Many Nigerian football supporters and enthusiasts have greeted the new football season in major European countries with excitement and anticipation.
In the next eight months, football crazy Nigerians will have the opportunity to watch their favourite clubs challenge for honours in England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and other countries.
The new season has kicked off in England, where the English Premier League (EPL) – perhaps the most popular football league among Nigerians – has already sparked thrill among fans.
On Sunday, Manchester United thrashed Chelsea 4-0 in what many considered a baptism of fire for Chelsea’s new manager and former club legend, Frank Lampard.
Action in the French Ligue 1 has also lifted football fans’ spirits and the prospect of adding the German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga to the mix further heightens the delight.
However, there is another kind of excitement about the new football season brewing among a totally different class of Nigerians.
For this group of football followers, the new season doesn’t merely offer excitement and rekindle their passion for the beautiful game. It is an avenue to make money through sports betting.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that over the past decade, sports betting has become one of the fasted growing sectors in Nigeria and the proliferation of betting shops is not hard to observe, even by the uninitiated.
Every week, gamblers forecast outcomes of football matches and stake some money on odds with the hope of making a fortune.
Some uniform men were spotted on Sunday at Asokoro Bet9ja centre betting as Chelsea and Man United, others played.
NAN in Abuja, observed that most of the people patronising betting centre were policemen and young adults between the ages of 18 to 25 years.
Whether they are patronising some of the numerous betting shops which dot almost every neighbourhood or playing directly from their mobile phones, many Nigerians have come to embrace the trend of making (or losing) money from sports betting.
A 2018 estimate puts the Nigerian betting industry’s worth at over five billion-naira a-day and it is believed that more than 30 per cent of the entire population is actively involved in it.
An economic expert, Mr Kingsley Kosisochukwu, noted betting has the potential of bringing substantial economic benefits for the country.
“Increased employment and income, increased tax revenues, enhanced tourism and recreational opportunities are also positive effects of legalised gambling.
“Also, it has the potential of re-distributing wealth. We have some people that have become millionaires overnight through betting.
“These are people that probably would never have become rich if they did not gamble. So healthy gambling is good for the nation’s economy,” he said.
In contrast, a financial analyst, Dr Patricia Auta, said that betting was a bad idea and the biggest was the creation of more addicted gamblers at a younger age.
“If you combine gambling, sports and smartphones, you’re leading sport fans down a very dangerous path to financial ruin.
“The younger generation, that is the generation that doesn’t know a world without smartphones and the internet is showing nearly double the gambling addiction rate of the next-oldest generation.
“The effect is increased crime due to bankruptcy and bad debts.
“As access to money becomes more limited, gamblers often resort to crime in order to pay debts.
“Studies have shown that gamblers are more likely to commit offences as fraud, stealing, embezzlement, forgery, robbery, and blackmail,” she said.
Meanwhile, a reliable source from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) told NAN that the sport betting industry currently does not attract tax of any kind.
The source said that the service had already held series of meetings with the National Lottery Commission and the betting companies operating in the country to see how the industry would start paying its fair share of tax.
“We plan to introduce VAT and possibly withholding tax on betting.
“We currently don’t have a legislation to cover this and that is why we have highlighted this in the reviewed National Tax Policy.
“The policy is ready and once a Minister of Finance is appointed, we will submit the proposal,” the source said.
An agent at a popular sports betting outlet in Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja, simply identified as Mike, told NAN that he could make as much as N85,000 in a week, depending on how the games turned out.
While sports betting is regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and its contribution to the economy is undeniable, many football enthusiasts worry about its dark side.
John Atime also told NAN at a popular viewing centre in Nyanya, “I sparingly stake bets, most times out of passion and fun, so I don’t worry if I win or not. But there are others who survive on betting.
“Personally, I believe that being involved too much in betting can kill the passion for the game.
“Sometimes you see a fan hoping for his club to concede a goal or lose a match because he has forecast goal-goal,”
However, Adewale Sikiru, a phone vendor at the popular Banex Plaza in Abuja, disagreed with Atime, saying there was nothing wrong with making money from one’s passion.
