WHO Warns as Cases of Measles Rise 400% in Q1 2022
By Adedapo Adesanya
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that Africa is witnessing a surge in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases over the past year.
This came as almost 17,500 cases of measles were recorded in the region between January and March 2022, marking a 400 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2021.
According to the world health authority, 20 African countries reported measles outbreaks in the first quarter of this year, eight more than that in the first three months of 2021.
It also warned that outbreaks from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccines have also become more common due to inequalities in accessing vaccines as well as COVID-19 has strained the health systems.
Twenty-four countries confirmed outbreaks of a variant of polio in 2021, which is four more than in 2020. In 2021, 13 countries reported new yellow fever outbreaks in the African region, compared to nine in 2020 and three in 2019.
Speaking on this, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa explained that even as the continent focused on fighting COVID-19, there needs to be special attention to other health challenges.
“The rise in outbreaks of other vaccine-preventable diseases is a warning sign. As Africa works hard to defeat COVID-19, we must not forget other health threats. Health systems could be severely strained not only by COVID-19 but by other diseases.
“Vaccines are at the heart of a successful public health response, and as countries restore services, routine immunization must be at the core of revived and resilient health systems.”
WHO expects countries to attain and maintain measles vaccination coverage of 95 per cent with two doses to reach measles elimination. In 2019, six countries in the African region attained 95 per cent coverage with first dose measles vaccination, while only three met this target in 2020, according to estimates.
On his part, Dr Benido Impouma, Director, Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases Cluster at WHO Regional Office for Africa said while mass vaccination campaigns are the quickest way to administer a large volume of vaccines, WHO is committed to supporting countries to strengthen essential, primary health care services to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. The longer-term solutions will likely see benefits to communities beyond COVID-19.
“Routine immunization, a long-established practice in many African countries, has been severely strained by the impact of COVID-19. In the wake of this pandemic, we are committed to support countries devise smart approaches to scale up both COVID-19 vaccination and restore and expand routine immunization services,” he said.
Oyo Introduces Mobile App to Track Waste Collection
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A mobile app designed to monitor waste management, especially to track waste collection, has been introduced by the Oyo State government.
This is part of a new step geared towards simplifying waste management in the pace-setter state and making it one of the cleanest states in the country.
The Oyo State Waste Management Consultant, Mottainai Recycling, unveiled the app on Thursday in Ibadan, the state capital.
The Chief Strategy Officer of Mottainai Recycling, Ms Uloma Airhienbuwa, disclosed that the easy-to-use application would help track the ‘movement and management’ of hazardous and other solid wastes.
According to her, the waste management app, which can be downloaded on all smart devices, is designed with user convenience and sustainability, offering several key features to facilitate waste and recycling pickup requests.
“The app also offers clarity on when your waste is picked up and by whom; and an ability to pay your waste bill,” she said.
Speaking further, Ms Airhienbuwa hinted that it also has a fun and transparent way of incentivizing waste sorting, noting that, “The app has a user-friendly interface. It provides an intuitive and user-friendly interface that allows waste generators to easily navigate and make pickup requests with just a few taps.”
“Users can initiate waste pickup requests through the app by specifying the type of waste, quantity, and preferred pickup date and time.
“Users can either make this an on-demand request or create an ideal pickup schedule for themselves. This feature enables efficient scheduling and coordination between Mottainai and users,” she added, stating that, “The app incorporates GPS technology to enable users to locate their specific waste-pickup location.”
“To incentivize waste sorting, the app incorporates a points-based system. Users earn points based on the accuracy of their waste sorting and responsible disposal practices.
“Accumulated points can be redeemed for various rewards, such as discounts on waste management services or donations to a charity organization of your choice,” Ms Airhienbuwa stated.
She said the app is continually being developed to ensure users a seamless experience for pickup requests, tracking the progress of pickups and payments and receiving rewards.
Oyo Task Force Arrests 4,000 Environmental Offenders, Generates N30m as Fines
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
No fewer than 4,000 environmental offenders have been apprehended by the Oyo State Environmental Task Force since its creation.
This disclosure was made by the Chairman of the organisation, Mr Ojomo Francis, during a chat on Wednesday in Ibadan, the state capital.
He explained that some of the offenders were committed to community service after trial, while others paid fines to the tune of N30 million to the coffers of the Oyo State Government.
Mr Ojomo, who is also the Waste Enforcement Officer, urged the public to obey the environmental laws of the state, stressing that this will sustain the healthiness and good neighbourliness in the society.
He added that item 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations places a premium on sanitation and a sustainable environment.
Mr Ojomo appealed to Nigerians, especially residents of Oyo State, to pay attention to cleaning their environment, as the Task Force is watching everyone, reiterating the commitment of the state government towards ensuring a healthy and safe environment.
“This is not the first time we have appealed to members of the public to obey our environmental laws so that we will have sustained peace and health in our society.
“Item 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations places a premium on sanitation and a sustainable environment. We do not need to attend any formal school to take care of our environment in our interest,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Oyo State Environmental Protection Tribunal, sitting in Ibadan on Wednesday, convicted five offenders for violating environmental laws in the state.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr Jubreel Kareem, while speaking with journalists, disclosed that during monitoring in Ibadan, the five offenders were arrested.
He said two of the offenders, Olanrewaju Deola and Funmilayo Ayoola, were found disposing of wastes illegally at unauthorized places; they also failed to provide a standard refuse drum contrary to Oyo State Environmental Laws, 2013.
The persons admitted to having committed the offences and were convicted to three months of imprisonment or an option of fines of N5,000, N2,500, and N2,500, each.
Another offender, Olabisi Olatunde, who was caught at Preboyes, along UI-Bodija, dumping refuse on the median, pleaded guilty. The tribunal thereafter fined her N7,500.
In the same vein, John Blessing and Ali Sumaiya were caught illegally displaying goods by the roadside at Mokola.
The Tribunal ruled that this is against Section 2 sub-section 14 of the Oyo State Waste Management Law of 2014 and, after that, fined them N2,500 each.
The head of the Tribunal further warned the offenders not to violate the environmental laws of the State henceforth, saying this will serve as a lesson to them and others.
AXA Mansard Health Offers Hilda Baci Free Heath Insurance
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
To support a Nigerian chef, Ms Hilda Baci, who is cooking in Lagos to break the Guinness World Record for the Longest Cooking Time, the country’s biggest Health Management Organisation (HMO), AXA Mansard Health, has offered a one-year free Gold Health Insurance for her.
In a message, the HMO noted that this is to boost the morale of the 27-year-old chef and give her the confidence to progress to the end, despite the exhaustion that might have come with 70 hours of cooking she has already put in.
“Dear Hilda, you’re doing amazing! We see your determination, and we Know You Can.
“AXA Mansard Health solidly supports you. We know that when you feel secure, you can progress. So, we are supporting you with one-year Gold Health Insurance.
“We trust this can strengthen you more in the pursuit of this world record for yourself and the millions of women you inspire every day and our dear country.
“We hope this support will inspire you and serve as an additional elixir to the millions of support that you already enjoy across the world today and always. Wishing her all the best,” the company said.
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