Dr Kelechi Ozurumba, Medical Director of Our Saviours Hospital, Abakaliki,
advocates proper personal and environmental hygiene to prevent outbreak of gastroenteritis.
He made the call in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in Abakaliki, defining gastroenteritis as
inflammation of the stomach and intestines, typically resulting from bacterial toxins or viral infection and causing vomiting
The medical director said that observing common personal and environmental health tips, including regular hand wash, proper
refuse disposal and avoiding open defecation, would safeguard individuals from developing gastroenteritis.
According to him, gastroenteritis can be fatal if proper and urgent medical attention is not given to infected person, as
frequent stooling and vomiting can lead to dehydration and eventual death.
He said “one of the keys to preventing gastroenteritis is to ensure that we maintain proper personal, environmental hygiene and food safety .
“It is a common disease usually contracted when a person comes into contact with items infested with germs that transmit the disease.
“Gastroenteritis, which causes frequent stooling and vomiting can be fatal when an infected person is not given proper and urgent
medical attention by qualified personnel at a recognised medical or health institution.
“Regular washing of hands, proper refuse disposal, avoiding open defecation and maintaining safe environment are some of the
measures we can adopt to avoid outbreak and spread of the disease.”
Ozurumba added that drinking water from unwholesome sources and improper cooking of vegetables and other food items could also
cause the disease.
He warned that suspected cases should promptly be reported to health authorities to check spread.
He noted that “government should sensitise the public on the dangers of the disease and the need for citizens to maintain regular
and proper personal and environmental hygiene.
“Any suspected case should be immediately reported to approved medical institution for quick diagnosis and treatment.”
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Expert says COVID-19 provides Nigeria opportunity to invest, improve health sector financing
He said that for over a decade Nigeria had invested less than five per cent of its annual budget to the health sector.
The financial expert said that with improved health sector financing, strengthening accountability mechanisms and public-private partnerships, Nigeria would be better prepared for future emergencies.
“Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with an avenue to evaluate the way we have been doing things.
”It has also provided us with an opportunity to re-assess the government’s preparedness to address future pandemics,” he said.
Eziukwu said it was imperative that health policymakers took advantage of the pandemic to improve health financing mechanisms, correlation between health and economic growth and increased attention to disease prevention.
He said larger impact of the pandemic could be broadly grouped a national health emergency.
He said that this was because of its rate of spread and the diversion of human and financial resources from other critical health challenges such as Ebola, Malaria and .
Eziukwu said that coronavirus could overwhelm the health system in little time as was currently the case in Nigeria and other affected countries.
He further said that the neglect of other health challenges could lead to loss of already gained grounds in the fight against them.
He said that the economic challenge presented by the pandemic could be quite devastating particularly for emerging economies in Africa.
“However, the continent can be said to be worst hit considering other factors.
“One key factor is the mono-primary commodity export in most African countries, of which price falls will lead to a great loss of income in these countries.
“Another factor is the dominant informal sector in the economies.
“Contrary to what is obtainable in Western economies, African economies are still very nascent with the majority of its citizens operating in the informal sectors,” he said.
Eziukwu, said that the approach of locking down the economy had caused hardship to many citizens, adding that the limited fiscal policy had also contributed to the hardship the citizens were experiencing.
“Many African countries have high debt to revenue ratios, of which a reduction in commodity prices will be unable to meet the basic operating and administrative costs.
“Also, there is limited health insurance in emerging economies which leads to high out-of-pocket health expenditure and these have further increased poverty rates,” he said.
Eziukwu said that some of the most hit areas of the economy during this pandemic were foreign reserves and currency values.
“Many emerging countries’ 12 months forward price is trading at approximately 50 per cent reduction when compared with the United States dollars and other currencies.
“It is reported that the Naira is currently trading at over N500 to a dollar in the foreign exchange market.
“This is an over 42 per cent reduction when compared with the currency’s trading average of N360 before the pandemic,” he said.
Eziukwu said that the epidemic preparedness and health sector funding models had also been seriously tested at this time.
He said that African countries that religiously followed the 2001 Abuja Accord were better positioned to withstand the economic impact of the pandemic.
The financial expert said that the countries that failed to meet the Abuja Accord target were more vulnerable as a result of the pandemic which was already over stretching frail health systems.
“This pandemic has provided a critical juncture for policymakers to review all possible approaches to better health financing.
”There is no better time to understand and agree that health is indeed wealth and should take precedence in all budgetary and financing decisions of the government.
“It is expected that going forward, there must be a convergence between the private sector, donor agencies and the government.
”This convergence will be important in addressing the weaknesses the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified,” he said.
Eziukwu said that in April, Nigeria’s Finance Minister had rolled out several interventions to address the pandemic.
He said that the interventions among other things included N500 billion intervention fund to build and maintain various primary health care facilities across the country.
“While this is a welcome development, an enabling environment should be created and sustained.
”This enabling environment is necessary to assist the private sector to further invest in the revamp and management of primary healthcare facilities across the country.
“Doing such will bring Nigeria closer to achieving universal health coverage (UHC),” he said.
Eziukwu said that investing in infrastructure only would not be sufficient to address the weaknesses in Nigeria’s health sector.
He said that there was a need to reduce the burden of care for basic ailments on secondary and tertiary health facilities by improving and sustaining PHCs.
The expert said that during a pandemic, improving micro and medium scale enterprise investments would have to be another approach for all Central Bank’s development finance investments.
He said that on March 27, CBN rolled out several interventions aimed at assisting businesses facing challenges as a result of the lockdown, which was welcome.