“Football is a big business and players are earning off their passion so why can’t fans earn money too? In fact, placing a bet enhances your passion because something is at stake at personal level,” he said.
Indeed, football is a big business and sports betting is one of its major drivers.
In addition, at least two divisions of the English league are sponsored by a betting company and here in Nigeria we have seen betting companies sponsor national football leagues.
But should we close our eyes to the realities of addiction, depression and underage betting because of the economic returns it offers?
In 2016, a young man identified as Uchenna was reported to have taken his own life after losing a N22,000 sports bet in Uyo.
In 2018, police in Ilorin confirmed that a 25-year-old man committed suicide after he lost out on a bet over the outcome of a European Champions League match.
The lawful age for betting eligibility in Nigeria is 18, but many sports betting outlets visited by NAN in Abuja glaringly admit underage gamblers.
Football being the most followed sport in Nigeria, betting appears to have become a complementary lifestyle among its supporters and many of those supporters are under the age of 18.
Many adults also expose minors to betting by sending them to betting shops to process already generated forecasts.
Mike told NAN that opting to play online could guard against this, although it would hurt agents like him.
“Gamblers can create their own account and play via the mobile app. Winnings are credited to their accounts which they can transfer into their bank accounts.
“It is wrong to encourage underage people to get involved,” he said.
With privilege comes responsibility. Thus, betting companies should consider it a social responsibility to invest in enlightenment campaigns.
Mr Magnus Ekechukwu, Assistant Director, Public Affairs, National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), says the commission is contributing immensely to the socio-economic development of the country
Ekechukwu told NAN in Abuja the NLRC Act is defined in such a way and manner that it includes and covers sport betting activities,
“Lottery and gaming have been used all over the world as a tool of social economic development, wealth distribution, empowerment, poverty alleviation and so forth and so on.
“But beyond that, the proceeds from lottery and gaming, we use to provide what we called good courses in Nigeria which is intervention in the infrastructural development of the country by the government.
Feature: Ebonyi Tackles Poor Enrolment, Launches Bring Back Out-of-School Children Campaign
Ebonyi Tackles Poor Enrolment, Launches Bring Back Out-of-School Children campaign
By Obike Ukoh, Nigeria News Agency
When Ebonyi was created in October 1996, it was the only state in southern Nigeria that fell into the league of educationally disadvantaged states.
The pioneer military administration initiated policies to lift the state out of illiteracy. But when Gov. Sam Egwu mounted the saddle as the first civilian governor, he declared free compulsory primary and secondary education.
Ebonyi also established its own university and college of education. In spite of the policies initiated to boost education, regrettably a recent UNICEF report listed Ebonyi among the 17 states in Nigeria having the lowest school enrolment.
Also, a recent survey carried out by some educational institutions indicate that there are more pre-school children out of school than those attending classes in Ebonyi.
This index was arrived at by the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2011) in collaboration with UNICEF, National Bureau of Statistics, National Household Demographic Survey (NHDS 2013) and Education Management Information System (2011) of Ebonyi Ministry of Education.
According to the survey, only 43 per cent of Ebonyi pre-school children are currently attending any form of organised school system, while 57 per cent are out of school.
Worried by the development and to boost enrolment, the Ebonyi Government in collaboration with Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and World Bank, recently launched the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), for out-of-school children in Ebonyi.
Gov. Dave Umahi said that the best way to safeguard the future of individuals, their children’s future and have a peaceful “evening’’ is through education.
The governor also stressed that good education will also preserve the future of children.
Dr Hamid Bobboyi, Executive Secretary of UBEC, commended Umahi for ensuring that education was the best business in the state.
“The governor has also seriously funded education in the state as he offset the state’s three years counterpart funds of UBEC, and also embarked on massive educational infrastructure development,” he said.
He noted that issue of out-of-school children had been a major problem in Nigeria as the 2015 survey put the figure at 13.5 million.
“Latest surveys, particularly in 2017 gave it as 10.8 million and the national personnel audit which UBEC undertakes discovered that the number has reduced to 10.1 million.
“These numbers should, however, not comfort us, but worry us, as there is no reason a country like Nigeria should have such number of out-of- school children,” he said.
