Some tobacco control stakeholders have urged the Federal Government to fund the National Tobacco Control Fund to raise the campaign against tobacco smoking.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the special fund is aimed at funding tobacco control interventions in the country.
The stakeholders, who are members of the Federal Ministry of Health Tobacco Taxation Technical Working Group (TT-TWG), made the call in separate interviews with NAN in Abuja on Friday.
The National Tobacco Control Act of 2015 provided for the establishment of the ‘Tobacco Control Fund’ to be used to meet the objectives of the National Tobacco Control Act.
The law provides for national tobacco awareness creation, capacity building of healthcare workers across all levels, and sustainability of tobacco control interventions and activities, among others.
Dr Toma Malau, the Coordinator of the TT-TWG and Branch Head, Cardiovascular and Tobacco Control, Non-Communicable Disease Control Division, Federal Ministry of Health, said the call became imperative due to the pivotal role tobacco control fund would play in supporting and sustaining tobacco control efforts in the country.
Malau added that aside funding the activities of the National Tobacco Control Committee, among other efforts, the fund can also be used to assist local farmers engaged in cultivating tobacco to move away from tobacco farming and cultivate other farm produce that will yield more profits for them.
“Part of the tobacco control fund will fund these activities and much more but unfortunately the tobacco control fund is yet to be operationalised and this is the law that there shall be a tobacco control fund.
“Tobacco consumption causes a lot of diseases which can be non-communicable diseases and even communicable diseases like tuberculosis.
“So without the tobacco control fund, it will be difficult to carry out all these interventions required to discourage tobacco consumption in the country,” he said.
Mr Okeke Anya, a member of the group and Programme Manager of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), said to implement any policy and action, the required resources have to be made available and easily accessible hence the crucial role tobacco control fund plays in tobacco control interventions and activities across the country.
“That is why we are calling on the federal government through the ministries of health and finance to ensure that the provision of the law that establishes tobacco control unit should not just be on paper.
“There must be funds in the tobacco control fund that has been provided by law to enable those charged with tobacco control carry out their responsibilities,” he said.
Mr Seun Esan, another member of the TT-TWG, however explained that the setback hindering funding the Tobacco Control Fund stems from the fact that the National Tobacco Control Act did not explicitly specify how funds for the tobacco control fund will be generated.
He pointed out that the federal government could change the narrative of the tobacco control fund by deducting a percentage of the tax and excise on tobacco for funding the tobacco control fund.
“But experience from around the world has given us a whole lot of options and alternatives on how to fund tobacco control fund. One option is tobacco tax earmarking.
“Earmarking is deducting a percentage from the tax and excise on tobacco and commits it to the tobacco control fund. It could be as little as two per cent.
“The tobacco control fund will be used for sensitisation to people, educating the younger ones on the dangers of tobacco, helping people who are already addicted to tobacco to quit and blocking tobacco industry interference and so much more. The fund can do much that we can hardly imagine,” he said.
Mr Tony Thomas, another tobacco control stakeholder, told NAN that having an accessible and adequate budget is very crucial to achieving success in laid out plans but without the necessary funding, nothing works.
“Just hosting of our meetings to brainstorm on the way forward is sometimes a challenge and this task is far beyond meeting to talk. We have reach out to so many people to achieve our set goals. If the tobacco control fund is well funded, we will make so much progress.
“That is why I am calling on all stakeholders, especially the federal government, to take steps in ensuring the tobacco control fund is funded,” he said
NAN reports that the TT-TWG met on Thursday in Abuja during which it decried the high rate of deaths caused directly and indirectly by tobacco consumption and called for the implementation of the regulations put in place to curb tobacco consumption in the country.
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola
2019 Maternal Week: Kano spends N350m on working facilities
The Kano State Government says it has spent N350 million on the provision of working facilities for the successful conduct of 2019 Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week in the State.
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje disclosed this during the formal flag-off of the 2019 second round of the programme held at Karaye Local Government Area.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr Nasiru Gawuna, the governor said the exercise, which targets over 3.5 million children and 90,000 mothers as beneficiaries, would be conducted in all the public hospitals across the 44 local government areas of the state.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the deputy governor, Malam Hassan Musa Fagge, and made available to newsmen in Kano on Tuesday.
He revealed that the state had already procured enough medicines, vaccines, mosquito nets and other facilities needed for the effective commencement of the programme.
“The issue of health remains central area of focus to the present administration and that is why we upgraded some hospitals in the state from Primary Healthcare Centres to General Hospitals, and not only that arrangements have reached advanced stage to establish 400 beds hospitals in each of the five Emirates of the state.
“In our General Hospitals, we are equally making arrangements to establish a special unit on eye treatment which is also part of the Government’s commitment towards supporting healthcare delivery system in the state,” the statement added.
