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COVID-19: NCDC says no Rapid Diagnostic Test kit for virus is validated

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Sunday declared that no Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kit for the Coronavirus pandemic has been validated and approved for sale.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of the NCDC, gave the clarifications in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja.

Ihekweazu who is reacting to an alleged test kits received by the Government of Nigeria that can only be used in molecular laboratories,

said NCDC is aware of ongoing studies and remains committed to scaling up testing capacity in the country.

He said that NCDC is aware of the validation studies that were on going and until these were completed, the agency cannot procure RDTs, because they do not know if they would work.

“These can give false results,” he said, adding that

the COVID-19

 

test reagents which Nigeria have

 

received

 

and procured recently can only be used for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), tests in existing molecular laboratories.

Nigeria News Agency reports that PCR was invented in 1983 by Kary Mullis.

 

It

is a method widely used in molecular biology to rapidly make millions to billions copies of a specific DNA allowing scientists to take a very small sample of the DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail.

Ihekweazu noted that there have been important developments such as the use of Gene-Xpert machines, adding that

NCDC was  also expanding its testing capacity using such technology.

He said that these reagents would be distributed by NCDC to the six existing COVID-19 testing laboratories in the country, and more as the agency expands its testing capacity.

NAN reports that Lagos State remains the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the country.

NCDC on its twitter handle said: “As at 10:40 pm March 28, there are 97 confirmed cases of COVID19 reported in Nigeria with one death.

A breakdown of cases by states indicated that Lagos has 59; FCT 16,  Oyo seven, and Ogun three cases.

Others are Enugu, Edo, Bauchi, and Osun with two cases each, while Ekiti, Rivers, Benue and Kaduna have one case each, respectively.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/RSA
(NAN)

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Nnamdi Azikiwe varsity hospital records first case of COVID-19, says CMD

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Authorities of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, have confirmed one case of the coronavirus at the hospital.

Prof. Anthony Igwegbe, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, disclosed this on Monday.

Igwegbe said the patient was diagnosed with the virus following a test upon getting to the hospital.

According to him, the test result was released on May 23.

He said the patient was immediately moved to one of the isolation centres in Anambra for treatment.

“The patient was quickly moved from our isolation ward to the Anambra state Treatment Centre last night for care and treatment.

“The patient, a male trader resident in Onitsha was admitted to the isolation ward following proper triage on his presentation on May 20.

“Specimen for test was taken the following day and sent to Irrua,” he said.

Igwegbe told the News Agency of Nigeria that a suspect was earlier taken in, but test sample was not taken before the patient died.

“That was a probable case, the patient showed some symptoms but sample was not taken before the patient died.

“So we have only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in NAUTH so far,” he said.

The CMD added that all the necessary precautions were taken and all those that attended to the confirmed patient used Personal Protection Equipment.

He gave an assurance that the hospital would remain vigilant.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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COVID-19 : Oyo records 7 new cases

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Oyo State has recorded seven new confirmed cases of the COVID-19, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the state to 240.

The seven new cases were among the latest 313 recorded in 17 states by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Sunday.

The News Agency of Nigera reports that of the 240 recorded cases as at Sunday, 171 were reported as active in the state.

Meanwhile, the Oyo State COVID-19 Taskforce has relaxed the curfew in the state from between 7 p.m and 5 a.m to between 8p.m and 5 a.m  inspite of the daily increase in cases in the state.

The taskforce, however, said community testing would commence by the end of this week while health workers selected to participate in the exercise would begin training from Wednesday.

(
Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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NCDC confirms 313 new cases of COVID-19, total active cases now 5350

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Sunday recorded 313 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, taking the toll of active cases to 5350.

The NCDC, on its official twitter handle, however said that no new state had reported a case in the last 24 hours.

It said that a total of 7839 cases had been confirmed, 2263 cases discharged, while 226 deaths had been recorded across 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The NCDC stated that the 313 new cases were reported from 17 states as follows:

Lagos (148), FCT (36), Rivers (27), Edo (19), Kano (13), Ogun (12), Ebonyi (11), Nasarawa (8), Delta (8), Oyo (7), Plateau (6), Kaduna (5), Kwara (4), Akwa Ibom (3), Bayelsa (3), Niger (2), Anambra (1).  

