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Monday, April 6, 2020

COVID-19: Nigerian doctors may withdraw services over invitation to Chinese doctors - NaijaAgroNet

Members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) may be spoiling for war over the invitation of the Federal Government to some 18-man Chinese medical doctors, threatening to withdraw services nationwide especially on ChineseVirus-19 also known as Coronavirus or Covid-19, reports NaijaAgroNet.

NMA president, Dr. Francis A. Faduyile, gave this indication weekend, saying they fail to see how the 18-man team from Chinese would impact the current efforts in any significant way, and threatened to withdraw services if FG insisted on the 18-man Chinese invitation.

He described with great dismay and utter disappointment, the invitation to Chinese doctors and is embarrassment to member of medical practitioners who are giving their best in the fight against Chinese Virus-19 also known as Coronavirus (COVID-19).

They noted that lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), saying its grossly inadequate test kits and test centres across the country as well as absolute lack of any form of insurance for the workforce are primordial issues begging for attention at this time.

NMA maintained in its rejection of the invitation to the Chinese doctors, urging the Federal Government to review and approve better welfare incentives to the frontline medical personnel instead.

The provision of adequate personal protective equipment, opening and properly equipping more isolation centres and health facilities across the country is an excellent first step. Deploying more resources to facilitate testing as Nigerians are beginning to witness community transmission of COVID-19 is equally a better application of scarce resources.

The Government should declare a state of emergency in the health sector and use the opportunity to fix our health institutions as a matter of urgency 'in a bid to stem the rot.’

“It is a great disservice to the morale of the long-suffering frontline health workforce if the Government goes ahead to invite these Chinese doctors. The invitation demeans their sacrifices so far in this pandemic. We fail to see how the 18-man team would impact the current efforts in any significant way.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Nigeria’s healthcare in the eye of Covid-19 - NaijaAgroNet

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is here to teach us a lesson; I hope we learn. Nigeria’s healthcare is unhealthy. But instead of fixing it our rulers have been busy flying up and down to benefit from other country's productive health system.

With Coronavirus, reality is upon us. No more running overseas for medical vacation. Our rulers cannot travel to the United Kingdom, United States of America or India anymore for medical care. These countries are also hanging on their last breath, battling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari spent 103 days in London receiving medical treatment for an undisclosed illness, spending taxpayers’ money instead of investing in the country’s healthcare. Thousands of Nigerians died in the same period from different illnesses. More than 3,000 women died of breast cancer, more than 2,000 women died of cervical cancer and more than 1,500 men died of prostate cancer, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures on annual cancer mortality. 

I had hoped that on his return to Nigeria, President Buhari would declare a state of emergency in the country’s health sector. Painfully, nothing of such happened. Nigeria’s budget allocation to healthcare has remained less than 5% of the entire budget for the past five years. Simply put, in 2020 the federal government budgeted N2,000 (£4.2) for each Nigerian with a total of N427.3 billion as budget allocation to the health sector while the United Kingdom budgeted £2,159.6 for each citizen with a total health budget of £143.4billion. It is the same dismal story in the states across Nigeria. Healthcare is not a priority. In some states in Nigeria, a hospital is a 20-minute boat ride and an hour-long car ride. Because many poor Nigerians do not own boats, a woman in labour could bleed to death before she reaches the hospital.

On March 22, 2018, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, criticized Nigerian government’s poor funding of healthcare in the country. In his words, “One in three children is chronically malnourished.” This tragedy has huge implications for the economy. According to the World Bank, addressing the stunting crisis in Nigeria would add almost $30 billion to Nigeria’s GDP. It is painful that despite Mr. Gates assertion, nothing has changed. Nigeria has remained one of the countries in the world with the worst healthcare system with over 60 deaths per 1000 live births. Nigeria has one of the worst cancer survival rates in the world, with only 2 to 3 cancer radiotherapy machines working at any time and less than 70 oncologists for a population of over 200 million. 

