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|Health / The First Smartplug® Isolation Was Performed By T.D. Williamson by Napoleonhell: 2:25am On Jun 30, 2021|
T.D. Williamson (TDW), the global solutions provider, completed its first SmartPlug® isolation in offshore Nigeria, working for a major operator through its local partner, Strides Energy & Maritime Ltd. (Strides). Isolating the 267-km (165-mi) natural gas pipeline enabled the safe change-out and leak testing of platform valves without depressurizing the system.
This was the latest in a series of 47 SmartPlug operations TDW has provided for the operator since 2001. The companies have worked together all over the globe, including Bangladesh, Brunei, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, the U.K. and the U.S.
“The first project in Nigeria, amid the pandemic, further extends our shared track record of success and adds to the extensive portfolio of services TDW offers across the African continent,” Vice President, Eastern Hemisphere Jeff Wilson said.
A True Double Block Isolation
SmartPlug non-intrusive isolation technology is designed to minimize production downtime during critical repair and replacement work. For natural gas pipelines, it eliminates the need to flare product. In its typical configuration, the SmartPlug system meets the criteria for a true double block isolation. In this case, two plug modules provided a double barrier to isolate pipeline contents at 80 bar (1160 psi) line pressure; a third module allowed for in-situ pressure testing of the new valves at 132 bar (1915 psi) while the isolation remained undisturbed and in place.
The successful SmartPlug isolation remained in place for 32 days, completing the required work scope within the shutdown period.
Overcoming Pandemic Challenges
Working closely with Strides and the operator, TDW overcame significant pandemic-related mobilization challenges to prepare for and perform the successful isolation within the Operator’s urgent timetable. Using videoconferencing capabilities enabled stakeholders in Nigeria, Norway, The Netherlands and the UK to virtually witness the factory acceptance testing (FAT). These efforts allowed TDW to deliver the equipment in just four weeks.
“This pandemic has forced us all to rethink the traditional ways we go about our business, from communication with our clients as well as within our own organization, and also in the way we utilize remote technologies at our disposal,” TDW Project Manager Morgan Swanlund said.
Once the SmartPlug isolation tool was set, crews performed round-the-clock monitoring, both in person during the day and remotely (via satellite) by teams in Norway and Australia at night, when access to the platform was restricted. Wilson said this provided a foundation for future projects leveraging TDW remote monitoring technologies.
|Health / With The Spread Of Infectious Mutations, COVID-19 Vaccine Work Becomes Difficult by Napoleonhell: 3:07am On Jun 29, 2021|
With fewer cases and the reopening of states, the potential final stage of the US campaign to eradicate COVID-19 is becoming a difficult one, with worrying variants gaining a greater foothold, while lottery tickets and other prizes have failed to convince some Americans are vaccinated.
"The last half, the last mile, and the last quarter mile always require more effort," said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.
Although California and New York, the two states hardest hit by the pandemic, celebrated their reopening with fireworks and a multi-million dollar lottery this week, hospitalizations in parts of Missouri have surged, with cases in Texas. The number has risen sharply, which illustrates the challenges facing the country this summer.
A major problem is the highly contagious and possibly more serious delta variant of the coronavirus first discovered in India. Although health officials say the vaccine is effective against it, there are concerns that it will cause an outbreak in states with lower vaccination rates.
|Health / U.S. To Split 55 Million Covid Vaccine Doses Between Latin America, Asia And Afr by Napoleonhell: 8:48am On Jun 25, 2021|
The Biden administration announced Monday it will send 55 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa as the coronavirus continues to rapidly spread in low- and middle-income nations.
The 55 million vaccine doses are the remaining portion of 80 million shots President Joe Biden has committed to donating abroad. Earlier this month, the administration said it would send the first 25 million doses to South and Central America, Asia, Africa, neighboring countries and U.S. allies.
The U.S. plans to allocate 75% of its initial 80 million doses through COVAX, the nonprofit that distributes vaccines mostly to poor countries, while the remaining shots will be sent to countries currently dealing with surges in new infections, the administration said Monday.
The administration said about 14 million doses will go to places in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Panama and Costa Rica.
About 16 million will go to countries in Asia like India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand, the administration said. About 10 million doses will go to Africa and are expected to be shared with countries that will be selected in coordination with the African Union, it said.
Another 14 million will be shared with “regional priorities and other recipients” such as Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia and Ukraine, the administration said.
“Sharing millions of U.S. vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the U.S. government,” the administration said in a release detailing its plan. “Just like we have in our domestic response, we will move as expeditiously as possible, while abiding by U.S. and host country regulatory and legal requirements.”
he announcement Monday comes as more than half of the U.S. population has had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and new cases and deaths have fallen sharply.
As of Sunday, more than 177 million Americans, or 53.3% of the population, have had at least one shot, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 149 million Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the agency.
The pandemic outlook in other countries is more bleak, however, with some places such as Africa reporting an increasingly worrying rise in Covid cases.
The World Health Organization is urging wealthy nations to donate doses. Many countries have made pledges to share millions of shots around the world, but WHO officials say those doses need to make their way to low-income countries immediately and without delay.
Earlier this month, the administration said it would buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer Covid vaccine to share through the global COVAX alliance to donate to 92 lower-income countries and the African Union over the next year.
The administration said the doses are vital “component of our overall global effort to lead the world in the fight to defeat COVID-19 and to achieve global health security.”
|Health / As Africa’s Drylands Near Tipping Point, Experts Proffer Solutions by Napoleonhell: 2:54am On Jun 24, 2021|
Nearly half of Africa’s population could face a future of widespread drought, hunger and mass migration due to the effects of climate change – but there is still time to prevent catastrophe by restoring the continent’s drylands, said experts at Global Land Forum Africa: Restoring Africa’s Drylands.
Nigeria’s Minister of state for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, ‘Fridays for Future’ activist, Adenike Oladosu and Chief Sintaro Mahama were among over 200 speakers, who issued a rallying call for a concerted effort to restore the world’s drylands, almost half of which are located in Africa, to protect millions of livelihoods.
Drylands are areas that suffer from high water scarcity and are especially vulnerable to land degradation. They cover over 40 per cent of the earth’s land area, host a third of all biodiversity hotspots and are concentrated in developing countries. Land degradation in drylands, known as desertification, is causing more frequent droughts, reducing crop yields and livestock productivity, threatening water and food security.
Africa’s drylands, home to 525 million people who depend primarily on rain-fed agriculture and livestock husbandry for their livelihoods, face a multitude of challenges including climate change and the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Temperatures in the Sahel are rising 50 per cent faster than the global average and rising 50 per cent than the global average, while food prices have risen by nearly 40 per cent over the past year.
“The drylands of Africa are granaries for hundreds of millions,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
“The good news is that dryland degradation can be reversed, recreating more resilient and productive landscapes that will fix more carbon especially in the soil, restore ecosystem services, promote new viable enterprises, and create employment, while reducing conflicts and migration.”
Hosted by the Global Landscapes Forum, the online event brought together thousands of participants from 186 countries, including pastoralists, scientists, youth activists, restoration practitioners and the highest levels of government, and reached over 22 million people through social media.