According to him, the state was recognised as one of the best states in terms of healthcare delivery by development partners and this has signified bold commitment on health programmes.
He added that the state had extremely performed very well as it now recorded over 60 months without polio virus, noting that the administration had also recorded achievements in its fight against malaria and HIV diseases.
The governor further expressed gratitude to the traditional rulers in the state for mpbilising their subjets to accept various aspects of healthcare and other development programmes initiated by the government.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Alhaji Usman Bala, announced that the exercise which is conducted from time to time by the ministry, would last from Aug. 19 to Aug. 23, 2019, across the 44 local government areas of the state.
“In February 2019, the week was conducted with huge success recording 80 per cent of pregnant women and children under the age of five years who greatly benefited from the exercise.
“During this round again,100 per cent of these targets are expected to benefit from the programme,” he added.
He said the ministry had made sufficient arrangements including the provision of qualified personnel in all the 1,200 Primary Healthcare Hospitals and 40 General Hospitals across the state to actualise the intended goals.
In their separate remarks, the Emir of Karaye, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar II; the Emir of Rano, Dr Tafida Abubakar illa, and the Emir of Gaya, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulkadir, pledged their coorperation and readiness to continue to enlighten their people on the importance of the exercise.
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola
Moeti nominated for 2nd term as WHO Regional Director for Africa
The 47-Member States of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) African Region has nominated Dr Matshidiso Moeti to serve a second five-year term as Regional Director for Africa.
A statement signed by the Communication Manager, Collins Boakye-Agyemang, in Abuja said that the nomination took place on Tuesday during the 69th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa.
The statement said WHO Regional Committee for Africa was the governing mechanism involving health ministers from all the Member States.
It added that Moeti’s candidacy was endorsed by the African Union Executive Council earlier this year, stressing that her nomination will be ratified by the 146th WHO Executive Board at its January 2020 session.
The statement explained that if Moeti’s nomination is ratified by the session, her second term will begin on March 1, 2020.
It quoted Moeti pledging her continued commitment to transforming the WHO Secretariat as it works with countries in tackling the health challenges facing the region.
She added that she was much honoured to be nominated for a second term as Regional Director for Africa.
“During the past five years, I had worked to transform the WHO Secretariat to respond to the health needs of millions of Africans.
“This nomination is an endorsement of the many achievements we have reached together with health ministries. I intend for us to scale more mountains together over the next five years,” she said.
Moeti promised to work with member states and partners to address health challenges within the global WHO Transformation framework and the Thirteenth General Programme of Work 2019–2023, if appointed by the Executive Board.
“My vision is of African people of all ages, all income levels and social groups, and in all places, enjoying good health and well-being, through accelerating towards universal health coverage.”
Moeti reiterated her commitment towards preventing and controlling outbreaks and emergencies, and creating environments that promote healthy lifestyles in the region.
The statement said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, congratulated Moeti on her re-nomination.
It added that the WHO boss said Moeti has done an outstanding job over the past five years, stressing that under her leadership, the region is making very encouraging progress.
“Her nomination for another term demonstrates the confidence and the trust that the Member States have in her.
“It’s been an immense pleasure to work with her, and I look forward to our continued collaboration during her next term,” he said.
The Nigeria News Agency reportsthat Moeti is a public health specialist and medical administrator.
She was born in South Africa.
New NHIS boss adopts 3-point aggressive rebranding
The Newly appointed Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS), Prof. Mohammed Sambo, says he has adopted a three-point aggressive and purposeful strategy to rebrand the scheme.
Sambo disclosed this at a two-day retreat for the top management committee of NHIS in Kaduna on Tuesday.
He said the scheme has a presidential mandate to achieve Universal Health Coverage through the three-point agenda towards the realisation of its core mandate.
“Am a public health physician and I work with evidence. I am trying to take a comprehensive stock of what has been happening in NHIS.
“The first step in our rebranding agenda is that we will embark on an aggressive and purposeful strategy that will reorient the organisation.
“This will however develop into a very good value system which will bring stability in the health insurance system.
“I am going to be systematic and purposeful, and the way to do it is to generate and gather evidence, by taking stock of all stakeholders,’’ he said.
Sambo said the management would be embarking on a purposeful stakeholder’s engagement with the Health Management Organisations (HMOs) and Health Care Providers to have a very transparent discussion in line with the accountability agenda of the current administration.
He added that problems would be collectively identified and solutions proffered by all stakeholders.
Sambo said that part of the reform agenda is also to catalogue how many Ministries, Departments and Agencies are under the Federal Government.
He added that the exercise would determine the total number of federal government employees who have subscribed to the scheme and thoes yet to be enrolled.
He noted that the scheme was meant to be compulsory for all federal government employees, assuring that the scheme will design a strategy to ensure all the workers enrol in line with the presidential mandate.