COVID-19 is exposing the insensitivity of our leaders to things that matter most to us. That Nigerians are disobeying the government’s safety advice on COVID-19 is a clear reflection of citizens’ mistrust for their leaders. Many Nigerians trust their religious leaders more than they trust our political leaders. Successive governments have failed the country, and it doesn’t look like thing will change anytime soon. 

Nigeria is a country where our rulers make laws today and break the same laws tomorrow. The Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) followed the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline and strongly encouraged all Nigerians coming from certain countries to self-isolate and monitor themselves, as a strategy to contain or to delay the spread of COVID-19. The president’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, returned from Germany and instead of isolating himself he was jumping from one state to another, attending events and meetings with different people, breaching the government’s own recommendation and placing the lives of other Nigerians at risk! 

Now that COVID-19 is in Nigeria we need to face it with all that we have. But can we? The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is now the country’s only perceived hope. Many Nigerians have been calling NCDC hot lines, criticizing NCDC for not testing enough people. But we should face the music and not the dancer. NCDC is crippled and not well equipped to protect Nigerians from the disease. 

In 2016, NCDC budgeted N3.7m for its recurrent and N248m for capital allocations. That is a total of N251.7m. Out of this, only N155m was released to the centre. In the same year, 1,166 Nigerians died of Cerebrospinal Meningitis. In 2017, the NCDC had a budget of N1.5b. Only N782m was released. In the same year, more than 120 Nigerians contracted Monkeypox and seven people died from the disease. That same year, the Presidency budgeted N77m for Aso Rock rent, N1b for trips and sitting allowances, and N94m for meals. In 2018, the NCDC had a budget of N1.9b. Only N654m was released. In the same year, N7.2b was proposed for Presidential Air Fleet. N440m was proposed for mandatory upgrade and installation of live TV and internet service in the presidential aircrafts, N375m for new cabin management, N418m for the landing gears. In total, over N1b was budgeted for the presidential aircrafts which is used for medical tourism and frequent trips abroad. 

On November 12, 2018, the NCDC establishment bill was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, thanks to the efforts of Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, the then Chair, Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases. On this premise, the NCDC was empowered with a legislation for its work in preventing and preparing for outbreaks of infectious diseases. Interestingly, the NCDC got the worst budget in 2019, the year following the passage of the NCDC Act. The Centre had a budget of N1.4b, but only N224m was released. In the same year, over 472 Nigerians were diagnosed with Lassa fever and over 110 people died from this viral hemorrhagic fever. Clearly, NCDC cannot perform magic. They need help. Nigeria is grossly under-testing for COVID-19, the laboratories are not enough, and NCDC and its affiliate agencies do not have enough manpower and resources. 

Months ago, being unwell evoked empathy; today being unwell evokes fear. The fear of COVID-19? No! It is the fear of not having access to the care that you need, the fear of absence of ventilators, the fear of a broken health system. It is the fear of death. Our political leaders have stolen from the sick through corruption. Many Nigerian governors build non-functional hospitals in their states. Usually, after the commissioning of these hospitals, all the CT Scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and other medical machines—some of them fake—are returned to where they were purchased or left to rot. 

Hospitals in Nigeria are some of the worst in the world. Our teaching hospitals are now museums where less than 5% of clinical trial and research is going on because of poor laboratory. Medical tourism has therefore become the norm. Dubai hospitals, Saudi Arabian hospitals, etc., are advertising in Abuja and Lagos for Nigerian patients. They are recruiting Nigerian doctors, including consultants. Nigeria is not only facing “brain drain,” we are also facing “patient drain.” Our doctors and nurses work in the worst conditions. Hazard allowance for health workers is about N5,000 while wardrobe allowance for members of the National Assembly runs into millions. 

Now is the time for Nigeria to confront its healthcare crisis. The Nigerian government must accept its failure. Our political leaders must brace up to their responsibility and seriously reflect on the problem their greed has brought to Nigeria. This is the time to invest in a result-oriented healthcare system. Health is wealth as the saying goes. A good healthcare system is the foundation of any nation. 

If we survive COVID-19, we need to consider a law to restrict all public officials from seeking medical care abroad. It may be perceived as strict, but it will save future generations since we don’t know which pandemic would come next and when. 