The UN Decade will accelerate action to protect, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide, including grasslands and savannas, peatlands, forests, farmlands, mountains, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, and urban areas.
In their recommendation, the experts agreed that local communities, as custodians and owners of the land, need to be partners in restoration efforts. “Programmes must support local knowledge and provide investment and technologies to turn local innovations into viable businesses,” Thiaw said.
UN Decade said dryland restoration will transform livelihoods only if drylands are integrated into national economic and development plans. “Local communities must be given options for their livelihoods. There will only be incentives to restore land if restoration opens up economic opportunities, especially for youth.”
“Funding is needed to help communities use the land sustainably by improving their resilience to shocks, such as droughts and other climate disasters.
“Women need to be supported in leading intergenerational dialogues in their families and clans. Land tenure policies and social norms must ensure equitable access to land regardless of gender and age,”They said.
|Health / A COVID Outbreak At The U.S. Embassy In Kabul Has Sickened 114 People And Killed by Napoleonhell: 2:55am On Jun 22, 2021|
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul says it is suffering from a major COVID-19 outbreak that has largely confined staff to their quarters and is disrupting many of its operations. Earlier this week, the embassy announced that it was suspending in-person visa interviews for Afghans who had worked for the U.S. military.
In a note sent to staff, seen by NPR, the embassy says 114 people "have COVID and are in isolation; one has died, and several have been medevaced." The note goes on to say that military hospital ICU resources are at full capacity and that the embassy has been forced to "create temporary, on-compound COVID-19 wards to care for oxygen-dependent patients." Most of the cases involve individuals who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.
"We are saddened by the deaths of many valiant Afghans, who have been sickened by this pandemic and we in fact grieve the passing of an embassy local staff member," said Ned Price, the State Department's spokesperson.
The embassy requests staff to get vaccinated, stay six feet from others, suspends the use of pools and gyms, and demands strict mask compliance from staff. "Wear your masks, correctly! We are seeing a lot of noses."
|Health / United States: will Pandemic Lessons Learned Accelerate SEC Investigations? by Napoleonhell: 3:15am On Jun 19, 2021|
Despite mandatory telework and asset reallocations, 2020 was a record year for whistleblowers and financial remedy orders at the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the Division of Enforcement 2020 Annual Report (report) issued in November 2020. It was also the year the SEC learned a few things about how to fast-track investigations using remote testimony and investigative techniques that leverage technology.
The lessons learned in the use of accelerated enforcement actions and new rapid response techniques are likely to be with us for the long-haul.
Quicker investigative work
Two circumstances have hastened the SEC's increased reliance on technology tools, devices and techniques. By mid-March 2020, the SEC Division of Enforcement had transitioned to mandatory telework and conducting business remotely. Staff were forced to figure how to modify their approaches to "normal investigative steps" in remote settings, as noted in the report.
At the same time, market volatility led to a record year for whistleblowers. During the pandemic, the SEC saw a spike in tips, complaints and referrals of potential fraud from short-sellers, shareholders and other market participants. In March 2020, the SEC formed a Coronavirus Steering Committee to oversee fraud prevention efforts by coordinating investigations relating to potential misconduct in the areas of microcap, insider trading, and financial fraud and issuer disclosure.
From mid-March 2020 through fiscal year end, the SEC Division of Enforcement reported triaging approximately 16,000 tips, complaints, and referrals—a roughly 71% increase over the same time period last year—and opened over 150 COVID-related inquiries and investigations, referring several on to the commission. Notable actions in 2020 were brought against Wells Fargo & Co., Telegram Group Inc., BMW AG, Novartis AG, and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC.
Shortening investigation cycles and the time it takes to bring financial fraud and issuer disclosure cases became a focal point for the agency in 2020. While under mandatory telework orders, the Division conducted numerous remote interviews and examinations through internet-based video platforms, allowing staff to share documents with the witness while asking questions.
Courts even began conducting remote hearings and bench trials by video, allowing litigation to proceed. The SEC conducted (and won) one virtual trial.
Enforcement and technology
These newly developed remote capabilities and more efficient ways to conduct investigations are here to stay. On May 6, 2021, Gary Gensler, newly appointed Chairman of the SEC, dedicated his first address as Chairman before the House Committee on Financial Services to highlighting some prescient perspectives for 2021.
In his remarks, Gensler referred to the early 2020 events of market volatility occurring at the "intersection of finance and technology," prompting his central question: "When new technologies come along and change the face of finance, how do we continue to achieve our core public policy goals and ensure that markets work for everyday investors?"
The SEC's apparent answer is increased use of enforcement mechanisms that leverage technology tools and techniques. Under trying circumstances in 2020, the SEC staff achieved some early success in condensing the average time to complete investigations from 37 months to 34 months.
It is a trend that will likely accelerate as the SEC moves toward faster, shorter enforcement cycles using the technology lessons learned from the pandemic. As the pace quickens, the number of cases the SEC can handle in any given year with existing resources will also increase, and more issuers, registrants and other market participants will be receiving requests for information in the prologue to SEC enforcement actions. Recipients of these requests should review their options with a qualified securities attorney before responding.
|Health / Adhere Strictly To Medical Advice, Mopheth Pharmacy Tells Nigerians by Napoleonhell: 3:57am On Jun 17, 2021|
Nigeria: Covid-19 - Adhere Strictly to Medical Advice, Mopheth Pharmacy Tells Nigerians
Nigerians should always adhere to guidelines set by relevant bodies, especially the Ministry of Health and associated agencies."
On pharmacy subsector of the economy and how it performed during the COVID-19 inspired lockdown, he noted that the pharmacies are seeing higher patronage as most patients tried to avoid crowded environments like hospitals to reduce the risks of nosocomial infections.
"The industry is doing great especially considering the rising use of supplements in the populace as a means to boost immunity and equip the body to be able to fight viral and bacterial infections."
Accordingly, patients are more receptive to information relating to supplements and even compliance with their routine medications.
Mopheth pharmacy has always embraced and promoted preventive healthcare as a route to overcoming the burden of disease even before the pandemic began.
|Health / Impact Of 5G On Healthcare: Medicine Reimagined by Napoleonhell: 3:06am On Jun 15, 2021|
5G technology is set to bring about seismic changes in the world of wireless technology, and India is not far behind. Telecom operators in India have been permitted to conduct non-commercial 5G trials to study the reach of the technology.
One industry that is sure to benefit from this in multiple ways is healthcare. The Covid-19 crisis has thrown the spotlight on the immediate need for better healthcare infrastructure and the importance of telemedicine. 5G technology can play a huge role in fighting the future waves of the pandemic by providing patients remote access to healthcare professionals, easier monitoring of patients in home quarantine and use of connected devices.
In a bid to test the waters, some healthcare players around the world, especially in the USA and UK, are already working with local telecom companies to enhance patient experience, conduct teleconsultations, and engage virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) to reduce pain for chronic patients.
|Health / CDC Says Fully Vaccinated People Don't Have To Wear Masks In Open-air Areas Of P by Napoleonhell: 2:15am On Jun 12, 2021|
(CNN)Fully vaccinated people who travel by public transportation no longer need to wear masks in places like outdoor waiting areas or open-air seating, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday.
