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 Minister calls for free education for girl child, condemns early marriage



The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has urged the Federal Government to provide free and compulsory education from primary to secondary school for every girl child in the country and stop early marriage.

She made the call in the one million girls match for free and compulsory quality education for all girls in commemoration of the international day of girl child on Friday in Abuja.

Tallen condemned all forms of violence against women, early marriage, and appealed to all Nigerians to support the girl child to achieve their potential.

She said that the government is fully committed under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the rights of every girl child.

Tallen also appealed to all religious and traditional leaders, parents and community leaders among other stakeholders to support this great campaign to ensure that the girl child is educated and protected.

The minister said within the inter-ministerial committees they are trying to get different strategies to encourage the girl child to access education.

According to her, the ministries of education and sports are fully involved in the project and are committed.

Ms. Comfort Lamptey, UN Country Representative to Nigeria, said UN is doing a lot and here in Nigeria with the spotlight initiatives on how to address issue of early marriage and harmful traditional practices.

“For a country to realise its full development potential, we have to invest in the girl and we are supporting the ministry and Nigeria in general through the spotlight initiatives.

“That programme enables us to work with leaders, work with traditional leaders and we are seeing changes happening not just in Nigeria but across Africa,” she said.

Lamptey said for the country to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it must give priority to education of the girl child.

“When these girls grow up to be mothers, they will also bring up healthier children,” she said.

She said that educating girl child is good at all levels and it is her right; as country is part of the community of nations that signed all international agreements to ensure that we give equal opportunities to boys and girls.

“International day for girl child is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves of what we are committing to and make sure that we contribute in our own small ways,” she said.

Lamptey advised the country to invest in the girl child, so that they can build a better future for the country.

Dr Mairo Mandara, the organiser of Keeping Girl in School Initiative (KGIS), said relevant market skills should be taught and introduced in schools.

She said it would make the girl child employable after secondary school because not all of them will go to tertiary institution.

Mandara said that the girls are asking for free and compulsory secondary school education, they are tired of anything else other than being students until they finished secondary school.

She commended the president, minister, UN and other stakeholders for helping the girl child.

Mandara said that the campaign was happening in twelve other states: Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Adamawa and among others. (NAN)


Edited by Felix Ajide



NGO promotes demand for nutrition, health services in Kaduna rural communities



Save the Children International (SCI), an NGO, on Thursday said that it had intensified community dialogue and awareness campaign to increase demand for nutrition and health services in rural areas of Kaduna State.

SCI’s Nutrition Advocacy Advisor, Malam Isah Ibrahim, made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Kaduna.

Ibrahim said that the measure was to reduce the burden of malnutrition and child mortality in the state.

He pointed out that poor maternal nutrition and health among young women, as well as poor access to health services were among key drivers of malnutrition in rural communities.

He described the low uptake of nutrition and health services in healthcare facilities in Sambam Ward and other wards in Jaba Local Government Area as “very disturbing’’.

According to him, the development is negatively impacting on antenatal care, child delivery, early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices with accompanying consequences on healthy growth and development of children.

Ibrahim said that to address the problem, the NGO had recently supported a community dialogue and awareness campaign at Sambam Ward to improve the uptake of nutrition and health services in the area.

The advisor said that the dialogue was part of strategies to address the scourge of malnutrition, which was closely associated with poor health status of women and children.

He said that the goal was to get community members and relevant stakeholders in the area to look at the low patronage of healthcare facilities during child delivery in the community.

“The meeting was particularly designed to build a common understanding in promoting individual, family and community action that would improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition in the community.

“Such dialogue provides the opportunity to raise awareness and understanding about critical nutrition-related health issues and mobilise support for action,” Ibrahim said.

He said that responses during the meeting showed that the women were not often motivated to access health services in government facilities because of the cost, attitude of health workers and transportation cost.

“For example, some of the women identified physical and emotional abuses by health workers as barriers that discouraged them from patronising public health facilities for delivery.

