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COVID-19 pandemic still with us, hard to predict — SGF

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COVID-19 pandemic still with us, hard to predict — SGF

Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), says the COVID-19 pandemic is still around as shown in Nigeria and other countries across the globe and the pattern it will take is hard to predict.

Mustapha, who is also the Chairman of, the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, said this when he gave a keynote address on “Safeguarding Nigeria against the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Journey So Far’’ at a two-day Primary Health Care Summit on Friday in Abuja.

Also read: PHC Summit: COVID-19 has shown that healthcare is critical aspect of economy, WHO

The newsmen report that the PHC summit, organized by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has “Re-Imagining PHC in Nigeria’’ as its theme.

It aims to galvanise stakeholders to invest and collaboratively implement a PHC revitalisation strategy for the country.

The summit is also geared toward launching a historic programme to transform the under-resourced, weak PHC system by leveraging the private sector, international agencies and government collaboration.

The SGF, who cautioned Nigerians against letting their guard down, added that sustained observance of the COVID-19 protocols would enable the country to conquer the variants.

He added that there had been good progress on the country’s vaccination campaign rate.

He said “while we continue to embrace and implement globally adopted prevention strategies, we advise that you continue to observe the protocols for prevention of the spread of COVID-19, namely hand washing, social distancing, wearing of nose mask (especially in public), among others.

Mustapha added that amidst the global shortage of the COVID–19 vaccines, the vaccination drive in the country progressed in different phases, expanding the eligible target population to include all adults aged 18 years and above.

He said “till this day, Nigeria recorded 255,092 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection and 3,142 deaths. When compared with global figures, Nigeria has been able to curtail the spread and detrimental effect of this deadly virus in spite of the overarching challenge of a weakened health system.

“Over 67.9 million doses of four types of COVID-19 vaccines (AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson) were received through support of the COVAX facility and governments of other countries and we are expecting close to 47 million doses by the end of 2022.

“Similarly, we have reached over 10 million Nigerians with both first and second doses of the vaccines.’’

The SGF, who said that the virus came with challenges but had given the country ample opportunity to invest in its health infrastructure, added that the Electronic Management of Immunisation Data (EMID) system had strengthened the country’s ability to collect and manage real-time information on COVID-19 vaccination coverage.

The system, he added, enabled the country to monitor and take informed decisions on COVID-19 vaccination rate, noting that “the vaccination card that is linked to the EMID system made it easier for Nigerians to resume international travels, reduce travel restrictions and measures such as quarantine and COVID-19 testing upon arrival and at departure.

“You will agree with me that these digital innovations significantly supported COVID-19 case detection, response, control and management in Nigeria.’’

Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, the Chairman of, the Senate Committee on Health, said Nigeria must address the issue of human resources to get its healthcare right.

He said that “with what we have, we are not achieving much in healthcare; we must rethink our systems and it starts by removing every bottleneck that hinders effectiveness.

“I have suggested through the legislation that we create special capitalisation of remuneration for health workers just like we have for other sectors that provide essential services in the country.’’

The chairman told stakeholders at the summit that “as we talk about health, we must bear in mind that health does not work in isolation.

“We must consider other social determinants of health such as education, WASH, and electricity to ensure effective healthcare system in the country.’’

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that the country’s goal is to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and it begins with the transformation of PHCs.

He said “the Federal Government is looking at what works for Nigerians of all ages, wealth and backgrounds. To prevent leakages, we must jointly implement health funding at the federal, state and local levels.

“We must commit to healthcare systems that satisfy the needs of individuals in communities while also being affordable. The subnational level should shift its focus to investing in PHC.’’

The minister added that the underperformance of the health sector in the country was not equal to under-investment, “but the PHC Summit aims to address this imbalance and chat the course for more public and private sector collaborations.

“Government wants to ensure health services that meet the needs of Nigerians as close as possible to where they live at affordable cost throughout their lives.

“We have brought partners, friends and leaders of thought and government here today to declare that it is time for action in transforming PHCs by engaging communities in health-related social and behavioural change communication in diverse subjects.

“We engage in public, family and personal health and hygiene, nutrition, reproductive, maternal and child health, immunization and much more.’’

He said that as stakeholders, there was the need to develop an appetite for change, “a change that directs attention and investment over the next few years to where the current greatest need and gaps are in the health sector of the country.

“This will be at the grassroots level.’’

Ehanire, therefore, called for stimulating conversations and commitments toward adopting projects that would transform the country’s PHCs to new specifications and pledges to support schools of nursing or health technology for manpower buildup.

Newsmen recall that one of the highlights of the two days 2022 PHC Summit was that the government, partners and committed Nigerians signed a pact to re-invest in Primary Health Care through the Re-imagining PHC initiative.

The summit brought together national leaders, top government officials and leading private sector executives to present ambitious and attainable plans that will lead to tangible and large-scale changes to Nigeria’s PHC system by the year 2030.

 

Health and Safety

LASG Unveils 24-hour Customer Service Centre To Enhance Traffic Management

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LASG Unveils 24-hour Customer Service Centre To Enhance Traffic Management

In a significant move to enhance the operations of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the Lagos State Government has launched a 24-hour Customer Service Center, equipped with a dedicated Toll-Free Hot Lines, a Walk-In Complaint Centre, a Website, a Whistleblower App, and a new Department of Statistics, Research, and Data. 

