealed that the State has established temporary tents at Onikan Stadium and Gbagada General Hospital to serve as temporary isolation facilities, stressing that the facilities will be ready for use soon.

Answering the question on whether the State is adequately prepared to manage new cases, the Commissioner explained that Lagos has adequate stock of personal protection equipment to manage the cases, noting that the Infectious Disease Hospital has 70% of its bed-space available.

He observed that the isolation centres in Onikan Stadium and Gbagada General Hospital will provide additional 300-bed spaces.

“We have enough facilities to manage the situation. We also have enough Personal Protection Equipment in stock for our health workers. Presently, we are still operating from the Mainland Hospital where we still have 70% of our bed spaces available. Our isolation centres in Onikan Stadium and Gbagada Hospital will be opened next week; we believe this will provide additional 300-bed spaces and we are also considering establishing six more centres in the next one month depending on the rate of infection’’, he said.

Abayomi averred that the State has commenced training of volunteer healthcare professionals who will be deployed to the newly established isolation centres to complement the efforts of the frontline health workers.

He maintained that the training is necessary to avoid the devastating effect of an upswing of the disease as seen in other countries of the world, adding that trainees will be equipped with basic information about the virus and ways to avoid being infected in the course of discharging their duties.

The Commissioner affirmed that none of the COVID-19 patients currently being managed at the Infectious Diseases Hospital has developed complications as they go through the natural course of the illness with mild symptoms of fever, body pains, and respiratory tract infection.

“No patient with complications so far, they are all going through the natural course of the illness with mild symptoms of respiratory tract infection, fever and body pains. As at today, we have discharged an additional four patients bringing the total number of discharged patients to 23 and we hope to discharge more soon’’, he said.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso urged members of the public to adhere strictly to the tips and measures given by the State Government to contain the spread of the disease while desisting from peddling fake news.

“This is not a time for frivolities. I urge citizens to take responsibility not to compound the situation by spreading fake news”, he added.

Omotoso explained further that the State government is currently embarking on sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns to educate members of the public on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts Harp On Early Intervention Of Autism

As the Lagos State government joined the rest of the world to mark “World Autism Day”, medical experts at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) have called for early intervention on the disease.

Speaking at an event organised to mark the day, Dr. Bola Ola, a Consultant Psychiatrist at LASUTH, described Autism as a medical condition that occurs within the developmental stages of a child, which is usually noticed between birth and four years of age.

He noted that autism is associated with several other conditions such as speech impediment, behavioural sameness, problems with reciprocal and social interaction.

Referencing the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Ola stated that being a genetic condition, autism could run in a family, saying “one out of 54 children will usually have autism, while one out of 37 boys and one in 150 girls are autistic”.

He observed that “three out of 10 children have problems with intellectual ability as they usually operate below expected performance and this makes them to lag behind while their peers process information more quickly”.

On his part, Head of the Psychiatry Unit in LASUTH, Dr. Olayinka Atilola, pointed out that children with autism can be helped to lead normal lives if early intervention methods are implemented.

According to him, “there is a system known as Neuro-Developmental Surveillance, used to identify the case before it becomes obvious.This means going to places where children aggregate like schools, creches, immunisation units and the like”.

“These children are not presented here as having any problems, but screening can be done and those whose development is not normal are red-flagged and are taken for further investigation”, he added.

Atilola further explained that when that pathway is followed, a diagnosis is likely to come early and the children are able to benefit maximally from such intervention.

Both doctors also opined that anybody can be trained on how to identify these red-flags because the screening instruments are already simplified and can be administered by middle-level, non-specialist care providers like a nurse, pharmacist, teacher or community health worker etc.

The experts maintained that screening tools can identify someone who is at risk, adding that at the first instance, 70 out of 100 children may be red-flagged, but further investigation by a specialist could confirm 50.

It was, therefore, advised that parents, teachers or child caregivers must pay maximum attention to children’s behaviforal patterns and social interaction.