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Health / Covid-19 Outbreak Hits US Embassy In Afghanistan by Thaliafy: 2:15am On Jun 30, 2021
More than 100 people at the US Embassy in Kabul have Covid-19, one person has died, and several have been medically evacuated as a wave of the deadly pandemic hits Afghanistan and the US military withdrawal from the country continues.
The surge in cases has prompted a lockdown at the diplomatic mission and the creation of "temporary, on-compound COVID-19 wards to care for oxygen-dependent patients" because "military hospital ICU resources are at full capacity," according to an Embassy management notice dated June 17.
"95% of our cases are individuals who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated," it noted. Eric Rubin, the President of the American Foreign Service Association, said his understanding was that the outbreak at the embassy was primarily among American embassy employees and contractors.
Amid the outbreak, all personnel at the embassy's compound "are confined to quarters, except to get food from the DFACs," a military term for dining facilities, "or to exercise or relax outdoors, alone," the notice said, outlining a series of restrictions on activities and work.
The notice called for those coming to the embassy to be vaccinated before arrival, noting that "failure to do this puts everyone in the community at risk."
"Please avail yourselves of the vaccines available in the Embassy. Over 90% of our Afghan and TCN (Third Country National) Staff have received vaccines and we have more vaccine available," it said.
Rubin echoed the call for those at the embassy to be vaccinated, and told CNN that AFSA would press for the federal government" to require all US employees, US government employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment overseas unless they have professional medical advice to the contrary" or a religious exemption or a disability.
"It's unacceptable to have our posts in key countries on lockdown when the means of preventing that are available," he said.
"This is a critical moment in Afghanistan with our transitioning down from our military presence, and to have our embassy in lockdown with all of our people confined to their quarters is a very significant threat to our national interest and national security for no good reason," Rubin added.
According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the country is at "a crisis point as infections and deaths are spiralling out of control." Infection rates are up approximately 2400% this month, the organization said in a statement Thursday.
"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 a local embassy staff member," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a briefing Thursday. "We do expect that normal embassy operations will resume once embassy, leadership is confident that chain of transmission has been broken."
The embassy notice stated that "restrictions will continue until the chain of transmission is broken," warning that "failure to abide by the Mission's COVID policies will result in consequences up to and including removal from Post on the next available flight."
The outbreak comes as the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan is "more than 50% complete," according to US Central Command.
The embassy publicly announced last week it was suspending all visa operations in response to the Covid-19 outbreak in the country. That move has prompted even greater concern among lawmakers and advocates for the fate of the Afghans who helped the United States during its nearly two decade military campaign on the ground, as it presents another obstacle in the special immigrant visa application process.
Principal Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter said last Friday that applications at the Chief of Mission stage would continue to be processed in Washington, DC.
In response to the suspension of visa operations, Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called on the administration to look into the possibility of humanitarian parole, which "is used to bring someone who is otherwise inadmissible into the United States for a temporary period of time due to an emergency," according to US Citizen and Immigration Services.
Health / Nigeria President Asks Lawmakers For Funds For COVID-19 Vaccines, Military by Thaliafy: 8:37am On Jun 25, 2021
Nigeria's president asked parliament to approve 895.8 billion naira ($2.18 billion) as extra budgetary provision to fund the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines and military equipment, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
Nigeria's president asked parliament to approve 895.8 billion naira ($2.18 billion) as extra budgetary provision to fund the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines and military equipment, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Tuesday. The government has said it will draw up a supplementary budget to cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccinations, for which no provision was made in the 2021 finance bill adopted in December.
Nigeria had planned to spend 13.6 trillion naira ($33.10 billion) in 2021, up 21% from the previous year. President Muhammadu Buhari proposed to fund 45.63 billion naira of the 83.56 billion naira required for the COVID-19 vaccine by drawing on existing World Bank loans as well as other grants totalling $113.22 million.
"The availability of COVID-19 vaccines and the procurement terms were still uncertain at the time of finalizing the 2021 budget," Buhari said in his letter to parliament. Nigeria plans to issue $3 billion or more in Eurobonds as international capital markets (ICM) open up and interest rates decline, after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted markets last year.
Buhari said the health ministry and primary healthcare agency has developed a COVID-19 program for the country that intends to vaccinate 70% of eligible Nigerians this year and next. In addition to purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, the president asked for more funds for the military.
"Our security and law enforcement agencies urgently need to procure additional equipment and other resources in response to the prevalent security challenges across the country," he said. Nigeria faces rising insecurity - ranging from mass abductions at schools, kidnappings for ransom, armed conflict between herdsmen and farmers, armed robberies and various insurgencies - that has been a drag on growth and job creation.ni
Health / Californians Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Can Basically Take Off Their Masks by Thaliafy: 2:42am On Jun 24, 2021
California officials confirmed on Wednesday that starting next week, in most cases, Californians who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to remove their masks. This controversial change will take effect on Tuesday, the same date as California plans to fully reopen the economy, and will eventually bring the most populous state in the United States into line with the nearly a month-long COVID-19 guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In short, Californians two weeks after the last vaccination will be allowed to not wear masks in almost all environments, with some exceptions, including transportation hubs or taking public transportation; in medical institutions and long-term care facilities; Indoors in K-12 schools, nurseries, or other youth facilities; in homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling centers; in correctional facilities and detention centers.
On the other hand, unvaccinated individuals still need to wear masks in public indoor environments-including non-eating or drinking restaurants, retail stores, and movie theaters.
California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Gurry said that the state’s latest mask guidelines “follow the science we know today.”

Vaccination is the greatest protection. In the current stage of epidemic prevention and control, as long as everyone can be vaccinated, we have the opportunity to take off the mask.
Health / COVID-19: Third Wave’ll Be More Devastating On Economy –FG by Thaliafy: 2:36am On Jun 22, 2021
The Federal Government has warned that Nigeria cannot afford to witness a third wave of COVID-19, as the country’s economy, especially the transport sector, is already severely hit.
Already, Nigeria has recorded several new cases of COVID-19 with United Kingdom, France, India, Brazil, Argentina now experiencing the third wave. Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, made this known in Lagos at the fourth edition of the logistics and supply chain industry report of the African Centre for Supply Chain (ACSC).
He explained that operators in the country’s transport sector were yet to recover economically from the impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses, adding that the third wave would be catastrophic for the nation’s economy to bear.
Amaechi, who was the guest speaker at the occasion, while speaking on the ‘Impacts of COVID-19 Disruption on Supply Chain and Transportation,’ said that the outbreak of the pandemic stalled a lot of activities and crumbled several economies globally.
The transport minister, who was represented by a director in the Ministry of Transport, Mrs. Blessing Ilori, explained that the country’s transportation sector in particular was one of the worst hit as the sector was the greatest vector of the disease.
According to him, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, the transportation sector became straddled with restrictive safety measures aimed to preserve lives and properties. 
He pointed out that many Nigerian businesses, including those in the country’s transport sector, were still counting their losses to the pandemic currently. Amaechi, however, backed the key role the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 is playing to ensure the monitoring of the spread of the pandemic in the country.
He said: “Thankfully, we are gradually weathering the storm as you know the third wave is even here. We don’t know the several shades of this pandemic and I believe, we would totally overcome this deadly pandemic with the aggressive approach of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the doggedness of our health workers.
“Though, we are gradually winning the war against the deadly virus, its impact on the economy particularly the transportation sector has been damaging.
“The road subsector, which is considered as the most prevalent and extensively used mode of transportation in Nigeria encountered massive loss of workforce as some transport companies reduced their staff strength to ameliorate the effect of the pandemic on operational cost.