“They also identified non-availability of health workers to provide 24-hour services and high cost of the services even when available.

“The women particularly appealed for the recruitment and redeployment of health personnel from urban to rural areas where their services are highly needed.

“This is a good feedback that will enable policy makers take necessary action,” he said.

Ibrahim added that the women were sensitised on the importance of optimal and appropriate feeding of children under two years, through early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding practices.

He described optimal and appropriate infant and young child feeding, access to health services and childcare as “essential elements for the prevention of malnutrition, illness and mortality among children in the state’’.

“High rate of malnutrition pose significant public health and development challenges for the state and the nation in general.

“Stunting for example, in addition to its increased risk of death, is also linked to poor cognitive development, low performance in education and low productivity in adulthood,”  Ibrahim said.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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UHC in Nigeria achievable through institution of quality control mechanisms – NHIS



Prof. Nasir Sambo, Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme, (NHIS) says Universal Health Coverage (UHC), is achievable if Nigeria institutes a mechanism to control quality of health services in the country.

Sambo said this while, delivering a keynote address at the Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference, organised by Nigeria Infectious Disease Society (NIDS), on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the theme of the conference is; “The Role of Universal Health Coverage in Control of Infectious Disease in Nigeria”.

The Executive Secretary said that a multi-sectoral action was also required to achieve UHC in the country.

“Actions like ensuring the provision of critical physical and human resources essential to the functioning of health facilities and services from other sectors.

“Ensuring alignment of health governance mechanisms, policies and programmes of other sectors to address key health determinants and immediate threats.

“Monitoring the health system and impacts of interventions that are the core business of other sectors,” he explained.

Speaking on infectious diseases, Sambo said in spite of the growing significance of non-communicable diseases, communicable diseases remained the biggest threat to human existence.

According to him, infectious diseases such influenzas, Ebola, Cholera, Measles, and Meningitis, pose a great global health threat to humanity.

He noted that the growing significance of antimicrobial resistance was making the threat very scary.

Sambo said that most countries in the world were not ready to prevent, detect and effectively respond to epidemics of infectious diseases.

He stated that when these diseases crossed international borders, they had become a global health security.

The Executive Secretary advised infectious disease physicians to also expand their focus to external factors for efficiency in dealing with such outbreaks.

He disclosed that NHIS was currently undergoing transformation based on a three point agenda.

“We are restoring a value system that will transform NHIS into a credible result-driven organisation.

“Engendering transparency and accountability in the centre of operations of the scheme.

“Accelerating the drive towards achieving universal access to quality healthcare for all Nigerians, ” he said.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said that the center was working with the 36 states of the federation to prevent, detect, and control public health diseases.

Ihekweazu, who was represented by Dr Priscilla Ibekwe, Director, Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, NCDC, said that with its current population density, tropical climate, high level of movement and migration, Nigeria was at a high risk of disease outbreaks.

The NCDC boss said that the centre had evolved a project to support each state with a Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, aimed at improving coordination of outbreak response in the country.

He said NCDC had also deployed Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System for digital surveillance, and training of state epidemiologists.

The director-general also said that the centre would strengthen the capacities of states for outbreak preparedness and response through the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers.

“We have no choice but to improve our level of preparedness and capacity to respond to disease outbreaks,” he said.

Earlier in his address, Prof Abdularazaq Habib, President NIDS, said that the society had regrouped and formed working committees to facilitate its day to day operations.

Habib said that the clinical guidelines committees had been active in formulating and disseminating best ways of controlling meningitis during the 2014-2017 outbreak.

He said that the research committee had succeeded in putting together a multi-centre proposal on control and prevention of infectious diseases by gathering data from participating investigators and facilities across the country.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

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World Antibiotic Awareness: Misuse of antibiotics dangerous to health- WHO warns




Abuja, Nov. 20, 2019 The World Health Organisation (WHO), says misuse of antibiotics is dangerous to health and can put people at risk.

that it killed 700, 000 people worldwide annually.

endangered health security and “our progress towards universal health coverage, by threatening to reverse medical advances of the twentieth century.

