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HIV/AIDS: Effects, Implication Of Donors’ Exit

Most donor organizations have had issues with lack of accountability in the management of funds by Nigerian officials. This had become a cardinal problem that has short-changed the success of the Nigerian intervention.

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for instance, said it has disbursed more than $81.4 billion in Nigeria since 2003. Nigeria, they said, currently represents their largest portfolio with a total of $81.1 billion allocated to fighting HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria in 2014 to 2016.

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There is no doubt
that the contributions of international donor agencies towards the elimination of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria is immeasurable.
In fact, from the point at which donor agencies came on Salvage Mission in Nigeria, they have virtually been vested with the responsibility of providing HIV/AIDS commodities in the country.
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for instance, said it has disbursed more than $81.4 billion in Nigeria since 2003.  Nigeria, they said, currently represents their largest portfolio with a total of $81.1 billion allocated to fighting HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria in 2014 to 2016.
On its part, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) 2012: 59 stated that $300 million was committed in 2007 in expenditure on implementing HIV/AIDS programme in Nigeria.
Of this amount, the majority in the sum of $225,392,257.00 amounting to (85.3%), was from international funds, with bilateral contributions totalling $197,219,307.00, which amounts to (19.43%).
The rest were from International Not-for-Profit organizations and foundations amounting to $32,479 (0.01%).
The same trend was recorded in 2008 with international funds contributing 92.3% of the $364,581,432.00 of the total expenditure.
Meanwhile, $364,581,432.00 (80.8%), $845,477,907,00 (11.5%) and $63,00.00 (0.01%) were respectively contributed by the direct bilateral contributing multilateral agencies and International Non Profit Organizations and Foundations.
Investigations revealed that under the consolidated phase 1 of Rounds 5,8 and 9 Global Fund HIV/AIDS Grant (2009-2012), NACA received about $151.6m for HIV/AIDS activities in the country.
It further gathered that about $228m was later approved for Phase ll (2013-2015) for the scalling up of gender sensitive HIV/AIDS, Prevention, treatment care and support for adult and children including health and community strengthening in Nigeria.
In spite of these and other contributions, in October 2014, the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDs in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), mobilized its members in Abuja to protest at the NACA office over perceived responsiveness of the agency to the dwindling fortunes of the HIV treatment programme in Nigeria.
NEPWHAN’s National Coordinator, Victor Omoshein, had said:  “We are concerned with the miserable conditions of PLWHIV in Nigeria, as well as the high number of people dying daily of AIDS related complication in large part to lack of access to Anti-retroviral (ARV) medications as a result of withdrawal support by donor agencies.
Omoshein continued that “only 649,000 out of about 1.8million in need of treatment have access to drugs”.  This figure represented about 30 per cent of treatment needs.
The immediate past Director General of NACA, Professor John Idoko had responded then that there were challenges.  But he reiterated Government’s Commitment to scalling up from 600,000 to 1.4million. People on treatment, though he did not give a time frame for this ambition.
The real picture of HIV/AIDS response in Nigeria can be seen clearer when it dawns that from inception, funding for Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS intervention has been donor dependent and donor driven as 90 per cent of available funds came from donor agencies.
These agencies get involved in various forms of support ranging from training of personnel, provisions of technical knowhow, supply of life-saving drugs and kits, etc.
Comparatively, the contributions of Nigerian government was mainly  reduced to the provision of physical infrastructure, such as provision of health facilities and payment of salaries of medical and other allied personnel employed.  The core and major burden of intervention have been borne by the donor agencies.
However, most donor organizations have had issues with lack of accountability in the management of funds by Nigerian officials.  This had become a cardinal problem that has short-changed the success of the Nigerian intervention.
The result is that on several occasions, there had been drugs stock-out, which had resulted in truncation of treatment.
There had also been instances where expired drugs were dispensed, as well as fake and substandard testing kits been deployed to counseling and testing centres.
Meanwhile, myriads of PLWHIV lack access to life-saving drugs, while officials have had to destroy valuable supplies due to the expiration of the drugs.
The question that readily comes to mind is, why were these drugs not supplied to those who required them before they got bad.
In Rivers State for instance, FHI 360 is the major provider of HIV/AIDS commodities.  The implication is that if FHI 360 seizes to supply these drugs and given that the state government has not given any clear indication to commence the purchase and distribution of HIV/AIDS commodities, the fate of PLWHIV can at best be imagined.
The reason given by donor agencies for their gradual withdrawal include the global financial crisis and changes in their focus of priority, as well as funds available and the allegation of mismanagement of funds by Nigerian officials.
It is notworthy that although these donor agencies have made their intentions to pull out known long ago, nothing concrete seemed to have been done by the Nigerian government in terms of seeking solutions to replace loopholes likely to be warranted by such pull out.
The effect is that when the total pull out is finally implemented and there are not enough remedies, Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS status will be worse than what it is currently.
Beyond the alleged mismanagement of fund meant for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is a serious lack in policies to ensure smooth running of efforts geared towards checking the HIV/AIDS trend in Nigeria.
The situation is further worsened by the fact that the National Assembly has slashed NACA’s proposed N18.9billion HI V/AIDS budget for the 2016 physical year to N1.5billion.
If donor agencies have invested billions in Dollars to check the trend of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and the Nigeria government is only willing to invest N1.5billion, the implication smirks of doom.
This is because, if all the billions in dollars could only place Nigeria where it is today in HIV/AIDS, treatment, prevention, care and support, where would N1.5billion place the country. Especially given the present setting of chronic mismanagement of funds?