Let’s give every Nigerian a space to live and a not chance to die. 

*Contributed by Runcie C.W. Chidebe, the Executive Director, Project PINK BLUE. He is currently a Commonwealth Scholar on Transforming and Leading in Health Care at Birmingham City University, United Kingdom. He tweets @runciecwc 
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Thursday, April 2, 2020

#LagosCovidGang2020 prays for health workers - NaijaAgroNet

Members of the raving #LagosCovidgang2020 have urged Nigerians to stay at home and remain safe, whilst praying for health workers, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The gang in a debut musical track which has been trending online from their isolation centre at the Mainland Hospital Onikan Lagos, declared that the ChineseVirus-19 pandemic also known as Coronavirus or Covid-19, is real.

The gang, NaijaAgroNet gathered comprised some health workers and male victims of Covid-19, using their placards to send messages in the one-minute musical video.

According to the footnote left on the video, the individuals featured in the video had COVID-19 and are receiving treatment.

They said, the video was done by them to inform the public about the virus and to “show us that COVID-19 is not a death sentence.”

For them, who danced to the rthyme on the video, Covid-19 does not know colour, sex, religion or age and urged people to follow simple advisory as has been given by the Incident Commander and other health experts. Some of the messages appeared in Hausa and English respectively.

“Together we can kick Coronavirus virus out of Lagos State and Nigeria,” they declared.

The one-minute video making wave online, saw them carrying various messages on a placard made up of torn cartons, some white A4 papers, urging Nigerians to stay home that Covid-19 is real.

The Lagos Covid gang numbering about 12 included some Nigerians and foreigners saw them united in this battle against this pandemic.

Some of the placards displayed very inspiring messages such as "Health workers also have families but they can't stay home. Please stay home, stay alive." #lagoscovidgang2020.

2. "Its as real as it gets people!!. We are living through this, but we are confident we will overcome together!!! Kudos to Lagos and its amazing team. #lagoscovidgang2020.

3."Hey people. We are foreigners here and we are begging you to stay home for your relatives sake." #lagoscovidgang2020.

4. "Many thanks to all the health workers. They have been a blessing. #lagoscovidgang2020.

5. "Please stay home!!! It's Real!!! WE are in it and by His Grace we shall be out soon!!! Many thanks to the teams of Mainland Hospital and a big well-done to the Lagos Government. #lagoscovidgang2020.

6. "Lagos Mun Gode, Da Taimako, Kowa ya Zauna a Gida saboda Covid-19. Longlive Nigeria! #lagoscovidgang2020.

7. "Please stay home. Thanks to the doctors, nurses, cleaners and all the health workers. We appreciate you. #lagoscovidgang2020.

8. "Covid-19 is real. Save your loved ones. Save our health workers. Stay at home. #lagoscovidgang2020.

9. "Please stay home. Thanks to the doctors, nurses, cleaners and all the health workers. We appreciate you. #lagoscovidgang2020.

10. "Many thanks to all the Health Workers. They have been a blessing. #lagoscovidgang2020.

11. “Hey people. We are foreigners here and we are begging you to stay home for your relatives’ sake. #lagoscovidgang2020.

12. "Shout out to the Doctors, Nurses, Cleaners, Potters and the entire Lagos State government!!!! God bless Nigeria!!! Stay home and stay safe. #lagoscovidgang2020

Isaac Oyimah/Editor with additional reports from ITREALMS

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

RBM to highlight issues in Covid-19 - ITREALMS

Barely one month to the 2020 World Malaria Day, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria has disclosed that it will highlight the importance of robust health and surveillance systems and sustaining malaria prevention as well as control interventions as the world grapples with COVID-19, helping ensure millions of the most vulnerable are protected from malaria, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The global awareness day will also emphasize the importance of upholding progress and commitments made in the global fight to end malaria.