According to Sambo, the three-point agenda include “firstly, restoring value system that would transform NHIS into a credible and result driven organisation.
“Secondly, engendering transparency and accountability in the entire operation of the scheme, and
“Thirdly, accelerating the drive of the scheme towards achieving a universal access to quality healthcare for all Nigerians’’.
Prof. Gbenga Sunmola with the University of Ibadan, the Facilitator of the retreat, said it was very timely, important and significant.
Sunmola said without health there cannot be good quality of life, and without health there cannot be peace and security in the country.
He said it was important to reposition relevant organisations that are responsible in bringing good health to the nation, by restructuring their thinking and behaviour for the benefit of the masses.
“We want to strengthen NHIS to better position itself for universal coverage, because there are many demands from the government, enrolees and the public.
“It needs to strengthen its internal mechanism and respond appropriately with a new value orientation that would accelerate work practices in a way that is compatible to efficient service delivery,” said the don.
Prof. Abdullahi Musa with the Kaduna State University, another facilitator, said the objective of the retreat was to rebrand public organisations.
He explained that rebranding was a means of developing strategies to do something differently.
“One effective strategy that is being adopted globally to ensure organisations achieve efficiency and effectiveness in their work practices is to ensure that they have a balance value system in an organisation.
“Once there is balance it will drive behaviour for efficiency that will lead to excellence, improvement in productivity and the core mandate of the organisation will be achieved,” Musa said.
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola
Gov. Ganduje calls on stakeholders to support routine immunisation
By Aisha Ahmed
Dawakin Tofa (Kano) Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has appealed to stakeholders to support routine immunisation for children in the state.
Ganduje made the call in Dawakin Tofa on Tuesday, while flagging off the Meningitis vaccine, “MenA”, which is an addition to the routine immunisation in the state.
The governor, represented by Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, stressed the importance of making healthcare accessible to communities in the state.
“We are totally committed to improving the healthcare delivery for the benefit of our people, and this will only be successful with support from development partners and other stakeholders,” he said.
Ganduje called on traditional rulers in particular, to continue mobilising and enlightening their subjects on the importance of routine immunisation to their children.
“We all have a role to play in accelerating healthcare; I call on all local governments to invest in routine immunisation in their respective areas,” he said.
The governor lauded the efforts of UNICEF and other partners for their support in communicating to caregivers the importance of “MenA” vaccine and the risks of meningitis.
In a goodwill message, the UNICEF Health Specialist, Kano Field office, Hajiya Saudat Basheer, pledged body’s continuous support to the state for the benefit of children.
Basheer said that UNICEF would always be ready to support the state in promoting the wellbeings of children.
The Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Aminu Bayero, represented by the District Head of Tofa, Alhaji Isyaku Umar, expressed readiness to assist in the fight against child killer diseases.
Yobe Governor calls for monitoring, sensitisation on vaccines
Gov. MaiMala Buni of Yobe, has called on community leaders in the state to monitor and sensitise their subjects on the importance of vaccines.
Buni made the call on Tuesday in Ngelzarma, while flagging off the introduction of Meningitis (MenA) vaccine in Fune Local Government area of the state.
“I want to appeal to our Royal Highnesses, the Mais, District Heads, Village Heads and Ward Heads in the state to conduct periodic monitoring and sensitise their subjects on the importance of vaccines.
“In this respect, we will continue to improve vaccines, drugs and other high impact healthcare services to our citizens with the aim of ensuring that the underserved, remote and hard to reach areas are not left out,” the governor said.
He said that children, who were found not to have finished their vaccination or immunisation circle, should be referred to the health facilities to complete their immunisation schedules.
The governor also commended the efforts of development partners, particularly Dangote and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, and other international organisations for their commitment in improving the health condition of the people.
“Yobe Government will continue to collaborate with our major partners, who work closely with the health agencies in the state as well as be in the driving seat in the implementation of quality healthcare services in the state,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, Yobe State Healthcare Management Board (SPHCMB), Dr Muhammad Gana, described Meningitis as “a devastating disease and remains a major public health challenge”.
According to him, the disease can be caused by many different pathogens, including viruses and fungi, but the highest global burden is seen with bacterial meningitis.
“Meningococcal meningitis is usually spread through contact with the saliva or nasal secretion of an infected person,” he said.
Gana expressed optimism over the introduction of the vaccines in the state
“It is indeed a pleasure to inform you all that today marks another giant stride in the improvement of the health status of our children.
“Through the official flag off for the introduction of Meningitis (MenA) vaccine into the Routine Immunisation (RI) schedules in all health facilities across Yobe,” Hana said.
The council chairman called for the support of the general public for the government and international donors to achieve the desired result.
“We have to match government and international donors’ efforts with our actions by bringing our children out during the immunisation exercise,”