“The negative toll of the sharp reduction in the global demand for crude oil further shrunk the economy and led to hike in the cost of living.”
The development of this epidemic has a great damage to the economy, the shrinking economy, and leads to the rise of life, we should quickly, and the whole people fight the epidemic.
Health / Hennessy Hosts Guests To An Exclusive Celebration Of Its 100th Year In Nigeria by Thaliafy: 8:37am On Jun 18, 2021
On Friday, 11th June, 2o21, Hennessy celebrated its 1ooth year in Nigeria with a dinner at the Balmoral Center, Victoria Island, Lagos. The carefully curated event, hosted by renowned comedian and MC, Basketmouth, was attended by trade partners from across the country, high net worth individuals and a host of celebrities like Vector, MI, Mayorkun, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Kemi Adetiba, and Ramsey Nouah. 
The event officially kicked off with a virtual opening speech by the President, Maison Hennessy, Laurent Boillot, who remarked, “We always say that Hennessy is at ease in the world, and no more true is this than in Nigeria. The Maison Hennessy and I are pleased to be celebrating this platinum jubilee of Hennessy’s presence in Nigeria”. 
The three-course dinner created by Chef Daniel Olurin was a culinary fusion of French and Nigerian cuisine infused and complemented with Hennessy. Guests were entertained by the nostalgic and sonorous sounds of vocalist, Ego. 
One of the activities of the night was the auction of five out of 100 uniquely numbered limited edition Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège 100th year anniversary Jeroboam (3L) bottles, numbered one to five and specially autographed by Maurice Hennessy.
The bottle, designed in national colours and crafted by Maison Hennessy to commemorate this unique milestone, is a true collectors’ item. The successful auction raised over N5 million with all proceeds donated to GIVO Solutions, a circular economy company that offers end to end recycling solutions using IoT enabled devices to collect recyclable material directly from individuals, families, businesses and process these materials into consumer and industrial goods. 
The glamourous night wrapped up with a toast anchored by Oluwole Awoleke, Marketing Manager, Moet Hennessy, Nigeria, celebrating Hennessy’s centenary in Nigeria and looking forward to the next hundred years. Guests toasted with Hennessy Paradis, a rare cognac from Maison Hennessy’s ultra-prestige collection, the jewel of the Hennessy collection – a fitting choice for such a rare milestone.
Health / San Francisco Is Close To Coronavirus Herd Immunity by Thaliafy: 3:45am On Jun 17, 2021
San Francisco is close to coronavirus herd immunity, but Los Angeles has a few months to go


Some experts believe that San Francisco is approaching herd immunity, which is a milestone in California's efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
San Francisco has one of the highest vaccination rates in California, with 72% of residents receiving at least one dose. Another county in California—Marin County north of San Francisco—has a higher vaccination rate, where 75% of residents are at least partially vaccinated. The vaccination rates in San Francisco and Marin County are significantly higher than the 56% statewide vaccination rate.
Herd immunity, also known as community immunity, occurs when a large part of the general population is vaccinated or survives a previous infection. People who are not immune to diseases are indirectly protected by herd immunity.
There is no clear percentage that can achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus. It can only be tested when basically all restrictions are relaxed and officials observe whether the spread of the disease has increased.
Previous guesses about when to achieve herd immunity to the virus ranged from 70% to 85% of community members who are immune. Although the parameters for achieving herd immunity are ambiguous, approaching it by maximizing vaccination rates remains the primary goal of public health experts.
Health / San Francisco Is Close To Coronavirus Herd Immunity, But Los Angeles Has A Few by Thaliafy: 2:54am On Jun 15, 2021
Some experts believe that San Francisco is approaching herd immunity, which is a milestone in California's efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
San Francisco has one of the highest vaccination rates in California, with 72% of residents receiving at least one dose. Another county in California—Marin County north of San Francisco—has a higher vaccination rate, where 75% of residents are at least partially vaccinated. The vaccination rates in San Francisco and Marin County are significantly higher than the 56% statewide vaccination rate.
Herd immunity, also known as community immunity, occurs when a large part of the general population is vaccinated or survives a previous infection. People who are not immune to diseases are indirectly protected by herd immunity.
There is no clear percentage that can achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus. It can only be tested when basically all restrictions are relaxed and officials observe whether the spread of the disease has increased.
Previous guesses about when to achieve herd immunity to the virus ranged from 70% to 85% of community members who are immune. Although the parameters for achieving herd immunity are ambiguous, approaching it by maximizing vaccination rates remains the primary goal of public health experts.
Health / Nigeria Gets $900m Health Grant by Thaliafy: 8:28am On Jun 11, 2021
Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination drive suffers setback as Nigeria gets $900m health grant
The African COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy of the African Union (AU), yesterday, admitted that its target of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the continent’s population (about 750 million people) or the entire adult populace by end of 2022 had suffered a setback, as only less than two per cent of Africans had received the jabs.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said the vaccines available to the continent represent a small portion of global supplies, even as purchase, delivery and administration of the doses remain significant.
Speaking at the launch of a partnership between MasterCard Foundation and Africa CDC, the centre’s Director, Dr. John Nkengasong, maintained that ensuring inclusivity in vaccine access and building continental capacity to manufacture its vaccines remained only the sustainable path to a healthy future.
On the pact, he said it would build on efforts of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility (COVAX), COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) and the global community to expand access to the jabs across Africa.
“This partnership with the MasterCard Foundation is a bold step towards establishing a New Public Health Order for Africa and we welcome other actors to join this historic journey,” Nkengasong stated.
The Africa CDC called on governments, global funders, the private sector and others to assist in meeting the AU goals.
Meanwhile, MasterCard Foundation has affirmed plans to make available some $1.3 billion to save lives and livelihoods of millions, as well as hasten economic recoveries on the continent in the next three years.
According to the foundation, the Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative for Africa would also acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support vaccinations, lay the groundwork for vaccine production with focus on human capital development and strengthen the Africa CDC.
The foundation’s President and CEO, Reeta Roy, said there was an urgent need to ensure equitable access and delivery of vaccines across the continent.
Politics / Nigeria’s Twitter Ban Could Backfire, Hurting The Economy And democracy by Thaliafy: 2:48am On Jun 10, 2021
Nigeria’s decision to suspend Twitter indefinitely could backfire for the government and cost the country economically in terms of new investments into its technology sector. The Nigerian government suspended Twitter on June 4. The official press release gave only a vague justification, citing threats to “Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
While only a minority of Nigerians use Twitter, they form part of the most vocal and politically active segment of the population. Many young people have used Twitter and other social media recently to organise anti-government protests. And Nigeria has been among the best-performining African countries in attracting investments for technology start-up business. The ban could threaten that status.
The government made little effort to hide the likely main reason for the ban: the social media giant’s decision to delete a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari just days before. In the tweet, Buhari seemed to threaten violent retaliation against a southeastern secessionist group’s alleged recent attacks on government facilities and personnel. Twitter claimed the message had violated its rules against “abusive behaviour”.
The move angered many in the Nigerian government. Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed criticised “double standards” and complained that Twitter had not deleted missives from a separatist leader. He also alleged that it supported the 2020 #EndSARS movement against police brutality. The potential that social media could help mobilise such a large, youth-driven protest movement sent shudders throughout the ruling establishment. Officials might hope a ban squelches a growing protest movement against rising insecurity.
The deletion of Buhari’s tweet also came on the heels of Twitter’s April 2021 announcement that it would be setting up its first African office in Accra, not Lagos. In its justification, Twitter cited Ghana’s support for “free speech, online freedom, and the open internet”. The choice came despite the fact that Nigeria probably has more Twitter users – 40 million, by one count – than Ghana has people.
The shutdown will be hard to enforce. It is also likely to be unpopular. And it could have have dire consequences for Nigeria’s fragile democratic institutions and COVID-battered economy.
Health / 1st Batch Of U.s.-donated Vaccines To Go To India, Taiwan, Others by Thaliafy: 2:32am On Jun 08, 2021
The United States said Thursday that India, South Korea and Taiwan will be among the destinations to receive the first batch of the roughly 80 million doses of coronavirus vaccines the administration of President Joe Biden has pledged to share with countries around the world by the end of June.
"We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic," Biden said in a statement, noting that the first batch will be 25 million doses.
The president's remarks came as countries such as China are seeking to boost their influence through "vaccine diplomacy."
According to the White House, 75 percent of the 80 million doses are expected to be allocated through the U.N.-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing program, with priority placed on supplying regions including Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa.
The remaining 25 percent of the doses will be used to support immediate needs and to help battle infection surges around the world, it said.
Based on the strategy, the first 25 million doses to be supplied through COVAX will include 7 million for Asia, destined for places such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand.
Approximately 6 million doses will be targeted toward regional priorities and partners including Canada, Mexico and South Korea as well as Gaza, where Palestinians have recently suffered heavy Israeli bombing, according to the White House.
The vaccine allocation to Taiwan can be seen as the latest sign of U.S. support for the self-ruled democratic island facing pressure from mainland China. Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunited with the mainland by force if necessary.
In a video conference hosted by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on Thursday, Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said China's vaccine diplomacy is creating divisions in the international community, adding that the country provides its domestically manufactured vaccines and other pandemic relief aid "to those who are willing to accept political partnership with Beijing."
The 25 million doses will comprise three vaccines approved by U.S. regulators -- one developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE, another by U.S. company Moderna Inc. and a third by Johnson & Johnson, according to a White House official.
Health / Statement By President Joe Biden On Global Vaccine Distribution by Thaliafy: 2:40am On Jun 05, 2021
As the United States continues our efforts to get every eligible American vaccinated and fight COVID-19 here at home, we also recognize that ending this pandemic means ending it everywhere. As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable. And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.

Already the United States has committed $4 billion to support COVAX, and we have launched partnerships to boost global capacity to manufacture more vaccines. My administration supports efforts to temporarily waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines because, over time, we need more companies producing life-saving doses of proven vaccines that are shared equitably. We have already shared more than 4 million doses of vaccine with Canada and Mexico, and last month, I announced that, by the end of June, the United States will share 80 million doses of our vaccine supply with the world.

Today, we’re providing more detail on how we will allocate the first 25 million of those vaccines to lay the ground for increased global coverage and to address real and potential surges, high burdens of disease, and the needs of the most vulnerable countries. At least 75 percent of these doses—nearly 19 million—will be shared through COVAX, including approximately 6 million doses for Latin America and the Caribbean, approximately 7 million for South and Southeast Asia, and approximately 5 million for Africa, working in coordination with the African Union and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The remaining doses, just over 6 million, will be shared directly with countries experiencing surges, those in crisis, and other partners and neighbors, including Canada, Mexico, India, and the Republic of Korea.

We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic, with the power of our example and with our values. And we will continue to follow the science and to work in close cooperation with our democratic partners to coordinate a multilateral effort, including through the G7. 

Strong American leadership is essential to ending this pandemic now, and to strengthening global health security for tomorrow—to better prevent, detect, and respond to the next threat. The United States will be the world’s arsenal of vaccines in our shared fight against this virus. In the days to come, as we draw on the experience of distributing the vaccine doses announced today, we will have more details to provide about how future doses will be shared. And we will continue to do all we can to build a world that is safer and more secure against the threat of infectious disease.
Health / Nigeria: What We Need To Produce Covid-19 Vaccines - Medical Lab Scientists by Thaliafy: 2:19am On Jun 03, 2021
Medical laboratory scientists have called for adequate funding and necessary laboratory infrastructure to produce COVID-19 vaccines.
The national president of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Prof. James Damen made the call while briefing newsmen about the association's 204th national executive council meeting and 15th national annual public health lectures series in Abuja.
He said, "Participants wish to assure Nigerians that as medical laboratory scientists who are skilled in knowledge and techniques of vaccine production.
"We are ready to start the development and production of indigenous vaccines against SARS-Cov2 and indeed all other infectious diseases. All we need is adequate funding and necessary laboratory infrastructure."
He said the country needed local vaccine production for local strains, adding that all citizens must be properly vaccinated and that the country should not continue to rely on imported vaccines.
Prof Damen called on government to give premium to laboratory strengthening, especially at the primary and secondary levels of healthcare delivery.
He said participants at the national executive council meeting also decried the systemic phasing out of medical laboratory scientists in most tertiary healthcare centres in the country as seen in the refusal of most chief medical directors to employ the cadre commensurate with a need analysis.
He said the meeting also advised medical laboratory scientists not to only have certificates of graduation but have scientific inventions in the form of test kits, vaccines, drugs and protocols in their honour. Research and development is the signature of scientists across the globe, he said.
While saying that Nigeria must build capacity to address her present and peculiar epidemics and disease outbreaks, the association said robust medical laboratories in the country would effectively investigate local disease outbreaks and epidemics.
"Participants affirmed that as long as biotic and abiotic relationships amongst humans, animals and environment remain, disease outbreaks at national, regional and global levels will always arise," he said.
Career / United States: addressing Mental Health In The Workforce by Thaliafy: 3:00am On Jun 02, 2021
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. After fifteen months of the COVID-19 pandemic – which has placed unprecedented stress on Americans dealing with isolation and fear, while juggling closed schools and businesses, homeschooling children, working from home, and economic uncertainty, including ensuring basic necessities – Americans are struggling to recover. One study published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported a finding that almost 41 percent of adults reported a mental health issue or increased substance use. Other studies published more recently in 2021 reflect similar results. For employers, who rely on a healthy workforce to be successful, this has direct repercussions on productivity, work quality and, in some cases, legal liability.
Despite this, mental health remains highly stigmatized, and employees are often uncomfortable speaking about their troubles at work. But there are things employers can do to encourage their employees to ask for help.
Talk to Your Employees. Have your managers and supervisors check in on your employees and ask them how they are doing or if they need anything. Make sure they communicate to employees that as their employer, you are there for them. Employees feel more comfortable speaking to their employers when they know that the subject of mental health is not taboo.
Let Employees Know that is Okay Not to be Okay. Many employees believe that they must always put on their best face while at work. This leads to the illusion that they are always happy and that their lives are perfect, discouraging others from coming forward with concerns. Tell employees that they don't have to always be okay, and encourage them to talk about their concerns. It is okay to not be okay.
Make EAP Available and Accessible. Having an Employee Assistance Plan available and easily accessible is a great way to bring mental health care to your employees. Send an email to your employees identifying your EAP provider and providing instructions on how to access it. Put these instructions on your company intranet. Consider giving your employees a few free sessions per year as part of their benefits. Make sure employees understand that the use of EAP services generally will be anonymous unless they are told otherwise.
Publish a List of Resources. Every community has mental health and substance abuse resources available. Put together a list of these resources and provide it to your employees, either through email or by making it available on your company intranet, or both.
Make Sure Mental Health Care is Covered by Your Health Plan. Many health insurers still do not cover treatment for mental health care. Make sure that the health insurance plan you choose for your employees covers mental health treatment.