 

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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COVID – 19: Only 8 patients out of 73 still active in Zamfara – Matawalle

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Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara says only eight patients out of the 73 confirmed coronavirus cases recorded in the state are still at the isolation center.

Matawalle made this known on Sunday at a gathering in Maradun where he went to celebrate the Sallah break.

The governor congratulated health workers in the  state for successfully tracking and treating those infected with the virus, and expressed happiness that there were no new case in the state.

“We lost five persons to the pandemic but others survived at the isolation and were later discharged to reunite with their families in good health.

“This remarkable feat have been possible due to the effort of our medical team, our efforts in meeting all the required preventive standards and the cooperation of the good people of the state in adhering to preventive guidelines.

“I want to reiterate that COVID-19 is real, still on the rampage and dangerous  to human lives,  so we must all join hands to sustain the measures that are truncating fast spread of the disease in our communities, so that together we can defeat the pandemic.”

He appealed to the people to always check their COVID-19 status at centres located across the 14 local government areas of the state.

“My administration has recently set up a zero contact sample collection and testing center of the virus at the Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital, Gusau, which is one of its type in the whole country in our effort to quickly know any carrier of the disease and save many lives in good time.

“The center will offer services to even our neighbouring state so that we can contain the inter-state  spread of this virus,” he added.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Enugu records 2 more confirmed cases of COVID-19

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The Enugu State Government has announced two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, bringing the total number to 18.

The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ikechukwu Obi, disclosed this in a statement in Enugu on Sunday.

Obi said that the first new case was a 45-year-old man who came into Enugu on May 21 from Lagos while the second was a 62-year-old mother-in-law of Case 16 who had become a positive contact.

“The total number of cases for Enugu State is now 18, with 10 active cases and eight discharged.

” The first new case (Case 17) is a 45-year-old male who hails from Igbo-Eze North LGA of Enugu State and lives in Lagos State but still managed to make his way to Enugu State on the 21st of May, 2020 in spite of restrictions on inter-state movement.

“Concerned members of his community alerted the health authorities since he  was already ill, leading to his assessment and testing and his result returned positive for COVID-19 on the 23rd of May 2020.

“The second new case (Case 18) is the 62-year-old mother-in-law of Case 16 who has become a positive contact.

“Case 16 as earlier reported evaded the inter-state boundary restriction, all the way from Lagos state and across several other states, obviously assisted by unscrupulous individuals to bury her recently deceased husband in their community in Igbo-Etiti LGA of Enugu State,” he said.

He said evading or assisting anyone to evade the inter-state movement restriction was unlawful and of no benefit while also contributing to the rising number of COVID-19 positive cases in the state.

Obi added that such actions were militating against the measures put in place by the state government to prevent the spread of the virus.

He urged residents to comply with the public health advisory of the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Enugu State Ministry of Health. 

(
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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COVID-19: 9 patients discharged in Oyo, 34 new cases recorded

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Nine COVID-19 patients have been discharged from the isolation centre in Oyo State after receiving their second negative test results.

The News Agency of Nigera reports that Gov. Seyi Makinde announced this on his tweeter handle on Saturday night.

Makinde said the development had brought the number of discharged cases in the state to 58.

The state, however, recorded 34 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number  in the state to 233.

According to the latest figures released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Saturday night, the 34 cases in Oyo were among the new 265 recorded in 13 states.

Makinde had clarified that 27 out of the new confirmed cases were from iSON Xperiences, a company located in Dugbe area of Ibadan.

The governor urged residents with any symptom of COVID-19 such as cough, fever, tiredness, body ache and shortness of breath to call the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) numbers.

The EOC numbers are 08095394000, 08095863000, 08078288999 and 08078288800.

(
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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NCDC confirms 265 new cases of COVID-19, total infections now 7,526

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Saturday recorded 265 new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 7,526.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NCDC, through its official tweeter handle, announced that 133 of the new cases were found in Lagos, 34 in Oyo, 28 in Edo, 22 in the FCT, six in Plateau, five in Kaduna, three each in Borno and Niger, and two each in Kwara, Bauchi, Anambra, and Enugu states.

