No fewer than 13,000 cases of Tuberculosis (TB) have been under reported in Nigeria annually due mainly to failure of private healthcare providers to partner with the various state TB and Leprosy Control programmes.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria Tuberculosis (TB) Surveillance Officer, Rivers State Communicable Diseases Cluster, Dr Ayakeme Udom Ekpoudom, who stated this, added that due to poor treatment of TB patients by some private healthcare facilities, the incidence rate of TB in the country has increased.
Ekpoudom made the disclosures during an event organised by the Rivers State Ministry of Health to commemorate the 2018 World TB Day at the Rivers State House of Assembly in Port Harcourt, last Saturday, with the theme: “Wanted: Leaders To End TB in Rivers State”.
The event was preceded by a road walk from St Andrew’s State School, Mile One, Diobu to the Rivers State House of Assembly Complex on Moscow Road, Port Harcourt.
The WHO officer lamented that a lot of people prefer to go to private health centres, which were even more costly than the government facilities for the treatment of TB, adding that this was one of the reasons why statistics on reported cases of TB were scarcely available.
He complained that the treatment many patients receive from the private healthcare facilities was sub-standard compared to the international best quality treatment given to TB patients at the government-controlled TB centres across the 23 local government areas of the state.
“A lot of people go to the private facilities and are probably treated for TB, and yet as a nation, we don’t have them on our record. We don’t know them, and they are sometimes poorly treated,” he argued.
He appealed to the private medical sector to partner with the state TB and Leprosy Control Programme to ensure that every TB patient in the state receive the same quality care that will ensure free and effective treatment of the patient in line with international best practices.
Ekpoudom stressed that the theme for this year’s event was a clarion call for everyone in position of power to use the instruments of his or her offices to fight TB, and warned that those with TB symptoms such as coughing for two or more weeks, weight lost, breathlessness, fever and restlessness at night to report to any of the TB care centres located at the 23 LGAs of the state instead of spreading the TB disease to the larger population.
He appealed to faith-based organizations to report suspected cases to the state TB programme by calling the phone number 08002255282 for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Also speaking, the State TB Programme Manager, Dr Victor Oris Onyiri identified two types of TB treatment: the simple which treatment lasts for six months and the complicated TB which treatment lasts for 9-12 months.
Onyiri said that both treatments were free of charge, adding that when TB virus is detected early, there was the likelihood of cure.
Susan Serekara-Nwikhana & Victory Amirani
Minister Urges NDDC Board To Be Unique
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Okon Umana, has called on the newly inaugurated Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to ensure they make a difference for the development of the region.
Umana said this in his keynote remarks, while declaring open the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board and Management retreat in Uyo, at the weekend.
He said the inauguration of the board was meant to enhance the development of the Niger Delta Region and charged them to live above board in the discharge of their duties.
He urged them to strictly adhere to the rules of due diligence and transparency in line with the Establishment and Public Procurement Acts.
He said the inauguration of the board was meant to enhance the development of the Niger Delta region, adding that the region, which has suffered neglect and deprivation for so long, needed a new lease of life
The minister called on the board to focus on key areas like the establishment act and public procurement act as Nigerians expect a turnaround of the commission to reflect the core mandate of developing the region.
Umana called on the participants to set a template that would facilitate rapid development of the niger delta and Nigeria in general.
“This retreat is principally to ensure that the new board are properly equipped to provide a new direction for the development of the Niger Delta region,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NDDC, Chief Samuel Ogbuku, in his address of welcome, said the board was expected to do something differently to take the Niger Delta region to greater hight.
Ogbuku said the new board had a template for sustainable programme for youths and every citizen of the region.
He said the commission would endeavour to create partnership with International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other stakeholders through public private partnerships initiative.
He urged participants to evolve ideas, programmes and blueprints towards taking the region to a new level of development.
“We will soon unfold our packages for the development of the region. The Niger Delta Development Commission Board is expected to make great difference this time around,” he said.
The Tide’s source reports that the three-day retreat for NDDC board and management is with the theme; “NDDC: Making a Difference.”
The source also reports that a communique is expected at the end of the retreat to address issues affecting the niger delta region and proffer possible solutions.
FG Trains 50 Farmers On Agroforestry Model In Edo
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has trained 50 coconut farmers and processors on agroforestry system-based plantation model, to improve the livelihoods of the farmers in Edo State.
The capacity building was organised under the coconut value chain of the ministry, in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin.
Declaring the training open, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said the exercise was part of efforts of the Federal Government to attain food security and self-sufficiency in Nigeria.
Represented by Chukwuemeka Ukattah, a Director in the ministry, Abubakar said President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to turn around the nation’s economy through agriculture by its unwavering support for farmers and empowerment of women and youths.
He said it was an effort to attain food security, self-sufficiency as well as improve the livelihood of coconut farmers and processors.
“The government, through the coconut value chain, decided to provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain a successful coconut plantation.
“We will cover topics such as nursery establishment, field development, harvesting and processing to meet local and international markets standard and demand.
“With the right training, coconut value chain has the potentials to contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP and generate employment,” Abubakar said.
The Executive Director of NIFOR, Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, who welcomed participants to the workshop, said Nigeria’s coconut production was far below the demand.
“I am sure that if the National Coconut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) works with this agroforestry based plantation model, the value chain will be on a scale to contribute significantly to our economy.
“We suddenly got a huge demand for coconut seedlings in the last three to four years and we were caught napping because we did not prepare for the fact that there was going to be an upsurge in the demand for coconut seedlings,” he said.
Ikuenobe explained that NIFOR was strengthening its capacity to meet the sudden upsurge in the demand for the seedlings.
“We are working to invigorate our coconut gardens in addition to other identified seed trees,” he added.
According to him, in the last two years, “we have replanted our coconut germplasm and in the next five years, there will be enough to provide nuts and materials for the industry.”
Council Re-Proclaims Ekpo Abasi-Otu As Obong Of Calabar
The Etubom’s Conclave of the Obong of Calabar Palace has re-proclaimed Edidem Ekpo Abasi-Otu V, as the Obong of Calabar.
This was in compliance with the Supreme Court Judgement of January 13, which ordered the Etubom’s Conclave of the Obong of Calabar’s Palace to conduct fresh selection process for the throne of the Obong of Calabar.
Chairman, Etubom’s Conclave, