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Monday, January 21, 2019

Africa must invest in rural development, agriculture for youth sake - NaijaAgroNet

The Africa countries must invest in rural development, and agriculture for youth sake and to checkmate the urban migration, reports NaijaAgroNet

The Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organistion (FAO) José Graziano da Silva said this at the weekend, highlighting the importance of focusing on the troubled areas of the Sahel.

As said by him by investing in rural areas and agriculture is crucial to achieve prosperity in Africa and to guarantee the continent's young people an alternative to migration.

"In Africa, we need to invest in rural development aimed at creating jobs and opportunities for young people to remain in rural areas" he said, stressing "We need youth for modern agriculture."

Speaking at the high level  EU-African Alliance in Agriculture event which is part of this week's Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin.

He noted that almost half of Africa's population remains extremely poor and food insecure.

Also, Graziano da Silva said that it is critical to channel public and private investments towards the agricultural sector.

Such interventions are particularly important in the Sahel area which is hit by the impacts of conflicts and climate change is very strong. 

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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TEIU exposes countries dealing with child exploitation - NaijaAgroNet

The latest The Economist Intelligence Unit has exposed some 40 countries dealing with child exploitatIon including sexual abuse, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Just as the Special Representative to the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, United Nations, Marta Santos Pais, has insisted that children must be protected from all forms of ills in the society.

"We can, and we must, protect children from all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation in all settings. Children deserve nothing less," Marta Santos Pais said.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that child sexual abuse and exploitation happen everywhere and are pressing concerns for both wealthy and developing countries alike, according to a first-of-its-kind research programme, Out of the Shadows: Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse and exploitation.

The Economist Intelligence Unit developed this tool with support from the World Childhood Foundation and Oak Foundation and with additional support from the Carlson Family Foundation, the Out of the Shadows Index and report revealed how 40 countries at the national level are confronting child sexual abuse and exploitation.

The policies, practices and standards presented in the index highlight how governments, the private sector and civil society can move toward achieving Target 16.2 in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for ending all forms of violence against children by 2030.

Created with guidance from an international panel of experts, the index covers a comprehensive range of critical issues, including policies on child marriage, reproductive and sexual health, gender differences, law enforcement, and child sexual abuse online, where the expansion of broadband internet has placed more children at risk. Index indicators also focus on the engagement of businesses in fighting child sexual abuse and exploitation, especially the technology and travel/tourism industries.

The 40 countries included in the index cover 70 per cent of the global population under 19 years of age.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Friday, January 18, 2019

2018: Married Lagosians' uptake of contraceptives rose to 40.3% - NaijaAgroNet

The centre of excellence, Lagos State, has improved on its uptake of all methods of Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) which is now 33.1 per cent with married adoption at 40.3 per cent in 2018, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Disclosing this to NaijaAgroNet as outcome of the round 5 of the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) survey, in a family planning indicator briefing held in Lagos, Thursday by Pathfinders International, Dr. Funmilola OlaOlorun of Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan-Nigeria said that across board is 33.1 per cent, against 29.7 per cent in 2017.

She also said that the survey facilitated by Johns Hopkins University and Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, indicated that Lagos had increase uptake in the modern methods of CPR from 20.6 per cent to 22.7 per cent across all while married women uptake improved from 23.3 per cent in 2017 to 25.3 per cent as at 2018.

She told NaijaAgroNet that the survey was on all women and married between the ages of 15 and 49 years in the first quarter of 2018, stressing that for the Long Acting cum Permanent (LAP) Lagos witnessed a declined from 2017 all-time records from 4.2 per cent to 4.0 per cent for all and from 6.3 per cent the strictly married came down to 6.1 per cent for the period under review.

For the total unmet needs saw a decline from 15.2 per cent in all for 2017 to 12.3 per cent in 2018, while for limiting from 5.7 per cent to 4.4 per cent in 2018, even as the married indicators showed some 20.9 per cent was recorded in 2017 and has come down to 17.1 per cent for the total unmet needs.

Therefore, she posited that the spacing on family planning has reduced from 9.5 in 2017 to 7.8 per cent respectively for all and married recorded 12.3 and 10.6 per cents in that order.