Encourage Employees to Take Time for Themselves. Rest and relaxation increase productivity. During COVID, many employees gave up their vacations because travel was not possible. Now that it is, encourage your employees to take vacation time, even if it means taking a staycation.
Create Opportunities for Employees to Socialize. Bring in donuts on Fridays, and encourage employees to socialize (with or without masks) in the breakroom for a few minutes. Hold a happy hour once a month. Sponsor a cookie competition during the holidays. Social events tend to make for a happier workforce, increasing employee productivity and decreasing the sense of isolation and other factors that lead to mental health issues.
Train Your Employees. Providing training to employees about mental health and ways to manage it will let your employees know you are open to hearing their concerns.
Ensure All Employees Understand How to Request an Accommodation. Federal law, most state laws, and some local laws require that an employer provide reasonable accommodations to its disabled employees. A mental health condition may qualify as a disability under these laws. A "reasonable accommodation" is any adjustment that can be made to working conditions that allows an employee to perform the essential functions of his or her job, although essential functions need not be eliminated, and the employee's requested accommodation need not be granted so long as the accommodation provided is reasonable. Tell your employees how to make such a request, and make sure they understand that there will be no retaliation if they do need an accommodation. In some instances, a leave of absence may even be necessary. Again, make sure your employees know it is okay.
Mental illness is often labeled a "silent" disability because, in most cases, it is not apparent. It is, however, no less serious than any physical disability, and, left untreated, can be more harmful. One of the leading causes of employer losses is due to mental health conditions. Employers, therefore, benefit by ensuring that they have a workforce that is healthy, both physically and mentally. Encouraging employees to come forward and seek help for mental health concerns or illness will create loyalty and an overall happier and more satisfying work environment.
Health / COVID-19: Nigeria Declares 132 People Wanted For Violating Quarantine Laws by Thaliafy: 2:24am On Jun 01, 2021
The Nigerian Government has declared additional 132 persons wanted for violating the quarantine provisions of the COVID-19 guidelines.
Government had on Sunday declared 90 persons wanted for same offence.
Chairman Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this Thursday night in Abuja.
Out of the 132 passengers, 75 were males while 57 females and are all Nigerians, bearing Nigerian passports. They all arrived in Nigeria through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
The SGF recalled that the PSC on COVID-19 on 1st May 2021 issued a travel advisory for passengers arriving in Nigeria from Brazil, India and Turkey.
He explained that these precautionary measures were a necessary step to mitigate the risk of importation of variants of concern and break the chain of transmission to the population.
According to him, under the new measures, passengers arriving from/or that have visited any of these three countries within 14 days prior to the visit to Nigeria, are required to follow mandatory arrival quarantine and testing protocols in designated facilities.
Mustapha said while most of the arriving passengers dutifully observed the guidelines, some (Nigerians and foreigners have violated them in contravention of the provisions of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Regulations Protection, 2021,”.
He added that the 132 violators have been declared persons of interest (POI) on account of posing a considerable danger to overall public health and for the violation of Nigeria COVID-19 travel protocol by evading the mandatory seven-day quarantine for persons arriving from restricted countries.
“Members of the public are by this notice advised that these persons of interest constitute an immediate health hazard to the society," Mustapha said. "They must, therefore, transport themselves safely, to the nearest state public health departments within 48hrs of this notice for immediate evaluation and call the Port Health Services, Federal Ministry of Health on 08036134672 or 08032461990 for further directions.
“The PSC shall in addition, take further steps to sanction these violators. These steps include: Disabling their travel passports for a period not less than one year; Cancelation of visas/permits of foreigners that have abused Nigeria's hospitality, and prosecution under the 2021 Health Protection Regulations.”
We must severely punish this phenomenon. Epidemic prevention is what each of us must do now.
Health / Meet Nigeria’s Child Apprentices by Thaliafy: 3:01am On May 28, 2021
At the end of a school day, at weekends and during holidays, many teenagers in Ibadan, Nigeria start work in shops and on work sites. With unemployment at 33 percent in Nigeria, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, children are increasingly taking up practical apprenticeships – “isé-owó” which loosely means “work of the hand” – on top of their schoolwork to improve their chances of finding a job after they leave school. These apprenticeships are usually unpaid, but offer children the chance to earn a little money doing practical work as they learn, if they pick up the skills quickly enough. In some parts of Nigeria, as many as 49 percent of schoolchildren undertake them.
The Nigerian Child Rights Act prohibits children from being engaged in “exploitative labour” but does not rule out children working altogether. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), as many as 15 million (43 percent) Nigerian children engage in work at some stage of their childhood in order to earn money for their families.
Business / A Seismic Fundamental Shift Is Underway In Nigeria's Digital Banking Sector by Thaliafy: 3:01am On May 26, 2021
Many in the payments industry have been predicting so for years. That digital payments are inevitable for the future.
It's only a matter of time, the experts said over and over again.
But while the technology has continued to take over commerce worldwide, digital payments in Africa have not neared anywhere close to global adoption rates.
The challenges with developing the digital payment sector in the sub-Saharan continent are well catalogued. Challenging infrastructure, low income levels and the well-established virtues of cash – immediacy, ubiquity and trust – have all constrained the development of electronic payments in African countries.
In Nigeria, cash has remained king and financial services have remained stagnant despite decades of efforts to do away with old-fashioned paper money.
That was, until COVID-19 hit. In the aftermath of the virus outbreak, we have seen digital banking emerge across Nigeria with heightening consumer demand for efficient ways to access banking records and complete financial transactions outside physical branches and traditional card payments.
The fear of paper currency as a carrier for coronavirus has jolted the banking sector into massive digital disruption, signalling a powerful inflection point for payments in Africa. And we see this as just the start of the shift in how consumers, merchants and issuers choose to transact.
Online deposit, mobile banking apps, cards and e-bills payment have become the norm overnight, with card and virtual card payments becoming one of the most important non-cash transaction channels.
With the power to oust physical currency, the potential of plastic as a medium of exchange is unrivalled. Banks that build their Issuance business now not only contribute to the foundation on which this transition can take place, but also position themselves to reap the rewards of this seismic fundamental shift.
As banks work to respond to the increased demand for digital payments induced by the pandemic, banks needed to tap into the considerable advantages held by our African markets including our youth demographic.
While the rest of the world is ageing, the median age of the population in Africa is just 19, compared to Europe at 42, for example. The young people of Africa have been increasingly engaging with financial products in different ways, ready to trail blaze the use of modern payment services.
This proliferation of digital banking prompted Network International to gain first mover advantage and lead the transformation in Nigeria by partnering and providing issuance solutions to financial institutions to help them respond to the changing needs of their customers.
Additionally, in the current economic climate, banks in Nigeria have been able to tap into our experience and expertise in creating virtual card solutions (VC) for emerging markets. Issuers also benefit from Network's advanced digital infrastructure and robust security protocols, avoiding the need to invest in expensive card management infrastructure.
As we power digital transactions with the capability to issue virtual cards through API Integration connected to existing channels of financial institutions such as mobile, Internet banking and ATMs, we believe the potential exists for banks to multiply returns from virtual card Issuance. Banks that incorporate virtual payment cards into their business strategy also gain greater opportunity to cross-sell other products and services.
Virtual card issuance has the potential to transform into a strategic, high value generating asset for banks, while allowing bank customers to enjoy the convenience, flexibility, safety and security of cashless payments to fulfil their financial and lifestyle needs.
We remain committed to fostering agile innovation by deploying our best-in-class technology to support digital and financial inclusion of Nigerian consumers and businesses. Because, ultimately, furthering digital adoption is going to be dependent on the people, platform and partnership.