“It reduces our ability to treat diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea and cancer. AMR also threatens our ability to conduct surgeries and to care for premature babies.

“This silent pandemic is already leading to about,  700, 000 deaths worldwide each year and if left unchecked, AMR could cause up to 10 million deaths annually by 2050.

“People living in developing countries and those in fragile contexts, affected by conflicts and violence, are particularly vulnerable,” she said.

Moeti, represented by WHO Officer-in-Charge, Dr Clement Peters said, “We are seeing high resistance to common pathogens such as 98 per cent fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli, meaning there are limited treatment options for people that get this infection.

“Key challenges in combating AMR include: weak regulatory systems facilitating proliferation of substandard and falsified medicines; limited implementation of standards for clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and to prevent and control infections; and a lack of reliable data,”  the expert explained.

 were working with countries to address these challenges by implementing “One Health” national action plans. “

 bring together different sectors and disciplines to build stronger regulatory systems, to improve surveillance, and to develop policies to promote appropriate antibiotic use among humans, and in livestock and agriculture.

According to her, in the African Region, nine of 47 countries now have functioning multisectoral working groups on AMR and 19 countries have enrolled in the Global AMR Surveillance System (GLASS).

“Twenty-four countries have legislation on the prescription and sale of antimicrobials for human use and six have national monitoring systems for consumption and rational use of antimicrobials in human health.

“Together, we need to accelerate action to reduce the increasing prevalence of drug-resistant infections,” she said.

Moeti urged Nigerians to do more to handle antibiotics with care, adding that governments could adequately ensure national action plans, promote AMR governance, facilitate multisectoral collaboration, and increase access to clean water and sanitation.

She said that patients should only use antibiotics prescribed by a certified health professional.

The Regional Director urged health workers to always follow infection prevention and control practices, and only prescribe and dispense antibiotics when they were truly needed.

According to her, the private sector can invest in research and development of new antibiotics while the agricultural industry can reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock farming.

“Working together and taking a holistic approach to safeguarding antibiotics, will help to ensure that we can all look forward to a healthier future,” she said.

This Nigeria News Agency reports that the 2019 theme is “handle antibiotics with care.”

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Ogun govt. to de-worm 900,000 school children



Ogun government says it has concluded plans to de-worm no fewer than 900,000 school children in the ongoing health awareness programme across 10 local government areas in the state.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Gov. Dapo Abiodun made this known on Wednesday in Abeokuta.

Abiodun, who spoke through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Adesanya Ayinde, said that the exercise was an opportunity to help children get rid of worms that might make them susceptible to skin and respiratory infections.

He said that a total of 839,273 children were being targeted during the exercise in 4,900 schools across the designated local government areas.

The governor called on parents and guardians to work harmoniously with the health workers, who were saddled with the responsibility of carrying out the exercise.

NAN reports that the second round of the exercise for children between the ages of 5 and 14, which commenced on Nov. 15, will end on Nov. 24.

The designated local government areas are: Abeokuta South, Abeokuta North, Ifo, Odeda,Yewa North, Yewa South, Odogbolu, Sagamu, Ijebu North and Ogun Waterside.

Contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the governor said that the exercise was meant to enhance the children’s health and help guard against untoward health condition that might result in absenteeism from school.

In her remarks, the state Coordinator, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Dr Islamiyat Soneye, thanked the parents for their enthusiasm towards the school-based de-worming exercise.

She urged them to encourage their wards to take part in the exercise to avoid infecting others.

Soneye noted that parents should endeavour to de-worm their kids in another three months to keep them healthy.

While monitoring the exercise in Odeda council area, the Medical Officer of Health in charge of the area, Dr Olusan Oluwaseun, described the turn-out as impressive.

He assured that all schools within the area would be touched, without leaving any out of the programme.