World Malaria Day is observed on 25 April each year to raise awareness of the global burden of malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that puts half the world at risk and kills a child every two minutes. Led by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, World Malaria Day educates citizens in malaria affected countries on simple actions they can take to prevent malaria, highlights the impact of investments in ending malaria, and engages community, national and global leaders to ensure ending malaria remains a priority on the global agenda. In 2018, these investments saved almost 600,000 lives and prevented nearly 100 million malaria cases compared to 2000 levels.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Malaria Day 2020 will urge greater investment in building and supporting resilient health systems to protect and advance progress against existing infectious diseases like malaria and be prepared to effectively address new outbreaks like COVID-19.

Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, noted that as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the critical importance of strong health systems to fight deadly infectious diseases like malaria, which is still one of the leading causes of child mortality across Africa. Progress against malaria can only be achieved with increased investment, and World Malaria Day is a crucial opportunity to remind global leaders of their commitments to end this preventable and treatable disease. We must close the annual US $2 billion gap in funding to reach all those at risk with the life-saving malaria tools they need, and boost research and development of new, transformative tools to stop the cycle of extreme poverty. This will further strengthen existing efforts to address ongoing public health challenges like malaria and emerging ones like COVID-19.”

The global theme for World Malaria Day, ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, emphasizes everyone’s power and responsibility – no matter where they live – to ensure no one dies from a mosquito bite. The theme is inspired by the pan-African movement of the same name, which engages and enables political leaders, the private sector, communities, and other members of society to take actions that will protect their families and help communities and countries thrive. Already, 14 countries have launched national Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaigns, and several others are planning to do so this year, in support of this growing movement.

World Malaria Day 2020 will highlight, recognize and revitalize the involvement of high-burden countries in Africa, which account for approximately 70% of the global malaria burden. Messages will engage political decision-makers, the private sector, civil society, the academic community and the public to take ownership of global malaria control and elimination efforts.

It will also shine a spotlight on the successes achieved in reducing the malaria burden around the world, including countries like India and those in the Greater Mekong Sub-region that made significant progress in recent years, as well as on countries recently certified malaria-free or that are on track to reach the 2020 elimination milestone set out in the global malaria strategy.

Malaria is increasingly a disease of poverty and inequity, with the most vulnerable at greatest risk of dying from a mosquito bite – particularly pregnant women and children under five in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2018, nearly 900,000 children in 38 African countries were born with a low birth weight due to malaria in pregnancy, and children under five still accounted for two-thirds of all malaria deaths worldwide.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

CS-SUNN applauds Niger State on nutrition budget - NaijaAgroNet


The Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has applauded the Niger State Government for its improvement in budgetary provisions from 80 million in 2017 to 210 million in 2020, reports 

This development, the civil society group said drastically reduced the stunting and loss of children in the state.

This assertion was made during a high level advocacy and policy dialogue on the nutrition situation in Niger State organized by Niger Government in collaboration with Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNS) & CS-SUNN, held at Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi Conference hall.

The Executive Secretary, CS-SUNN, Mrs Beatrice Eluaka stated that children in the state cannot grow normal brain as future leaders without proper nutrition, she commended the multilateral partnership and policy adoption by the state government and urged the state planning commission to further scale up the budget line for nutrition in order to achieve the implementation level.

Mrs Eluaka scored Niger State high, but charged that more need to be done in the state in tackling issues of nutritious foods.

In his submission, the Project Manger of CS-SUNN, Sunday Okoronkwo, confirmed a scale-up in the state of 163 per cent nutritional growth and 57.1 per cent performance as of 2019 which he ascertained as impressive.

Similarly, Niger State Nutritional officer, Asma’u Abubakar Mohammed confirmed that the state women have improved in tems of exclusive breastfeeding and adopting local foods supplement for nutritional development which she said is quite remarkable.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG) represented by the Permanent Secretary Economic Affairs, Alhaji Babawachiko Yahaya described nutrition as a multi-sectoral approach that need to be scale-up from communities, to villages down to ward level, local governments and state, he stated that CS-SUNN must synergize with state assembly as part of high level advocacy to scale nutrition up in Niger State.

Meanwhile, the Honorable Commissioner, Niger State Budget and Planning, Honorable Mamman Musa, reiterated that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello administration has prioritized nutrition as number one sectoral approach in the state, Honorable Mamman Musa said it is satisfactory as the state is scored the best in the country in term of scaling up nutrition.