 

Sogbeba Dokubo

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NPC Wants Increased Support For Women, Girls’ Bodily Autonomy

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The Executive Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Alhaji Isa Kwarra, has called for increased support for women and girls’ bodily autonomy.
Kwarra made the call at a news conference on the State of the World Population (SWOP) with the theme “My body is my own: Claiming the Right to Autonomy and Self Determination” in Abuja, last Monday.
The NPC chairman emphasised the need for women and girls to make choices about their bodies, including when to marry.
He said “denying women and girls right of bodily autonomy translates to denying them rights to choices that shape their existence.
“Women and girls should have right to decide when to start having children, how to space the births of the children, decide on the number of children they wish to have.”
Kwarra, who described women’s equitable access to healthcare services without fear or violence as inalienable rights of women, condemned coercion or the practice of having someone else to decide for them.
He frowned at the practice of allowing women and girls face constraints in exercising their rights from birth to opportunities of taking decisions that should shape their lives and future.
He emphasised the importance of education for women and girls, noting that investing in girls’ education was the most effective way of generating significant economic return and progress of nations.
He reiterated the need for upholding bodily autonomy for women and girls to enhance Nigeria’s prospects to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Population, Mr Lawal Idris, commended the National Population Commission (NPC) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) for timely launch of SWOP.
Idris promised to continue to work in synergy with both the population commission and the UNFPA toward giving women and girls access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHS) essential for attaining Demographic Dividends (DD).
According to him, girl child education is paramount in the development of the country.
The Executive Director, Education as Vaccine (EVA), Ms Buky Williams, stressed the need for women and girls to access education, noting that the measure would assist in ending child marriage and its consequences.
Williams regretted that child marriage and women’s denial of access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights was responsible for high maternal mortality.

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80% Of People Use Herbal Medicine – Expert

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that about 80% of the world’s population use some form of herbal medicine.
Prof Stephen Offor , made this revelation while delivering his inaugural lecture recently, at the auditorium of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education in Rivers State.
According to him, research has proved that over 120 most commonly prescribed modern drugs, and one-fourth of all conventional pharmaceuticals, use at least one active ingredient derived from plants.
His lecture titled ‘The Grader of Plants, Our Life and Our Environment”, also disclosed that 25 percent of global prescription drugs are directly derived from plants.
Prof Offor stated further that plants produce a diverse range of bioactive molecules and secondary metabolites which are very rich resources of different types of medicine.
He noted that roughly 50,000 species of higher plants have been used medicinally, thereby affirming the global increase in the use of medicinal plants.
He explained that plants like turmeric, ginger, garlic, bitter leaf, and guava leaf are good botanical detoxitiers, immine boosters, and natural antioxidants.
He also posited that natural plant-based food preservations are generally cheaper, biologically and environmentally safer when compared to chemical preservatives.
Describing the plant as good source of renewable bio-duel like bioethanol and biodiesel, he noted that they do not emit harmful gases and are less expensive.
He noted that if such energy resources are optimally maximized, they could be used for cooking, boiling water, and heating homes and work places.
While attributing the dramatic rise in green-house gases, drought, and global warming to increased deforestation and fossil fuel combustion, he hinted that 707 out of 4,600 plant species are endangened due to environmental degradation and climate change.
Prof Offor further explained that trees and other vegetation directly remove many gaseons and particulate pollutants from the air, reduces greenhouse effect, and serve as erosion and flood control, while also improving air and water quality.
He added that a single large tree could transpire up to 100 gallons of water a day, thereby producing a cooling effect similar to five average air conditioners running for twenty hours.
Another way plants could be useful to man is in eco-remediation, a process that involves the use of locally adapted plant species to clean-up heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons from contaminated soil and ground water.
In his submission, he called for the establishment of functional plant research centres in all the states of the federation, plant conservation, and proper environmental education.
He also made case for establishment of a herbarium and botanical garden in the university, while also urging got to find conservation programmed.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Ojo-Mekuri Ndimele, in his remarks, said the lecture was a validation that plant conservation would enhance quality life for human kind.
The VC noted that research is the foundation of academics, adding that his administration is building a standard centre for research and development as he extolled the inaugural lecturer for his competence.

