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Nigeria Must Develop Capacity for Future Pandemic—Maduka

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Godwin Maduka

By Ahmed Rahma

The proprietor of the Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Centre in the United States, Dr Godwin Maduka, has lamented the poor state of healthcare in Nigeria.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the medical practitioner urged the federal government to research into tropical and viral diseases, noting that Nigeria must develop its capacity to respond to a future pandemic.

According to him, “It is about time we put our heads together and changed the direction of healthcare in Nigeria” because it is “something we have to take very seriously.”

However, he stressed that, “For that to happen, we need to go into research in terms of the tropical diseases and viral infections as we have seen with the COVID-19 so that in future if something like this happens, we will not be caught napping as experienced recently which caused a lot of panic among the populace.”

He explained that this was the reason for the 17-storey medical facility in Anambra State “to be able to conduct research and training of health workers.”

“It might not be a hospital for everybody but those diseases which need experts from all over the world to work there. We already built hospitals to take care of the local community,” he informed journalists.

“I am calling on the federal government to assist us in our quest to build a research hub, just like you have Cleveland clinic in America which they use for research.

“Our healthcare delivery is not at par with the rest of the world and the time has come to revolutionise the sector to reduce dependency on other countries,” he stated.

Mr Maduka also advised well-established Nigerians in the diaspora to come back home and contribute their quota to national development.

On debates regarding zoning of political offices in the country, the chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Anambra State called on the political class to de-emphasise tribalism in Nigeria’s leadership recruitment process.

He said Nigeria needs to strive towards having a perfect union, saying until then, zoning cannot be waived aside.

“What we need to introduce into politics is accountability. Let us not make politics as a career. It should be about rendering selfless party.

“You see some regions in Nigeria, sometimes they have their representatives in the Senate but you go back home and you meet so many problems that no one has tackled.

“We are all Nigerians. It is about equity and fairness. We are still a young nation. Some older countries have still not gotten it right. We are all the same in Nigeria. The moment we start dividing the house of Nigeria, we would encounter serious challenges.

“Let us use what unites us more than what divides us. Southeast is part of Nigeria. If I get a president from Sokoto, is he not a Nigerian. This is one country, one race.

“The reason why zoning is an issue is that we are still growing but we have to grow fast. Tribalism has to die quickly because I believe tribalism is really a problem.

“How can you go to college or university and still be tribalistic? I think we should close down such institutions because you did not learn anything.

“If there is an ongoing debate about not being represented by one region, do you really want them to go home and not feel that they are being marginalised? Until we get that perfect union, maybe they should get their own quota,” he stated.

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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Health

BOC Gases Changes Name, Logo After Acquisition by TY Danjuma

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BOC Gases Industrial and Medical Gases Nigeria

By Dipo Olowookere

One of the players in the medical industry, BOC Gases Nigeria Plc, has changed its name to Industrial and Medical Gases Nigeria Plc.

This development followed the acquisition of the company by a businessman, Mr Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, through one of his firms, TY Holdings Limited.

Recently, the former Minister of Defence in Nigeria acquired a 60 per cent stake in BOC Gases, taking his total shareholding to 72 per cent, making him the largest shareholder in the organisation.

This made the representatives of the former owners on the board, Hendrik Mentz de Waal and Joseph Ramashala, both non-executive directors, to exist BOC Gases, while efforts were made to change the corporate name and logo.

In a statement issued on Thursday and filed to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, BOC Gases said it “has obtained a new certificate of incorporation from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)” showing the new name, Industrial and Medical Gases Nigeria Plc.

It would be recalled that 14 years ago, the company adopted the now-rested BOC Gases Nigeria Plc.

Industrial and Medical Gases Nigeria is into industrial and medical gas production, sale of medical equipment and special gases.

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Health

FG to Support Cholera-riddled Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi

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Cholera

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has said that it is currently stepping up the technical support and guidance it is giving the states of the federation worst hit by cholera.