However, the total demand, Dr. OlaOlorun said, has continued to soar from 56.7 per cent in 2017 to 58.0 per cent in 2018, whereas the demand satisfied by modern method rose from 45.8 per cent in 2017 to 49.8 per cent for all and left married women uptake at 44.0 per cent in 2018 from 41.1 per cent in 2017.

PMA2020, NaijaAgroNet gathered, uses innovative mobile technology to support low-cost, rapid-turnaround surveys to monitor key indicators for family planning via local universities led by the Centre for Research, Evaluation Resources and Development (CRERD) and Bayero University Kano.

Remmy Nweke/HO

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Pix: Dr. Funmilola OlaOlorun 

AU, Dangote, others for Africa Business Health Forum - NaijaAgroNet

Top African leaders including Heads of States, Ministers, CEOs as well as representatives from the African Union and United Nations will converge at the inaugural Africa Business: Health Forum (AB:HF) ( taking place in Ethiopia on 12th February 2019 on the margins of the 32nd African Union Summit, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Forum will unify Africa’s key decision makers in exploring opportunities for catalyzing growth in the continent’s economy, through business partnerships to invest in the health sector.

The inter-relationship between the health of employees and economic growth is increasingly taking center stage in many African countries, and business is being pushed to exploring how to maximize shareholder value as a complex interplay between financial, human, social and environmental return.

African business entrepreneurs are waking up to the reality that good health is good business, and investing in health is both a business and social imperative, with studies showing that by 2030, business opportunities in the health and wellness sector will reach $1.8 trillion in current prices.

Investing in African health systems is an opportunity to accelerate economic development and growth, contribute to saving millions of lives, prevent life-long disabilities, and move countries closer to achieving SDGs and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

“From a business standpoint, we are beginning to see the opportunities that could be created by focusing on improving and investing in health,” says Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, a renowned financier and Co- Chair, GBCHealth. “There is a need to close the gap on the inequality of life in Africa from a healthcare standpoint and we must look to develop a universal plan that shifts the needle as far as healthcare in Africa is concerned. Health must cease being a source of pain, and become a source of prosperity instead.”

The AB:HF is the vision of GBCHealth, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the Aliko Dangote Foundation, with the objective of driving business leadership, strengthening partnerships, and facilitating investments to change the face of healthcare in Africa.

The Forum will culminate in the launch of the African Business Coalition for Health (ABCHealth), a coalition that will mobilize a core group of private sector champions through a coordinated platform to advance health outcomes and shape health systems across Africa.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Rebecca Akufo-Addo bags Merck Ambassadorship - NaijaAgroNet

The First Lady of Ghana, H.E. Rebecca Akufo-Addo efforts on women and health issues have been acknowledged with the award of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Ambassador, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This is coming as NaijaAgroNet gathered that the Merck Foundation CEO, Dr. Rasha Kelej  and First Lady of Ghana will be co-chairing the 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary in Accra, Ghana on 29th and 30th October 2019.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany launched their programmes in partnership with the First Lady of Ghana, H.E. Rebecca Akufo-Addo to underscore their commitment to build healthcare capacity in the country and to finalize discussions about Merck Foundation’s annual conference 6th Edition of ‘Merck Africa Asia Luminary.
During the conference steering committee meeting, many new programs were finalized and launched in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Ghana.

Reacting, Mrs. Akufo Addo expressed excitement over the partnership, saying they are happy with their strong commitment and the efficient execution of their programs in the country.

“These programs will prove very significant in creating an impact on our people’s advancement, as health is very critical to our social and economic development. Also, I am happy to host and co -chair the 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary. I will continue to support and cooperate with Merck Foundation for all their programs,” she said.

“We are very happy to award Her Excellency First Lady of Ghana, REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO for her great efforts to empower infertile women as the ambassador of Merck More than a Mother. We have also underscored our long term partnership with her Foundation and Ministry of Health of Ghana to continue building healthcare capacity and train doctors in the fields of Diabetes, Hypertension, Fertility and cancer care. Our aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of people of the continent”, emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

“We are thankful to H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO for hosting Merck Africa Asia Luminary, the annual conference of Merck Foundation. It will be attended by more than 1000 healthcare providers, policy makers, academia and researchers from over 60 African and Asian countries. The objective is to improve disease management, early detection and prevention, build healthcare and scientific research capacity and improve access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions across Africa and Asia.” added Dr. Kelej.