Cash may not be gone just yet. But with this fundamental change accelerated by Covid-19, our payments ecosystem has now truly been ordained and will have profound implications for people, businesses, and society.
Health / U.S. Airlines Are Having Trouble Finding Employees As Air Travel Begins To Pick by Thaliafy: 3:29am On May 24, 2021
Reuters – U.S. airlines are scrambling to add staff and upgrade technology as they face anger over prolonged call center wait times while tackling a surge in air travel following COVID-19 vaccinations.
“#Delta 9 hours wait on hold is this a way to run an airline,” read one Twitter post from a Delta Air Lines customer.
After a year of being cooped up, travelers are balancing the prospect of sunshine in Florida or fresh mountain air in Montana and Wyoming – among the fastest growing U.S. travel markets – with frustrations during the booking process.
By July, U.S. domestic air fares and capacity could approach pre-pandemic levels, according to experts, but overall staffing at the three legacy carriers shrunk by roughly 20% last year.
While travelers can easily book new vacations online for flight changes or travel credits — transactions that have soared during the pandemic — they often need to go through call centers, which are also managing a flurry of questions about COVID-19 travel restrictions and requirements. To support the increase in call volumes, Delta is adding staffing and overtime, hiring temporary summer contract workers and fast-tracking technology upgrades to self-service options, a spokesman said.
“Our wait times are not currently where we’d like to them to be,” he said. American Airlines said it is hiring hundreds of reservations agents to help with the rise in calls, while United Airlines said it is working to shorten hold times through increased staffing and technology upgrades, without providing details. U.S. airlines received billions of dollars in government aid to pay salaries and protect jobs during the pandemic but also encouraged workers to take voluntary leave packages to slim staffing because they didn’t know how long the crisis, or the government aid, would last.
Willie Walsh, the head of the International Air Transport Association, said on Wednesday that the decisions by carriers across the globe to retire aircraft and make staff redundant could hamper the aviation industry’s recovery.
An explosion in U.S. domestic leisure travel demand as more Americans become vaccinated has taken many in the industry by surprise, leaving services from airports to rental car companies and hotels short-staffed.
The strength of the rebound has possible implications beyond the airline industry since economists say air traffic is closely tied to overall economic output and is frequently seen as a guide to consumer confidence.
However, analyst John Grant of flight data specialist OAG warned on Wednesday that U.S. domestic airline traffic may be “overheating,” suggesting that legacy carriers are likely to reshape their networks toward more international markets once they reopen.
Still, Grant said plans by U.S. ultra low-cost carriers and start-ups to build domestic capacity “has to be good news for all airports of all sizes across the United States in the next few years.”
Health / US Welcomes Chance To Discuss Vaccine Cooperation With S. Korea: White House by Thaliafy: 8:43am On May 21, 2021
WASHINGTON -- The United States welcomes the opportunity to discuss ways to help South Korea's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and how they can work together to help the rest of the world, a White House spokesperson said Thursday.
Jen Psaki made the remarks one day before President Joe Biden was set to hold a bilateral summit with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in.
"We certainly expect that the leaders will discuss ways the United States can support South Korea in its fight against COVID-19, as well as how we can work together to combat the pandemic around the world," the press secretary said in a daily press briefing.
"I don't expect that assessment to be made in advance of tomorrow, but certainly, we welcome the opportunity to discuss with them how we can work together to address the global pandemic," she added.
South Korea earlier proposed a vaccine swap arrangement with the United States to ease its temporary vaccine shortage.
The proposed arrangement asks the United States to provide COVID-19 vaccines to South Korea and get paid later in full in vaccine when South Korea's orders arrive later in the year.
Psaki noted the South Korean president is expected to raise the issue when he and Biden hold their talks, which will be Biden's second in-person meeting with a foreign leader since he took office on Jan. 20.
The Biden administration has promised to provide up to 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 20 million doses of vaccines that have already been approved for use in the United States -- Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
The US president said the 80 million doses will be delivered by the end of next month, pending the outcome of an ongoing safety review by the US Food and Drug Administration on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Psaki reiterated the US vaccines will be distributed fairly and equitably.
"I will say that as it relates to the vaccine supply that we've announced we're going to be sharing with the world we will look at that and we will make decisions, which are still ongoing, with a couple of criteria in mind -- how to do it equitably, how to ensure we are reaching parts of the world that need help the most, how to do it in a way that's fair and has a regional balance," she said.
The White House spokeswoman said the US and South Korean leaders will discuss a wide range of issues, including North Korea.
"We expect that North Korea will be a central topic of the discussion, of course, tomorrow, but they also will discuss climate. They will also discuss economic partnership. They will also discuss China. And those will all be a part of this bilateral conversation and meeting tomorrow," she said.
Psaki ruled out the possibility of Biden asking South Korea to join the US-led regional forum in the Indo-Pacific, known as the Quad.
"Well, the Quad has four members. So not to be too mathematical about it, but I would say that that already exists," said Psaki.
White House Asia czar Kurt Campbell has said the US administration currently has "no plans to expand the Quad" in a recent interview with Yonhap.
Moon arrived here Wednesday on a four-day working visit. (Yonhap)
Computers / Viasat Obtains Full Suite Of Operating Licenses In Nigeria; Plans To Deliver by Thaliafy: 2:22am On May 20, 2021
ABUJA, Nigeria and CARLSBAD, Calif., May 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Working in partnership with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, proudly announced today it was granted a full suite of operating licenses—Internet Service Provider (ISP) license, VSAT license and  three Earth Stations in Motion (ESIM) licenses—in order to bring high-quality satellite internet connectivity to Nigerian communities where limited or no internet service is currently available.
The NCC granted Viasat multiple licenses to operate within the 28GHz Ka-band satellite frequency band. The 28GHz Ka-band spectrum has enabled satellite broadband to be the fastest growing segment of satellite communications, and the leading global broadband solution to connect the estimated 3.6 billion people in the world left behind by terrestrial infrastructure.
With access to the 28GHz Ka-band spectrum, Viasat will be positioned to expand its satellite-based internet connectivity service to more regions and citizens across Africa—ahead of the launch of ViaSat-3, its ultra-high capacity global satellite constellation comprised of three communications satellites. A ViaSat-3 satellite, aimed to serve Africa, as well as Europe and the Middle East, is planned for launch in 2022.
"We are proud to be working with the NCC and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy to help the Nigerian government achieve their broadband goals to improve the quality of life of its citizens," said Rick Baldridge, president and CEO, Viasat. "We believe our proven satellite internet solution, will bring cost-effective internet services to Nigerian towns where large gaps exist between demand and the affordability and availability of internet services. We want to thank the NCC for granting us the license framework required, and for preserving 28GHz Ka-band spectrum for satellite-based services that will greatly contribute to breaking down barriers required to achieve digital and social inclusion for all of Nigeria."
Since being granted the licenses, Viasat has begun a trial program to connect five unserved Nigerian communities covering approximately 15,000 people. Viasat plans to provide details on the trials later this year.

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Health / FG Refutes Reports Of New COVID-19 Restrictions by Thaliafy: 2:42am On May 18, 2021
The Federal Government on Tuesday denied media reports that it has “introduced or re-introduced’’ new restrictions on COVID-19.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the rebuttal at a meeting with Online Publishers in Lagos.
Mohammed said there were no new restrictions, adding that the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 only reiterated existing regulations to control the spread of the disease.
The minister, a member of the steering committee, said the committee’s national incident manager Mukhtar Mohammed was quoted out of context during the briefing of the committee on Monday in Abuja.
He said the only thing that was newly introduced was that anyone, including Nigerians travelling from Brazil, Turkey or India, must go through compulsory quarantine.
