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AIDS: Society identifies self-stigma as more destructive than HIV/AIDS



Mr Ikenna Nwakamma, first Co-chairman of the society, told the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja that it was the major reason people living with HIV default from treatments.

Nwakamma, who called for the incorporation of mental health services in the national HIV programme, said it was imperative to rescue patients from the dangers of self-stigma.

“Very important, the issues of self-stigma is hardly talked about and that is even more destructive; it is the major reason people living with HIV default in their treatment,” he said.

The society’s co-chairman explained that mental health would make people living with HIV become co-managers of their health.

According to him, mental health problems among people living with HIV is the new epidemic and we must deal with it squarely.

Nwakamma restated the plans of the society to set up a monitoring system that would capture and report cases of stigma and discrimination in health facilities.

He promised that any identified case would be used to send a strong warning to others.


Egypt police kill 21 terrorists in Sinai raids




The Egyptian security forces killed 21 terrorists during raids on their hideouts in North Sinai province northeastern the country, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The security campaign targeted two hideouts in farms of North Sinai where the militants hid and plotted anti-security operations to be carried out during the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic feast that kicks off on Sunday, according to the statement.

After intensive shootout, 21 terrorist were killed and the police found 17 machine guns, five explosives devices and two explosive belts in their possession.

“Two policemen were injured during the operation,” the police said in the statement.

In early May, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said the forces killed 18 terrorists in North Sinai, a couple of days after a terror attack on a military armored vehicle left 10 soldiers either killed or wounded.

Egypt has been fighting a wave of terrorist activities that killed hundreds of policemen, soldiers and civilians since the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 and the later security crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group, which is currently blacklisted as a terrorist organization.

Most terrorist attacks in Egypt over the past few years were claimed by a Sinai-based group loyal to the Islamic State regional terrorist group.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian security forces killed hundreds of terrorists and arrested thousands of suspects during the country’s anti-terror war declared following Morsi’s ouster.


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Military kills 135 bandits in air raids in Katsina, Zamfara



The Defence Headquarters says the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji, has decimated several camps and killed 135 armed bandits in massive air raids at several locations in Katsina and Zamfara States between May 20 and May 22.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, in a statement on Saturday, said the air raid was part of the renewed offensive to rid the North-West of armed bandits and other criminal elements.

Enenche explained that the air strikes were undertaken sequel to credible intelligence reports as well as series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions that led to the identification of the camps.

The camps, according to him, include Abu Radde Camps 1 and 2, and Dunya in Jibia and DanMusa Local Government Areas of Katsina State as well as Hassan Tagwaye’s Camp; Alhaji Auta’s Camp and Maikomi in Birnin Magaji and Zurmi Local Government Areas of Zamfara.

He said the air interdiction missions were undertaken by the attack aircraft to the locations in multiple bombing runs, adding that some were executed simultaneously.

“At the Abu Radde Camps on 20 May 2020, a set of huts housing one of the notorious bandit leaders was taken out by air strikes with scores of the bandits killed and few seen fleeing with gunshot wounds towards the Dumburum Forest.

“Similar air raids were executed at Hassan Tagwaye’s and Alhaji Auta’s Camps as well as at Maikomi with equally devastating effects.

HUMINT reports later confirmed that no fewer than 135 bandits were neutralised by the series of air strikes at the various locations.

“The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) commends the team for their professionalism and directs them to remain resolute, in order to achieve the directives of the Chief of Defence Staff to restore normalcy to all parts of Nigeria,” he said.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Air raids kill 21 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s Jawzjan province




A total of 21 militants were confirmed dead as fighting planes struck a Taliban gathering in the northern Jawzjan province on Thursday, army spokesman in the northern region Mohammad Hanif Rezai said.

According to the official, the fighting planes dropped bombs on the Taliban gathering and their hideout in two parts of Manjik district of Jawzjan province in the wee hours of Thursday, killing 21 insurgents.

The official said the security forces would continue to target the insurgents elsewhere in the country.

Taliban militants who had lost six fighters in similar air raids in the northern Kunduz province late Wednesday night have yet to make comment.


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Afghan air raids kill 8 militants in northern Kunduz province




Eight militants have been confirmed dead as fighting planes targeted a Taliban hideout in Dasht-e-Archi district of the northern Kunduz province on Sunday, district governor Nasrudin Nazari Saadi said.


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UN fears 500,000 extra AIDS deaths as COVID-19 stalls health services



More than half a million people in sub-Saharan Africa could die from AIDS-related illnesses between 2020 and 2021 as a result of health services that are disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, UN agencies warned on Monday.

UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the number of additional deaths in the region, based on the assumption that supplies of antiretroviral HIV medicine are interrupted for six months.

In 2018, an estimated 470,000 people died of the immune deficiency syndrome in countries south of the Sahara – 61 per cent of global AIDS deaths that year.

While some countries have taken steps to provide HIV medication despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, problems are mounting in other countries, according to UNAIDS.

Cameroon has experienced supply chain problems, Botswana ran out of stock until UNAIDS stepped in, while community health workers in Congo have been unable to do their work because of a lockdown.

“There are reports of people living with HIV not being able to or wanting to go to clinics because of the restrictions and fear of COVID-19,” UNAIDS spokeswoman Sophie Barton-Knott said.

In around 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, programmes to distribute condoms and to prevent HIV transmission from mothers to children are not operating as normal.

“There is a risk that the hard-earned gains of the AIDS response will be sacrificed to the fight against COVID-19,” UNAIDS chief Winnie Byanyima said in a statement. “No one disease should be fought at the expense of the other,” she added.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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COVID-19 threatens progress against HIV/AIDS, UN warns



The United Nations has warned that decades of progress made in the fight against are under threat as the world shifts attention to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The warning came on Monday through the Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), dedicated to eradicating the disease by 2030, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

They noted that disruptions to treatment could result in hundreds of thousands of HIV-related deaths.