On her part, Wife of the state governor, Dr Amina Abubakar Sani Bello, represented by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Niger State Ministry of Health, Pharmacist Hamza Tijjani, hailed the organizer of the high level advocacy on scaling up nutrition in the state as commendable, he however recommended that policy on nutrition should be further scaled up and adopted by our local women at all levels.
*Hammed Salawu, Minna

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Africa: CoVID-19 gains 453 new cases in one week - NaijaAgroNet


The African continent witnessed rise of some 453‬ new cases of CoronaVirus, also known as COVID-19 victims confirmed in 34 countries in Africa as of 19 March, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Investigations by NaijaAgroNet revealed that about a week ago, the continent had 147 cases.

Although the region has seen a significant increase in confirmed cases recently, there are still fewer cases than in other parts of the world.

“The rapid evolution of COVID-19 in Africa is deeply worrisome and a clear signal for action,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “But we can still change the course of this pandemic. Governments must draw on all of their resources and capabilities and strengthen their response.”

Twelve countries in the African region are now experiencing local transmission. It is crucial that governments prevent local transmission from evolving into a worst case scenario of widespread sustained community transmission. Such a scenario will present a major challenge to countries with weak health systems.

“Africa can learn from the experiences of other countries which have seen a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases through rapidly scaling up testing, isolating cases and meticulously tracking contacts,” said Dr Moeti.

Understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic will evolve in Africa is still a work in progress. The response will need to be adapted to the African context – the demographics on the continent are very different from China, Europe and the USA. Africa has the world’s youngest population and it appears that older people are more vulnerable to COVID-19. However, preliminary analysis finds that people with underlying conditions are at higher risk. Across the Region, nearly 26 million people are living with HIV. Over 58 million children have stunted growth due to malnutrition. So it is possible that younger people will be more at risk in Africa than in other parts of the world.

WHO has been supporting governments with early detection by providing COVID-19 testing kits to countries in Africa, training lab technicians, and strengthening surveillance in communities. Forty-five countries in Africa can now test for COVID-19: at the start of the outbreak only two could do so. WHO is also providing remote support to affected countries on the use of electronic data tools, so national health authorities can better understand the outbreak in their countries. Personal protective equipment has been shipped to 24 countries, and a second shipment is being prepared for countries with confirmed cases.

“COVID-19 is one of the biggest health challenges Africa has faced in a generation,” said Dr Moeti. “We can only stop this virus through solidarity. And the world is coming together. Donors are stepping up to the plate and providing funding while private sector in many countries are offering their support as well.”

Lessons learnt in addressing previous epidemics are being used as a foundation to respond.

Basic preventative measures by individuals and communities remain the most powerful tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For this reason, WHO is helping local authorities craft radio messaging and TV spots to inform the public about the risks of COVID-19 and what measures should be taken. WHO is also conducting rumour management in all affected countries, and is guiding countries on setting up call-centres and hotlines to ensure the public is informed.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor
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Monday, March 16, 2020

11 Northern States Yet to Domesticate Child's Rights Act - NaijaAgroNet

Estimated 11 states in the northern part of Nigeria are yet to domesticate child's rights Act, reports NaijaAgroNet:.

Arising from a one-day Consultative Meeting on Women and Countering Violent Extremism in the North East organised by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Abuja with the support of Norwegian Agency for Development and Cooperation (NORAD), stakeholders underscored the fact that 11 northern states are yet to domesticate this Act.

Leading speakers, a consultant on the subject matter, Prof. Patricia Donli, decried that some children in the Northeast have known nothing but violence, explaining that the lack of implementation of relevant laws that protects that protects the rights of children has given rise to varying degrees of abuses.

"Rape cases are on the increase in the North East. We have four cases in Maiduguri IDPs alone last week. Just recently two sisters were raped by a teacher, a little boy was nailed on his head. General hospitals smell so bad because of girls suffering from VVF due to child marriage," Donli said.

She regrets that 11 northern states are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act (CRA) enacted in 2003 and the VAPP Act and even in states which have, implementations have been very slow due to lack of coordination among actors and political will from government.

