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Club wants FG to increase tobacco tax by 70%



Tobacco-Free Club, University of Abuja chapter (TFC), has called on Federal Government to increase tobacco tax to 70 per cent of the retail price of the commodity.

Mr Izang Lawrence, Former President of the Club, made the call on Monday at a campaign to enlighten Nigerians on the national tobacco control act of 2015, in Abuja.

“The government must significantly increase tobacco tax to be at par with the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended level of 70 per cent of the retail price over the next five years,” he said.

He recalled that in October 2005, Nigeria ratified the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

“The framework recommended many effective ways of controlling tobacco in its various stages and protecting public health.

“Till date a lot of the recommendations of the FCTC, which Nigeria is a signatory to, is yet to be implemented by Nigeria,” Izang said

According to him, one of the recommendations of the FCTC is about 70 per cent tax increase while Nigeria is currently around 20 per cent.

Izang also called for stiffer laws to prohibit the sale of tobacco to minors and smoking in public places.

“We want the prohibition of the sale of tobacco products to and by anyone below age 18 and ban of sale of cigarettes in single sticks.

“Our tobacco control group will never be tired of asking the government to continue to significantly increase tobacco tax.

“The present tax regime is insignificant and insufficient to lead to price increases and will definitely not reduce consumption.

“We want prohibition of smoking anywhere on the premises of a child care facility, educational facility and health facility; and other prohibited areas for smoking include playground, amusement parks and other public spaces.

“We also want prohibition of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of any kind,” he said.

He urged the Federal Government to begin the process of earmarking a significant fraction of tobacco tax and levies for tobacco control and to educate smokers of the dangers of smoking.

Izang described earmarking of a fraction of the revenue accruable from tobacco taxes and levies as one of the best practices effective for the promotion of public health.

Izang said that the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 provided for the setting up of the Tobacco Control Fund to implement the National Tobacco Control Regulations.

“Nigeria has approved the tobacco control regulations, which will make it possible for the Federal Ministry of Health to implement and enforce the Nigeria Tobacco Control Act, 2015.

“We ask that the Federal Government should start the process of earmarking a significant fraction of tobacco taxes and levies for tobacco control and national health coverage,” he said.

According to him, the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 provides for the setting up of the tobacco control fund and up till now it has not been implemented.

Kenneth Amah, President, TFC, University of Abuja,

stressed the need to create more awareness on the dangers of tobacco smoking.

Amah said that government had reviewed the standard for cigarettes to include the complete ban on cigarettes with characterizing favour, including menthol.

He noted that the use of tobacco had been known to lead to severe health and socio-economic outcomes.

According to him, the use and exposure to tobacco smoke among Nigerians was gradually becoming an issue of public health concern and students were well informed about the dangers of tobacco.

“We are unmindful of those already using it, but we also have Tobacco cessation clinics for those already indulging in it and who want to leave.”

Amah further explained that cancer was common in people who smoked cigarettes because tobacco smoking posed a risk of 2.5 per cent compared to the other risk factors.

Nigeria News Agency , reports that the campaign was supported by the Federal Ministry of Health and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Washington and Gatefield Impact.



Osinbajo, former US envoy meet on polio eradication



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former US Ambassador to the UN, Mr Andrew Young, on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja met to discuss ways to sustain the fight against the Wide Polio Virus(WPV) in Nigeria.

Young, who came under the aegis of Emeka Offor Foundation, was accompanied by Offor, a Nigerian businessman, whose foundation also worked to eradicate the WPV in Nigeria.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Young said that the struggle to eradicate polio had been going on for 70 years and that it would soon be achieved.

“I am here because Nigeria has a chance to strike the final blow in ending wide polio by vaccinating every child as soon as they can.

“Everything cannot be done by government; civil society has a strong role to play in education, in health and every aspect of life.

“To make change in life, you have to have almost 60 per cent but a small group of dedicated individuals under the leadership of civil society like Offor can make a big difference.”

He said that Offor had taken the lead in making the final steps in stemming the spread of the virus in Nigeria.

Young said that Osinbajo informed them at the meeting of Nigeria’s free education for every Nigerian up to the 9th grade, which he described as a revolution.

“That is a revolution; that is a phenomenal achievement; education and health determine the rate of progress; the number of jobs; the manner of wealth.

“I am just pleased that Nigeria with all the faults, everyone else talks about Nigeria as a strong country that was holding together in spite of all of its differences.”

On his part, Offor expressed delight that Nigeria had not had any case of WPV in three years, adding that the effort must be sustained until the virus was eradicated in the world.

He said that they looked forward to WHO certification which would come in March 2020.

Offor said that after the certification, the advocacy had to continue as massive immunisation would continue.

“We have to make sure that our borders that are porous are manned because the wide polio virus travels from one country to the other with human beings travelling.

“That is what we need to do; and the momentum of advocacy should be maintained at the level it is now so that you create awareness.

“So that mothers should be able to bring out their children to be immunised without having the negative ideas that were given by detractors.

“They should know that every child that is immunised will be polio free.

“When a child is normal, the child will be mentally fit, the child will help in building a better Nigeria.