According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Sola Giwa, the centre is at the LASTMA headquarters.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Giwa officially opened the Customer Service Center and announced the dedicated lines as 0800-00-527862 or 0800-00-LASTMA.

Explaining the initiative, Hon. Sola Giwa said Motorists can contact the Call Center via the toll-free hotlines to report incidents, request assistance, or seek information on road conditions, including updates on the activities of LASTMA personnel. 

He said the centre will also enable drivers get real-time updates on road conditions and traffic advisories, enabling them to plan their routes more effectively, avoid congestion and reduce travel time.

Highlighting the features of the customer support centres, the Special Adviser further explained that the whistleblower app is designed to involve everyone in the state’s traffic management. 

“When you see something, say something,” he added. The app is available for download on the Android Play Store”, Sola Giwa said, stressing that the whistleblower app will allow Motorists and other road users to report dangerous driving and other reckless behaviours on the road, enabling LASTMA to take immediate action and uphold traffic regulations. 

He said the public can also earn points for every valid incident they report and get rewarded for their actions.

Hon. Giwa also mentioned that a walk-in complaint centre and a live interactive website (lastma.org) are available for citizens to engage with traffic management personnel, urging everyone to embrace the initiative.

Discussing the new Department of Statistics, Research, and Data, he explained that the department aims to provide a comprehensive breakdown and analysis of vehicles on Lagos roads. 

This includes real-time data on the number of vehicles impounded, categorized by private and commercial vehicles, and details on accidents and other traffic offences.

In the demonstration on statistics and data carried out between January and June 2024, the Special Adviser debunked the belief that the agency concentrates more on private vehicles disclosing that 5, 547 commercial vehicles were impounded for traffic infringement as against 3, 823 private vehicles. 

In his address, the Commissioner for Transportation Mr Oluwaseun Osiyemi emphasized that the customer support centres aim to improve communication between the public and LASTMA, streamline traffic operations, and significantly enhance the overall driving experience in Lagos State. 

He noted that with these new centres, Traffic Management Officers are now just a phone call away, at no cost to the public.

The General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Olalekan Bakare Oki, confirmed that officers managing the newly launched Call Center have been thoroughly trained by the government, noting that the agency will use multiple languages, including English, Pidgin, and Yoruba, to ensure convenient communication for all members of the public.

 

He reiterated the agency’s commitment to prioritizing public feedback, stating that input from citizens will aid in efficient traffic management across the state.

The event was also attended by the Permanent Secretary of the Lagos Ministry of Transportation Mr. Olawale Musa, Directors in the ministry and LASTMA Personnel.

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Health and Safety

Waterloo: NAF Kills Several Terrorists In Aerial Bombardment In Borno

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Waterloo: NAF Kills Several Terrorists In Aerial Bombardment In Borno

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai, has eliminated several terrorists in an aerial bombardment in their hideouts in Borno.

This is contained in a statement by the Director, Public Relations and Information, NAF, AVM Edward Gabkwet, on Thursday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said that the hideouts located near Degbewa and Chinene in the Mandara mountains in the state were known terrorists’ hideouts.

He said the air strikes became expedient after several days of aerial surveillance which revealed a consistent gathering of a large number of terrorists in the area.

According to him, the location is also suspected to be a site for manufacturing Improvised Explosive Devices and a storage area.

”The terrorists were also observed to be loitering within the vicinity, clearly oblivious of what was to befall them, and probably confident that their location was safe and secured from any form of military bombardments.

”The air strikes were thus authorised with the aircraft bombarding the locations in several passes until the majority of the terrorists were eliminated.

”Others observed fleeing the location were taken out using canons,” he said.

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Health and Safety

Sumal: 1 Dies, 12 Arrested In Ibadan Palliative Protest – Police

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ABUJA: Police Arrest 1 Prankster, 5 Kidnappers

… Affirms protest hijacked by criminal elements who forced their way into the factory

The Police Command in Oyo State says one person died and 12 suspects were arrested in a violent protest by workers of Sumal Food Company, Ibadan, over palliatives on Monday.

The command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Adewale Osifeso, confirmed this in a statement issued on Tuesday in Ibadan.

Osifeso said the protest broke out in the factory located at Oluyole Industrial Estate, Ibadan around 4 p.m. on Monday.

He said that the workers staged the protest to challenge what they called non-distribution of the palliatives allegedly given by the Federal Government to all private companies across the country.

Osifeso said that it was sad that the protest was hijacked by criminal elements who forced their way into the factory, thus destroying vehicles and other property worth millions of naira.

“One person died and 12 suspects were arrested in connection with the violent protest,’’ he said.

The spokesman, however, said that normalcy had returned to the area where the company is located, following the deployment of police operatives to maintain peace.

He also said that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Ayodele Sonubi, had ordered the transfer of the matter to the homicide unit of the Criminal Investigations Department for further investigation.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the protest was premised on false information created and peddled by some workers over the disbursement of palliatives to privately-owned companies,’’ he said.

Osifeso said that the command would give further information on the matter as soon investigation was concluded.

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