“What we did was the need to remind people of the existing extant regulations on Covid-19.
“Government has not introduced anything new. You can still travel by air or road or any other means but ensure you wear your face mask.
“We have not opened night clubs, the regulations on social distancing, social and religious gatherings, use of face mask are still in place.
“The curfew between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. is still on and we are saying people must obey the existing protocols,’’ he said.
The minister said the emphasis became imperative because Nigerians were taking things for granted and behaving as if COVID-19 had gone.
He said India made the same mistake and they were paying dearly for it at the moment
“This is the mistake that India made when they actually boasted they had conquered Covid-19.
“They were holding political campaigns and religious festivals when a new variant of COVID -19 surfaced.
“Today, they are recording more than 400,000 case per day and about 4,000 lives lost daily.
“This is why every citizen must know where we are going,’’ he said.
Mohammed said Nigeria had been fortunate not to record a high rate of infection that it would not have the health infrastructure to handle.
Business / Nigeria’s Local Manufacturing Increases COVID-19 Economic Recovery Outlook by Thaliafy: 3:51am On May 15, 2021
The Nigerian government post-COVID-19 economic recovery plans is taking a positive turn with increasing local manufacturing of goods, according to top government officials. This was disclosed at a facility of the inspection of the Halibiz Industrial Complex at the Idu Industrial Area in Abuja by the Managing Director, NEXIM Bank , Abubakar Abba Bello; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms Yewande Sadiku, and the Director-General, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Segun Awolowo.

The officials said increasing local manufacturing is essential for Nigeria’s local firms to become Africa’s preferred manufacturing hub and a dominant force in the African Continental Free Trade Area regime. The COVID-19 pandemic which brought about lockdowns and restrictions had a significant impact on the Nigerian manufacturing sector. Global supply chain shortfalls also affected the manufacturing sector negatively in Nigeria. The manufacturing sector grew less than 1% in Q1 2020. It grew by 0.43%, lower than the Q1 2019 growth rate of 0.81% and Q4 2019 growth rate of 1.24%. The manufacturing sector recorded a continuous quarterly decline in its between Q2 and Q3 2020 declining to -8.78% and -1.51% respectively. Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku at the facility tour said that part of the objectives of government policy was for, “Nigerians to create jobs for Nigerians” adding that, “every Nigerian who does something of value should aspire to venture out.” She said the factory was particularly heartwarming given that it was built by Nigerians. She encouraged staff members to adhere to best quality standards as the company prepares for exports noting that every government policy objective is represented in what the company is doing. Also speaking, the Director-General of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo said that there was a paucity of Nigerian delicacies and products on shelves of supermarkets abroad and in local stores and added that the initiative by the company will change the narrative. He said amidst various difficulties, the government will always strive to support the likes of Halibiz by creating enabling environment to help the private sector excel. He urged the company to take advantage of the federal government’s N50 billion export expansion facility programme, which according to him is a grant to help companies grow as well as help some survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health / Nigeria: Covid-19 - Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals Get N84 Billion From CBN by Thaliafy: 2:54am On May 13, 2021
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said the bank has disbursed N83.9 billion to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners nationwide to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emefiele disclosed this at the premiere of 'Unmasked', a documentary on Nigeria's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos at the weekend.
He said: "Building a robust healthcare infrastructure was also vital from a security perspective, as some nations had imposed restrictions on the exports of vital medical drugs as well as the use of drug patents that could aid in containing the spread of the pandemic.
"In this regard, we disbursed over N83.9 billion in loans to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners, which is supporting 26 pharmaceutical and 56 medical projects across the country. "
He disclosed that the apex bank was able to mobilise key stakeholders in the Nigerian economy through the CACOVID alliance, which led to the provision of over N25bn in relief materials to affected households, and the set-up of 39 isolation centres across the country.
Governor Sanwo-Olu after watching the documentary said that the structure of Nigeria governance system is what must be looked into and changed positively.
The documentary film was produced and directed by Femi Odugbemi and co-produced and presented by Kadaria Ahmed with support from MacArthur Foundation, CBN and PLAC.
The Director of Mac-Arthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shetimma who joined the event virtually in his opening remark said, "COVID-19 has taught us that we must make it possible for all citizens including rich and poor to have access to basic health care services."
Health / Nwaneri: Nigerian Oncologist On Global Stage by Thaliafy: 2:40am On May 11, 2021
Born in Ibadan, Oyo State, brought up in Lagos State and in his hometown, Umuezeala-Ehime, Ehime, in Ehime-Mbano local council of Imo State, where he lived with his grandparents after his secondary education, Dr. Matthew Obinna Nwaneri is not bashful of change.
Very early in life, he learnt to work hard and expect to face new challenges. His commitment to these two key principles of life has today earned him a place in the league of leading oncologists in the world, to the pride of many Nigerians.
In November last year, he assumed the presidency of the Iowa Oncology Society, an organisation of medical oncologists and allied health professionals with focus on cancer care in the State of Iowa, United States (U.S.). The position places the 1989 graduate of the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC), at the forefront of efforts to improve cancer care for patients in the state.
Also recently, Nwaneri moved to Sioux City, Iowa, as the Iowa Oncology Network Director, after five years at the University of Iowa Health Care, to provide better leadership and continuity of care for cancer patients in rural northwestern Iowa, northeastern Nebraska and southeastern South Dakota.
He is currently the Medical Director of one of the best cancer centres in the U.S., the June E. Nylen Cancer Centre (JENCC) in Iowa City, where he helps cancer patients and their families to understand the illness and explore world-class treatment options.
“I have over 20 years of experience in providing compassionate, value-based cancer care to rural Iowa residents. This helps me relate to all patients faced with a cancer diagnosis. I talk to patients and their families in a way to help them understand their illness, explore world-class treatment options and make viable value-based choices.
“In all this, we continue to have hope and a plan for their care at such a trying time for all concerned,” he told The Guardian.
An alumnus of the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos, Nwaneri said the highly competitive and academically challenging environment at the school, coupled with the culture of academic rigour at UNEC and the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, where he did his pre-registration one-year internship, prepared him for his current roles. “These early experiences in Nigeria have helped propel me to where I am today,” he emphasised.
Nwaneri said he chose to become a physician because it is a constantly changing and very challenging, but fulfilling profession, adding that the challenge and need for research inspired him to specialise in oncology.
“Additionally, there is a lot that we did not yet understand. I did a Hematology/Medical Oncology/Molecular Biology Fellowship at the University of Iowa Health Care from July 1998 to June 2001,” he noted.
He stated that seeing improved outcomes and extended survival over the past 32 years has convinced him that practising in Oncology was the best choice for him, adding that he has no doubt that clinical trials, with support of innovative new therapies, would continue to yield great results for cancer patients.
His work has focused on breast cancer care, female gynecological cancers (cervical and ovarian), lung cancer and improving cancer care access for rural Iowans and underserved populations, especially rural Oncology practices, with extensive experience in carcinomas of unknown primary site.
Board certified in medical oncology and board eligible in internal medicine and hematology by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Nwaneri completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and his fellowship in Hematology, Oncology and Bone and Marrow Transplantation at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa.
He also received an Executive Master of Business Administration from the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa and is also an active member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American Medical Association and American Association for Cancer Research.
Before leaving Nigeria in June 1993 to further his medical education and training, Nwaneri had practised in the country, as a medical officer in Aboh-Mbaise, Imo State, for a few months, and later as a corps member in Maiduguri, Borno State, which he described as “one of the best experiences in my young adult life as a doctor.”