Eziukwu, however, othebserved that review of the requirements from the CBN revealed certain requirements that small-scale businesses would not be able to meet to access the funds.
To address this, he said, the CBN should lower the requirements for accessing the funds and target high-impact job-generating sectors during the lockdown and after.
Eziukwu, however, said that while this might have short term positive impact as a considerable amount of the funds would go into food purchases, in the long run, it might lead to inflation.
He said that targeted interventions should be critically encouraged at this point.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Develop friendly policy to enhance operation in gas, electricity industry- Expert
Dr Ekpen Omonbude, Group Managing Director, Eraskorp Ltd., has called on the Federal Government to develop a friendly policy that would enhance operation in the gas and electricity industry for sustainable development.
Omonbude made the call on Monday during a Webinar organised by the Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research of Covenant University in Ota, Ogun.
The Webinar was organised to mark the country’s Democracy Day: entitled: “Post COVID-19: Natural Gas Utilisation and Energy Market Prospects”.
Omonbude said the Federal Government’s inability to generate funds, due to the dwindling oil prices at the international market, forced government to embrace more radical solutions like the removal of fuel subsidy.
He said that abolishing the subsidy announced earlier this year and other positive developments like the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation programme (NGFCP) and power sector interventions in the Siemens deal was a step in the right direction.
“However, there is the need for more aggressive push toward the use of gas as 80 per cent of power generation, currently comes from gas while oil and hydro (water) make up the rest,” the expert said.
Omonbude explained that a successful implementation of natural gas expansion would enhance gas utilisation in power development.
He added that natural gas provided a scalable opportunity for big increases in generating capacity.
Also, Mrs Abimbola Ojo, the Senior Manager, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, urged Federal Government to expedite actions on laws in the petroleum sector that would have ripple effects in the gas supply industry.
“Much of the oil and gas prospecting and licencing requirements, which may stifle investments, need to be reviewed,” Ojo said.
She stressed the need for further restructuring of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to a full profit-driven and efficient self-financing organisation, capable of bankrolling domestic supply investments.
Also, Dr Obindah Gershon, Co-Chairman, Centre for Economic Policy And Development Research, said that Nigerians had consistently struggled to have adequate power supply to grow their businesses and be more productive.
Gershon said that was a result of the transmission lines, being the transport system that would facilitate light distribution from the point of generation, was inadequate.
“This caused the grid collapse and lack of liquidity, and fair pricing in the sector hindered investors from coming in to tackle the challenges,” he said.
Gershon said government had begun intervention that would ease the bottlenecks and disruptions of transmission.
Edited By: Mustapha Lamidi/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Interview: Expert says China promotes trust toward building a safe, prosperous Asia
China‘s participation in the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) has promoted dialogue, mutual trust and coordination in the region, an expert has said.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Kazbek Maigeldinov, director of Center for Research and Analysis at the Institute for Eurasian Integration in Kazakhstan, recalled Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the fifth CICA summit held in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe in June 2019.
In his speech, the Chinese leader called on CICA members to build an Asia featuring mutual respect and trust, stability and prosperity, openness and inclusiveness, as well as cooperation and innovation.
To pursue that end, Xi proposed exploring a security and development path that fits Asian reality and the common interests of countries.
China has been actively participating in the CICA process, promoting security and stability in Asia and strengthening regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism, he said.
Against the backdrop of rising trend of unilateralism and protectionism, Asia is also facing increasing uncertainty in regional landscape, highlighted by its array of traditional and non-traditional security challenges.
A strong and prosperous China helps safeguard the security and stability of the region, since China’s economy has been deeply integrated with the global one, said the expert.
Maigeldinov also voiced his support for China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), saying it is conducive to the peaceful development and prosperity of the entire region.
The BRI is based on mutual benefits and plays an important role in facilitating exchanges on politics, trade, finance, infrastructure and people-to-people communication among participating countries, said Maigeldinov.
The CICA, initiated by Kazakhstan and established in 1992, is a pan-Asian multilateral cooperation mechanism that seeks to promote peace, security and interaction in Asia. It now has 27 member states and 13 observers.
Noting that the CICA members have various development paths and different visions on regional and global issues, Maigeldinov said the mechanism has provided a multilateral platform to conduct dialogue, strengthen cooperation and cope with common challenges and security threats.
“Security problems of each Asian country, as well as the entire Asia, are closely interconnected with the international security,” said Maigeldinov, adding that the CICA seeks to become a bridge for communication and open up a more peaceful and prosperous future for Asia.
Expert advises women on eating healthy fruits during pregnancy
A Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Dr Aisosa Ehigiator, has advised women to eat healthy foods and fresh fruits during pregnancy to ensure that both mother and baby remain healthy.
Ehigiator, who works with a private hospital, Estate Hospital, Benin in Edo, gave this advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Benin.
He said that making healthful food choices was crucial for women when during pregnancy.
“Their diet will provide the foetus with the nutrients essential for growth and development.
“A nutritious diet plays an essential role in a person’s overall health, helping the body to function effectively and reducing the risk of some diseases.
“Most people are aware that a healthful diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthful fats.
“However, they may not realise that specific fruits are particularly beneficial during pregnancy.
“It is very important to eat fruits during pregnancy. It helps build immunity for both mother and child,” he said.
According to him, eating a healthful, varied diet is particularly important during pregnancy as the right nutrients can help the foetus to develop and grow as it should.
He said that an increased intake of vitamins and minerals could help a pregnant woman to keep her own body in the best condition possible.
“Snacking on fruit can be a great way to boost vitamin intake in addition to curbing sugar cravings,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)