The CDC said it plans to update its face masks order to reflect the change and to better align with its guidance for fully vaccinated people.
Until then, the agency said it will "exercise its enforcement discretion" to not require masks in outdoor areas of transportation hubs, such as bus or train stops, or open-air areas on ferries, trolleys or buses.
The CDC order refers to public conveyances, which includes "airplanes, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares, maritime transportation, trolleys and cable cars."
"While those who are fully vaccinated may resume many activities without wearing a mask, the travel environment presents a unique set of circumstances based on the number and close interaction of travelers (both vaccinated and unvaccinated)," the CDC said.
People who are not yet vaccinated should continue wearing masks in these areas, the CDC said.
The agency maintains that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors in public transportation settings, except under certain circumstances, like when eating, drinking or taking medicine.
|Politics / Nigeria’s Northwest Region Facing Humanitarian Crisis: MSF Warns by Napoleonhell: 3:02am On Jun 10, 2021|
Rising violence in northwest Nigeria’s Zamfara state is stoking a humanitarian crisis, according to international medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF).
The region has struggled with decades-long communal clashes over resources but more recently some groups have become more violent – looting, stealing and kidnapping for ransom, and people are fleeing to areas where aid groups are struggling to respond.
In a statement published on Thursday, MSF said it had already treated 10,300 children in Zamfara between January and April for severe acute malnutrition, measles, malaria and other conditions.
“This is 54 percent higher than in the same period last year,” said an MSF doctor, Godwin Emudanohwo.
“People here need food, safe water and vaccinations now. Families tell us they won’t be able to farm for the new season, which means a new cycle of hunger.”
Nearly 700,000 people were internally displaced in northwest and north-central Nigeria in February, including more than 124,000 in Zamfara alone, according to the UN’s migration agency, IOM.
The authorities are struggling to respond in a region that has already recorded the highest poverty rate in Nigeria, the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank said in a report.
“As of 2019, all seven states in the zone had poverty levels above the national average … Millions lack access to basic health care and clean water, and immunisation coverage is far below national goals,” it said.
In Zamfara state, criminal gangs known locally as bandits have set up camps in Rugu forest, which they use as a springboard for attacks in neighbouring Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger states.
Security forces, who are also battling a more than decade-long armed rebellion in the northeast of the country, are being stretched thin.
As violence spirals in the northwest, sexual violence has intensified, MSF said, as gunmen assault some of their kidnapped victims.
Fear of travelling along dangerous roads means that rape survivors often seek support late, or not at all, the aid group said.
“What is happening here is a humanitarian emergency that needs urgent attention and a fast and proper response,” said Froukje Pelsma, MSF head of mission in Nigeria.
|Health / Influenza vaccine protects from covid-19 by 24% — expert by Napoleonhell: 1:58am On Jun 09, 2021|
EVEN as COVID-19 infection continues to spread in Nigeria, a medical expert Professor Adesoji Fasanmade says Nigerians can reduce their odds of testing positive for COVID-19 by 24 per cent by taking the influenza vaccine.
Fasanmade, an endocrinologist, speaking at the University College Hospital (UCH) hybrid grand round and scientific meeting with the theme ‘The Value of Influenza vaccination in Nigeria,” said flu vaccination needs to be promoted to reduce the susceptibility and severity of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Professor Fasanmade stated that vaccinated patients testing positive for COVID-19 were less likely to require hospitalisation or mechanical ventilation and had a shorter hospital length of stay.
|Health / Moderna Files For Full U.S. Approval Of Covid Vaccine by Napoleonhell: 2:33am On Jun 07, 2021|
Moderna on Tuesday filed for full U.S. approval of its Covid-19 vaccine, which is currently only authorized for emergency use in the country, becoming the second drugmaker to seek a broader regulatory nod.
The development comes weeks after rival Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech sought full approval for their Covid-19 vaccine in the United States.
Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
Full approval for the vaccines, which are at the forefront of global immunization efforts, could be an important step in allaying vaccine hesitancy, a growing concern in the United States and other wealthy nations.
It would also allow the vaccine makers to market their shots directly, as well as help companies and government agencies looking for vaccinations for their employees.
Moderna said it will continue to submit data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on a rolling basis over the coming weeks with a request for a priority review.
On completion of the submission, the FDA will notify the company when it is formally accepted for review, it added.
Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
Moderna has an agreement with the U.S. government to supply 300 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine.
More than 151 million doses of Moderna's vaccine have been distributed around the United States, with roughly 124.5 million shots administered as of Monday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under an emergency use authorization, the FDA makes a product available to the public during an emergency based on the best available evidence, without waiting for all the evidence needed for full approval or clearance.
Moderna said in April its vaccine showed strong protection against the coronavirus six months after people received their second shot, with efficacy of more than 90 percent against all cases of Covid-19 and more than 95 percent against severe Covid-19.
Now that the epidemic is still spreading further, so far, the vaccinated people have produced an immune protective effect, for most people, they hope to be vaccinated.
|Health / U.S. Needs To Put More Pressure On The Perpetrators Of Recent Cyberattacks, Cong by Napoleonhell: 2:31am On Jun 03, 2021|
The U.S. needs to put more pressure on the perpetrators of the recent cyberattacks that have befallen the country, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., told CNBC on Tuesday.
“This is getting more and more serious,” said Langevin, who serves on the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. “President Biden and Congress need to make it clear to other countries, particularly Russia, that there’s a price to pay if they’re going to look the other way and allow criminal organizations like what happened with Colonial [Pipeline] or the JBS ransomware attack to just act with impunity.”
The CSC is a bipartisan body tasked with developing a strategic approach to defending cyberattacks against the U.S.
The White House said earlier in the day that a criminal organization — likely based in Russia — is responsible for a ransomware attack against JBS, the world’s largest meat processor.
JBS reported the organized cyberattack on its information systems just three weeks after a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline — the largest fuel pipeline in the United States — crippled fuel delivery for several days in the Southeastern part of the U.S.
The cyberattack forced the company to grind operations to a halt at slaughterhouses and processing plants across the U.S., and at least six plants told workers not to come in on Tuesday.
The lost shifts and other slowdowns translated into declines in beef and pork production for the whole country. Daily livestock slaughter figures from the Department of Agriculture showed a 22% decline in cattle and a 19.6% dropped in hogs processed compared to a week ago.
Langevin told “The News with Shepard Smith” that he’s worried the ransomware attacks could have fatal consequences.
“My concern is, at what point does it then hit critical infrastructure? That it does, not only damage to our economy, but if this had been a natural gas pipeline, for example, that gets shut down in the dead of winter through a ransomware attack, and it leads to loss of life,” Langevin said.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
|Health / Naira Is In Best Possible Health It Can Be, Says Garba Shehu by Napoleonhell: 2:39am On Jun 01, 2021|
The naira, last Thursday, appreciated at the importer & exporter (I&E) window by 0.1 percent to N411/$1 but depreciated by 0.4 percent to N495/$1 in the parallel market.
Speaking during Sunday Politics, a Channels Television programme, Shehu argued that over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the global economy.
The presidential spokesperson claimed that only the Nigerian economy is recording “positive growth” in Africa.