He added: “During my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) year, (1991-1992), I headed the NYSC Camp Clinic for two separate batches, worked at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) Emergency Department and did my community development service in rural Borno State.
“I learnt to speak Hausa and some Kanuri languages in addition to being very fluent in Yoruba and Igbo. I left Nigeria in June 1993, but with continued involvement in Nigerian health issues.”
So, despite making waves in the U.S., Nwaneri still keeps his Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) licence current. And as part of giving back to the country, he continues periodic volunteer efforts in Nigeria to improve cancer care education and access to quality Oncology training for caregivers.
To this end, he works with Project Pink Blue in Nigeria, a cancer organisation engaged in cancer awareness, free cancer screenings, support to people battling with cancer, patient navigation, advocacy, fundraising for cancer patients, cancer research, oncology training and psychological support.
His involvement in Nigerian health issues also culminated in his returning to Nigeria in August 2014, in the middle of the Ebola epidemic.
“I came back and started a cancer programme/clinic at the St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos, from October 2014 till March 2016. I understand the health challenges, especially cancer care in Nigeria. I visited the centre periodically until 2019 and could not be there last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he explained.
Asked what could be done to ensure that more cancer patients in the country get adequate care and at considerate cost, Nwaneri, while acknowledging that cancer care is expensive globally, said: “The only viable way to reduce the impact of the cost of health care in general and cancer care in particular is for people to have universal health insurance into which everyone pays.
“Otherwise, we will all pay cash, and that is not sustainable anywhere in the world. Cancer care is not cheaper in the United Kingdom (UK), U.S., India, South Africa or Egypt. If people spent even half the money they spend on foreign health care trips at the numerous high quality and world-class centres in Nigeria, our health care will improve.”
To discourage brain drain in the medical sector, Nwaneri stressed the need for widespread availability of health insurance, noting that this can be achieved by expanding the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
“The persons (Nigerian political leadership) who authorise the funds for public health facilities should use those same facilities, all the time. This may lead to proper/better funding of public health facilities, with top-of-the-line equipment and highly trained and well-paid medical expertise.
“This may discourage young health professionals (nurses and doctors) from going abroad to improve their medical training and knowledge. Many never come back to Nigeria, like I did for about two years from 2014 to 2016.”
On his new role as managing director of JENCC, he said: “I am excited to be part of a very progressive, forward-thinking medical leadership in the Siouxland community and at the JENCC.
“Health care leaders have come together to build an excellent cancer programme that is supported by Mercy One and Unity Point Health. This is an ideal and at the same time, a unique relationship that I am looking forward to be a part of and learning from.”
Nwaneri, who is married to a pharmacist and have a teenage son, enjoys traveling locally and internationally, visiting museums and historical sites, and reading non-fiction and socio-economic literature. He is also a road bike-rider.
Health / Covid-19 Vaccines: Why Some African States Have Leftover Doses by Thaliafy: 8:27am On May 08, 2021
Despite many African countries struggling to obtain enough Covid-19 vaccines, some have thousands of expired doses they have been unable to use.
Which countries have unused vaccines?
Malawi has been left with 16,400 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, while South Sudan has 59,000 - all now past their expiry date, 13 April.
Both countries say they have decided to destroy these consignments, donated via the African Union, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for them to be kept while it investigates whether the expiry date can be safely extended.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, meanwhile, says it cannot use most of the 1.7 million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses it received under the global Covax scheme, for poorer countries.
Only about 1,000 of the doses had been administered by the end of April.
And most of this batch - with an expiry date of 24 June - is now being sent to Togo and Ghana, one of the countries to have already used up its initial vaccine supply.
Why have vaccines not been used?
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored safely in normal refrigerated conditions for up to six months after production.
And the African Union is now redistributing batches originally delivered to South Africa in February, with a 13 April expiry date.
The South African government decided not to use them, concerned the vaccine offered insufficient protection from the variant prevalent in the country.
New variants causing concern in Africa
And, in late March, one million doses were sold on to the African Union to give to other African countries.
But some, such as South Sudan, say they were not made aware of the expiry date.
Nigeria, meanwhile, said it would be unable to use all the doses in time.
So some were reassigned to neighbouring Togo and Ghana.
And some were even sent to Jamaica.
The WHO says only Togo and The Gambia have confirmed they used all these doses by the expiry date.
And information about what has happened to the rest is currently unavailable.
What caused delays in using vaccines?
Many countries failed to prepare adequately before receiving the vaccines, Phionah Atuhebwe, from the WHO in Africa, says.
"That is one of the reasons we are seeing the slow pace of rollout," she says.
And some countries also faced financial challenges.
Africa Centres for Disease Control head John Nkengasong says countries need more support to increase the numbers of health workers and obtain supplies, such as personal protective equipment.
And those who have vaccines approaching or beyond their expiry date should contact the WHO or Africa CDC.
"The continent as a whole knows how to vaccinate and has been vaccinating for other diseases," he says.
"But the key is how do you scale that up - and... at speed?"
For DR Congo, the former Zaire, the problem is not only weak health services but also a very poor transport network - making the delivery of vaccines to remote areas a major issue.
By air, boat and foot to deliver measles vaccines in DR Congo
To complicate matters further, the country suspended its Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine rollout in mid-March, amid safety concerns, and resumed it on only 19 April - more than a month later.
What about vaccine hesitancy?
Some experts and politicians blame concerns over the safety and efficacy of vaccines in general for the slow uptake in many countries in Africa - but it is hard to quantify that impact.
"It took a while to convince people," Sierra Leone Health Minister Austin Demby tells BBC News
"So it is not just vaccine hesitancy, it is like [having] vaccine sceptics to start with."
Malawi virologist Gama Bandawe says mistrust of vaccines has played a role in the country being unable to use all the supplies it has received.
And South Africa's decision to stop using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, amid concerns around cases of blood clots, may have added to these doubts.
"The government did the best they could - but perhaps the general public has not been as receptive as was expected," he says.
Rare blood clots - what you need to know
A study commissioned by Africa CDC on Covid-19 vaccine perceptions in 15 countries indicated a significant proportion of people had concerns around vaccine safety.
On average, about 20% of respondents said they would not have a vaccine - but the proportion varied from below 10% in Ethiopia, Niger and Tunisia to 41% in DR Congo.
Health / United States: united States Expands Travel Restrictions To Include India by Thaliafy: 2:43am On May 07, 2021
Seyfarth Synopsis:  The President's order expanding travel restrictions to include India will have a significant impact on U.S. companies with operations in India, as well as those companies with Indian national employees who seek to travel to their home country.  This travel restriction will not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or individuals with certain relationships to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
Subsequent to our Legal Update, President Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation to prohibit  foreign nationals from entering the U.S. after being physically present within India during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S. 
Certain foreign nationals will not be subject to the most recent set of travel restrictions.  Notable exceptions include the following:
Lawful permanent residents ("Green Card" holders);
Spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents;
Parents or guardians of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who are unmarried and under twenty-one years old;
Siblings of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, provided that both individuals are unmarried and under twenty-one years old; and
S. military personnel, along with their spouses and children.
Similar to other COVID-19 travel restrictions already in effect, the proclamation has reserved an exception for any foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest.  The U.S. Department of State is expected to issue guidance on the qualifications to apply for a National Interest Exception (NIE) waiver in India.  Additional exceptions are detailed in the proclamation itself.
Following its implementation at 12:01 a.m. EST on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, this travel restriction will remain in effect until terminated by the President.  The proclamation will not apply to foreign nationals aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States, provided that the flight departed prior to the travel ban's effective time.  
This news follows the U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently limiting its non-immigrant visa appointments only for emergencies at several of its posts in India.  Individuals seeking a non-immigrant visa in India should expect significant delays.