“As a Rotarian, what we are doing, our goal is that polio will be wiped out, not just in Nigeria or Africa, but on the earth because until that is done, we are not safe,” he said.


Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Attainment of 3 years polio free incident excites Buhari



President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed delight over the attainment of three years without a recorded polio incident in Nigeria.

The president made his feelings known at an audience with Mr Andrew Young, the former Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations, accompanied by the board of Emeka Offor Foundation in Nigeria, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.

He noted that this feat was achieved by his administration with local and international support, saying that it was something “not only to cherish, but one that also requires sustained vigilance.’’

According to him, his administration will maintain focus on health and education through the support of well-to-do individuals in the country to achieve success in these areas.

“The best asset to give to the people is health and education. You free them from the tendencies of under-development, especially religious and ethnic manipulations which are challenges facing us at this stage of our development,’’ he said.

He however expressed optimism that these challenges would wither away with time.

“We have to march gradually. It is impossible to be in a hurry. We are seeking inclusive development without leaving a majority of our people behind,” the President said.

Buhari also commended the social and humanitarian activities of Emeka Offor, especially in the areas of education and health.

He said: “You are translating the success you achieved into social service. This is what the government is doing, so you are helping us in many ways.

“I commend your activities in the area of health and education to other successful Nigerians.’’

In his remarks, Young expressed satisfaction with the Buhari administration’s effort toward Polio eradication.

He commended the President’s leadership of the country, saying, “at a time when nations of the world are pulling apart, we are happy that Nigeria is stable and secure under you.

“We will continue working with Nigeria because we consider ourselves as part of the family.”

Amb. Howard Jeter, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, who also spoke at the meeting, said Buhari’s re-election was, “a real boom for the future of Nigeria.”

He outlined on-going efforts of the Emeka Offor Foundation, in partnership with the Andrew Young Foundation, to supply millions of books to schools, ensure the complete eradication of polio, and to attack River Blindness.

According to him, about 40 million Nigerians are afflicted with River Blindness mostly in the South-east and the South-south areas of the country.


Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Kaduna varsity inducts first set of 27 pharmacists



The Kaduna State University (KASU) and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) on Friday inducted the first set of pharmacists, seven years after establishment of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the university.

PCN’s Registrar, Mr Elijah Mohammed, at the maiden Induction and Oath-taking Ceremony of the 27 graduates, congratulated the pharmacists for completing the first phase of their training.

“You have completed the first set of your training as professionals and now fit to compete with other colleagues in the field and render selfless service to humanity.

“The second phase of the training commence with the one-year Statutory Internship Training programme that is compulsory for all pharmacists in the country, including those trained abroad without evidence of license.

“I, therefore, enjoin you to take the one-year internship programme very seriously being the only gateway to being certified as a professional pharmacist and continue to update skills and knowledge,” he said.

Mohammed said that the PCN was aware of the challenges posed by the dynamics of practice of the profession, technological advancement, increasing disease burden, adverse drug reactions, interactions and resistance.

He said that to address this, PCN has institutionalised continuing professional development programme to ensure continued relevance of pharmacists in the health sector.

“You need to note that pharmacist’s competency is not only about knowledge and skills, but include critical thinking and decision making, innovation, social interaction and inter-professional relationship.

“As pharmacists, you are expected to get yourself acquainted with the Code of Professional Ethics, which prescribed your professional and moral responsibilities to patients, colleagues, other professionals and the general public,” he further advised them.

According to him, the council frowns at professional misconduct in its entirety, adding that strict compliance to the code of ethics is indispensable to the practice of the profession.

The Dean of the faculty, Prof. Ben Chindo, described the maiden oath taking of the graduates as ‘milestone’ on the lives of the 27 pharmacists, the faculty, the university and the state.

He said that the faculty scored 100 per cent in course content during accreditation by the National University Commission (NUC), which along with dedicated academics and other staff made the day possible.

“With the profession’s quality benchmark, these graduates had to work a great deal to meet our expectations, that of NUC and PCN.

“I thank the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Muhammad Tanko, for the overwhelming support to the faculty and ensuring not less than accepted standard and quality,” he said.

The vice chancellor also congratulated the pharmacists for working hard to realising their dreams.

According to him, the university will continue to provide the needed learning environment and facilities to ensure quality learning outcomes and produce the needed manpower socio-economic development.

Tanko thanked Gov. Nasir El-Rufai for the needed support to the university with a view to making it one of the best in the country.

Prof. Martins Emeje had during the pre-induction lecture underscored the need to review the pharmacy education programme to strengthen competencies, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Emeje of the Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Raw Materials Development, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Abuja, stressed that pharmacists must embrace information technology to remain relevant.

According to him, the step will enable pharmacists reflect on the changing roles of pharmacists to meet current demands in healthcare delivery system.

“Pharmaceutical students should be trained to create, transmit and apply new knowledge based on cutting-edge research in all aspects of the profession keep tap with best practices and development at the global stage,” he charged.


Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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1,000 children benefit from free surgical intervention in Lagos



No fewer than one thousand children have benefited from the free surgical intervention offered by the Lagos State Government and a non-governmental organisation, BOSKOH Lagos Healthcare Mission.