Donli urged states government not to see these policies as acts that promotes child rights but see it as policies that will he used to protect their children and place priority on them. She also called for increased awareness on the law among the populace.

Speaking further on the state of violence and conflicts across the country, Donli bemoaned the poor participation of women in Countering Violent Extremism, despite the unique role they play in restoring peace.

She recalled that Nigeria launched its second National Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSC1235 and related resolutions on 9 May 2017, for the period between 2017 and 2020. NAP being one of the most powerful tools governments, multilateral organizations, and civil society have to increase the inclusion of women in politics and peacebuilding, and the protection of women and girls in times of war, was domesticated to State level State Action Plan (SAP) she said.

She however said only four states in the North East has the SAP to include Boronu, Gombe, Yobe, Adamawa. This according to is due to a lack of political will in the part of government.

Donli also noted that the awareness level of SAP is very low hence the need for sensitisation. "even if this places have SAP, the implementation is very poor, you find out that people are not even aware of its existence."

She also highlighted a lack of planned budget as a constraint in the domestication and implementation of the law.

Speaking, the National Coordinator, WANEP-Nigeria, Ms. Bridget Osakwe, regrets that women and girls bear most of the brunt of violence, yet are excluded in the peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes.

Osakwe explained that, in the North East geo-political zone, violent extremism has increased in tenacity from unabated attacks from the violent extremist group Boko Haram.

"Since the inception of this Islamic extremist group in 1995, it has continued to intensify attacks in the North-Eastern States and other parts of Nigeria. Over 40,000 Nigerians have been killed in more than 2,300 incidents reflecting a wide range of ethnic, religious, political and economic tensions across large portions of the country.

"This accounts for almost 40% of the total deaths more than any other source of social violence in the country," she said.

The head of programmes, WANEP, Ms. Patience Obaulo, however informed that the project seeks to promote women’s participation in countering violent extremism to advance the implementation of Nigeria National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 at the local level in North East Nigeria.

She stressed that the role of women relating to countering violent extremism (CVE) is a critical security issue that directly relates to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and the eight supporting resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, most notably UNSCR 2242 and 2349.

A representative from the ministry of women affairs. princess Idonije applauded WANEP for convening all traditional institutions and relevant CSOs to foster ways on improving the right of women and girls.

Oma Nweke/Editor

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Lagos LGAs to partner CS-SUNN on nutrition advocacy - NaijaAgroNet

The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Taiwo Olufemi Salam, has assured the readiness of his office to partner with the Civil Society-Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) at local levels of governance, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Dr Salam gave this assurance in his remarks during a courtesy advocacy visit by the leadership of CS-SUNN led by the Executive Secretary, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, National Steering Committee Chair on Advocacy, Mrs Aji Robinson, and Coordinator, Lagos CS-SUNN, Dr Modupe Akinyinka.

He pledged to ensure active participation of local government chairmen across the state during a proposed sensitization nutrition workshop.

As said by him, this is crucial to help in championing and deseminating correct nutrition information down to the grassroot governance.

He also advised that CS-SUNN make pamphlets available as part of the programming to deepen the understanding of participants, especially those who make laws at the local levels.

Although, Salam acknowledged that often requisite resources are not readily available and often population accuracy become an issue.

He urged families to make certain they take good care of their families in alignment with their economic status.

Men, he advised must control their third legs and manage what they can afford by ensuring control of children.

“We must start with education at the grassroots,” he declared.

Earlier in her address, leader of the delegation, Mrs. Eluaka noted that CS-SUNN is part of the six major networks actively involved in nutrition emancipation globally under the Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP).

She explained that these include the government, United Nations (UN) agencies, Civil Society Organisations, Businesses, Donors and Academia Networks respectively.

In Nigeria, she traced the root to the November 14, 2011, when the Federal Government of Nigeria joined the global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN Movement) by then Minister of Health, Dr Onyebuchi Chukwu; an indication that Nigeria was ready to join forces in addressing malnutrition in the country.

At the states, she noted that there are Committees on Food and Nutrition, just as she called for cash-backing of budget lines on nutrition and related subjects.