Prof. Gidado Tahir, National Project Coordinator of BESDA, said the project was funded by the Federal Government through a credit it offered as grants to affected states.
“Education for out-of-school children is anchored on a simple operation and mechanism and seeks answers to three fundamental questions.
These include: “How many children is a state able to bring to school, is the state able to keep these children in school and are these children acquiring learning of high quality?”
Dr Steve Odoh, the Commissioner for Education, said that the state government would continue to collaborate with stakeholders in the education sector to sustain the ongoing campaign against low school enrolment in the state.
Odoh restated that Ebonyi was among the 17 states in Nigeria listed by UNICEF as having the lowest school enrolment.
He said that the bring back out-of-school children campaign must be sustained in order to achieve the goal of the campaign.
Odoh noted that an uneducated person would become a menace and security threat to the society in future, adding that no effort would be spared in ensuring that every Ebonyi child received the best education at affordable cost.
He said: “The issue of bring back out-of-school children is a reaction to our low school enrolment rate; and when we talk about enrolment, we are looking at the number of children we enrolled into our basic education.
“Seventeen states have been identified as having challenges with child enrolment into the basic education; Ebonyi is among the states, and the only state in the South-East, this is not a good record for our state.
“So, it is our responsibility as stakeholders, as concerned parents, traditional rulers, council chairmen and councillors, to think of a permanent solution to the challenges.
“The issue is not what the governor will tackle alone; it needs our collective intervention, a concerted effort by all stakeholders to ensure that by September, when the new academic session begins, that we can change the narrative.
“No matter what we do as a ministry or what the governor does as a government, the children are with their parents; and hence, their sense of responsibility must be brought to bear on this initiative to ensure sustainability.”
Odoh insisted that the campaign would focus on building stronger synergy with the stakeholders to ensure that children of school age were not allowed to hawk on the streets or taken to Onitsha or Lagos to serve as house helps when they should be in school.
“We don’t want our children to hawk anymore; taken to Onitsha or Lagos to serve people. We don’t want our children to go to farm, while they should be in the classrooms.
“The truth is that we don’t want what is happening in some parts of the country to start happening in our state because, if we do not educate the children now, they will become security threat to society tomorrow,” the commissioner noted.
Chief Hyacinth Ikpo, the Chairman, Ebonyi Universal Basic Education Board (EBSUBEB), said that Ebonyi Government was making every effort to ensure that all children of school age living in the state, but are not in school were taken back to school.
He also reiterated that an uneducated child is a potential danger to the society, stressing that all efforts must be made to ensure that education was made not only accessible but also affordable to every citizen of the state.
The EBSUBEB boss said that there was no accurate statistical data of the number of school age children who are out-of-school, but noted that government had set machinery in motion to come up with reliable statistics.
“We don’t have for now any reliable data of the number of out-of-school children in Ebonyi, but government has mapped out programmes and strategies to know the number who are out-of-school and get them back to school.
“Part of the strategy is the setting up of committees at the 171 wards in the state.
“And part of the assignment of the committees, especially at the ward level is to go from house to house, conduct census of number of children in a particular household, how many are of school age, who are not in school,” Ikpo said.
He explained that at the end of the exercise, we will be able to know how many children who are of school age that are not in school and how to get them back to school.
“As a responsible government, we will not spare any effort to ensure that we provide functional and qualitative education to all the citizens of the state,” Ikpo said.
He added that the out-of-school children taken back to school would enjoy scholarships, free school feeding, uniforms and other incentives.
“Under the programme, government will provide school uniforms, exercise books, text books as well as free school meals to the children,” Ikpo said. (NANFeatures)
President Buhari’s remarks at swearing-in of SGF, Ministers
Feature : Empowering Jigawa rural women through Goats Breeding Scheme
|Features : Empowering Jigawa rural women through Goats Breeding Scheme, by Nabilu Balarabe, Nigeria News Agency
Feelers from beneficiaries of the Jigawa Goats Breeding Micro Finance Scheme, showed that the programme initiated in 2015 is a success story. Gov. Mohammad Badaru echoed it at a recent town hall meeting in Dutse.