Mr Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, the Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Health, made this known to newsmen on Friday in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the screening was organised by the Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and Kadiri Olusola Hamzat (BOSKOH), in collaboration with an NGO, Healthcare Mission International (HMI), for children from ages zero to 12.

The free health screening, which began on Aug. 2, lasted till Aug. 10 in seven designated Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in Lagos.

The screening covers organ impairment, life-threatening ailments in children, visual and hearing problems, mental health services and orthopaedic services like bone deformity and hernia.

NAN also reports that the aim of the programme was to restore hope to people at the grassroots, and as well alleviate their medical challenges and inadequacies.

Ogunbanwo said that the surgical intervention included: orthopaedic, eye, dental procedure, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgery, among others.

He said the surgical intervention was an offshoot of the free screening conducted in designated primary healthcare centres across the state.

According to him, it was carried out simultaneously in seven general hospitals in the state.

On the intervention, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Wife of Lagos State, who visited beneficiaries of the free medical intervention in five of the centres, expressed delight at the impact the interventions had on lives of the beneficiaries.

“I have been to five general hospitals today to observe what has been done for the past few days.

“I was at the Massey Street Children’s Hospital; General Hospital, Lagos; Onikan General Hospital; Gbagada General Hospital and the Orile-Agege General Hospital.

“I must say I am impressed with the surgeries that were being done.

“It is indeed heartwarming that the beneficiaries of these free surgical interventions were quite appreciative,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The governor’s wife commended the management of BOSKOH Lagos Healthcare International (HMI) for their humanitarian service.

Sanwo-Olu said she was aware that the medical team even worked during the last public holidays to ensure the success of the programme.

She expressed optimism for improvement in the health sector, considering the various health interventions being implemented by the present administration.

The governor’s wife said that there was hope for Lagos, and indeed its citizens.

Also, Mrs Nike Osai, Executive Director of the NGO, said that over 88 eye surgeries were conducted in Orile-Agege General Hospital while over 120 surgeries were done at the Onikan General Hospital.

Osai said over 300 cases were currently being treated at the General Hospital, Lagos, while surgeries were still ongoing at the Badagry and Epe General Hospitals.

“As we speak, surgeries are ongoing in all our centres, and we really appreciate everyone that has partnered with us and volunteered for this noble course without being paid,” she said.

The executive director appreciated the state government for deeming it fit to partner with her organisation to bring succour to people, especially children who were the most vulnerable in society.

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Recall of dismissed students excites Niger School of Midwifery



Recall of dismissed students excites Niger School of Midwifery

By Mercy Osajiugo


Minna, July 23, 2019 The School of Midwifery in Niger has commended the board of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) for recalling 17 refresher course students to re-sit their professional examinations in September 2019.

The Provost, Hajiya Aisha Maikudi, told the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Minna that the gesture would reduce quacks in the nursing and midwifery profession.

Maikudi said the 17 affected students were dismissed for not been able to pass the qualifying professional examination in 2016.

“These ones failed the professional examination three times and they were barred from writing the examination further,” she said.

Maikudi said that the council magnanimously recalled them and gave them one year to undergo a refresher programme and write the professional examination again.

She said that the gesture was aimed at reducing quackery which had bedevilled the profession.

“I commend that decision because it is in the best interest of the profession, if they are registered and licensed we can check them.

“If they are our members we can check them as there will be check and balances in their practices because if they are registered and licensed they will be going for professional updates from time to time.

“If they are not registered they will not bother, they will continue to practice because nobody is checking them hence this review in the policy,” she said.

Maikudi said that her hope was high that the students would all be successful, saying that 12 refresher course students who took the professional examination in 2018 all passed the qualifying examination.

She said that it was necessary for the council to review the policy to reduce imposters and quacks in the profession.

“For them to have acquired that level of training and were dismissed most of them still practice irrespective of not being certified and this is detrimental to the profession, public health and the general public,” she said.

Maikudi explained that the board was conscious of the life of the general public especially the poor because they were the most vulnerable as they were in the habit of patronising quacks.

“We are happy for the refresher students because it is not easy to put an effort for five years and come out with nothing,” she said.

She however advised candidates sitting for the professional examination in September to shun any encumbrances and study hard to pass to justify the rare opportunity.

“We are calling on them to be hard working because it is not going to be given to them free, they must earn it,’’ she said.

A refresher student, Mrs Basirat Idris, appreciated the gesture of the board.

“Personally, I felt depressed, shattered and hopeless, not only for me but virtually all of us here as you can see.

“In earnest, our families celebrated it saying it is worth celebrating.

“But I also want to point out here that some of us died as a result of the shock they suffered from the dismissal,’’ she said.

Idris also said that some of the dismissed students were disappointed by their fiancés, saying they will not have anything to do with a liability as a wife.

“We are appreciative of the board for the rare privilege, the gesture is a welcome development that will help in eliminating quacks and save the vulnerable patients.

“I want to charge governments to employ more nurses in the public sector and also there is need for stakeholders to comb the private hospitals to eliminate quacks,’’ she urged.

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