This was disclosed by the Director of Family Health department at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Salma Anas Kolo.

She disclosed that Kano, Jigawa and Bauchi are the states worst hit by cholera in the country, noting that more than 48 per cent of the cases reported in the country are from the three sub-nationals.

“Efforts are ongoing by the health ministry in collaboration with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to continue to provide support to the states through the national response in a well-coordinated manner.

“We continue step up in providing technical support and guidance to the states that are worst affected by cholera. “At the moment we have recorded some slow progress and success in the worst affected states.

“We have conducted some trainings for health workers for early detection and prompt treatment of victims of cholera outbreak.

“Unfortunately, the outbreak is among children between the age of 5-14 years. This is closely link to lack of access to portable clean water and also poor defecation practices and poor hygiene,” she said.

Dr Anas Kolo, however, said that the ministry was intensifying its collaboration with partners on the need to re-invigorate the Water Sanitation and Health (WASH) programme in the relevant sectors of the economy considering it requires multi-sectoral approach.

“It has to do with sanitation, toileting facilities available and personal hygiene. We are working closely with the ministries of water resources, information and culture and the ministry of environment who are very critical partners in this.

“We have developed a framework at the national level that require to be operationalized at the state level to adopt similar approach so that the populace, especially, in the worst affected areas can have access to clean water,” she said.

The Director further explained that: “Part of the response we have undertaken is the distribution of essential response commodities at the point of need including hygiene kits for affected states, using traditional medium of information transmission in most of the worst affected states.

“Hand washing is very important in the prevention of the cholera. At any time, you are handling food, hand washing is very key with running water and soap. Where soap is not available, we encourage the use of ashes and table salt.”

She further advised pregnant women in the country to attend ante natal care at the health centres nearest to them in order to access services including test HIV and Syphilis.

This, according to her, is to prevent Mother-To-Child transmission of HIV.

“This is an opportunity for us to call on all Nigerian pregnant women to attend antenatal clinic at any nearest health facility to them and get themselves tested for HIV and Syphilis.

“By doing that we can prevent the transmission of HIV from the infected mother to the unborn baby and avert the transmission of Syphilis which is also very dangerous to the unborn baby.

“It causes still-birth, miscarriages and death and brain damage leading to malformation to the unborn baby. It also affects the heart. So implications are so numerous.

“So it is cheaper and more cost effective to prevent the transmission of Syphilis from an infected mother to the child. The good news is that both are almost 100 preventable. But only if women that are pregnant avail themselves to be tested of syphilis,” the health expert stated.

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Health

COVID-19: Nigeria to Start Vaccination of Children

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vaccination of children

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

In a few months’ time, Nigeria will commence administering vaccines to children under 12 years to protect them against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This vaccination of children against the virus would be done in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The UNICEF Health Specialist and Officer in charge of Enugu Field Office, Mr Olusoji Akinleye, said during a recent media executive meeting in the state that it had taken so long for this to be implemented because of the cluttered processes involved before any drug would be administered to children.

Speaking at the event, which was in collaboration with Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA), Umuahia, on Child Rights-influenced Reporting on COVID-19, the specialist said that a lot of children had died due to the COVID-19, adding that, “In the next few months, Nigeria will start administering the vaccine on children under 12 years of age.”

He said, “We recognize the partnership in promoting and highlighting the right of every child to life. The very first right that every human being is supposed to have is the right to life; we recognise that the media have always supported the effort of government and partners, including UNICEF, in promoting the right to health.”

Noting the challenges faced by the health sector regarding public hesitancy, unwillingness, and misconceptions against the COVID-19 vaccines, Mr Akinleye encouraged parents to ensure that their children were protected by obeying the safety protocols that have been put in place.

In addition to this, he said, “UNICEF looks forward to more robust collaboration with the media and an expected upward trend in the promotion of health and hygiene practices by the media in Nigeria by daily communication to the public of protocols enforced by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

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