He noted that the goats breeding scheme was the most successful micro credit scheme in the state, with 92 per cent retention and 79 per cent repayment level.
Badaru said that the objective of the scheme was to diversify the economy and reduce poverty among women.
“ Our state has one of the highest level of poverty especially amongst women and this is something we must stop.
“ The easiest and most effective way to alleviate poverty is through the goats multiplication programme which we borrowed from Bostwana and South Africa, where millions of women were removed out of poverty,” the governor said.
Available records showed that through the programme, the state had so far empowered over 8,428 rural women with 25,284 goats.
Testimonies from the beneficiaries indicated that through the scheme, the women were “ largely removed from poverty line and their living conditions enhanced.
Aisha Musa, one of the beneficiaries in Dunari village of Mallammadori Local Government Area, said she realised 27 goats from the three goats given to her.
“ What I do now is buying and selling of goats, whenever I sell, I buy small ones to replace.
“ Through this scheme, I can comfortably buy clothes, food and others basic needs for myself and my children,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Sadiya Madu, said through the scheme, she performed her first Eid-el-Kabir sacrifice, an important religious obligation in Islam.
“ I sacrificed one of my goats in 2018 Sallah; before then, my husband only slaughtered chicken during Sallah because of financial problems.
“ That is why I remain grateful to this government for supporting us with these goats,” she said.
A blind woman in Mallammadori town, Yagana Mohammad, said she was left with nine goats after she gave out three of the 12 goats she had to another women as required.
“ Out of the nine goats, I have decided to give out one goat to my guide and another one to my grandson as gifts.
“ The two of them have been very helpful and nice to me, and that is why I have always prayed to God to give me the opportunity to pay them back,” she said.
Falmata Adamu, a widow in Guri town, said she reared seven goats to complement his farming activities.
She said : “ My husband died and left me with a small farm in which I cultivate guinea corn.
“ After I lost the entire crop to the 2018 devastating flood, I had only my goats to fall back on.
“ Each time I need money, I will just sell one to meet my needs and replace it with a small one,” she said.
As a result of the success of the scheme, Jigawa Government plans to start the exportation of goats.
Alhaji Hamza Muhammad, Badaru’s Special Assistant on Community Service, said the state planned to start exporting goats to Saudi Arabia.
He also said that a committee had been set up to ensure that the goats’ loans were recovered and the multiplication output of the scheme marketed and sold at reasonable prices.
Muhammad said that each local government area received 660 goats which were distributed to 220 selected women, including the physically changed.
The official said that each beneficiary received one he-goat and two she-goats, and was expected to pay back with three goats in 18 months, so that other women could benefit.
He said the state chose goats because of economic value of goats and simplicity to rear.
Muhammad said feeding the goats was not a problem to the women who were mostly rural dwellers as grasses were in abundance in their villages.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the former Minister of Information and Culture, who commented on the scheme, said it was a model for other states to copy.
He spoke in November 2017, when he visited Jigawa on an official visit.
He said: “It is a very good initiative because goats produce twice a year, and most goats give birth to two or three kids.
“ So, this is a very good initiative and there is a need for other states to copy from Jigawa. (NANFeatures)
FEATURE: Tackling endemicity of open defecation in Nigerian communities
Tackling endemicity of open defecation in Nigerian communities, By Nana Musa, Nigeria News Agency
The residents whose main occupation is fishing defecate in the same river, the source of water supply for their domestic use.
“We defecate in the same river we fetch our drinking water, bath and also fish to earn our living because there is no standard place for defection in our community,” Mr. Kufre William, a fisherman said.
“Most times, people in our community go to the river to defecate, due to lack of adequate toilet facilities,” Enobong Ekong, a resident of the community echoed.
William and Ekong spoke during a field trip to the community organized by UNICEF.
William and Ekong attributed the prevalence of open defecation in the area to lack of toilet facilities.
They said that digging of pit latrine was very expensive because of the topography of the area.
William said: “We have appealed several times to the local and state governments to intervene, but we are yet to get help or get positive response from them.
“We know that as long as we use water from this river, it will affect our health, but we don’t have any alternative.
