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Budget well,spend effectively on public health, expert advises Nigerian Govt.

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Dr Frieden, a former director of the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, gave the advice on Wednesday in Abuja at a media roundtable with some journalists on Nigeria’s epidemic preparedness.

Frieden said budgeting was crucial if Nigeria was to become better prepared to handle epidemics.

He pointed out that the NCDC had made good strides in the area of laboratory diagnostics and response, but that more needed to be done.

“We need steady investment and support to States and Local Governments  as well as effective expenditure of national and international resources available,” he said, adding,“Show me your budget and I will tell you what your priorities are.”

Frieden further said that disease tracking systems were fundamentally important because they helped the government to measure the state of its epidemic preparedness.

The physician stated that one problem the organisation was looking at in Nigeria and globally was tracking the time frame for response.

“The time it takes between emergence of the disease, finding the disease, and studying the control measures is very important in tackling outbreaks.

“This is important because disease outbreaks spread exponentially if not controlled in time,” he said.

He advised states and local government public office holders to prioritise epidemic preparedness as a key factor that would help keep their populations safe.

According to him, having tracking and surveillance systems for key diseases in addition to good laboratories as well as rapid response are essential in saving lives.

Frieden further advised states to engage the right people and keep adequate data so that they could use that data to improve their performance.

He lauded the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for its commitment in handling disease outbreaks.

He encouraged the NCDC to continue with the culture of keeping and growing data and development of laboratories and surveillance.

“The support of state and local departments is crucially important, because an institution like NCDC is only important when the states and local governments have the capacity to perform,” he said.

Dr Elsie Ilori, NCDC Deputy Director Surveillance, said that many preparedness gaps were identified by the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) led by World Health Organization (WHO) in spite of some considerable progress.

Ilori said that NCDC was working in collaboration with Resolve to Save Lives to address the gaps.

The deputy director further said that Nigeria’s National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) was developed to serve as roadmap to fill the preparedness gaps identified by JEE.

Dr Ifeanyi Nsofor, Director Policy and Advocacy at Nigeria Health Watch, stated that prevention of epidemics was cost effective and cheaper no matter how much was spent.

Nsofor encouraged the media to continue to harp on the need to fund epidemic preparedness initiatives by government.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that three prevent epidemics media fellows of Nigeria Health Watch presented reports of the stories they had worked on under the fellowship.

Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf

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Former Niger governor extols IBB at 78

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The immediate past governor of Niger, Dr Babangida Aliyu, on Saturday extolled the virtues of former military leader, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd) of contributing positively to Nation building.

Aliyu made the remark in Minna, while congratulating IBB who turned 78 years on Aug. 17.

“Many people will be interested to know about IBB’s birthday because he is an elder statesman who has contributed positively to the development of our country.

“I am happy that he is still alive and healthy, I wish him well at 78.

“We hope he will still live longer because we need him around to continue to contribute to national development,” he said.

He assured he would continue to encourage and support Babangida towards contributing to the development of Nigeria.

“I think IBB is a statesman that we will continue to pray for,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that IBB, who was born Aug. 17, 1941 was the military President of Nigeria between Aug. 27, 1985 and Aug. 26, 1993.

He previously served as the Chief of Army Staff from January 1984 to August 1985.

OCU/IS

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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First Lady celebrate APC ex-chair at 80

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First Lady Aisha Buhari has described the former national chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, as a complete gentleman and a peace maker.

She made this known in her Instagram handle on Saturday in a message to celebrate the former APC chairman on his 80th birthday anniversary.

The first lady also described the celebrant as a unifying factor who worked tirelessly for the development of his fatherland.

She therefore wished him long life in good health and prosperity.

The message reads: ”Happy Birthday, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, former National Chairman of APC.

”A complete gentleman, a peace maker and a unifying factor of our time.

”Wishing you many years ahead in good health and prosperity.”

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Chairman, Organising Committee of the event, Mr Ray Morphy, said the committee plans to mark Odigie-Oyegun’s birthday in Abuja on Aug. 17.

Morphy said that eminent Nigerians, including top APC chieftains, are expected at the event.