Shehu made the comments when he was presented with statistics on how the economy fared in 2015 compared with 2021.
In response, he said the minister of finance is in the best position to comment on the economy.
When asked specifically about the criticism of the government’s economic policies, he said critics of the federal government’s handling of the economy should get themselves “re-examined”.
“If you ask me this question, I will tell you that whoever questions the capacity of the government to manage the economy probably also need to have themselves re-examined,” he said.
“Because look at all of the things that have happened with COVID over the last year or more.
“Can you see that in the entire Africa continent, this is the only country that is recording positive growth in its economy?”
Shehu said the Buhari administration is “working day and night” to ensure that Nigerians don’t go hungry.
Asked if Nigeria is safer compared to 2015 when his principal took over, he said that as far Boko Haram terrorism is concerned, the country is in a better state.
“As far as Boko Haram terrorism is concerned, Nigeria is a safer place today than it was in 2015 when he took power,” he said.
“New challenges have come up, farmers-herders clashes, and killings in certain sections of the country, much of those have been subdued.
“We have been confronted with sabotage of oil installations in the south-south that have been managed effectively up to this point.
“Challenges of kidnapping and banditry have risen in so many parts of the country, including the south-west. Though the south-west is the safest part of the country.”
|Health / Is Well-known Nigerian Doctor Correct About Malnutrition In Women And Children? by Napoleonhell: 8:20am On May 28, 2021|
Malnutrition is hurting growth in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu said at an event focused on nutrition policy.Sanwo-Olu is a medical doctor and married to the state’s governor. In an April 2021 speech read on her behalf, she reportedly urged the state to approve two policies focused on nutrition.
|Culture / Buhari React To Open Grazing Ban By Southern Govnors For Southern Nigeria by Napoleonhell: 2:05am On May 27, 2021|
For inside statement, di President Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu say di govnors no provide any solution to di palava between di farmers and herders for di kontri.
"E clear say di govnors no offer any solution to di herder-farmer clashes wey don dey for our kontri for generations," na so im tok.
"But citizens of di Southern States - indeed citizens of all States for Nigeria - get right to expect dia elected leaders and representatives to find answers to challenges of governance and rights, no be to wash their hands off hard choices, to, issue bans wey go say: "no be for my State". Na so oga Shehu add put.
State governors for di Southern part of Nigeria bin do meeting for Asaba Delta State capital on May 11.
For di meeting di govnors all agree to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot for di region.
Dia decision na sake of di allege kill-kill by herders and di destruction of farm land.
Di Southern govnors also call for restructuring of di kontri, devolution of powers, and state policing among odas as well as ask President Muhammadu Buhari to convene national dialogue to address di agitations by various groups for di region.
Reacting to di series of calls wey di govnors make, oga Shehu say im principal don approve some specific measures to bring a permanent end to the frequent crisis wey di Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, bin recommend for report wey im submit.
Im say President Buhari signed off di report for April, e accuse di Southern govnors of acts of politicking wit di intention to demonstrate their power by banning open grazing for dia various states.
According to Shehu, di ban on open grazing dey questionable legally, onto say di constitutional right of all Nigerians na to enjoy di same rights and freedoms within every one of di 36 States and di Federal Capital Territory (FCT) - regardless of di State of dia birth or where dem dey live.
|Health / Weapons Seized In Raids By Police In Austria On Opponents Of Coronavirus Curbs by Napoleonhell: 2:47am On May 25, 2021|
Authorities in Austria said Thursday they seized weapons and ammunition in raids on radical opponents of coronavirus restrictions.
The interior ministry said that the investigation stemmed from a Telegram chat group in which people discussed things such as building Molotov cocktails and bombs or buying weapons, the Austria Press Agency reported. They allegedly talked about using firebombs against police officers.
The posts talked of violence planned for a protest in Vienna on May 15, and authorities carried out searches the previous day in various part of the country.
They found weapons, including two handguns, and large quantities of ammunition as well as two swords, protective vests, helmets and radio devices.
Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said that “the paramilitary equipment is almost reminiscent of terrorist groups."
It wasn't immediately clear how many people were involved, but Austrian media reported that there were no immediate arrests.
Austria, like many other European countries, is emerging from months of closures and other restrictions designed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Restaurants, theaters, cinemas and sports facilities reopened on Wednesday, and hotels were allowed to receive guests again. In many situations, people using facilities have to prove that they have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from Covid-19.
|Health / Nigerian Version Of "Solution News Africa Initiative" by Napoleonhell: 4:19am On May 22, 2021|
Nigeria: 10 Newsrooms Set to Kick Off the Nigeria Edition of the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative
The Solutions Journalism Africa initiative, supported by the Solutions Journalism Network, is aiming to expand the practice of Solutions Journalism in Africa. In Nigeria, the initiative will be implemented by Nigeria Health Watch.
Solutions Journalism adopts a solutions-oriented approach to journalism; telling rigorous, investigative, and compelling stories of responses to existing social problems so that they can be scaled up or replicated elsewhere. It differs from the traditional, often problem-focused journalism because it highlights what works, as opposed to what does not, and goes further to investigate why an intervention or solution to a social problem was able to bring change. Solutions-oriented journalism also looks at what could have been done differently to improve or solve similar problems in other places. It can be used as an effective tool to hold policymakers to account demonstrating how solutions have been found to social problems.
The practice of Solutions Journalism has continued to grow in Africa and the Nigeria Health Watch Torchlight series has been at the forefront of using this approach to report on responses to health problems in Nigeria, with the Torchlight Africa series providing narratives of solutions in other African countries. To further expand the practice in Africa, the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative will train newsrooms in Nigeria and Kenya on solutions journalism.
Ruona Meyer, the Africa Initiative Manager at the Solutions Journalism Network said, "We advocate for a more inclusive and wholesome version of the news. Solutions Journalism offers a clear pathway to ethically reframe the news, include neglected topics and people; it is for this reason that we are partnering with Nigeria Health Watch and Science Africa across four countries in East and West Africa."
Nigeria Health Watch plans to train three cohorts of newsrooms as well as implementing the fellowship programme over the next three years. The participating newsrooms and fellows will be trained and supported to produce solutions-oriented articles to be published on their platforms with selected articles included in the Solutions Journalism Network's tracker.
Managing Director of Nigeria Health Watch, Vivianne Ihekweazu said "The initiative presents a unique opportunity to redefine the way news is reported in Nigeria - providing an alternative news option and empowering Nigerians by showing where solutions have been found to everyday problems in the country, and not only reinforcing the often accepted narrative." This presents an opportunity for the journalists to explore positive, solutions - oriented content that have been proven to be more effective in inspiring change. This is something to look forward to, starting with the training of the newsrooms.
About Nigeria Health Watch
Nigeria Health Watch uses informed advocacy and communication to influence health policy and seek better health and access to healthcare in Nigeria. We seek to amplify some of the great work happening in the health sector, challenge the bad, and create a space for positive ideas and action. Through its various platforms, Nigeria Health Watch is a trusted source that provides informed commentary and in-depth analysis of health issues in Nigeria, always in good conscience. Learn more at www.nigeriahealthwatch.com
For more details:
Contact: Chibuike Alagboso
Phone number: +234 806 394 6394
|Travel / Macron To Buhari: France ‘ll Support Nigeria With Everything To Overcome Securit by Napoleonhell: 2:33am On May 20, 2021|
Macron to Buhari: France ‘ll support Nigeria with everything to overcome security threats
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron of France has assured President Muhammadu Buhari that his country is willing to support Nigeria with everything to overcome security threats.