By: Sogbeba Dokubo

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Health Benefits Of Eating Apples

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Apples are quite expensive in the African Clime. Except
in South Africa where its grown commercially, in other parts apple come in varieties.
 Naturally apple is one of natures richest fruits in terms of nutrient and usage. Its best consumed raw so one can enjoy the huge antioxidants and other flavonoids that helps build the body. Below are its many uses:

  1. Tackles High blood Pressure:
    Savor a juicy apple and you may help keep your ticker healthy in the process. “Studies have linked apple consumption with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, which may be related to the cholesterol-lowering benefits of the soluble fiber found in apples,” say researchers.
    Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gellike material, according to the Mayo Clinic. According to the University of Illinois, soluble fiber helps prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, therefore lowering the incidence of atherosclerosis (restricted blood flow in the arteries due to plaque buildup) and heart disease. It can also help lower blood pressure levels. A study found that a higher intake of soluble fiber was associated with a decreased cardiovascular disease risk.
    Research shows that eating apples (or pears) regularly was associated with a 52 percent lower stroke risk.  Furthermore, a study published in February 2020 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating two apples a day helped study participants lower both their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
     Eating Foods With Fiber, Including Apples, Can Aid Digestion
    You’ve likely heard that fiber is good for digestion — and what you’ve heard is true! According to Harvard Health Publishing, both types of fiber (soluble and insoluble, which means it can’t be absorbed in water) are important for digestion. And you’re in luck — apples have both types, according to the University of Illinois.
    Soluble fiber helps slow down digestion, allowing you to feel full, and also slows the digestion of glucose, which helps control your blood sugar. Meanwhile, insoluble fiber can help move food through your system and aid with constipation and regularity, per Harvard.
    Just be sure to eat the apple skin, which contains much of the apple’s insoluble fiber, according to the University of Illinois in the USA.
    Apples Can Support a Healthy Immune System
    Who doesn’t want a stronger immune system going into autumn? Apples might be an important tool in your immune-supporting tool kit.
    According to research in animals, a diet filled with soluble fiber helped convert immune cells that were pro-inflammatory into anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting ones. Another animal study, published in May 2018 in the journal Immunity, found that a diet high in dietary fiber protected mice against the flu. Whether those effects would be seen in humans is unclear until there are more studies.
    Still, there’s reason to believe that apples may bolster immunity, in part because they contain immune-boosting vitamin C. A review published in November 2017 in the journal Nutrients found that vitamin C plays many roles in helping the immune system function, such as by strengthening the epithelial (a type of tissue) barrier against pathogens and guarding against environmental oxidative stress, such as pollution to radiation, according to research.
    It’s Diabetic-Friendly Fruit
    If you have type 2 diabetes, consider adding apples to your diet. Sure, they’re a fruit, but it’s a common misconception that people with diabetes can’t eat fruit.
    In this case, apples’ soluble fiber can help slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and may improve blood sugar levels, the Mayo Clinic notes. Plus, per Mayo, a healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber can lower your odds of developing type 2 diabetes in the first place.
    Furthermore, a study of people with type 2 diabetes published in August 2016 in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine found that regularly consuming soluble fiber helped reduce insulin resistance and improved blood sugar and triglyceride levels.
  2. The Antioxidants in Apples May Play a Role in Cancer Prevention
    While there’s no one surefire way to prevent cancer, apples could help play a role. “Apples may reduce the risk of certain cancers, which researchers speculate is related to the antioxidants found in apples,” says Anzlovar. Research suggests that apples have a very high level of antioxidants, and in laboratory studies, these antioxidants have been shown to limit cancer cell growth.
    A review published in October 2016 in Public Health Nutrition found that eating apples regularly is associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers, including colorectal, oral cavity, esophageal, and breast cancers.
    The fiber in apples may provide cancer-preventing perks. A study published in March 2016 in the journal Pediatrics found that women who ate more high-fiber foods during adolescence and young adulthood (especially lots of fruits and vegetables) had a lower breast cancer risk later in life.
    And another study, published in January 2019 in the journal The Lancet, found that a diet high in dietary fiber could protect against colorectal cancer and breast cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

6. Apples Can Support Healthy Weight Loss
A diet rich in fruit (and vegetables) can help you maintain a healthy weight — or shed pounds — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Because apples are filled with dietary fiber, they are high on this list. “Fiber slows digestion and the rise of blood sugar, keeping you satiated and less likely to overeat,” says Levinson.
According to that study in The Lancet, people who ate the most fiber had a significantly lower body weight. Research shows that overweight women who ate three apples a day lost 1.22 kg (2.7 pounds) after 12 weeks.

At only 95 calories for a medium-sized apple, this fruit is one you’ll want to keep on hand when sweet cravings strike.

  1. Apples May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
    Time to start eating more apples and other flavonoid-rich foods like berries and tea. Research published in August 2020 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adults age 50 and older who included only a small amount of flavonoid-rich foods like berries, apples, and tea in their diet were a whopping 2 to 4 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and related types of dementia over 20 years compared with people who ate more flavonoid-rich foods.
    On top of that, a review published in January 2020 in the journal Biomolecules found that quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples, protects neurons from oxidative damage and contains other anti-Alzheimer’s disease properties, too.

By Kevin Nengia

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