The health agency said that the number of deaths had risen to 221, just as the number of successfully treated patients also increased to 2,174.

According to the NCDC, no new state has reported a case in the past 24 hours.

The agency said that as of May 23, 7,526 cases had been confirmed with 5,131 of them being Active Cases .

According to the agency, 2,174 patients have been discharged while 221 deaths have been recorded in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Since the confirmation of the first case of the virus in Nigeria on Feb. 27, the NCDC has released advisories and statements to help Nigerians and affected groups in particular respond to the pandemic.

On Feb. 28,  a multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated at Level Three the highest emergency level in Nigeria led by NCDC in close coordination with the State Public Health EOCs (PHEOC).

The health agency embarked on the development of sector-specific advisories on re-opening, conducted high level technical session on strategic outputs of Mid-Action Review and identified priority activities for the next phase of the response.

The NCDC reviewed Epi-data at the national and subnational levels for targeted interventions and engaged the National Council of Women Society on the use of their expansive network for community sensitisation.

It also developed strategic plan for grassroots mobilisation and had trained 101 healthcare workers on Infection Prevention and Control in Owerri, Imo state.

The health agency further trained 25 health care workers in the military on IPC in Enugu state.

It developed and circulated the National COVID-19 mortality review forms to isolation centres.

It also completed the first phase of engagement with traditional rulers and discussed their roles in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 in their domains.

The NCDC trained surveillance and laboratory personnel from 39 Local Government Areas in Kano state on safe sample collection, packaging, handling, and transportation.

It completed the first phase of engagement with traditional rulers and discussed their roles in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 in their domains.

It also completed commodities distribution to Oyo State Ministry of Health, Points of Entry and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

NCDC developed new Key Performance Indicators to track surveillance strategic directions and programmes.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Rivers Teaching Hospital records 2 cases of COVID-19

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The Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) said that two patients admitted into the hospital tested positive to the dreaded COVID-19 disease.

The Public Relations Officer of RSUTH, Dr Nsirim Larry confirmed the development in a statement in Port Harcourt on Saturday.

According to him, the patients were a female security working in the hospital and another female patient admitted into the labour ward.

“It is important to note that the doctors and nurses who had direct contact with both patients have been advised by hospital management to self isolate.

RSUTH is making preparations to decontaminate the labour ward and radiology unit immediately while sample collection of the direct contacts would begin tomorrow.

“We urge anyone, who has not been contacted to please indicate by calling the POTARD unit for sample collection,” he appealed to workers in the hospital.

Larry urged residents to remain calm and offer their prayers and support to those infected with the virus.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Rivers now has 89 confirmed cases with 23 discharged and seven deaths, according to latest update from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) verified Twitter page on Friday night.
elix Ajide

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Activist hails Imo gov. for stopping pensions to ex-govs.

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Activist hails Imo gov. for stopping pensions to ex-govs.

Abuja, on Saturday lauded Gov. Hope Uzodimma for repealing the pension and gratuity law that provided for payment of pensions to former Imo governors.

Ekenulo told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the governor’s action demonstrated selflessness in governance.

He described the action as a roadmap to sustainable development and economic stability in the state, saying that people of Imo would be better for it.

“This shows that the governor is for the people. He is selfless and determined to rescue the economy for the people to enjoy.

“He does not care about his personal gain and benefit but what the totality of Imo people will gain.”

Ekenulo urged Imo people to continue to support the governor, to reposition the state for the greater good of the people.

The activist who called on other states of the federation to replicate the action of Uzodimma, wondered why some former governors would be earning pension together with other official salaries.

Ekenulo explained that the law contravened the 1999 Constitution as amended, which according to him, stipulates that a pensioner must have worked for at least 10 years.

On May 22, Uzodimma signed a bill, repealing pensions and gratuity for former governors and speakers in the state.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

 

 

 

 

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COVID-19: Niger Govt. gets $25,000 grant from South Korea

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The South Korean Government through the United Nations Habitat Programme (UN Habitat), has given grant of twenty-five thousand dollars (USD $25,000) to support Niger Government in preventing the spread of Coronavirus in the state.

This is contained in a statement issued by Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Chairman, Niger State Task Force on COVID-19 Pandemic, Ahmed Matane on Saturday.