The two Presidents made the commitment of working together to fight insecurity bedeviling the Lake Chad basin area and entire stretch of the Sahel region at a bilateral meeting hosted by Macron on the sidelines of the Financing Africa Summit in Paris on Tuesday.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu stated that the France President pledged his steadfast support for Nigeria and its people as they confront the security challenges facing the country.
The statement quoted President Macron as saying that “the French government will absolutely be there on the side of Nigeria and it is willing to support with everything to assist the country to overcome the security threats.”
Macron also pledged to support Nigeria in confronting the challenges faced with COVID-19 vaccines.
Shehu in the statement said President Buhari, at the meeting, outlined the challenges all round facing Nigeria as well as its neighbours and spoke about the steps he has taken to reignite response to the situation, which he said included the appointment of the new Service Chiefs.
The Nigerian leader expressed the willingness of Nigeria to work with France and all international partners to reign in the security challenges and thanked President Macron for agreeing to intensify the existing partnership with Nigeria.
|Health / FCT Minister Pledges Support For Implementation Of Polio Transition Plan by Napoleonhell: 2:55am On May 18, 2021|
With the imminent accelerated Polio Programme ramp down in Nigeria, the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Country Representative (WR) Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo has taken his advocacy train on the implementation of the Polio Transition Plan to Mallam Muhammed Musa Bello, the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The meeting held on 11 May 2021 at the Minister’s Conference Room comes on the heels of the accelerated polio ramp down plan which means that with polio-free status, WHO will no longer receive funding for the polio programme from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) starting January 2022.
In his opening remarks during the meeting, Dr Mulombo appreciated the Minister for, “all your efforts at improving the health indicators in FCT. Through the Polio infrastructure we have been providing support in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of public health programmes, aimed at preventing, promoting and protecting the health of the Nigerian population in line with the goals and objectives of the National Health Plan.
Through this structure, we were able to achieve Polio eradication and sustain certification standard surveillance in the Territory since the last reported WPV case in 2013 in FCT.”
Unfortunately, with the success comes the grim reality of dwindling resources and the fact that from January 2022, the GPEI partnership has indicated that it will be withdrawing funding support to Nigeria in order to squarely concentrate resources on eradication efforts in the two last endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The WR recalled that Nigeria was removed from the list of three remaining wild polio virus (WPV) endemic countries globally in August 2020. Despite the certification, the work on polio eradication continues in order to forestall the risks of importation until global certification is attained. Furthermore, circulating vaccine derived polio virus (cVDPV2) outbreaks continue to remain a major risk to the programme due to sub optimal population immunity.
With this realization, the WR solicited the support of the FCT Minister to ensure that the skilled and experienced manpower and assets are absorbed by government for continuity and support other public health interventions.
Specifically, the WR mentioned that these resources can be utilized to strengthen routine immunization, consolidate investment in disease surveillance and support revitalisation of primary healthcare services which align with the government’s health agenda.
Responding to the WR’s prayer, the FCT Minister said, “we will provide the needed support so that the success of the polio programme and the capacity built over the years do not go down the drain”.
He mentioned that, Nigeria can not be complacent as no “country is free of polio except eradication is achieved everywhere”. He also noted the significance of transferring polio assets to address other public health concerns as tabled by the WR.
According to him, “We will leverage on the rich pool of trained staff to boost the PHC workforce, working on internal assessment for appropriate data to see how many of the Polio workforce the FCT can absorb.”
Furthermore, the Minister asked WHO to consider working hard on engaging private sector stakeholders like the CACOVID in COVID-19 response including vaccination. He promised that the FCT can support hosting of private sector donors as may be required.
During the meeting, WHO Africa Regional Director, General Management Cluster, Mr Mahen Sandrasagren, and Dr Pascal Mkanda the Polio Eradication Programme Coordinator who participated virtually, acknowledged the great achievements of the polio eradication programme in Nigeria but rued that funding for the programme will be withdrawn at the end of 2021. With this scenario, the government of Nigeria will have to take over funding of polio functions or mobilize resources so that transition is seamless and to avoid rolling back the success achieved with polio eradication.
In the FCT, WHO has a technical team made up of national professional officers, LGA Facilitators and a state Coordinator to support efforts to improve disease surveillance, routine immunization coverage, supplemental immunization activities and also support efforts in addressing the burden of non-communicable diseases, emergencies and health system strengthening. WHO personnel in the FCT also support the training and capacity building in early warning systems for public health events and in preparedness for emergency response among other interventions.
Senior Management officers from the FCT and WHO attended the meeting.
Support for polio eradication to the Government of Nigeria through WHO, is made possible by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Department for International Development, European Union, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Global Affairs Canada, Government of Germany, through KfW Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Korea Foundation for International Healthcare, Rotary International, United States Agency for International Development, United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and World Bank.
|Health / U.S. Extends Mask Requirements For Planes To September by Napoleonhell: 3:23am On May 16, 2021|
If you are traveling by plane, train or bus, please do not put the mask away.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said on Friday that it will extend the requirements for masks until September 13, and the requirements will also apply to airports and train stations. The regulations came into effect on February 1 and are scheduled to expire on May 11.
|Health / Nigerians Hungry, Angry, Okorocha Cries Out by Napoleonhell: 2:19am On May 14, 2021|
Former Imo State governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, has urged the Nigerian government to change its approach in the fight against insecurity and economic problems.
Okorocha identified injustice and poverty as the main factors responsible for the current level of insecurity in Nigeria.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator said if the government hopes to lower the level of anger in the land, it must begin to tackle every sense of injustice and do all that is possible to make the people happy.
Okorocha made this statement when he joined the Ona of Abaji and hundreds of other Muslim faithful especially the needy and less privileged in the breaking of their Ramadan fast on Monday in Abuja.
The former Imo State governor said over 75% of Nigerian citizens are angry at the turn of events in the country, adding that nothing useful can come out of a country with so much bitterness and anger.
“You can’t solve a problem unless you know the causative. The cause of our Nigerian problem lies in injustice and poverty and the quicker the government moves to address the issue of injustice, the better it is for our nation to reduce the level of anger on the nation,” Okorocha said.
“Yes, things are not okay with our nation. Yes, we have big challenges but we must never give up on this nation called Nigeria and I believe a new Nigeria will soon be born.”
Economic backwardness is not caused by man-made, a big cause is Covid-19. The government must do something so that we can tide over the difficulties.
|Health / Quarantine Act May Usurp Ncdc’s Role, Health Minister Alerts Senate by Napoleonhell: 2:51am On May 11, 2021|
Minister of Health, Dr Emmanuel Ehanire has faulted certain provisions of the Quarantine Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill, being considered by the Senate Committee on Primary Health and Communicable Diseases, says it may usurp NCDC’s role
He made the submission on Friday while speaking at a one-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Primary Health and Communicable Diseases.
