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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

RUFORUM aligns self to Agenda 2063 - NaijaAgroNet.

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), has declare support for the continent's 2063 agenda, reports NaijaAgroNet.

RUFORUM, NaijaAgroNet gathered, was established in 2004 as a consortium of 46 African universities operating within 22 countries, spanning the African continent. 

Also, RUFORUM identified Science and Education Ministers from many African countries, over 85 Vice Chancellors from universities across Africa, as well as key scientists from across the World came together for the Sixth African Higher Education Week and the RUFORUM Biennial Conference. The conference was held from 22-26 October 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.  

The main topic of discussion was: “Aligning African Universities to accelerate attainment of Africa’s Agenda 2063”. The meetings were hosted by the Kenyan Ministry of Education and 12 RUFORUM member universities in Kenya. 

Suchith Anand (GODAN) was invited to give a keynote speech on the topic of  “Harnessing the Digital Potential to Drive Higher Education Transformation in Africa”. GODAN looks forward to building more collaborations and synergies in capacity development with RUFORUM universities.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Monday, February 18, 2019

GROHE drives digital transformation in sanitary sector - NaijaAgroNet

From Germany GROHE the year 2018 was all about strategic partnerships and the digitization of water, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Michael Rauterkus, CEO of GROHE AG, noted that at the 2019 ISH, for the first time GROHE would present itself as one of the leading global brands for complete bathroom solutions, kitchen systems and intelligent water management.

GROHE, a leading global brand for kitchen faucets solutions, NaijaAgroNet reports, has continued on its road to success in 2019, considering evolvement from a mere hardware manufacturer into a driving force of the digital transformation within the sanitary industry, offering its own Internet of Things (IoT) products. 

"The intelligent water control system GROHE Sense Guard has now arrived in the world of smart homes," he said.

As said by Rauterkus, all GROHE products, innovations and activities are based on claim to be actively involved in handling water with a view to the future,

“It's about finding answers to the most pressing issues of our time. At this year's ISH, our big topic will be about which solutions we as GROHE can contribute in all areas of water management,” he said.

Equally, NaijaAgroNet gathered that strategic alliances with insurance companies such as Provinzial Rheinland or Gothaer Allgemeine in Europe and Munich Re's subsidiary, the HSB Group, in the US have opened up new sales channels for GROHE in 2018. 

Additionally, NaijaAgroNet reports that GROHE Sense water sensor could now be connected to Magenta SmartHome from Deutsche Telekom and GROHE Sense Guard to Nest home appliances. 

"Thanks to the partnership with IoT expert relayr, it will be even more flexible and faster to connect the intelligent water security system to other IT ecosystems and platforms. Further strategic alliances will follow in 2019," he said.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Family Planning: Expert laments Nigerians reluctance to long active methods - NaijaAgroNet

Family planning expert and a Co-Principal Investigator PMA2020 Nigeria, Dr. Funmilola OlaOlorun of Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, has lamented Nigerians’ reluctance to the use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC), reports NaijaAgroNet.

Speaking at the round 5 of the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) survey presentation at a media briefing held recently in Lagos, by Pathfinders International, Dr. OlaOlorun also expressed dismay that many Nigerians are still very reluctant to the use of Long Active methods.

She equally told 
NaijaAgroNet the survey was facilitated by Johns Hopkins University and Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health.

Dr. OlaOlorun explained that the Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC), are methods of birth control that provides effective contraception for an extended period without requiring user action.

Also, she said, LARC comprises injections, Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs) and Subdermal-contraceptive implants to name a few.

“One in five women still have unintended pregnancy. People are still reluctant to use long active methods,” OlaOlorun said.

On Long Acting cum permanent methods among married women, she said, Lagos recorded 6.1 per cent in 2018, a slight drop from 6.3 in 2017

She urged for more participation and usage of long acting contraceptive methods will reduce frequency to health care centres.

The PMA2020 Lagos-R5 survey, she said, was conducted by the Centre for Research, Evaluation Resources and Development (CRERD) and Bayero University Kano (BUK), whereas the project also collected data from Anambra, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Nasarawa, Rivers and Taraba States.

She stressed that the survey equally had support from the Federal Ministry of Health, National Population Commission (NPC), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Lagos State Ministry of Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health (Johns Hopkins University).

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rwandan choreographer, Sherrie Silver named IFAD advocate for rural youth - NaijaAgroNet

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) annual meeting of Member States, award-winning choreographer, dancer and actress Sherrie Silver issued an urgent call-to-action to heads-of-state, government ministers, and development leaders to listen and invest in rural youth, reports NaijaAgroNet.

