Dr Kingsley Akinroye, the Vice President, Scientific Affairs, NCD Nigeria, made the disclosure at a news conference on Tuesday in Lagos.
Akinroye said that most of the casualties of COVID-19 pandemic were people living with NCDs.
According to him, 20 civil society alliance from Africa, Asia, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean and Latin America, including NCD Alliance Nigeria, have been awarded grants to accelerate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that the fund was announced on Monday by the NCD Alliance in Geneva during a high-level online meeting.
Akinroye quoted the President of the NCD Alliance, Mr Todd Harper, as saying that the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic showed many intersections between COVID-19 and NCDs.
“People Living With Non-Communicable Diseases (PLWNCDs) are more vulnerable to COVID-19, with a substantial higher risk of becoming severely ill or dying from the virus.
“The pandemic is also impacting the poorest communities around the world and the most vulnerable people in every country.
Akinroye said that in Nigeria, NCDs accounted for 29 per cent deaths in the population of over 205, 808, 201 people.
According to him, the actions taken to control NCDs in Nigeria include the launch of the First Multi-sectoral Action Plan for Prevention and Control of NCDs (2019-2025) by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).
He added that the action included the NCD Alliance Nigeria publication of Handbook on Civil Society Organisation in NCDs in 2018.
The vice president noted that as at Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases comfirmed in Nigeria was 32, 558 with 740 deaths.
“Majority of the affected people above the age of 60 had co-morbidities ascribed to NCDs, especially cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
” Available data indicates that more males are affected than females, and most of the affected individuals are between ages of 31-40.
“The fund totalling $300,000 will competitively award grants of up to US$15,000 (about N5,475,000) to national and regional NCDs alliances to support them in addressing the critical needs of the people living with NCDs during COVID-19.
” This will be via advocacy and communication activities that will support stronger organisational stability and resilience,” Akinroye said.
He added that the activities in Nigeria would include development of database of PLWNCDs in Lagos, Osun, FCT, and Enugu, adding that NCD area of focus would be cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, sickle cell disease, respiratory disease and mental health.
Akinroye said that the alliance would also establish and support PLWNCDs with skills and knowledge and connect them to the NCDs Alliance, FMOH, World Health Organisation (WHO) and ministry of health in the three states and FCT.
He added that the group would engage in capacity building for PLWNCDs lead champions from the three states and FCT on advocacy for their rights to health, prevention, access to treatment and care.
The vice president added: “Further more, NCD Alliance Nigeria will develop a directory and a database of PLWNCDs in the states.
“We are going to develop advocacy communication materials targeting lawmakers, policy makers and opinion leaders that are persuasive and effective to improve prevention, care and access to treatment for PLWNCDs.
“We are going to establish an editorial board among PLWNCDs to provide content and guidance for a functional e-platform for PLWNCDs to disseminate information and network with members of PLWNCDs association, members of the public, policy makers and lawmakers.
“This project intends to create an effective advocacy forum for PLWNCDs to advocate policies and actions to promote continuity, access to treatment and care, adequate health promotion, ability to secure access to healthy food and drink during and after COVID-19.”
Akinroye, who commended the efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Nigeria, urged the government to put more money into information dissemination, research, treatment and care of PLWNCDs to reduce COVID-19 casualties.
According to him, given the vulnerabilities of COVID-19 to PLWNCDs, it is key to ensure a vibrant and strong NCD civil society that can elevate voices of the community, advocate health policy reform and hold government and stakeholders accountable. .
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)
Unilorin Law student wins International Bar Association contest
A 300 Level student of the Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, Miss Famuyiwa Olushola, has won the maiden edition of the International Bar Association (IBA) Vlogging Competition.
According to the University of Ilorin Bulletin issued on Monday, Olushola award letter, written by Anna Toth, the Divisions Administrative Assistant at IBA headquarters in London, United Kingdom, informed her of being selected as the winner of the IBA Vlogging Competition in the law student category.
“It received many impressive videos from all over the world which were all assessed based on topic, quality and professionalism”.
The award letter, dated July 28, 2020, outlined the details of the award to include two years’ free student membership with the IBA, waived registration for either the Law Student Conference or a Young Lawyer Training Day, taking place in 2021.
Others include round trip economy airfare to attend the selected event and accommodation at conference hotel for the selected event.
In her reaction, Famuyiwa, expressed happiness over the award, describing it as a great impetus for her to work harder towards making a great career in the legal profession after her graduation and call to Bar.
Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)
Agro expert wants ban on maize importation beyond economic benefits
An agriculture expert, Mr Ismail Olawale, has advised the Federal Government that the ban on maize importation should go beyond economic benefits.
The expert speaking in reaction to the recent ban on importation of maize by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the government should have considered the ripple effects of the ban before its commencement.
“The question we are asking is what is the actual basis for the ban on importation of maize? Are we banning because we have large quantity of maize in stock or because of the quality of our local maize?
“Has the government considered all the variables affecting local maize production like quality and quantity produced before implementing the ban on importation?
“If they have, what has the government come up with to salvage the ripple effects of the ban on the importation of maize?
“We should not just consider the economic impact of the ban but also consider how it borders on the quality and health of our local maize.