The Health Minister said some of the provisions in the proposed Public Health Emergency Bill were in conflict with the statutory functions of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.He said, ” It is important to draw the attention of this Committee to the fact that the provision for the proposed Public Health Emergency bill, are already contained in other enactments of this National Assembly such as the Nigeria Center For Disease Control Act of 2018.
“To be specific, sections 1 and 3 of the proposed Amendment bill, portend potential conflict with existing Act the NCDC as far as a task force for formulation and implementation of emergency measures are concerned.
“The powers being sought for the Task Force in the Amendment bill is already saddled with the NCDC and may therefore be deleted.”
The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, made a similar observation as he noted that overlap of functions could lead to operational clashes.
He said, “what constitutes public health emergency must be clearly defined in avoiding operational clashes between the proposed task force and NCDC or delete the provisions, proposing the Task Force.
“The powers vested on the task force as stated are similar to those vested in NCDC. It may amount to the duplicity of functions. So, we recommend a careful review of the functions of those of NCDC as stated in the current mandate signed into law by the President.”
In his presentation, the Coordinator of YIAGA Africa, Dr Ernest Ereke, said Nigerians must not in any way be subjected to dehumanising statutes as contained in provisions of the Amendment bill as far as Quarantine laws are concerned.
“Our position which we have made known to the National Assembly is that it must not derogate from citizens rights as earlier drafted”.
“We owe it to the citizenry and to the Country to ensure that whatever legislation that is passed or enacted by the parliament, is in conformity with the wishes and aspirations as well as desires of Nigerians and that such legislation must not trample or derogate from the rights that the constitution already guarantees for Nigerian citizens.”
|Health / CDC Projects A 'sharp Decline' In Covid Cases In The U.S. By July by Napoleonhell: 2:15am On May 09, 2021|
The U.S. could be through the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic by July — if vaccinations continue at high rates and people wear masks and physically distance when necessary, according to projections published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The projections are not definitive — and can certainly change if people's behavior changes in the next few months. However, they do fall in line with President Joe Biden's assertion that the United States will be able to reach some level of "normal" by Independence Day.
"A sharp decline in cases was projected by July 2021," the study authors wrote, "with a faster decline in the high-vaccination scenarios."
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the models suggest "an even faster decline if more people get vaccinated sooner."
"The results remind us that we have a path out of this and models, once predicting grim news, now offer reasons to be quite hopeful for what the summer may bring," Walensky said during a briefing Wednesday.
|Health / Minnesota, Virginia Join U.S. States Easing COVID-19 Restrictions by Napoleonhell: 2:17am On May 08, 2021|
The governors of two more U.S. states said on Thursday they were lifting most restrictions that were put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus after sharp drops in infection rates and deaths.
Both Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam unveiled plans for easing or even completely erasing limits, saying all changes were hinged on vaccination numbers going up, which has helped to diminish COVID-19 case numbers.
Northam said Virginia would lift all restrictions on June 15, except for a mask mandate.
"If our COVID case numbers keep trending down and our vaccination numbers keep going up, we plan to lift our mitigation measures, capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements," Northam told a news conference.
Walz unveiled a timeline to end all COVID-19 restrictions, saying limits on seating at entertainment venues, including outdoor stadiums, could be gone by Memorial Day weekend at the end of this month.
All limits will end by July 1, or sooner if 70% of Minnesota residents older than 16 get vaccinated, Walz said.
The increased freedoms in Minnesota and Virginia were disclosed just days after New York, New Jersey and Connecticut revealed on Monday that the tri-state area on May 19 would start lifting most coronavirus capacity restrictions on businesses, including retail stores, food services and gyms. read more
In sharing the good news, all of the governors stressed that a spike in COVID-19 cases could upend those plans. Infections have been declining in the United States as more people get vaccinated.
With 47,166 daily new infections reported on average, the United States is now 19% below a Jan 7 peak, according to data compiled by Reuters.
"Vaccines are working. They're helping reduce the spread of this disease," Northam said. "Fewer people e getting sick, fewer people are going into the hospital."
Virginia's face mask mandate was part of a state of emergency declared during the pandemic. It is due to expire on June 30, although Northam could extend it if there is a COVID-19 surge, officials said.
Vaccination does not necessarily mean safety, self-protection measures must be taken. Nowadays, there are still many cases of mutant viruses, so even if they are vaccinated, they cannot relax their vigilance.
|Business / How Nigeria Is Transforming Agriculture With Game-changing Interventions by Napoleonhell: 2:53am On May 06, 2021|
Nigeria is prioritizing innovation and technology investments in agriculture so as to transform the sector by attracting young people and also scale up productivity, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this in his remarks delivered virtually at the 2021 High-Level Dialogue on Feeding Africa.
The event is organized by the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organization with the theme “Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations.”
Highlighting the programmes of the Federal Government to ensure agricultural transformation in Nigeria, Prof. Osinbajo listed three initiatives namely;
*The Economic Sustainability Plan
*The National Livestock Transformation Plan
*The Green Imperative Project
According to the Vice President, “at the heart of Nigeria’s post COVID-19 recovery plan, or what we describe as our Economic Sustainability Plan is an Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP) where we seek to leverage suitable technologies to build a resilient food system for Nigeria especially in the light of the economic, health and food supply chain devastations caused by the pandemic. Implementation is well underway and we have quite a few impressive results already.”
Speaking further, the Vice President said “during the COVID lockdowns, we trained and deployed over 34,000 young graduates all over the country, covering over 8,000 local government wards in 774 Local Government Areas. Each of these young men and women had a locally developed app on smartphones and electronic tablets to digitally register farmers and map out their farm GIS coordinates.
“So, we have registered and mapped about 6 million small-holder farmers to their farmlands and we are also currently collecting 200,000 composite soil samples from these farms to be analyzed in 22 local soil laboratories to guide local fertilizer blending.”
Continuing, the VP said “on the back of the farmer-farm database which we developed, we are creating a digital Agriculture Exchange Programme (AgExchange), working with the Alliance Rabobank and MasterCard in collaboration with some local FinTech companies. These FinTech companies (FarmCrowdy, Infinera, CropIT) are run by young Nigerians.
“The AgExchange will be an ecosystem or one-stop-shop for providing a range of services and products to small-holder farmers such as real-time e-subsidies, credit-connect by providing credit score of farmers on the platform and linking them to financiers, insurance services, market place services for connecting producers, aggregators and off-takers based on competitive market prices. Input suppliers, weather, pests, and disease indexing services will be provided on the exchange as well. The budget for the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan AFJP is $1.5billion.”
On the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), Prof. Osinbajo noted that the focus is on “transiting gradually from nomadic system of cattle production to the more sedentary method of ranching. This will involve training pastoralists in new ways of producing and rearing cattle sustainably to address the challenges of resource-based violent conflicts between crop farmers and cattle herders, and the generally low milk and beef productivity of indigenous cattle breeds.”
The VP explained that “an indigenous technology company has developed a microchip for tracking the cattle and we are working on a pilot project with one of our development partners – the Netherlands government.”
