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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fashola stops Nov. 29 sanitation exercise over distribution of PVC

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, has stopped the November 29, 2014 sanitation exercise, scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday in Lagos and nationwide to afford Lagosians to collect their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) at various parts of the state, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This coming as NaijaAgroNet gathered that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rescheduled the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in nine local governments in Lagos State and other states that were left out in the recently concluded third phase of the programme.

Others affected states include Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Borno, Rivers, where PVCs are yet to be distributed and the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise pending.

PVC distribution is slated to take place in Rivers, Nasarawa and nine other local governments in News Express reports that Lagos State from Friday, November 28 – Sunday, November 30, while CVR would take place from Wednesday December 3 – Monday December 8, 2014.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has cancelled this month’s sanitation exercise, which should have taken place tomorrow, to enable people go and collect their cards.

Kayode Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said in a statement in 
Abuja that the commission met with leaders of registered political parties to present a progress report on the production of PVCs and also to explain lingering challenges necessitating readjustments in the previously announced schedule.
Isaac Oyimah with additional report from NewsExpress.
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

GSK dangles N1.1trn on researchers on non-communicable diseases

GSK has launched the first call for proposals of its Africa NCD Open Lab, to support much-needed scientific research into non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa with the sum of £4 million, about N1.1 trillion reports NaijaAgroNet.

Sources at GSK, confirmed to NaijaAgroNet that estimated £4m is now available for grabs as first funding round, to support successful proposals from researchers in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi. 

NaijaAgroNet notes that the Africa NCD Open Lab was established by GSK earlier this year, with a commitment of £25m funding over five years, as part of a series of strategic investments in sub-Saharan Africa. 

In this region, and across developing countries, NaijaAgroNet reports that non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, are becoming more prevalent, and we need to learn more about how – and why – these diseases manifest differently in this setting. 

NaijaAgroNet also reports that Africa NCD Open Lab aims to address this through the creation of an innovative research network that will see GSK scientists collaborate with researchers across Africa on high quality epidemiological, genetic and interventional research, from its hub at GSK’s Stevenage R&D facility in the United Kingdom (UK).

This, experts affirmed to NaijaAgroNet will specifically inform interventions for the prevention and treatment of five priority diseases - cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and chronic respiratory disease – while helping build local expertise and creating a new generation of African NCD professionals.

Also, NaijaAgroNet reports that this builds on the success of GSK’s Open Lab in Tres Cantos, Spain which provides independent researchers access to GSK facilities, resources and knowledge to help them advance their own research projects into diseases of the developing world such as malaria, tuberculosis and leishmaniasis. Since the Tres Cantos Open Lab was established, 15 projects from world class institutions have been completed, progressing much needed research into diseases of the developing world.  

Further, NaijaAgroNet  gathered, an independent external advisory group, comprising clinical and scientific experts in the field of NCDs, will review applications to the NCD Open Lab, with recommendations for funding based on scientific merit. The group will consist of a majority African membership to ensure that only locally-relevant research is funded.

In addition, NaijaAgroNet reports that a second call for proposals in South Africa has been planned for early in 2015 which will be launched in collaboration with the Medical Research Councils of South Africa and the UK, with a combined £5m funding.

Dr. Mike Strange, Interim Head of the Africa NCD Open Lab, said: “We believe the highly collaborative research network we’re creating through the Africa NCD Open Lab has the potential to dramatically improve understanding of NCDs in Africa – and could ultimately, accelerate the development of new, better medicines to treat these.

“The launch of our first call for proposals is an important milestone for this initiative, and we encourage researchers working in the field of NCDs who are based in the eight eligible countries to consider applying for the funding and expert support available to them through this,” he said.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

COMESA, AFAP in joint fertilizer programme

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) have entered a joint fertilizer programme to enhance member-states increase in supply and use of fertilizer among smallholder farmers, reports NaijaAgroNet.
 The programme, NaijaAgroNet gathered is expected to catalyse agribusiness development for rural transformation.
Speaking at the launch of the Joint Fertilizer Harmonisation Programme, AFAP president, Jason Scarpone, told NaijaAgroNet in a press statement that the goal of the cooperation is to enhance regional trade in fertilizer and food staples, food security and incomes by strengthening small and medium enterprises that are essential for increasing competitiveness and integrating farmers into national, regional and international market to catalyse rural transformation.
NaijaAgroNet also gathered from the Vice President, Partnerships and Communication at AFAP, Professor Richard Mkandawire who endorsed the press statement that COMESA and AFAP have committed themselves to working together in establishing a fertilizer trade facility comprising a set of financial instruments through investments in medium enterprises working along the fertilizer value chain.
He noted that this partnership would strengthen the Eastern and Southern Africa Fertilizer Stakeholders’ Forum as an avenue for sustained dialogue between the public and private sector in catalysing the growth of fertilizer markets in the region.

Describing the deal as a landmark achievement that would spur the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) agricultural growth agenda for COMESA member states.

Also commenting, COMESA’s Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya said the partnership would boost private sector investment in fertilizer production, supply and use in the region is a major priority.

“The AFAP model in enhancing use and usage of fertiliser is a proven instrument for rural transformation” Ngwenya said.