“To worsen the situation, there is no hospital or any medical center within our community; we pay N500 transport to the nearest general hospital.
“Many families do not have toilets; most of them indulge in open defecation when the need arises for them to respond to the call of nature.”
The traditional ruler of the community, His Highness Ndabo Eyamba, who spoke, appealed to the government to come to the assistance of the community.
“ Our people are facing a lot of challenges, the pit toilets we usually dig do not last up to six months before collapsing, because of the swampy nature of the environment.
` The people as a result of poverty cannot afford modern toilets with solid materials and proper sewage disposal facilities.’’
Eyambo lamented the absence of government’s presence in the community, pointing out that there is no public toilet, pipe borne water, good roads and hospitals in the community.
“ We do not have pipe borne water here, the few boreholes we have here are through community efforts and few individuals, making it difficult for many villagers to access potable water, we do not have clinics and hospitals for handling emergency situations when our people fall sick”, he said.
A community leader, Chief Ene Antigha, said that open defecation had impacted negatively on the health conditions of the residents.
He said that drinking water from unhygienic sources had contributed to cases of cholera, diarrhea, ringworm, among others recorded in the area.
According to him, the main challenges facing the community are lack of toilets, potable water, and good roads.
“Adults in the community defecate in the river and gutters; we are begging the government to come and look at how they can stop this, because of the bad water, diseases are rampant here.
“We do not have good source of potable water and as such, many lives are lost due to infection from water borne diseases.”
UNICEF Communication Specialist, Dr. Geoffrey Njoku, says open defecation portrays Nigeria in bad light before the international community.
“Nigeria loses about 1.3% (N455 billion) of GDP annually due to poor sanitation as a result of illness, low productivity, loss of learning opportunities, among others.
“More than 100,000 children under 5 years of age die each year due to diarrhea, of which 90 percent is directly attributable to unsafe water and sanitation.
“Nigeria is the second country with the highest children’s deaths due to diarrhea,” he said.
Mr Ibrahim Conteh, Chief Field Officer, UNICEF, Enugu, who also spoke, said that by 2030, Nigeria was expected to achieve adequate sanitation by paying attention to the needs of women and girls, as they are the most vulnerable to water borne disease infection.
According to him, when that is done, it will reduce the impact of open defecation on child development.
Conteh said: “1 in 4 children less than 5 years of age exhibit severe stunting, while 1 in 10 is wasted due to frequent episodes of diarrhea and other Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related illnesses.”
According to available records, Nigeria ranks second among countries practicing open defecation globally.
The 2018 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) survey showed that 24 percent of the population (47 million), still practice open defecation.
A survey carried out by UNICEF and other partners showed that only 13 out of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria have been certified Open Defecation Free (ODF).
Great effort is needed to ensure that Nigeria becomes Open Defecation Free by 25 and does not take over from India as the number one country practicing open defecation, as India was expected to be open defecation free by 2019.
The State of Emergency in WASH, declared by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 2018, should be boosted through sustained support and commitment by all stakeholders.
All stakeholders should show commitment to the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” campaign and enlighten Nigerians on the dangers of open defecation and the need to sustain the universal access to safely managed sanitation in the country.
With sustained enlightenment and massive provision of toilet facilities, Nigeria may realize its ambition of becoming open defecation free by 2025.
FEATURE:Addressing threat of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Africa
They said that strengthening the institutes would enable the countries mitigate infectious disease outbreaks caused by climate change and biological weapons.
They noted that the continent had continued to experience increased cases of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) like Ebola, Lassa Fever , Yellow Fever, Monkey Pox, Cholera, Bird Flu and Meningitis.
There also noted cases of drug-resistance diseases like Malaria, Tuberculosis and Bacterial pneumonias.
Available statistics indicate that infectious diseases are responsible for about one quarter of deaths worldwide, causing at least 10 million deaths annually, mainly in the tropical countries.
Experts say that public health plays a leading role in the areas of preparedness and planning to check outbreak of diseases.
In most situations, the public health system would be the first to detect cases and raise alarm, it would also be at the front line throughout the response.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), echoed the need for African countries to combat emerging infectious diseases, through strong NPHIs.