Seyfarth will issue subsequent alerts as the situation continues to develop.  Should you have any questions, please contact one of the authors or your Seyfarth Shaw contact.
Now that the epidemic in India is uncontrollable, we must impose travel restrictions on it, otherwise the virus will spread and the consequences will be disastrous.
Health / US To Ease COVID-19 Rules For Foreign Students by Thaliafy: 2:37am On Apr 30, 2021
WASHINGTON: The United States said on Tuesday (Apr 27) it was easing remaining COVID-19 restrictions on international students, giving the green light to Chinese nationals to start the school year at US universities.
The move responds to persistent demands from US universities, which increasingly rely financially on foreign students and count on China for more than one-third of them - far more than any country.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that students with valid visas from China, Iran, Brazil and South Africa would qualify for exemptions to entry bans in place over the past year due to concerns of COVID-19 transmission.
The decision is "in keeping with the Department of State's commitment to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States", a statement said.
President Joe Biden's administration in March similarly eased restrictions for students from the European Union and Britain.
Under the latest exemption, students will need to have visas to attend universities for classes starting on Aug 1 or later, and cannot enter the United States more than one month beforehand.
All travellers will still be subject to the US requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test.
Foreign students - who generally pay full tuition - are a crucial revenue source for US universities, which have been hit hard as COVID-19 forced much instruction to go online.
More than one million international students study in the United States each year. They contributed US$45 billion to the US economy in 2018, according to the Commerce Department.
It remains to be seen if enrolment will be hit not only by COVID-19 but by an increasingly tense atmosphere for Chinese students.
Former president Donald Trump ordered the expulsion of Chinese students who have ties to the military, fearing they will steal US knowhow, prompting concerns by some Asian-American activists that the entire community was being painted with a broad brush of suspicion.
The United States has seen a wave of hate crimes against people of Asian heritage, sometimes triggered by false association with COVID-19.
India and South Korea are the second and third largest sources of foreign students to the United States, and neither country faced blanket bans over COVID-19.
Health / Nigeria To Receive 29.8 Million Doses Of Johnson And Johnson COVID-19 Vaccines by Thaliafy: 4:07am On Apr 29, 2021
“The Federal Government has signed off to receive up to 29.8 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines through the African Union platform,” he said.
Shuaib said the country was also expecting deliveries of vaccines through the COVAX facility by the end of May or early June.
”By this time, the country would have completed the process of administering the second doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines already on ground.
“Having received 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in early March, Nigeria commenced vaccination beginning with healthcare workers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the NPHCDA boss, said vaccination against COVID-19 was still ongoing in all states of the Federation.
He said the country had vaccinated 1,175,285 eligible Nigerians as of April 26, adding that the figure represented 58.4 per cent of people eligible to receive the vaccines.
“Our collaboration with health officials and other stakeholders at the national, state, LGA and community levels in the vaccination exercise has yielded substantial result,” the NPHCDA executive secretary said.
Shuaib said that the government was aware of the global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines due to high demands.
He said the scarcity would affect the remaining phases of the vaccination campaign in the country.
“We are aware of the global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines due to high demands especially in countries where vaccines are being produced.
“We therefore anticipate a delay in vaccine supply to Nigeria which may also affect and impact the remaining phases of the vaccination campaign,” he explained.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government plans to vaccinate 109 million people against COVID-19 virus over a period of two years.
It reports that only eligible population from 18 years and above will be vaccinated in four phases.
Meanwhile, the J&J COVID-19 single-dose vaccine is compatible with standard vaccine storage and distribution channels with ease of delivery to remote areas.
The vaccine is estimated to remain stable for two years at -4°F (-20°C), and a maximum of three months at routine refrigeration temperatures of 36-46°F (2 to 8°C).
The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration recently approved the suspension of administering the J&J vaccine over six reported U.S. cases of a “rare and severe” type of blood clot.
According to a joint statement on Tuesday from Anne Schuchat, CDC Principal Deputy Director and Peter Marks, FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director, the six cases occurred among women aged between 18 and 48, while symptoms occurred within six to 13 days after vaccination.
The suspension was however lifted on the J&J COVID-19 vaccines after 10 days, but with a directive that a warning label should printed on it about the potential for extremely rare blood clots.
The European regulators in April also linked similar, highly unusual blood clots to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot, but found the benefits of the drug outweighed any risks.
Health / U.S. Administers 230.8 Mln Doses Of COVID-19 Vaccines - CDC by Thaliafy: 2:08am On Apr 28, 2021
The United States has administered 230,768,454 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Monday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday.
The figure is up from the 228,661,408 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Sunday out of 290,692,005 doses delivered.
The agency said 140,969,663 people had received at least one dose while 95,888,088 people are fully vaccinated as of Monday.
The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna (MRNA.O) and Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N), , as well as Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ.N) one-shot vaccine as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Monday.
A total of 7,791,592 vaccine doses have been administered in long-term care facilities, the agency said.
The number of vaccine doses delivered remained at 290,692,005, as of Monday morning as shipments are not always sent on Sundays, according to the CDC.
Politics / Reps Assure Nigerians Of Pay-per-view Tariff Implementation by Thaliafy: 2:26am On Apr 26, 2021
The House of Representatives ad hoc Committee on pay-per-view tariff has assured Nigerians of its commitment to abolish indiscriminate charges by satellite service providers.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Unyime Idem (PDP-Akwa Ibom) gave the assurance on Friday while addressing newsmen at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
Idem said that a bill to compel service providers to implement pay-per-view has passed second reading in the house.
He said that the bill, when passed into law, would expand the powers of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to ensure the implementation of pay-per-view tariff.
Idem, who represents Ukanafun/Orukanam Federal Constituency of Akwa-Ibom, said that the process to implement pay-per-view tariff started in June 2020 and would not be swept under the carpet.
“I want to assure Nigerians that after the passage of the bill, the issue of indiscriminate price increase even when Nigerians do not expect and service not consumed will be a thing of the past.
“I want to appeal to Nigerians to be patient and hopeful as the bill will soon come up for third reading,” he said.
Idem, also the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Communication, assured that the bill would break the monopoly currently witnessed in the sector.
According to him, it will open up the space for more local and foreign operators to come in and there will be more options for Nigerians.
The lawmaker said that it would create a lot of employment opportunities, noting that the number of companies coming in will help grow the economy.
Health / US Issues Travel Advisory To Citizens Against Visits To Nigeria by Thaliafy: 3:05am On Apr 24, 2021
The United States Government has advised its citizens to reconsider travel to Nigeria as a result of the security threats in some parts of the country.In its latest travel advisory, the US decried the spate of crimes, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crimes, stressing that some areas have increased risk.
“Violent crime – such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage-taking, banditry, and rape – is common throughout the country.
“Kidnappings for ransom occur frequently, often targeting dual national citizens, who have returned to Nigeria for a visit, as well as U.S. citizens with perceived wealth. Kidnapping gangs have also stopped victims on interstate roads,” local media reports on Friday quoted the U.S. government as saying.
The US expressed worry that terrorists have continued to plot and carry out attacks in Nigeria, especially in the North East.
It warned that terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting shopping centres, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, schools, government installations, transportation hubs, and other places where crowds gather.
According to the US, there has been civil unrest and low-level armed militancy in parts of the South, especially in the Niger Delta region where kidnapping and maritime crime are pervasive.
The US government warned its citizens against violence between communities of farmers and herders in rural areas, as well as maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea, adding that it has limited ability to provide emergency services to its citizens in many areas of Nigeria due to security conditions.

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