“I am inviting you to come together and stand on the right side of history by investing more in young rural people, and the communities where they live,” Silver said just after being announced as the UN specialized agency’s Advocate for Rural Youth.

“It is with great delight that we welcome Sherrie Silver as our new Advocate for Rural Youth,” said Charlotte Salford, Associate Vice-President of External Relations and Governance Department at IFAD. “Dance and music are great unifiers. They help young people to express themselves and unites groups of people across cultures and countries.”

The appointment makes the 24-year-old IFAD's first-ever Advocate for Rural Youth.

Silver’s message kicked-off the 'Our Future is Here' youth-led movement that aims to capture the energy and creativity of young people to raise awareness on the importance of investing in agriculture at a time when world hunger is on the rise, driven by conflict and climate change.

Hunger, poverty, youth unemployment and forced migration all have deep roots in rural areas, however there remains a wide funding gap. To eliminate hunger it is estimated an annual investment of US$180 billion is needed for rural areas. Of this, two-thirds is required for agriculture alone.

“Imagine what would happen if governments and donors around the world spent as much on agriculture and rural people as they do on humanitarian aid,” she said. “There would be food security. There would be social stability. There would be less damage to the environment. There would be hope for our future.”

Born in Rwanda and educated in the United Kingdom, Silver was made world-famous by her choreography work in Childish Gambino’s culturally seismic video “This Is America,” which won the 'Best Choreography' category at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards and most recently at the 2019 Grammy Awards.

A social media influencer, Silver is passionate about helping young people thrive and educating the world about African cultures through the dance, while giving back to African countries through her philanthropy.

In her role as Advocate for Rural Youth, Silver will use her global platform to meet and connect with youth around the world and help campaign for the importance of reaching young people through investing in agriculture and rural communities.

More than half of the world’s youth population of 1.2 billion live in rural areas and struggle to find employment. In Africa, an estimated 11 million young people will enter the job market every year for the next decade -- the majority of them in rural areas, where agriculture is still the biggest source of livelihoods.

"Youth unemployment will be the defining challenge of this era alongside climate change, and I am committed to helping the UN as an IFAD Advocate for Rural Youth to do everything I can to provide a better future for young people everywhere," Silver said. “They need jobs and opportunities in agriculture to help feed a growing population while also building a safe and prosperous future right where they live.”

Silver added that “the only way we are going to solve complex challenges like ending extreme poverty, hunger and forced migration is by calling on governments to invest in a different way of going about development. Young people want to build a better world, but they can’t do it alone."

Prior to her appointment, Sherrie Silver visited an IFAD-supported project in southern Cameroon, where she met with young entrepreneurs from a remote farming community who have been able to earn more income and produce more food due to IFAD investments in agriculture and business training in their community.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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African OPS lead to rewrite healthcare narrative - NaijaAgroNet

A number of Organised Private Sector (OPS) on the continent has join forces to rewrite the heaalthcare narratives, reports c.

Some of these OPS include GBCHealth, Aliko Dangote Foundation and UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) collaborated on inaugural Africa Business: Health Forum 2019 which held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Thursday.

The OPS, NaijaAgroNet reports, jointly held the inaugural Africa Business: Health Forum on the margins of the 32nd African Union Summit. It brought together leaders from government and business with a strong appeal for greater collaboration between the private and the public sector on health outcomes. 

This garnered commitments from public sector leaders including the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed; the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi; and the President of Djibouti, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh as well as business leaders present, to change drastically health outcomes in Africa.

The Forum saw the launch of the African Business Coalition for Health (ABCHealth), a private sector led coalition of companies and philanthropists who will come together to positively transform health care for Africans growing population. Business and public sector leaders at the forum lauded this initiative as a timely game-changer to improve the health sector in Africa.

A vision of GBCHealth and the Aliko Dangote Foundation, ABCHealth will mobilise private sector champions committed to advancing health outcomes across Africa. Beyond the “usual suspects”, a reference used by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede to qualify current health champions, ABCHealth will engage a new crop of African business leaders in the drive to change the reality of the average African as far as health is concerned.

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, co-founder of ABCHealth, and co-chair, GBCHealth said, “Only partnerships will help solve the health challenges the continent faces. Healthcare in Africa is constrained by scarce public funding and limited donor support; out-of-pocket expenditure accounts for 36% of Africa’s total healthcare spend. Given our income levels, it is no surprise that healthcare spend in Africa is grossly inadequate to meet Africa’s needs leading to a financing gap of $66bn per annum.”