Ihekweazu, who spoke at the conference with the theme: “Climate Change and Conflict: Implication for Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity in Africa,’’ stressed that Africa must mitigate the infectious disease outbreaks caused by climate change and biological weapons.
He stressed the need for a strong surveillance and response system managed by skilled public health experts.
Ihekweazu emphasised that African countries must demonstrate high level of preparedness to check disease outbreaks.
“Early detection through a sensitive surveillance system is required to know when and where the outbreak occurs to limit its spread.
“ Most importantly, a coordinated and rapid investigation is required to describe the outbreak and identify interventions,” Ihekweazu said.
Prof. Morenike Ukpong-Folayan, in her contribution, noted that Africa had continued to witness devastating consequences of infectious disease transmission such as the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ukpong-Folayan, who is of the College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, said to understand and respond to infectious disease transmission dynamics, it would require collective efforts and deployment of technological advances at Africa’s disposal.
She said the transmission patterns were needed for continuous investigation of those complex relationships so that the continent could effectively predict future disease outbreaks.
“The rapid degradation of our environment in the form of deforestation, climate change and accumulation of toxins in water tables and the atmosphere, coupled with rapidly expanding megacities is creating opportunities for EIDs and biosecurity threats in Africa,” she added.
Ukpong-Folayan noted that shrinking natural resources was creating human competition for water and grazing, leading to demographic conflicts.
Akin Abayomi, a Professor of Medicine and Health Science said that “ poor management of waste and unchecked use of chemicals have contributed to the rise of infectious diseases.’’
Abayomi who is the Principal Investigator for Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium, said:
“Whatever we do on the surface of the earth is reflected in the water table that ends up carrying pathogens and heavy metals that are harmful to the body.
“The pressure on water is enormous, when we look at the drying up of the Lake Chad, a source of livelihood for 350 million people in four countries – Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, it has increased tension in the region.
“Wherever you have conflicts and insecurity, there is always the opportunity for biosecurity threats.”
Making reference to why Ebola spread rapidly in three countries– Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, he listed the reasons to include:
“Lack of human resources, economic and financial resources to cope.
“The inaccessibility of remote locations where the disease was on the rise.
“The inexperience of staff to handle the strange disease and the lack of specialised infrastructure for dangerous pathogens.’’
Mr Sunday Ishaku, an environmentalist said that infectious disease was a serious global health problem.
Ishaku said that epidemiological figures have shown that the burden of infectious disease was highest in Africa, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
He said preparedness was a subset of epidemic management, adding that epidemic preparedness constitutes all the activities that have to be undertaken from the national to the health facility levels to be ready to respond effectively to disease outbreaks.
Ishaku noted: “When all the activities are put together in a plan, then we have an epidemic preparedness and response plan.”
Dr Dotun Bobadoye, the Chief Operating Officer, Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium, said the impact of climate change and conflict in some parts of Africa should not be overlooked because of its huge impact on human beings, animals, crops and the environment.
“We should focus on combine impact of climate change and serious conflict that we are having in different parts of Africa on EIDs and biosecurity.
“Climate change is becoming a big challenge to Africa, especially with an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather event.
“We are experiencing drought in parts of the continent ; in Nigeria, desertification is moving southwards with 350 hectares lost to desertification annually.
“Lake Chad, which used to be a source of water supply to about 30 million people, is drying up and we have lost 90 per cent of its water content within the last three decades. “This is having a serious impact on biosecurity.
“With the loss of such huge water volume, we have rebel groups rising up and killing thousands of people.’’
Bobadoye disclosed that the consortium, through the help of the Canadian Government and the Lagos State Government, had begun the construction of a biological laboratory in Lagos, where sensitive biological materials would be kept from getting into the wrong hands.
“We are collaborating with Lagos State Government to build a biosecurity laboratory, where highly pathogenic biological materials will be kept so that they do not get to the wrong hands.
“ It is sited in Lagos State and donated by the Canadian Government, it will start operation soon,” Bobadoye said.
As suggested by experts, African countries should strengthen their public health institutes in order to beef up their preparedness to check outbreak of diseases. (NANFeatures)