Winnie Byanyima, the head of UNAIDS, said there was a risk that the “hard-earned gains of the AIDS response will be sacrificed to the fight against COVID-19”.

Byanyima pointed out that the right to health meant that no one disease should be fought at the expense of another.

“The COVID-19 pandemic must not be an excuse to divert investment from HIV,” the UNAIDS chief said.

A study by a group of experts convened by UNAIDS and WHO projects-six-months indicates disruption in antiretroviral therapy could lead to no fewer than 500,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2020–2021.

It warned that a break in response could also trigger a rise in tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “there is a heightened risk of turning the clock on AIDS-related deaths back to 2008” if action was not taken immediately.

“In 2018, no fewer than 470,000 people died of AIDS-related complications in Sub-Saharan Africa,” according to the organisation.

It said an estimated 25.7 million people were living with the virus, with 16.4 million on antiretroviral therapy.

“The terrible prospect of half a million more people in Africa dying of AIDS-related illnesses is like stepping back into history.

“Between closed HIV services, antiretroviral supply chain disruptions and overwhelmed services trying to support the competing COVID-19 response, those people now risk treatment interruptions.

“We must read this as a wake-up call to countries to identify ways to sustain all vital health services,” the WHO chief emphasised.

Ghebreyesus noted that some countries were already taking “important steps” to maintain their health services.

He said they were doing that by allowing people to collect bulk packs of therapies and other essential commodities, including self-testing kits. 

“We must also ensure that global supplies of tests and treatments continue to flow to the countries that need them,” he added.


Edited By: Angela Okisor/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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General news

Press freedom aids COVID-19 war – Experts



A university don, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar, on Monday said freedom of the press has helped in educating people globally on the dangers of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Abubakar, a Senior Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, said this in Ilorin while speaking with newsmen on the significance of Freedom of the Press.

According to him, United Nations recognises the importance of freedom of the press, and remind governments  to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“The importance of freedom of the press could not be over emphasised as it enables the world to be acquainted with the danger of COVID-19 ravaging the globe,” he said.

The don said that through the press, governments globally were able to enlighten the public on the danger of the pandemic and how to take precautionary measures to guard against contracting the disease.

Abubakar, however, emphasised the need for full implementation of relevant laws guiding the media in the constitution to allow them perform optimally.

Also, speaking, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Kwara state council, Mr Umar Abdulwahab, advocated adequate insurance coverage and decent remuneration for journalists particularly in the face of the current Coronavirus crisis.

Abdulwahab urged the government to invest on the media through the provision of modern equipment and payment of hazard allowance to boost their productivity.

He said the outbreak of COVID-19 has put the journalists on the risk like the health workers in the frontline of the global emergency.

He charged Nigerian journalists to be factual, balanced and investigative in their reportage to guard against misrepresentation.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Uganda cautions public on HIV/AIDS spread amid COVID-19 pandemic



The Ugandan Government, on Wednesday, cautioned the public not to relax efforts in combating in spite of all energies being targeted towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Esther Mbayo, the minister in charge of the presidency, told newsmen that gains made in the fight against may be reversed if efforts to combat the disease, that has leftover two million Ugandans dead since the 1980s, are relaxed.

“Currently, a lot of the national efforts are geared towards the management and prevention of the spread of COVID-19, but the population should not relax efforts and commitments towards preventing and ending ,’’ Mbayo said.

She was speaking ahead of the International Candlelight Memorial Day scheduled for May 17 when communities stand in solidarity with those who lost their loved ones to AIDS.

According to Ministry of Health figures, Uganda has so far recorded 98 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the government fears that the disease may spread further since some of the confirmed cases interacted with the public.

Mbayo says ongoing efforts to combat are on course with successes registered to achieve the global target of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

She said to remain on course, the efforts must be persistent.

Ministry of Health figures show that annually, 23,000 people die as a result of HIV and the country registers 50,000 new infections.

The minister said responsible government agencies will push out prevention messages countrywide for both COVID-19 and .

She said leaders at the district level should, in the face of COVID-19 lockdown, minimise disruption of access to HIV services and ensure adherence to antiretroviral therapy.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Chinese embassy aids Ghanaian children with anti-epidemic supplies amid COVID-19 outbreak




ACCRA, April 28 (Xinhua)–The Chinese embassy donated a consignment of anti-epidemic supplies to the government of Ghana on Tuesday for the care and protection of vulnerable children during the fight against COVID-19.

The items included 1,200 bottles of sanitizer, 6,800 pieces of baby wipes,3,000 face masks, 2,520 bars of soap, and 1,200 rolls of toilet paper.

Presenting the items, the Chinese ambassador to Ghana Wang Shiting said COVID-19 had a significant impact on everybody, including deprived children.

“To ease the challenge and enormous pressure faced by the orphanages, residential homes, and foster families, the Chinese embassy, together with the Chinese enterprises’ chamber, would like to donate anti-epidemic supplies and necessities to support these vulnerable children in the country,” Wang said.

He added that “children are the future, the hope, and heirs of the friendship between China and Ghana, for which reason the Chinese embassy prioritizes the work of children.”

The Minister for Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Cynthia Morrison, who received the items, thanked the Chinese embassy and the Chinese enterprises’ chamber in Ghana for their thoughtful gesture towards Ghanaian children.

“Ghana will strengthen cooperation with China and other countries in the world to fight the epidemic, and give a better life to the children,” she added.


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