The private sector remains an underinvested stakeholder in the war to fix Africa’s health problems and this is why ABCHealth aims to bring the right parties to the table, and provide a focus for well-meaning individuals or companies who are committed to the health agenda, thus minimising mistakes in approach,” Aig-Imoukhuede added.

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

African leaders for Nutrition to launch accountability scorecard - NaijaAgroNet

The African leaders will gather at a side event of the 32nd African Union Summit, to launch the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), the continental nutrition accountability scorecard, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The launch slated for Skylight Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, would hold on Monday, February 11, 2019.

NaijaAgroNet reports that the scorecare is to raise awareness and reinforce commitments by African governments to end malnutrition and promote healthy children on the continent.

Some of the confirmed the African Union high calibre members including His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho, the African Development Bank, the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners, will launch the African Leaders For Nutrition (ALN) Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard.

The event, under the theme “A Call for Better Advocacy and Accountability for Nutrition Investments,” will be chaired by, His Majesty King Letsie III and African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

The Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard is the latest tool produced by ALN to raise awareness and reinforce commitments by African governments to end malnutrition and promote healthy children.

This data-based advocacy tool gives an overview of how African leaders are doing on their delivery of the main nutrition indicators. It is expected that the scorecard will increasingly be used to track Africa’s effort to halt malnutrition and its effects.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Group: Eliminate female genital mutilation by 2030 - NaijaAgroNet

Mary Oloiparuni was 13 when she was mutilated. Restrained in a doorway early one morning in her home, she was cut, bled profusely and experienced agonizing pain. The scarring she endured then continues to cause her pain today, 19 years later. It has made giving birth to each of her five children an excruciating and harrowing experience.
Mary is not alone. At least 200 million girls and women alive today have had their genitals mutilated  suffering one of the most inhuman acts of gender-based violence in the world.

On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, we reaffirm our commitment to end this violation of human rights, so that the tens of millions of girls who are still at risk of being mutilated by 2030 do not experience the same suffering as Mary.

A joint statement available to ITREALMS by Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, UNFPA, Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women, they noted that this effort is especially critical because female genital mutilation leads to long-term physical, psychological and social consequences.

"It violates women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, physical integrity, non-discrimination and freedom from cruel or degrading treatment. It is also a violation of medical ethics: Female genital mutilation is never safe, no matter who carries it out or how clean the venue is," they decried.

Because female genital mutilation is a form of gender-based violence, we cannot address it in isolation from other forms of violence against women and girls, or other harmful practices such as early and forced marriages. To end female genital mutilation, we have to tackle the root causes of gender inequality and work for women’s social and economic empowerment.

In 2015, world leaders overwhelmingly backed the elimination of female genital mutilation as one of the targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is an achievable goal, and we must act now to translate that political commitment into action.

At the national level, we need new policies and legislation protecting the rights of girls and women to live free from violence and discrimination. Governments in countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent should also develop national action plans to end the practice. To be effective, their plans must include budget lines dedicated to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, education, social welfare and legal services.

At the regional level, we need institutions and economic communities to work together, preventing the movement of girls and women across borders when the purpose is to get them into countries with less restrictive female genital mutilation laws.

Locally, we need religious leaders to strike down myths that female genital mutilation has a basis in religion. Because societal pressures often drive the practice, individuals and families need more information about the benefits of abandoning it.

Public pledges to abandon female genital mutilation – particularly pledges by entire communities – are an effective model of collective commitment. But public pledges must be paired with comprehensive strategies for challenging the social norms, practices and behaviours that condone female genital mutilation. Testimonials by survivors like Mary also help to build understanding of the practice’s grim reality and long-lasting impact on women’s lives. Advocacy campaigns and social media can amplify the message that ending female genital mutilation saves and improves lives.

Thanks to the collective action of governments, civil society, communities and individuals, female genital mutilation is in decline. But we are not aiming for fewer cases of this practice. We are insisting on zero.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that the recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2016 -2017) shows some decline in the incidence of FGM in Nigeria, 18.4% of women aged 15-49 years now undergo FGM; a decrease from 27% in 2011.  UNICEF and partners’ interventions to ensure the elimination of FGM by 2030 has resulted in a break in the barrier against discussing FGM publicly. Religious leaders, community stakeholders and young people now speak out against this practice. 