He said the support by the South Korean government was for the execution of two demonstration projects to help curb further spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Matane stressed that the first project to be carried out with the support was the construction of a smart-metered solar borehole aimed at providing clean and steady water supply to the COVID-19 Isolation Centre at the General Hospital, Minna.

” The second project is the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Face Shields and Hand Sanitiser to frontline health workers dealing with the pandemic across the state,” he said.

The SSG disclosed that as soon as the projects were completed,  the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria would be invited to commission and hand over the projects to the state government.

Matane expressed Gov. Abubakar Bello’s appreciation on behalf of the people and government of the state to  UN Habitat and South Korea, while commending the Niger State Urban Support Programme (NSUSP) for securing the grant for the state.

News Agency  of Nigeria recalls that the South Korean Government had earlier approved 900,000 dollars grant to the Niger government for  preparation of the state urban policy.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Dentist recommend tips to combat bad breathe while using face masks

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A Consultant Family Dentist, Dr Celestine Uyanwanne, says dealing with the underlying cause of bad breath, also known as halitosis, may be observed by use of face masks.

Uyanwanne, who is also the Medical Director (MD), Celon Dental Clinic, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos that wearing face masks could not cause halitosis but may aggravate an existing problem for the user.

”An Online Medical Resource, www.webmd.com, says bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems.

According to WebMD, all food eaten begin its digestive process from the mouth.

“If you eat food such as garlic and onions, with strong odours, brushing and flossing, even mouthwash merely covers up the odour temporarily; it will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body,” it says.

”Another Online Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org says: “Halitosis can be embarrassing and in some cases may even cause anxiety.

“It’s no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes and other products designed to fight bad breath.

“Many of the products are only temporary measures because they don’t address the cause of the problem,” he said

Uyanwanne noted that apart from local causes of bad breath, which includes poor oral hygiene, inflammation within the mouth and cavities retaining food, systemic diseases could also cause halitosis.

“There are some gases that are being exhaled from the lungs or there could be so much substance in the system being exhaled through the mouth.

“Some foods have a way of being excreted through the salivary glands in the mouth; even alcohol, if somebody takes it and you perceive it, it’s not the same that goes in that is exhaled.

“There are also certain medications that could decrease the salivary flow, thereby causing bad breath,” he said.

The dentist added that there’s a psychogenic type of halitosis, which is experienced by people with a psychological problem or exaggerated fear that makes them believe they have bad breath.

He said some people who had experienced halitosis or those who had been cured from it find themselves in that situation.

Uyanwanne urged those experiencing bad breath while using face masks to seek medical help, in order to take care of the underlying cause of the condition.

“Face mask does not cause bad breath but may be a way for someone who didn’t use to perceive his breath to get a feedback.

“If you have bad breath or feel you have, visit a good dentist, who will do a thorough examination and possibly test for halitosis.

“Once you handle the underlying cause, the halitosis will be taken care of,” he said.

He further urged people to maintain good oral hygiene to combat bad breath and other mouth infections.

Uyanwanne also cautioned face mask users against improper handling and constant touching of the surface to avoid transferring germs to their hands and faces.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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NGO urges greater commitment of stakeholders in public health

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Sen. Eze Ajoku, the President, Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN), on Saturday called for commitment of government and other stakeholders to providing functional public healthcare services in Nigeria.

Ajoku made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja while congratulating his daughter, Dr Ezinne Eze-Ajoku (the only Nigerian in her set) and others, on the 21st May 2020, Ph.D virtual graduation on Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Johns Hopkins ranks as number one amongst the best Public Health Universities in the world and graduation was a virtual one.

He said that only a sincere investment in the improvement of public health was key to achieving global victory over health emergencies.

“I think as a Nation, we should channel more resources into public health, with emphasis on gerontology, and geriatrics by ways of producing more personnel and attracting resources toward these sectors.

“In order to prevent public health emergencies and improve preparedness for pandemics and other health challenges,” Ajoku said.

The COSROPIN president, who reiterated the need for improvement of public health, with emphasis on care of older persons, charged his daughter and other public health practitioners to help redress the country’s health sector using their knowledge in various areas of healthcare sector.