The 5th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary was presided by The President of Senegal, H.E. MACKY SALL in Dakar, Senegal. It was also attended by 09 African First Ladies and 12 Ministers of Health. More than 1000 African healthcare providers from more than 60 countries benefited from several medical education sessions.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President Merck More than A Mother, together with H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana & Merck more than a Mother Ambassador also conducted a special meeting with more than 100 Ghanaian infertile women to soft launch Merck more than a Mother campaign through identifying their needs and challenges and work on a concrete strategy to break the stigma of infertility through art, media as an effective tool to raise awareness about this sensitive topic. Moreover, to identify interventions to build fertility care capacity in the country so that every infertile couple would eventually have access to information, healthcare and change of mindset. They both pledged to support this cause through innovative idea that engages all sectors to create a culture shift and make a great impact in a short time.

“Few initiatives to get the desired culture shift include announcing the Merck more than a Mother Media Recognition Award and Media Health Training in partnership with Ghana Journalism Society. Creating songs and movies in partnership with Ghanaian artists to address this topic and educate people across the country which will require supporting film making industry and students of the National Film and Television Institute in Ghana. Also, involving fashion industry to deliver the message of breaking the stigma of Infertile women to the community in day to day life which will be achieved through supporting the young fashion designers and student of Ghana Fashion Academyto come up with innovative ideas to reach youth” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

Merck foundation has provided clinical training on fertility specialty in the past two years and will continue this program in partnership with ministry of health to improve access to quality and equitable fertility care in the country.

Merck Foundation will also continue enrolling doctors from Ghana in their two year oncology fellowship program and master degree as a contribution to improve cancer care in the country.

Merck foundation has also provided five Ghanaian doctors with one year diabetes and hypertension diploma and will continue to enroll more doctors in the next five years.

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Pix: Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother with H.E. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, First Lady of the Republic of Ghana and Ambassador, Merck More Than a Mother

Saturday, January 12, 2019

IRENA launches ‘A New World’ on energy transformation - NaijaAgroNet

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released its latest report on the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Tagged ‘A New World’ IRENA says that the political and business leaders from around the world outlined the far-reaching geopolitical implications of an energy transformation driven by the rapid growth of renewable energy in the new report.

The chair of IRENA and the former President of Iceland, Mr. Olafur Grimsson, said they were to share the Commission’s report, ‘A New World’, which suggests the geopolitical and socio-economic consequences of a new energy age may be as profound as those which accompanied the shift from biomass to fossil fuels two centuries ago.

“Those shifts include changes in the relative position of states, the emergence of new energy leaders, more diverse energy actors, changed trade relationships and the emergence of new alliances,” he said.

The Global Commission on the Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation, NaijaAgroNet recalls was established as an independent initiative by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in January 2018.

Grimsson also commended support by the governments of Germany, Norway and the United Arab Emirates, even as the Commission is made up of experienced leaders from the worlds of energy, politics, trade, environment and development. 

Chuks Egbune/HO

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Kano attracts N3b from FG on healthcare delivery - NaijaAgroNet

The Kano State government, under Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, in the healthcare delivery services, under Save One Million Lives Programme, the federal government has attracted about Three Billion Naira (N3B) funding for more service delivery in the health sector, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Confirming this, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kano State, Abba Anwar, told NaijaAgroNet that the cheque was given by President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, among other remaining 12 states that also excelled in the area.

"But Kano being the best in all the North West states, Ganduje received standing ovation when the state was called. Impression of satisfaction was clearly on guests' faces. He collected the cheque on behalf of his state," he said.

This, he also said, was as a result of the state unassuming performance in all the areas under the programme, last year, 2018. The sum of  $1m was given to each of the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as intervention in some selected areas of the health sector.

The areas were Immunization Coverage, Bed Net use by children under Five, Vitamin A Supplementation, Child Birth Spacing, HIV Testing during pregnancy and Skilled Birth Attendants for quantity and quality care.