Lagos, she said, has a high malnutrition rate of 17.2 per cent, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In addition, Mrs. Eluaka pointed out that WHO further revealed that Lagos has high stunting rate of 6 per cent, whereas stunting above 5 per cent has been classified as high by this world health body.

Eluka, equally sought for collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs towards ensuring Lagos State Executive Council endorse relevant policies to scale up nutrition in the state.

Other members of the CS-SUNN on ground for the advocacy visit included, Mrs. Ebere Okey-Onyema, Secretary, Lagos CS-SUNN, Mrs. Ewa Ekpeyong, Assistant Secretary, Lagos Chapter, Remmy Nweke, Editor at NaijaAgroNet and Natioanl Coordinator, Media Centre Against child Malnutriton (MeCAM), Director of Outreach & Research, MeCAM, Mrs Julie Ekong, Member-CS-SUNN, Sam Akinyolode of Revive Agriculture Africa, to name a few.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Nutrition tops Adesina's agenda @Sierra Leone - NaijaAgroNet


At the instance of the President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio at the AU Summit in February 2020, President Akinwumi Adesina of the African Development Bank (AfDB) is in the country with top on his agenda being nutrition, reports 

The working visit which will make a visit to the country, from 11 to 13 March.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that the visit presents an opportunity to deepen discussions on several fronts, particularly on how the Bank can assist Sierra Leone to implement the 2019-2023 National Development Plan, which focuses on human capital development.

Both presidents will use the visit to discuss the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) initiative, which works to fight against malnutrition, an issue of huge concern for the country.

The Bank’s Country Strategy (2013-2019) for Sierra Leone approved 28 projects, covering diverse sectors: transport, water, agriculture and energy, among others.

Bank projects have also contributed to enhanced peace and stability in Sierra Leone and the Mano River Union Region.

Sierra Leone was one of the founding members of the Bank Group. Since 1967, the Bank has financed projects and programs for a cumulative amount of $758 million.

NaijaAgroNet recollects that AfDB is Africa’s premier development finance institution, comprising three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

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What life after OPEC for Africa asks NJ Ayuk - NaijaAgroNet

Underneath the panic caused by Coronavirus and the fall out of OPEC+ lies opportunity for African oil producers:
Sometimes it is easy to forget how interconnected human lives across the globe have become. Perhaps we no longer talk as much about globalization as we used to in the 1990s because it is no longer an issue to be discussed or protested against, it is simply the reality that surrounds us. And there is no cruder evidence of that than the Coronavirus.

Despite the fact that the virus hasn’t yet affected African nations in anyway as seriously as other regions of the world, a fact the World Health Organization is still unable to explain, forecasts already indicated that just through reduced demand for African exports, the virus was expected to wipe at least USD$4 billion in revenue from the continent’s economy. Most of that was simply because China in particular, and Asia and Europe in general, were reducing oil and gas consumption dramatically as transport and economic activities came to a standstill in light of the epidemic that already forced several dozens of millions of people to be put under quarantine.

Last week, news reports indicated that oil traders in Africa were unable to find buyers for fifty-five Nigerian oil cargoes as global demand crashed. By last Friday morning, the virus had wiped the equivalent of USD$5 trillion in value from the global stock markets. That’s two and a half times the GDP of the whole African continent.

And all that was before OPEC+’s Friday meeting in Vienna. Wasn’t that one surprising?

I believe it is safe to say that few people could have expected this outcome. After all, for the last three and a half years, the world, and the oil industry in particular, had learned to trust the alliance of OPEC countries with Russia and other oil producers to work together to stabilize the markets and guarantee a sustainable price for the barrel of crude.

Through their decision to cut down oil production to address reduced demand and balance out the effect of the US shale play, all together, they were keeping 1.7 million barrels of oil per day away from the market, a landmark decision of cooperation like we had never seen in history. Perhaps also because of its novelty, of its width and because it was dependent on the will and cooperation of so many, it also fell victim to the infestation this virus has brought.