The coalition leader emphasised the imperatives of creating the institutional framework needed for training and certifying personnel to adequately service the counrty’s need in the area of gerontology, geriatric care and management, which was long overdue.

Besides, Ajoku called for stronger synergy among health workers, not only to provide cure for malaria and tuberculosis, among others, but also to provide global response to emergencies and pandemics such as COVID-19.

He however expressed optimism that with progress being made in the churning out of public health experts, both in the country and abroad, older persons’ health challenges would soon receive adequate attention.

Ajoku expressed optimism that the graduates would use the knowledge gained as a health service administrator to promote and engage the policy makers on the health needs of older persons in Nigeria as well as ensuring that older persons’ affairs were prioritised.

He encouraged the graduates to join the campaign currently going on for the rights of older persons, saying that older persons lack enough young advocates in the health sector.

The lawmaker also implored them to channel all efforts toward the management of age related illnesses throughout their career as an authority in public health field.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Gov Ortom rescinds order allowing religious activities, markets in Benue

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Gov. Samuel Ortom has rescinded the order allowing Churches and Mosques in Benue to reopen for religious activities.

Ortom announced the cancellation of the order on Saturday in Makurdi during the weekly news briefing on activities of the Covid -19 Quick Response Team.

He explained that the decision to revert to status quo was based on the apprehension expressed bythe Federal Government over decisions by some state governments to reopen religious activities.

According to him, as a state that is a component of the federal government, we cannot take decisions that go against the expressed standing of the federal government.

He said the federal government, as the custodian of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), had all the needed information on the viral infection and how to contain its spread.

He, therefore, sued for understanding from the Benue people over the decision to rescind the order allowing religious activities.

” You need to be alive before you can worship,”he said.

He said he had already made consultations with relevant stakeholders including leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria and Jamatu Nasiru Islam on the matter.

Ortom also announced that Mrs Elizabeth Apedzan, a former federal lawmaker, who tested positive for Covid-19 had been discharged.

He, therefore, appealed to those with symptoms similar to that of Covid-19 to avail themselves of testing.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Oyo records 9 more COVID-19 cases as infections hit 199

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Oyo State has recorded nine more confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the state to 199.

According to the latest figures released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday night, the nine cases in Oyo were among the new 245 recorded in 22 states.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Gov. Seyi Makinde has reassured the people of the state that the State COVID-19 Task Force was doing everything to contain the spread of the disease given the recent increase in numbers.

Makinde, who is the chairman of the task force, in a tweet noted that majority of the COVID-19 cases in the state had relatively mild or no symptoms.

“This means that with the proper management of cases that we have put in place, they will recover without any complications.

“When people are asymptomatic, they can easily spread the virus unknowingly.

“This is why we must all play our roles by adhering to guidelines on frequent hand washing with soap and water, physical distancing and the use of face mask in public places.

“We will continue to deploy all resources at our disposal to ensure that the virus is contained in Oyo State. Together, we can fight this pandemic,” he said.

(
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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COVID-19: Nigeria hits 7,261 infections with 245 new cases Friday

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday recorded 245 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing total infections in the country to 7,261.

NCDC confirmed the new figures in its verified tweeter handle.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 131 of the new cases came from Lagos, 16 from Jigawa, 13 from Ogun, 12 from Borno and nine each from Kaduna, Oyo, Rivers and Ebonyi.

Other states with new cases include Kwara with seven, Katsina with five, Akwa Ibom and Sokoto with three each as well as Bauchi and Yobe with two each.

Anambra, Gombe, Niger, Ondo, Plateau, the FCT and Bayelsa, all recorded one new case each.

NCDC stated that the total number of recovered patients stands at 2,007, while 221 deaths have been recorded.

It noted that no new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

The health agency said that until date, 7,261 cases have been confirmed; 5,033 active cases, 2,007 discharged and 221 deaths in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

NAN reports that the NCDC manages the National Public Health Reference Laboratory with 2 campuses in Abuja and Lagos State.

Currently, 25 COVID-19 molecular testing laboratories are managed by Teaching Hospitals or States depending on their location, with guidance and coordination provided by NCDC.

“Every day, we deploy supplies to states across the country, using indicators such as number of new cases to determine quantity and prevent stockout,” it stated.

 

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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COVID-19: NGO donates PPE to 11 states

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The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme, an NGO, has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) in 11 states.

Mrs Lauratu Abdulsalam, the Communication and Media Engagement Adviser, RoLAC, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

She said the organisation was funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the British Council.

She listed thd benefiting states as Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Niger, Sokoto and Yobe.

Abdulsalam said the equipment was also donated to other service providers working in the area of sexual and gender-based violence, including selected Family Support Units (FSUs) in Police stations.

Other places, she said, were the Police Clinic Abuja, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Sexual and  Gender Based Violence Response Teams.

“The PPE distributed to these beneficiaries are hand gloves, hand sanitiser, surgical face masks, disinfectants and disposal aprons, among others.

“The support also covers provision of telephone airtime to enable the SARCs offer telephone counselling and follow up with victims of sexual assault,’’ she said.

Abdulsalam said that the aim of the intervention, according to Mr Danladi Plang, the National Programme Manager of RoLAC, was to ensure sustained service delivery to victims of sexual assault during the COVID-19 breakout.

She said that the current prevalence of COVID-19 had led to increase in cases of sexual and domestic violence.

According to her, service providers such as SARCs established by the British Council with support from the EU to provide support services including medical assistance, counselling and initial legal assistance to victims of sexual assault.

She said that according to experts, gender inequalities and violence against women and other vulnerable groups tend to increase during any type of crises or emergency situation.

“For instance, the lockdown order in many states, which restricts movements and enforces sit-at-home, meant that victims have been locked up with abusive partners.

“The increase in sexual and domestic violence is almost inevitable. The restriction has also meant that women and girls who are victims in this situation are limited from having access to support services.

“RoLAC is therefore implementing this intervention so that victims of sexual assault will continue to have access to the services of SARCs and other support services during the COVID-19 outbreak,’’ she said.

Abdulsalam said that the Commissioner for Gender Affairs, Enugu State, Mrs Peace Nnaji, who received the equipment on behalf of the state expressed gratitude for the equipment to support the services of the Tamar Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Enugu.

She said that the commissioner’s gratitude followed dozens of  similar messages the programme had received over the past few days from SARC Centre’s managers, in the acknowledgement of the COVID-19 response support RoLAC had provided to 16 SACRs centres.

Abdulsalam said that the programme was also being implemented by the British Council in five states, including Kano, Lagos, Anambra, Edo and Adamawa as well as at the federal level.

“The programme aims to enhance good governance in Nigeria by contributing to the strengthening of the rule of law, to curbing corruption and to reducing impunity; through support to criminal justice and anti-corruption reform.

“It will also support initiatives to enhance access to justice for women, children and persons with disabilities,’’ she said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Lagos records 4 more COVID-19 related deaths

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has announced four more COVID-19 related deaths, increasing the infection mortality in Lagos to 46.

Abayomi made the disclosure through his Twitter account on Friday night.

He, however, did not give additional information about the sex, age, nationality or medical conditions of the deceased.

He added that 139 new cases of COVID-19 infection was confirmed in Lagos on May 21, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 3,109.

The commissioner noted that on the same day, 13 COVID-19 patients; four females and nine males were discharged at the state’s isolation facilities following their full recovery.

“This brings the total number of #COVID-19 discharged patients in Lagos to 662,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Lagos has 2,383 active cases, two evacuated from Nigeria, while 16 were transferred to Ogun and Ondo States.

—————

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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COVID-19: NIMR commends Olam Group for donating PPE, other items

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Prof. Babatunde Salako, Director-General General, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, has commended Olam Group for donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other items to support its COVID-19 activities.

Salako, through his verified twitter handle, on Friday said the donation was midwifed by Mobihealth, an international innovative telemedicine and digital healthcare platform.

“Grateful to Mobihealth who midwifed donation of PPE and other materials by Olam Group to support our drive/work through testing.

“We appreciate the support of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Sterling Bank, Daystar Christian Church, UTL Trust and others,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the director-general of NIMR had on May 15, announced that the institute would be partnering with Mobihealth to commence Teleconsultation COVID-19 home swab test.