Subsequently, last year, more than 309 communities publicly declared abandonment of the practice.
“Despite this decline, millions of girls and women are still faced with the scourge of genital mutilation every year in Nigeria. There is, therefore, an urgent need for decision makers and political leaders to take concrete action towards ending the harmful practice of FGM in Nigeria”, said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF Country representative.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

World Cancer Day: CancerAware, ARCON, LUTH collaborate on free breast cancer screening - NaijaAgroNet

To commemorate the 2019 World Cancer Day, a non-government organization, CancerAware is collaborating with the Association of Radiation and Clinical Oncologists of Nigeria (ARCON) and the Department of Radiotherapy & Oncology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to offer free Community Breast Cancer Screening Outreach, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This, NaijaAgroNet gathered would take place on Friday, 8th February 2019 beginning from 9am till 2pm.

According to CancerAware, the screening would take place at the Old Children’s Emergency (Behind D Block) Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Surulere, Lagos.

NaijaAgroNet also gathered that beneficiaries would receive free clinical breast examination, free mammograms for women aged 40 and above.

CancerAware also promises a free tutorial on breast self-examinations.

Uj. N. Dominic/DoP

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World Cancer Day: Merck seeks equitable cancer care for Africans - NaijaAgroNet

The Merck Foundation provides one and two year Oncology Fellowship Program to African doctors to be the future oncologists in their countries; Merck Foundation commits to long term partnership with African ministries of Health and first ladies to build cancer care capacity in the continent, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks ‘World Cancer Day 2019’ themed ‘I am and I will’ through their Cancer Access Program with the aim to improve patient’s access to quality and equitable cancer care in Africa.

“We are committed to lead Africa to a better future through changing the landscape of Cancer care in the continent. We have been actively working to achieve objectives of building professional capacity with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists” emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

“The lack of financial means is not the only challenge, I strongly believe the scarcity of trained health care personnel is the main challenge, therefore our main strategy is to establish a strong platform of specialized oncologists across the continent, specifically in countries where there is not even a single oncologists till today, such as: Gambia, Central African Republic, Liberia, Guinea Conakry and Sierra Leone.  They need them to tackle the prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer at all levels of the health care systems. Through this program, Merck Foundation has enrolled and provided clinical training in Oncology to 57 candidates from more than 21 African countries. We will soon scale up and strengthen our efforts and activities in more countries”, emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Merck Foundation through its Merck Cancer Access Program has provided training to over 57 candidates from Botswana, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

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Friday, February 1, 2019

Can Nigeria Achieve 27% Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate?

In July, 2017, the federal government, in collaboration with its partners and stakeholders in the private sector pledged to achieve a Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) of 27 per cent among all women by 2020, in line with the over all drive of achieving family planning goal.

Indeed, achieving the Family Planning goal (FP2020 Goal) is a critical milestone to ensuring universal access to sexual reproductive health services and rights by 2030, as laid out by the Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5.

However, there are concerns that plausible as the target is, Nigeria may not achieve. As a matter of fact, experts assert that it is becoming clearer by the day that Nigeria may not achieve the 27 per cent mCPR by 2020 and the reason, they noted, is not far-fetched.

At the London Summit in 2012, of which the country has 15 per cent CPR, Nigerian government pledged to achieve 36 per cent CPR by 2018 and an annual CPR growth rate of 2 per cent. However, in 2017, the government also pledged to achieve a mCPR of 27 per cent among all women by 2020.

In a bid to achieve the set FP2020 goals, state governments also gave themselves targets. For instance, Bauchi State which has a current CPR of 2.1 per cent is expected to grow by 23.54 per cent by 2020.

Currently, statistics obtained from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, MICS, 2016/2017 revealed that Kaduna state has 26 per cent CPR. The report also indicates that for the State to reach its goal, it is expected to achieve CPR annual growth of 10.2 per cent. Sadly, the report indicates that the current trend of its growth remains low with a total of 2.3 per cent annually.

In Lagos state, the state government plans to achieve 74 per cent CPR by 2020. According to the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) report, in 2015, the state CPR was 34.6 per cent.

In 2016, the Lagos state CPR declined to 32.5 per cent and rose 35.9 per cent in 2017. In 2018, it rose again to 40.3 per cent, representing 4 per cent increase of CPR for all methods.

With barely 12 months to reaching the target FP2020 objectives and 27 per cent of contraceptives usage, investigation has shown that Nigeria currently has a 13. 9 per cent mCPR for all women.

While some states have made progress in achieving their CPR targets, stakeholders have decried the slow pace, considering the time left to achieve the 27 per cent mCPR.