The Saudi-led consortium of nations was proposing a combined further cut of 1.5 million barrels per day to continue to match the decline in global demand. The Russia-led group was not going to go further than 600 thousand. The conclusion… no new cuts at all and no renewal of the previous cuts. The OPEC+ alliance that saved the industry from collapse in 2016 has, at least for the moment, come to an end. All bets are off. At the end of April, when the current agreement ends, all restrictions will be lifted and the world is bracing for an oil flood.

The markets have already factored that in, with the Brent and the WTI registering its biggest daily crash since the beginning of the first Gulf War. While oil seems to have rebounded slightly today, it will take time to make up for Monday’s 25% crash. That is, if the recovery is anywhere in sight, since Saudi Arabia announced it was ramping up production and selling its oil discounted by as much as USD$8 per barrel, on a barrel priced at little more than USD$30.

In all honesty, the situation looks bleak. If Saudi Arabia and Russia do go on having a price war, a USD$20 barrel is possible, if not probable.

But what does this mean for Africa?

Several African petroleum and energy ministers were in Vienna last Friday, both as members of OPEC and as members of APPO. Shortly before the announcement on the fall of the agreement, they had decided to strengthen cooperation between African oil producers, promote synergies, intra-african trading, and knowledge exchange. Surely, we need that more than ever.

For the moment, however, there is no reason to panic. Surely, things might get worse before they get better, as the world battles this rapidly spreading virus. And surely, some oil dependent African nations will suffer with reduced revenue. Angola’s state budget, for instance, was designed for an oil price of USD$55 not USD$35. But we have survived the oil price crisis of 2014, and we will survive this one two. Further, most African producers have learned from the past experience and have adjusted themselves to respond to price crashes. The progressive economic diversification the continent has witnessed in recent years will also contribute to minimize the impact of this situation. Yes, final investment decisions might be slightly delayed until the situation stabilizes, but they will come in due time.

So what’s next?

If 2020 is showing itself challenging for African energy, 2021 will be a year of opportunity, but for that to happen, we have to start adapting now, laying down the policies that will allow us to take advantage of the future opportunities. It is in moments of crisis that true leaders have the opportunity to shine.

While it is difficult to predict the future, there are a few deductions and inductions we can try to make with some certainty.

One, is that neither Russia nor Saudi Arabia want a low oil price and there is a limit to how long they are willing to sustain it. No one gains from it and if anyone has the capacity and funds to sustain it for a longer period of time is Saudi Arabia. So, it is not really a price war, since it can’t really be a war if you already know the winner at the head start. Already, Russia has suggested it might be open to negotiate coordinated cuts within OPEC+ during the group's next meeting in May/June.

What seems likely that will happen, is that the first to suffer from this will be American shale producers. This sector was already finding it hard to finance itself in recent years but continued to unbalance the market with its rapid response times to price fluctuations. These producers are highly leveraged, and it is likely that most will go bust in the present situation. This is something Russia and Saudi Arabia tried to do back in 2015/2016. While it did not succeed at the time, it might have better chances now.

Further, in three months time, at the time of the next OPEC+ meeting, the virus situation might also be very different. This week, president Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak, in a clear demonstration of a strong response to a rapidly evolving situation that seems to be stabilizing. China itself is an extremely leveraged economy and can not afford to slow down for much longer. It can be expected that demand in the country will start rising again in the foreseeable future. If that happens in a scenario when the US shale sector is no longer able to respond, it might just be that the price will climb higher than it was before the virus, and with Saudi Arabia securing for itself a much larger slice of the global marketplace. Again, things will get worse before they get better, but they will certainly get better.

So, for African nations, this is the time to position ourselves correctly, and that will require close attention to international developments and close cooperation, to be able to take advantage of new opportunities. The African Energy Chamber will be instrumental in that, but so will be the African members of OPEC. The time to show statesmanship and stay close to Saudi Arabia and the decision-making table is now. To grow Africa’s relevance in the international oil stage by showing level-headedness and cooperation in face of a global crisis. If we take that route, we will come out of this stronger than ever.

*Courtesy: NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, CEO of pan-African corporate law conglomerate Centurion Law Group, and the author of several books about the oil and gas industry in Africa, including Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

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