+Naija AgroNet +Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) +CAADP - Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme  @COMESA
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Experts say 1.6m children die of Pneumonia annually, Sanofi reiterates commitment to Nigeria

Experts at the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia (GCACP) have decried that estimated 155 million children suffer Pneumonia while 1.6 million die annually, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This is coming as Sanofi Nigeria has reiterated its commitment towards the populace and provision of quality healthcare, NaijaAgroNet reports.

GCACP experts also informed NaijaAgroNet that almost all of the estimated 1.6 million child deaths occur in developing countries with most concentrated in seven countries, namely India, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

As said by Head of Public Affairs, Sanofi – Nigeria and Ghana, Oladimeji Agbolade in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet as the world marked World Pneumonia Day in Lagos-Nigeria, noted that Sanofi has strengthened its commitment in the fight against pneumonia with the Pediatric Initiative tagged ‘Healthy Children, Happy Children’ in partnership with the Pediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN).

Speaking on this initiative, Medical Director, Sanofi Nigeria and Ghana, Dr. Fifen Inoussa said, “Pediatrics is a priority for Africa because one child out of four in the world is African and 50 per cent of the worldwide infant mortality occurs on this continent. The Sanofi Pediatric Initiative corresponds to the strong desire to reinforce our commitment to child healthcare.”

For the President, Paediatric Association of Nigeria, Prof. Adebiyi Olowu, Pneumonia is one of the preventable but major causes of child mortality in Nigeria and it is essential that parents, guardians and care givers take essential precautions to ensure good health-seeking behaviour.

He also urged that preventive efforts such as proper nutrition, exclusive breast feeding, hand-washing and routine immunizations be emphasized to avoid pneumonia.

Stressing that pneumonia is a killer Prof Olowu called on government, relevant agencies and stakeholders to make concerted efforts that would significantly improve on the health of children.
Dr. Amina Biobaku of Isalu Hospital, Ogba, Lagos, one of the numerous beneficiaries of the PAN medical education programs on pneumonia supported by Sanofi, testified that the training has positively impacted her clinical practice.

Estelle Dogbo, Product Manager at Sanofi said “The Pediatrics Initiative which adapts healthcare offer to children relies on three commitments. The first commitment is the development of medicines and vaccines offer adapted to pediatric care. The second commitment involves provision of quality medical information and dedicated training to healthcare professionals by way of continual medical education programs in pediatric topics. The third commitment entails the deployment of awareness campaigns to the general public."

@Isaac Oyimah +Remmy Nweke +Naija AgroNet @WorldPneuminiaDay

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Pix: L-R:  Dr. Inoussa Fifen, Medical Director, Sanofi; Dr. Ekanem Ekure, Consultant Paediatrician LUTH, Prof. Adebiyi Olowu, President Paediatric Association of Nigeria; Dr. Dorothy Esangbedo, Consultant Paediatrician, President elect Pan African Society of Paediatrics; Prof. Adegoke Falade, Consultant Paediatrician UCH Ibadan; and Head of Public Affairs, Sanofi, Mr. Agbolade Dimeji during Sanofi  World Pneumonia Day celebration at  Protea Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, recently.
2. L-R: Managing Director, GlaxoSmithKline, Lekan Asuni; Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Ado Muhammad; Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; and International Vaccine Access Centre Country Program Lead, Dr. Chizoba Wonodi; during the 2014 World Pneumonia Day which held on Wednesday, 12th November, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Promoting iron beans for healthier diets, African musicians to rescue


Rwanda’s top musicians have joined forces with the HealthPlus and government to promote better nutrition and health through a new music video that was released Monday in Kigali, Rwanda, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The music video was subtitled in both English and Kiswahili for easy adoption by the populace, according to NaijaAgroNet findings, depicting iron beans as very nutritious food.

The release NaijaAgroNet gathered formed part of the roadshow to create awareness on the iron beans brand in an effort to cut hungry trend on the continent.

NaijaAgroNet  further gathered that the song, according to press statement by the Africa Press Organisaiton (APO), extoled the nutritional benefits of new high-iron beans that are now available in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. 

NaijaAgroNet recalled that almost 40 per cent of children in Rwanda suffer from iron deficiency in their diets, which in severe cases, could lower their intelligence quotients (IQs) and learning capacity, resistance to disease, and energy levels.

Experts at the Rwandan Office of HarvestPlus led by Lister Katsvairo, explained to NaijaAgroNet that beans are a traditional staple food and eaten every day and these new iron beans contain 15 per cent more iron than ordinary beans, and could provide women and children with almost half their daily iron needs.

“They also yield twice the harvest of ordinary beans, increasing incomes for farmers,” Katsvairo said.
NaijaAgroNet notes that over 700,000 Rwandan farmers are now growing and eating these nutritious beans, first released by the Rwandan Government in 2011.

"We’ve had tremendous success so far in getting these beans out, but we wanted to reach a much wider audience across the country,” Katsvairo said.

Lead of HarvestPlus which prides itself as a global programme to improve nutrition emphasized that these iron beans are now making their way into urban markets, hence the campaign to increase consumer awareness.

“We worked with Rwanda’s top musicians, who cater to all musical tastes including Afro-pop, rap and R&B. Who better to spread this message of how beans can improve nutrition and health?" Katsvairo asserted.

The campaign, Katsvairo said has taken musicians King James, Miss Jojo, Riderman, Tom Close, and Urban Boyzon a series of roadshows across the country live performance for over 30,000 people, which equally included exhibitions and sales of iron bean seeds.

+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) @HealthPlus @Rwanda +Naija AgroNet
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