“If the ban is just for economic reasons alone without factoring in the substitutes if they are healthy enough, if they have the best quality and other favourable factors to the end users, then it is not fair,” he said.
Olawale reiterated that the ban should not just be about increasing the nation’s Gross Domestic Product but also about improving the local value-chain of the crop.
In addition, he said a balanced communication on the reasons for the ban should be communicated to the consumers, producers and also the farmers.
“If we are serious about banning the importation of maize, then we need to improve our production value-chain line.
“Is the ban on maize importation just about not allowing the cost imported maize affect the patronage of local maize?
“The banning has come, so how well have we marketed local maize production, because most producers and consumers of maize product are used to the imported ones.
“We need to do an analysis of the ripple effects of the ban beyond our farmers having the competitive capacity of the imported maize and their ability to make more money.
“What have we done to convince the consumers on patronizing locally grown maize or else we should be expecting an increased level of maize smuggling into the country,” Olawale said.
The expert also added that the first effect of maize importation ban is the hike in the price of maize in the local market, if the ban is mainly for maximization of GDP, as soon as the ban takes off, the effect reflects on the local price.
“Also because of the ban on maize importation, most local farmers begin to hoard the stock they have so that after sometime they can have good market value for it.
“We need a deep analysis on how the ban on maize importation and how it affects the local farmers, consumers and producers,” the expert said.
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)
COVID-19: Virologist urges scientific proof for discoveries
He said that the current spate of controversies and conspiracy theories about the Coronavirus were either manufactured or circulated by people who were not core medical scientists.
He decried the way some medical scientists neglected the proper culture of scientific communication and adopted other means of forcing their claims on the public.
“Scientist should endeavour to present clear scientific data to appropriate approving authorities to verify their claims and to pass an objective verdict.
“Appropriate scientific communication is done through scientific publications, which may either be full length research papers, case reports or even short communication.
“Evidences or claims should be presented in a documented manner through scientifically approved journals or editorials, and the scientific community must read and perform systematic reviews or meta-analysis of the data generated,” he said.
The scientist noted that unfortunately there was an upsurge in verbal, emotional, confrontational and near political crusades by some medical scientists who had either resorted to the use of social media platforms or some conventional media.
This act, he said, fell short of their expectations as scientists and weakened the scientific engagement on peer review platforms.
“I urge scientists to regroup and reconsider their approach to science communication in this era of the pandemic as it would eliminate unnecessary controversies.
“Efforts should also be geared toward generating information and inventions that the world so long for to tackle the pandemic.”
The virologist noted that controversies were part of the evolution of new knowledge or paradigm shift in science.
He, however, added that new knowledge must be communicated rightly with modesty, clear and verifiable evidence to back up claims.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Monarch urges strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols
Oba Mufutau Oyekanmi, the traditional ruler of Asipa (the Alasipa of Asipa) Ilufemilloye Fashina V111, near Ipetumodu in Osun State, has urged Nigerians to support the government on strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols to curtail the spread of Coronavirus across the country.
He made the call on Monday at Asipa in Ife North Local Government Area of Osun when he met with some journalists in his palace.
The monarch commended the efforts of the local, state and Federal Government on measures put in place to ensure safety of lives of the citizenry in tackling
Oyekanmi said “recently, government took bold steps at the right time to curtail the spread of Coronavirus by not allowing congregational prayers.
“Some people were not happy with the ban of the Muslim Eid festival prayer by the Osun State Government but it is simply because of us so we
can celebrate many more of Eid el-Kabir.
“We thank God by sparing our lives to witness this because it’s the living that celebrates.”
Sikiru Ayedun, former Osun State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism, said
Ayedun said that the order of the state government on no Eid prayer for the 2020 Eid-el-Kabir was because of the COVID-19 “and a
test of faith.
“Whatever people are doing today is part of sacrifice, because at this point in time, our faith is being tested.”
The former commissioner assured that at the end of the tunnel, there would be a new dawn, but Nigerians should seek peace,
tranquility and live with one another in brotherliness.
Alhaji Eluyera Oyewole, former Education Secretary, Ife South Local Government, Ifetedo, Osun State, said that “everyone has
now realised that COVID-19 is real and that the pandemic is killing both the rich and the poor.
“Osun State Government did not make mistake in banning congregational prayer for the Eid el-Kabir festival, for this can increase human contact
during celebrations and that can cause more infections.
“Thank God for our government that is 100 per cent proactive, by doing the needful, else, it will have spread the virus.
“Government is doing its best; we urge for support from all by obeying the COVID-19 protocols.”
In the same vein, Alhaji Fatai Kolawole, former Permanent Secretary, Osun State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), commended
the efforts of the state government for trying to save the lives of the citizenry against COVID-19.
Kolawole said that banning congregational prayer for this year’s festival was a welcome idea, saying this is just for a brief period as it would not last forever.
He asked everybody to co-operate with government on directives given, adding that“COVID-19 is a joint task that government alone cannot fight.
“Very soon, COVID-19 will be eradicated, whereby things will be normalised educationally, economically, socially.”
He urged all and sundry to co-operate with local, state and Federal Government in curbing the spread of the Coronavirus by strictly adhering
to the use of face mask, regular washing of hands with soap and sanitizer, as well as keeping social distance, among others.”
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)