“All the energy on the ranches will be from biogas from cattle dung and solar power. The ranch will be an integration of crops, pasture, and trees. The crops for the need of the pastoral household, the trees to fight desertification and enhance carbon sequestration rather than emission.
“Funding for this is from budgets of the Federal and State governments and bilateral support from development partners such as the Netherlands. The initial sum is in the order of 280 million USD,” Prof. Osinbajo added.
Regarding the Green Imperative Project (GIP), the Vice President said that the €995 million, a 5-year project which is funded by the Import/Export Bank of Brazil (BDES) with support from Deutsche Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and others, will aim at agriculture technology transfer from Brazilian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Research and Training Institutes to Nigeria’s entrepreneurs, Research Institutes and businesses.
His words: “the project involves the reactivation of dormant or partially operational privately owned agricultural equipment, assembly plants, establish 632 privately-owned primary production support service centers to sell farm mechanization services to smallholder and commercial farmers to address low productivity issues.
|Health / Africa Wealth Fund Investments In Health Care Pay Off by Napoleonhell: 8:25am On Apr 30, 2021|
The COVID-19 pandemic presented Africa's sovereign wealth funds with the opportunity to accelerate investment themes they had already identified, such as health care, agribusiness and digital technology.
A report by the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds, in partnership with Franklin Templeton, found that of those funds that invest domestically, "the pandemic has been a boon." Demands as a result of the crisis stimulated domestic industries in which these funds already invested since their products and services were in high demand.
Two of the funds surveyed for the report said their existing investments in medical facilities, supplies and pharmaceuticals paid off as demand increased, with plans to invest further in the sector and improve their countries' health-care services overall. "Such investments will make these countries more resilient to economic and health shocks in the future," the report said.
Sovereign wealth funds based in Angola, Botswana, Ghana and Nigeria, which largely have stabilization and savings mandates, were used by their governments to finance public spending. One fund was forced to rebalance its portfolio and "cash in on some of the gains" from equity holdings in the second quarter. That fund — which was unnamed — is also looking at its governance structure and whether the withdrawal rules need strengthening to protect the fund's value.
COVID-19 also caused some African sovereign wealth funds to think about their risk and return appetites, since inflows slowed "to a trickle." Those funds with a purely stabilization and savings mandate said portfolios were largely invested in low-risk securities, with one stating it could no longer afford to be so conservative.
Two of the funds increased returns by allocating more to emerging markets or alternative sources of income.
Regarding attracting foreign investment, Africa is an "attractive investment location," the report said, with a booming middle class, strong investment reruns and the capacity to develop new, transformative domestic industries. However, throughout the research for the report, "it was clear that the funds we spoke to have the common challenge that investment in the fifty-plus countries of Africa is perceived to be either extremely risky or humanitarian," the report said.
In terms of assets, "African sovereign wealth funds are minnows" compared with the huge Middle East and Asian funds. Total assets — excluding the $65 billion Libyan Investment Authority, Tripoli, which are frozen under international sanctions — were $22.8 billion in 13 funds. More than half of that was in the Cairo-based Sovereign Fund of Egypt's $12.7 billion portfolio, according to IFSWF data.
Eight sovereign wealth funds in Africa were surveyed for the report, with a further 11 executives either at institutions operating a wealth fund or planning to establish one also taking part in interviews.
The majority (37.5%) of respondents were based in West Africa, 25% in Southern Africa, 25% in North Africa and 12.5% in East Africa.
|Health / Could 1960s Smallpox Vaccination Strategies Help Eradicate Covid Today? by Napoleonhell: 4:16am On Apr 29, 2021|
At the beginning of this year, it was great to watch the precipitous decline of Covid-19 cases across the U.S. Unfortunately, the numbers plateaued in late February and are inching up in tandem with hospitalizations. This is despite the fact that over 200 million doses of vaccines have been given in the U.S. thus far, and more Americans are vaccinated every day.
In response to this rise, a recent Washington Post article noted that “Michigan officials have pleaded with the White House for more vaccine doses,” but the administration decided to “stick to allocations based on state populations,” and that “vaccine aren’t rapid response tools for outbreaks.”
It may be instructive to note that, a) vaccines have indeed been used as rapid response tools for outbreaks, and b) when the current plan is not working (i.e. trying to vaccinate the entire population), then it is useful to step back and reconsider the strategy. Here is where history could help us.What History Can Teach Us
In 1966, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a massive, global program to eliminate the dreaded scourge of smallpox. At the time, there were still millions of cases occurring worldwide. By 1980, smallpox disease was eliminated from the face of the earth. The virus was locked up in two repositories – one in the U.S. and one in the former Soviet Union - and it hasn’t escaped since.
How did this happen? Initially, the WHO was using a similar vaccination strategy to what the U.S. is using currently – they were trying to vaccinate large populations in every country where smallpox occurred. Surprisingly, despite high vaccination rates, outbreaks still occurred. In Nigeria, while trying to deal with an outbreak of smallpox and a critical shortage of smallpox vaccine, Dr. William Foege, the Nigeria country manager for the WHO’s program, made a decision that would change the course of history. He launched a strategy known as surveillance and containment, which is also known as “ring vaccination.”
With this approach, rather than trying to vaccinate everyone, they instead focused on finding where the cases were occurring and used their limited vaccine supplies to vaccinate contacts of known cases, followed by contacts of the contacts. This proved highly effective in reducing disease, and it was adopted by the eradication effort worldwide. The end result was elimination of smallpox from humans. Dr. Foege’s reputation in the pantheon of public health leaders was sealed. He would later go on to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health institutions.
This same ring vaccination strategy has been used more recently to fight Ebola virus during the massive West Africa outbreak in 2014-16. It proved highly effective, and it has since been used as a tool in subsequent outbreaks.
Could this strategy work for Covid-19? I don’t know. There are some key differences with smallpox that made it ideal for ring vaccination compared to Covid-19. When someone has smallpox, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to recognize the characteristic skin lesions. Villagers could report possible cases without even having a confirmatory blood test. Not so with Covid-19, since the virus could be confused with multiple other respiratory illnesses, and even some cases are asymptomatic. But this challenge could be overcome with rapid diagnostics and rapid case reporting.
The other advantage in favor of ring vaccination for smallpox was someone could be exposed to smallpox and still be protected with the vaccine, if they received the vaccine within a few days. This would be a greater challenge with Covid-19, because the time period from exposure to illness (the “incubation period”) of a few days is much shorter than that of smallpox. Because of this, it would take some thought on how to put this concept into action with some variation on the smallpox and Ebola experiences.
|Health / Nigeria On Alert Over Fresh Ebola Outbreak In Guinea by Napoleonhell: 2:20am On Apr 28, 2021|
Abuja — The federal government has put all Federal Teaching Hospitals in the country on alert for the resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus in Guinea - Conakry.
The directive was conveyed by the Federal Ministry of Health to the tertiary health institutions through an internal circular, dated April 19, 2021 and signed by the director of Health Planning, Research and Statistics, Dr Ngozi Azodoh, on behalf of the minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
The circular addressed to all heads of department and programmes in the ministry, with reference no: DHPRS/2/219/18/1, noted that the alert was necessitated by an earlier letter sent to the ministry by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, informing Nigeria of the resurgence of the virus in Guinea, which had devastated the West African country in the past.