NAN also recalls that the institute started a drive-through testing of people for COVID-19 on March 30, in partnership with Lifebank, led by Temie Giwa-Tubosun.

NIMR was established in 1977 to conduct research on diseases of public health importance in Nigeria.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Olagoke Olatoyel (NAN)

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COVID-19: CACOVID donates equipment to Kogi isolation centre

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The Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) on Friday donated health equipment worth millions of naira to a new isolation centre created in Lokoja by the Kogi State government.

The presentation of the equipment by a representative of the CACOVID, Mr Toyin Idowu, coincided with the inauguration of the isolation centre by the state government.

Idowu said that the donation of the equipment was a joint initiative between the Central Bank of Nigeria and the leadership of private sector companies in the country.

He said that the gesture was aimed at joining hands with the federal and state governments to rid the country of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to him, the fight against the novel coronavirus cannot be left for government alone to handle because of its peculiar nature.

“Our resolve to wade into the crisis is to avoid untimely death of innocent Nigerians as a result of the pandemic,” he said.

Idowu said that the measure was also to prepare the state ahead of any eventuality, as it would help in tackling the disease.

“The equipment we have provided, such as Analysers, X-ray machine, oxygen cylinders, beds, mattresses, weight measuring machine, among others, are world class equipment that will go a long way in reducing the effects and spread of COVID-19 in the country,” he said.

Inaugurating  the isolation centre, the state Deputy Governor, Chief Edward Onoja, promised that the government would continue to ensure that the state remains COVID-19 free.

“We will continue to sensitise our people on the need to maintain personal hygiene and adhere to advice given by health experts and the National Centre for Disease Control,” he said.

Onoja commended CACOVID for partnering with the federal and state governments in the fight against COVID-19.

He promised that the equipment would be carefully handled and utilised for their intended purpose.

In his speech, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Haruna, appreciated CACOVID for the kind gesture, which he described as timely.

He said that the equipment which were meant for the treatment and management of COVID-19 patients would also be useful in treating other ailments.

“This gesture is in tandem with the drive of Kogi State Government.

” We have two isolation centres already and the commissioning of this one makes it the third isolation centre we have in the state, even though , we are yet to record any case of COVID-19,” Haruna said.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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UNFPA pledges aggressive campaign against VVF in Nigeria

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Mrs Ulla Muller, the Country Representative, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), has promised to scale up thd campaign against Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in Nigeria.

She asserted UNFPA’s large imprints in prevention and curative interventions of the VVF in collaboration with other stakeholders in thd country.

Muller made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja.

Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder (vesico) and the vagina, that leads to continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vagina.

The UN envoy said that enabling younger women to access antenatal care and safe deliveries was key to preventing VVF.

She emphasised the need for engagement of community leaders in preventing VVF through provision of skilled birth attendants as well as spacing of children.

Muller explained that training of healthcare workers and midwives were imperative in preventing and curing VVF in Nigeria.

According to her, VVF has destroyed the lives of many young women and caused many families untold hardships.

Muller, who described Nigerian fistula surgeons amongst the best in the world, said it was advisable for women who had undergone repair surgery to avoid getting pregnant for at least 12 months after to avoid a repeat fistula.

She renewed UNFPA’s commitment to creating awareness on the condition through the use of traditional and social media platforms, targeting young persons.

Muller attributed the prevalence of VVF to health system failure to deliver timely maternal care and harmful sociocultural practices such as child marriage which, she said, often exposed young girls to the risk of the disease.

“It is therefore critical for ending fistula that we work with communities to change behaviour making it acceptable to delay the first pregnancy,” she said.

Beside, she reiterated the commitment of UNFPA to ending fistula by actualising its three transformative goals in Nigeria of Zero Maternal, Mortality and Morbidities such as fistula.

Muller said this would be achieved through improving the quality of sexual and reproductive healthcare; Zero Unmet Need for Family Planning by ensuring access to contraceptives for women who have undergone fistula repair.

The UNFPA country representative promised to continue to address the social drivers of fistula through ensuring Zero Gender Based Violence (GBV) and harmful practices.

NAN reports that every May 23 has been set aside by the UN as World Fistula Day to draw global attention to the issue.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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