By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Orthopedic Training Center (OTC) in Nsawam, Ghana destroyed by a strong storm in April 2020 has been renovated by Geodrill.
The leading exploration drilling company established in Ghana roofed the healthcare facility to put smile on the faces of Cerebral Palsy patients at the centre.
In April, a strong storm had caused a large palm tree to fall on the roof, crushing it. Since then, efforts had been made to get the facility working again.
Sister Elizabeth Newman, Director for the non-profit organization that helps handicapped in Ghana, mainly children, to gain independent and productive lives, said she was dismayed to find that the entire roof and supporting beams needed to be replaced due to significant termite damage.
Luckily, due to COVID 19, there were no patients present and no one was harmed.
According to the OTC’s 2019 Annual report, the Cerebral Palsy centre had increased from four to seven children receiving ongoing specialized physiotherapy treatments.
Although an opportune time to carry out the repairs, the cost was significantly prohibitive.
Having an ongoing relationship with Geodrill helped to quickly mobilize funds, along with other generous donors who stepped up to ensure the OTC’s important treatment wouldn’t face any further delays.
Upon Geodrill’s donation, an additional wheelchair was made up for a benefactor who was in need, and OTC was able to fit the chair to measure, equipping Ms Afriyie with her new wheels.
Promoting equality and diversity at Geodrill Ghana is a core value of the Accra based company. As well this extends to the organisations the company supports.
“The dedication of the staff and volunteers at the OTC and the outcomes they achieve are truly inspirational to us.
“Drilling is a physical line of work, so we don’t take the gift of movement for granted.” Managing Director, David Harper explains.
“It’s an honour to have watched them over the years to give many people mobility and help build better lives,” the company said.
Geodrill serves some of Africa’s most responsible gold mines and believes in going above and beyond standard charitable donations by establishing long-term support to a variety of organisations in Ghana and around the world.
The OTC currently has 68 full time staff and helps people mainly birth deformities that lead to loss of limbs or movement by providing prosthesis and physiotherapy.
FG to Invest $200m in Pharmaceutical Infrastructure
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has revealed plans by the federal government to invest $200 million in pharmaceutical infrastructure.
This closure was made by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NSIA, Mr Uche Orji, on Thursday, July 29 during the weekly briefing in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The NSIA boss said that the funds will be used to execute about 20 projects in the health sector under the Health Intervention Initiative.
According to him, the pharmaceutical infrastructure which includes the manufacture of essential drugs, vaccines and construction of cancer centres in the nation’s health care will be embarked upon to discontinue huge dependence on foreign logistics.
Mr Orji equally revealed that the NSIA will manage a tolling system on major highways across the country including the ongoing Lagos/Ibadan express road when concessions arrangements are perfected.
He explained that the new arrangement is to enable the government to get appropriate value for investments made on road projects.
Addressing a range of issues, the NSIA boss warned that fertilizer racketeering will no longer be tolerated.
“In line with the President’s directive, anyone found culpable would be immediately apprehended and investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),” Mr Orji said.
He also affirmed that the total contract sum for the Lagos Ibadan expressway amounted to N311 billion, while phase one of the second Niger bridge and the Abuja – Kano Project will be completed by July 2022.
Buhari Authorizes N8.5bn for Medical Research
By Adedapo Adesanya
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N8.5 billion for the conduct of ground-breaking research in medicine and other areas in 2021 under the National Research Fund (NRF) scheme funded by the Tertiary Education Trust (TETFund).
This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Mr Suleiman Bogoro, on Wednesday at a 3-day workshop for Directors of Research and Development of public universities in Nigeria held at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Training Institute, Maitama, Abuja.
“But when I came, I decided to revolutionise it and I said it is not a question of seed money, let it be annual money and that is why I made a case for N5 billion in 2019 alone. 2020 we raised it to N7.5 billion.
“This year, Mr President has approved another N7.5 billion but guess what, with additional N1 billion that we intend to do groundbreaking research around medicine even in respect of the COVID-19 challenge.”
The TETFund boss said the fund intends to put money at the Nigerian Medical Research Institute (NMIR) to resuscitate their vaccine production.
He added that he has scheduled a meeting with the Director-General of NMIR, Mr Babatunde Salako, to be joined by brilliant professors of medicine from some universities across the country to achieve specific research objectives.
He stressed the need for collaboration between the universities and research institutes to know what the institutes are doing and offer assistance where necessary.
While urging participants at the workshop to take the initiative of looking at why kidnapping has become so lucrative, the TETfund boss lamented that young engineers and technology experts were rather deploying their expertise to aid the growing wave of abductions across the country.
He challenged university professors not to parade themselves with titles but to engage in problem-solving research that will change things for the good of the nation.
On his part, TETFund’s Director of Research and Development, Mr Salisu Bakare, noted that universities are by nature problem-solvers, adding that when universities are not solving problems of the society, the question remains whether they are achieving their mandates.
Mr Bakare restated the call for Nigeria to transit to a knowledge economy, stressing that the R&D centre of excellence in TETFund was established for this purpose as research and development represent Nigeria’s future.
According to him, in a bid to achieve this mandate, the fund has established centres of excellence in several universities, increased the national Research fund and constituted a committee that is currently working on a draft bill for the establishment of the National Research and Development Foundation.
He urged participating institutions at the workshop not to be left behind in the effort of the fund to retrain them and instil a culture of research to enhance national development.
Bauchi Gets 1.5 million Vaccines for Cholera
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Bauchi State government has received 1.5 million doses of vaccines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to fight a cholera outbreak in the state.
This was disclosed by Mr Rilwanu Mohammed, the Executive Chairman, State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), at the kick-off of the vaccination exercise in Bauchi on Saturday.
Mr Mohammed said the WHO donated the 1.5 million doses of vaccine to support the state’s response to the cholera outbreak.
“Bauchi is among the 18 states with a high risk of a cholera outbreak, hence the donation to be vaccinated to those at the prone areas,” he said.
He noted that some wards in Dass and Toro Local Government Areas that were prone would also receive the vaccine, noting that the 1.5 million doses of the vaccine would be divided into two phases in the local government areas.
He thanked the global health body for its continued support to the agency through the government in addressing health challenges such as the ongoing cholera outbreak.
On his part, the WHO representative, Mr Goni Ngala, said the outbreak was affecting people of different age groups including children under the age of five.
“In its continued efforts to support the cholera response and in particular, the management of cases, the World Health Organisation Country Office donated the vaccine to support prevention,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Nura Jumba, the District Head of Bauchi, emphasised the importance of implementing measures to solve the water, sanitation and hygiene challenges in the affected areas.
Mr Jumba urged the government to be committed to improving garbage collection and desludging of latrines.
“Provision of clean water free of charge to the affected communities including community education and mobilisation will be helpful,” he said.
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