"After the implementation of the programme by all the states last year, a survey was conducted and  all the states were ranked by performance. Kano became one of the 13 states that performed wonderfully well in the programme. The programme was an initiation of the federal government and the World Bank."

Appreciating the gesture Commissioner of Health Dr Kabiru Ibrahim Getso expressed satisfaction over the landmark achievements by Ganduje administration, adding that, "Kano is fast moving forward in the health sector. Just like all other sectors."

"The money given is to compliment state efforts in this area. In all the six identified areas of the programme, Kano excels beyond any comments. We are doing our possible best to see that all identified areas are given the much needed attention," Getso states.

Kano, according to the Commissioner excels in improving the infrastructural development for the sector. So also in the area of effective and efficient drug distribution in the state health facilities.

"Equipments are readily available in our facilities. This administration is not relenting in its effort in making sure that all sub-sectors under health are handled with utmost care. Because of the importance attached to it by our able governor. He attends all other sectors with similar care," he encouraged.

Getso, by way of justifying how Kano excels in the health sector, to the point that the state was given the above mentioned sum from the federal government, the health commissioner emphasises that, "For the first time in the history of the state, we have budgeted more than 15 percent in our budget, for the health sector.  This is a great achievement by all standard."

He also refers to the recently awarded contract for the establishment of Cancer Centre by the Kano state government, saying that, "This will be the first Cancer Centre established by the state government in Nigeria. All Cancer Centres we have in the country are established by the federal government."

The Save One Million Lives Programme aims at changing focus from "input based" to "result based" financing of health care "...intended to save the lives of mothers and children by increasing access to, and utilisation of evidence based, cost effective and high impact maternal, child and nutrition interventions in Nigeria and change the federal-state relationship to a Result-Based partnership."

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Hate speech not good for our society says CHRDA - NaijaAgroNet

The Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (“CHRDA”) ( is stunned by the trends of events in the Anglophone Northwest and0 Southwest Regions of Cameroon and by the degeneration of events tending to affect neighboring Francophone Region of the West Region.

Because of these, CHRDA alerts the government of an impending hate crime, retaliatory ethnic conflict, indoctrination and violent extremism as a result of cross-regional attacks from armed separatist groups and villagers of affected communities.

Over the weekends preceding Christmas day, news from media and individuals reported an arson attack allegedly led by hundreds of armed men (reportedly 300 in number) from Bangolan (in Babessi sub-division in the Northwest Region) targeting a village in Bangourain, a sub-division in the neighboring Noun Division, which led to the destruction of dozens of houses (reportedly at least 85 affecting over 100 families), the death of at least one person, wounding several others, abduction of at least 15 persons and causing heavy material and financial losses of other infrastructures.

On 26 December, the previous weekend attack saw retaliation (as alleged by several other sources) by residents of the affected neighborhood in Bangourain, where two persons suspected to be arsonists were apprehended, lynched, before being dragged on the ground attached to motor bikes with chains.

This hate rhetoric on both sides must come to an end as it reminds us of America in 1998 when James Byrd Jr was killed by lynching and dragged by three white supremacists through the State of Texas. The nation as a whole condemned this repugnant act and found a solution for hate crime. Cameroonians are called upon to exhibit togetherness and condemn these happenings as a nation, regardless of their ethnic, religious, political, ideological, cultural or economic denominations.

The scenes and stories are horrible and should appeal to government’s foresight to begin taking the Anglophone Crisis more seriously and engage in more genuine peace-building processes.

The government’s continuous military operations in the Northwest and Southwest Regions which may be the fuel to the inhuman crimes perpetrated by both the defense and security forces and the armed separatist groups needs to come to an immediate cease fire.

Francophones and Anglophones sharing similar boundaries in neighboring localities across Cameroon should exercise restraint and avoid involving themselves in actions that may further endanger human life, cause injuries, destroy private and public property, cause material and financial losses, and aggravate the already preoccupying tensions between the populace, government forces and separatist groups.

We hereby call on the government to initiate investigations into the happenings and seek justice where necessary, reparation, and reconciliation of parties to the conflicts.

Cameroonians of all persuasions believe it is time for the government to show compassion and put an end to military operations in both Anglophone Regions for fear that the remnants of the conflict may spread far beyond these Regions and affect a larger group of people.

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