The permanent secretary, Bauchi State ministry of health, Dr Aliyu Sa’idu Gital said Bauchi state has the highest fertility rate of 8.1 per cent which is higher than the national average as well as a low take of mCPR of 2.3 per cent.

Gital said the state deemed it necessary to galvanise efforts in developing robust family planning/child spacing strategies that will contribute to improving maternal and child health in the state and in Nigeria at large.

To achieve the Costed Implementation Plan, the permanent secretary however called for supports from donors and the private sector to join efforts with the state government in achieving its targeted CPR.

Senior lecturer, college of medicine, University of Ibadan, Funmilola Ola-Olorun, while scoring Nigeria on their performance toward achieving FP2020 goals, said in general, the country has a pass mark, but a very low pass.

She said though the nation is making progress towards achieving FP2020 goal, the progress is very slow and based on “what we have seen so far, It would be impossible for Nigeria to achieve all the indicators by 2020.

“However, the important thing is that progress is in the right direction and the indicators that we expect to improve such as the mCPR is improving, but just about one per cent per year. But in the real sense, you don’t expect more than a 2 percentage point increase in a year because it takes a while for people to change their behavior,” she added.

To change the narrative, Ola-Olorun said government should start to release funds at the right time, adding that though government allocate funds for reproductive health commodities in the health budget, many times, it takes a very long time for them to release the funds. According, government must go beyond making budgetary provisions to releasing the funds on time, and then increasing the funds allocated to reproductive health and family planning, noting that such would go a long well.

“The fund is just not sufficient and it is delayed before it is released. I think we have made some progress, but the progress is definitely not enough. Many times the allocated funds for family planning services are delayed in being released, sometimes not the entire money budgeted are being released and even what was allocated is not sufficient in the first place as it is generally for commodities, hardly ever for consumables and so we need much more commitments from government. We need a government that is dedicated not just to reproductive health but to the holistic health of Nigerians.

“Ensuring that funds are available and then release at the right time would go a long way. But beyond that, I think government should also ensure that they allocate funds for consumables because most of the funds are used for commodities and then women who visit health centres for delivery are to pay for consumables.

“Some local government chairmen in Lagos state now have started allocating some of their funds for consumables. So allocating more funds for commodities, more funds for consumables and developing some form of voucher system so as to be able to ensure that even the poorest women can have access to family planning services, are very crucial if we must make some meaningful progress,” she added.

Speaking on the voucher system, Ola-Olorun said “Even when commodities and consumables are available, women are still asked to pay for registration, laboratory testing including pregnancy test, consumables like syringe, cotton wool and so on. If the government can pay for that, for the poorest women who cannot afford it, possibly through a voucher system, I think they would have definitely done something positive to improve the health of Nigerian women.
However, some experts are of the view that Nigeria’s ambition of attaining the 27 per cent mCPR is plausible and attainable provided government and other stakeholders including philantropists, will pool resources together.

One sure way of ensuring this, they hinted, include making provision for free services to indigent women.
Binta Larai is a seasoned nurse with over twenty years working experience. She said: “I think that rather than making family planning services free for all women, there should be some form of scale whereby you identify those who truly cannot pay for them and it should be completely free for those women. For those who can pay, they should be asked to pay a token by having it subsidized but to have if free for everyone, is not a sustainable approach.”

She also advised the government to adopt massive sensitization on the need to embrace family planning adding that “the myths and misconceptions raised by most Nigerians, which have deprived women from taking up a method are not true, they are myths, so I think that apart from health workers, we need more people who are family planning advocates, who are regular Nigerians and not necessarily in the health sector, learning what is right and what is true and sharing that with people in their communities.

“I think we need more people who will be willing to advocate for family planning among families and among friends. As a matter of fact, beyond health workers, we need people who are trusted and respected in their communities to be family planning advocates.

She insisted that such was necessary because many people are getting information from the wrong sources.
“For instance, some people claimed that implants migrates. Implant do not migrate and the side effects of family planning methods are usually few. I think it is over- hyped that family planning methods are negative whereas, majority of cases, it is beneficial for women” she said adding: “We need to encourage women to seek information about family planning because only 25.5 percent among married women are reporting use of a modern method, we can do much more better because many of them have an unmet need.

“Unmet needs continue to be very high recently. We expect these women to be using a method, but they are not. We need to get people to understand that family planning methods are safe and available.

“Obtaining the right information and using a method would reduce the proportion of women who report unintended pregnancy. So women need information and they should be able to access the services which are readily available in Lagos state.”

*Culled from Leadership |  

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