Oluwaseun appreciated the teachers for their support which, he said, had made the task easy, pointing out that children, who had yet to be de-wormed, would be attended to in the coming days.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Bullying: Psychiatrist calls for more vigilance in risk settings



A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Tomi Imarah, has urged the public including those in authority to be more vigilant in awareness and prevention efforts in all settings where the risk of bullying exists.

Imarah, who runs an online Mental Health Counselling service, “DrTomi Haven’’, made the appeal in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Lagos.

She spoke in reactions to a recent bullying act carried out by some students of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) on a 100-level student of the school.

NAN reports that a video of the students, four female, one male beating the victim had on Nov. 16, 2019, surfaced online.

The university authorities had placed the affected students on indefinite suspension pending the conclusion of investigation into the case.

Imarah defined bullying as when “a person intentionally and repeatedly carries out actions that hurts, harms, or humiliates another person’’.

According to her, this is especially when the perpetrator has more social or physical power than the victim, bullying is said to occur.

“Bullying may be physical assaults, verbal attacks like teasing, taunting, threats, name callings; social or relational attacks such as spreading rumours, social isolation, and cyber bullying.

“It is commonly experienced and reported among young children in early school years.

“However, there are all indications that bullying can occur in higher institutions and workplaces,’’ she said.

Imarah said the task starts with ensuring that our society shuns the aspect of our culture that encourages bullying.

“Modelling acts of bullying in front of young minds leaves the impression that it is alright to bully others.

“We need to ensure we are not mirroring aggressive behaviors in our homes or justifying acts of aggression being reported on all media platforms.

“When we respond to violence with statements like, “what did he do that made them gang up on him?”, we are communicating to a child that it is okay to attack others if he can find justification for it,” she said.

The consultant also urged parents and guardians not to ignore signs that suggested a child was growing up to be a bully.

According to her, they should take seriously school reports of aggressive behaviour such as picking fights with peers, spreading gossips about others, destroying properties, and causing emotional hurts to others.

“We should keenly observe a child who is emotionally detached and insensitive to the feelings of others, even family members.

“One should not take lightly frequent incidences in which children get easily frustrated, demonstrate rapid and explosive anger, justify their aggressive outbursts, and show no remorse for their actions, ” she said.

Imarah advised that when those recurrent patterns in children were observed, parents should seek professional help from child psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

She said that it was imperative that professional help was sought in order to access guidance in cognitive and behavioural modifications that will help to improve the situation.

“There will also be need for collaborative efforts with teachers, school psychologists, social workers, guidance and counselling personnel to ensure the interventions instituted are followed up within school hours.

“Victims of bullying will also benefit from psychological support to prevent or manage effects of bullying.

“They should also be encouraged to report the incidences and not suffer in silence. Friends and family members should make concerted efforts to lend support and be there for them.

“In higher institutions and workplaces, there should be anti-bullying guidelines stipulating stiff sanctions to serve as a deterrent for bullies,” she said.

Edited by Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Kebbi Govt. receives N11m from Chinese Govt. to rehabilitate hospital’s mental section



The Kebbi Government has received N11 million assistance from the Chinese embassy in Nigeria to rehabilitate the mental health section of Zauro General Hospital.

This is contained  in a statement by Alhaji Abubakar Dakingari, Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Atiku Bagudu, and made available to the Nigeria News Agency in Birnin Kebbi on Wednesday.

He said the Cheque for the amount was presented to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Hajiya Halima Dikko by the Chief of Staff Government House, Alhaji Suleiman Argungu on Tuesday.

Dakingari said the money was in fulfilment of the promise by the Chinese Ambassador during his visit to the state to facilitate the treatment of mentally challenged persons at the hospital, located in Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area.

“Argungu expressed appreciation to the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria for the kind gesture towards improving health care services to the people of the state,”  Dakingari said.

On his part, Dikko assured that the money would be judiciously utilized on the rehabilitation of the mental health section of the hospital in accordance with the estimate and plan for the project.

“She also expressed appreciation to the Chinese embassy for its benevolence in providing such financial assistance to cater for the wellbeing of the mentally retarded,” he said.


Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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