The circular exclusively obtained by LEADERSHIP Sunday stated that based on the development, the Liberian government had also requested the relevant authorities in Nigeria to take necessary measures to avoid further spread of the deadly virus.
"While the relevant Technical Department/Agencies are working on the National Response and instituting appropriate measures, you are to also be mindful of this outbreak and its implications to the West Africa (WA) sub region and be guided accordingly," Azodoh said, adding that the circular should be treated "as important".
Earlier in February this year, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had warned that Nigeria has been placed at 'moderate risk' of Ebola outbreak.
The NCDC, through its website, had said that the decision was based on the proximity of Guinea-Conakry to Nigeria and other West African countries.
This followed the declaration of Ebola outbreak by health authorities in Guinea on February 14 after three cases detected in Gouécké, a rural community in N'Zerekore prefecture, tested positive for the virus.
Ebola is an acute severe viral illness characterised by sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, nausea and sore throat, which can be followed by vomiting, diarrhea, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said with the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea being a border area, countries in the sub-region are on high alert and increasing public health measures and surveillance in border towns and communities to quickly detect and respond to possible cross-border infections.
Meanwhile, some health professionals in the country have urged the government to be proactive in its response to health emergencies.
Stressing the need to increase the country's land/border surveillance system to ensure that people coming into the country are being monitored, they called for more public health preventive measures to prevent it from coming into the country.
Immediate past president of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr Francis Faduyile, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the only way Ebola could come into the country is through transportation and that there was need to put a lot of effort at different points of entry.
Also, the president, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Prof James Damen, said Nigeria lacked structures in place to overcome other outbreaks of epidemics.
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had earlier said that it has an existing multisectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Working Group (EVHDWG), which coordinates preparedness efforts for EVD and other emerging viral haemorrhagic diseases.
It hinted that the EVHDWG had carried out a risk assessment on the possibility of transmission of the virus to Nigeria.
The Centre said, "Several measures have been put in place to prevent and mitigate the impact of a potential EVD outbreak in Nigeria. A National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) operating from NCDC's Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) is on alert mode. We have a team of first responders on standby, ready to be deployed within 24 hours in the event of an EVD outbreak in Nigeria.
"We have also established testing capacity for EVD at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory. The NCDC will continue working with states to strengthen preparedness activities across the country."
On border, NCDC said the Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health has scaled up screening at points of entry, adding that it would also scale up risk communications and other activities.
Effort by our reporter to reach the minister of health yesterday was futile, as calls put to his phone line were not answered.
The director of Health Planning, Research and Statistics, who was reached on phone refused to speak on the issue.
|Health / Harris To Tell UN Body It’s Time To Prep For Next Pandemic by Napoleonhell: 3:07am On Apr 27, 2021|
WASHINGTON - Vice-President Kamala Harris will make the case before United Nations members on Monday that now is the time for global leaders to begin putting the serious work into how they will respond to the next global pandemic.
The virtual address, Harris’ second to a U.N. body since her inauguration, will come as the United States makes progress on vaccinating the public and much of the world struggles to acquire vaccines.
“At the same time that the world works to get through this pandemic, we also know that we must prepare for the next,” Harris will say, according to excerpts of the speech obtained by The Associated Press. The speech will be co-hosted by U.N. permanent representatives of Argentina, Japan, Norway and South Africa.
The Biden administration will mark its first 100 days in office this week. President Joe Biden is scheduled to address Congress on Wednesday and is certain to highlight the headway his administration has made in responding to the worst public health crisis in the U.S. in more than a century.
Harris, according to the excerpts, will broadly outline how the administration thinks the U.S. and other nations should consider focusing their attention. The steps include improving accessibility to health systems, investing in science, health workers and the well-being of women, and surging capacity for personal protective equipment and vaccine and test manufacturing.
Harris says much has been learned over the last year about pandemic preparedness and response but that it would be unwise to rest easy
“We have been reminded that the status quo is not nearly good enough, and that innovation is indeed the path forward,” Harris says.
Biden’s ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, is also scheduled to deliver remarks at Monday’s virtual event.
Although various preventive measures have been taken for the epidemic, and we are also preparing for the next pandemic, we do not want that day to come.
|Health / The United States Is Close To Reaching Another Vaccine Milestone by Napoleonhell: 2:46am On Apr 25, 2021|
The United States is close to reaching another vaccine milestone. Yesterday, President Biden said almost 200 million vaccines have been administered since he took office. He also called on businesses to give their employees paid time off to get vaccinated and announced a new tax credit to fully offset the cost for small businesses and nonprofits. He said “I’m calling on every employer, large and small, in every state to give employees the time off they need — with pay — to get vaccinated, and any time they need — with pay — to recover if they’re feeling under the weather after the shot. No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated.” Biden also urged young people to get their shots and also said the country is still on track to meet his goal of having small gatherings for July 4th as long as Americans continue to get vaccinated. He said, “We all need to mask up until the number of cases go down, until everyone has a chance to get their shot. To Americans 16 years and older: it’s your turn now. So go get your vaccine before the end of May. Uver half of all U.S. adults are at least partially vaccinated.
It is a good move to vaccinate more likely people, but it seems not quite right to realize the goal of the small gathering on July 4th. Shouldn't we strengthen prevention?
|Health / Nigeria, Others Charged On Seafarers, Aircrew COVID-19 Vaccination by Napoleonhell: 2:13am On Apr 23, 2021|
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has called on Nigeria and other countries to prioritise seafarers and aircrew in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programmes.
This was contained in the United Nations bodies’ joint statement last week, urging member states to prioritise seafarers and aircrew in the national COVID-19 vaccination programmes.
This comes amidst concerns that lack of inoculation for vessel crews could leave the global supply chains vulnerable. The UN bodies comprise the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Maritime Organisation (IMO), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
They also recognised the need for an interoperable global system of COVID-19 certificates to allow seafarers to continue to cross borders.
This also comes on the heels of warnings by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) on vaccination becoming a compulsory requirement for work at sea.
The Secretary-General of ITF, Stephen Cotton, in a statement, said the COVID-19 and its impacts have been felt more acutely by transport workers and their families.
Cotton said while the transport workers have sacrificed so much for people to survive and as well keep the world moving, it is time to recognised and prioritise them in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Also, the immediate past president, Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO/WTSSA), Matthew Alalade, charged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) to ensure soft landing for seafarers to access the COVID-19 vaccine without bottlenecks.
He said the port health offices should be reactivated to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to seafarers with their discharge papers before they go on board.
He said electronic self-registration for the COVID-19 vaccination as stipulated by the Lagos State government as prerequisite for accessing the vaccine is cumbersome, adding that seafarers should not be made to go through that process.
Alalade said the electronic protocols of getting access to vaccination should not arise on the part of seafarers, noting that the United States took the vaccination programme to seafarers and dockworkers at its busiest seaport complex.
He warned that the nation’s seafarers might be barred from entering other countries, just as the ICS said it was creating a ‘perfect storm’ for ship owners, who may be forced to cancel voyages if crew members are not vaccinated.
I agree. Seafarers and crew members often stay in closed spaces, and they urgently need vaccines.
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