He urged young Nigerians to emulate the leadership qualities and values demonstrated by Odigie-Oyegun when he served as a Permanent Secretary, governor of Edo and National Chairman of APC.

“Chief Odigie-Oyegun has kept his name clean right and fair over the years.

”Even as he left office as National Chairman of the APC, you noticed that he has never engaged in any battle with anybody in the party.”

AMU/IS

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Road crash claims 1 on Lagos-Ibadan highway

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The Ogun State Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says one person lost his life in a road crash at Danco, near Sagamu, on the LagosIbadan highway.

The Sector Commander, Mr Clement Oladele, told Nigeria News Agency on Saturday in Ota that the accident happened at about 8.00 p.m on Friday.

Oladele explained that a Toyota SUV with registration number GGE 30 DF, was coming from Lagos when the driver lost control due to speeding.

He said that the driver veered off the road, somersaulted and crashed into a parked bus.

“The corpse of the victim has been deposited at the mortuary of Idera Hospital in Sagamu, Ogun State,’’ he said.

The FRSC boss advised motorists to obey traffic rules and regulations to avoid avoidable road crashes and its attendant fatalities.

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FG flag-off agric. inputs distribution in Adamawa

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The Federal Government, through its North East Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project, has flagged off the distribution of agricultural inputs in Adamawa.

The over 20,000 beneficiaries would be given inputs and non food item kits from seven local government areas affected by insurgency in the state.

Maj.-Gen. Paul Tarfa, Chairman, North East Development Commission (NEDC) flagged off the distribution in Michika Local Government Area.

Tarfa, who was represented by Alhaji Muhammed Danjuma, federal project coordinator of the Programme, said the intervention included rehabilitation of infrastructure affected by insurgency in the areas.

“The North East Multi Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project (MCRP) is being implemented by the Federal Government in partnership with the World Bank in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

“The core objective of the project is to support Government of Nigeria in rehabilitation and improving critical infrastructural service delivery to improve and sustain the livelihood of conflict and displacement in affected communities in North East,” Tarfa said.

Mr Maurice Vonubolki, Adamawa project coordinator of the programme, listed the benefiting councils to include Madagali, Michika, Mubi North, Mubi South, Maiha, Song and Gombi.

He said the distribution was a continuation of several interventions made by the programme in the benefiting communities.

“Apart from the distribution of agricultural inputs and non food item kits witnessed today, the project under component one had reached out to thousands of beneficiaries with improved small animal inputs, non agricultural livelihood and soft skills training for small entrepreneurship.

“Under component two, the project has commenced rehabilitation of critical physical infrastructure that include water provision, transport sector, education, health and public buildings in the affected areas,” Vonubolki said.

He noted that already about 295 hand pumps and 59 solar boreholes had been provided across the affected communities in the seven councils.

Responding on behalf of the state government and the benefiting communities, Mr Haruna Ali, Deputy Transition Caretaker Chairman of Michika, thanked the federal government for the intervention.

Ali tasked the beneficiaries to use the items to improve their living condition for sustainable economic development of their areas.

AMA/IS

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Gov. Matawalle of Zamfara appoints new HOS

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Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has approved the appointment of Alhaji Kabiru Balarabe as the new Head of Service for the state’s Civil Service.

Until his appointment, Balarabe was the Permanent Secretary, Government House.

A statement signed by Yusuf Idris, the Director-General of Press Affairs to the governor and made available to newsmen in Gusau on Saturday, said the appointment takes immediate effect.

The appointment followed the retirement of Alhaji Mujtaba Isa, the former Head of Service.

Matawalle charged the new Head of Service to live up to the administration’s expectations by restructuring the service in the state and making it a role model.

Born in March, 1966, Balarabe, a graduate of the University of Sokoto, joined the civil service as a Research Officer in the old Sokoto Military Administrator’s office in August, 1991.

He had served in various capacities including as Private Secretary to late President Shehu Shagari between 1993 and 1996.

Balarabe was also a Principal Private Secretary to the Zamfara State first civilian governor, Sen. Ahmed Sani and a former Local Government Sole Administrator of the old Kasuwar Daji Local Government.

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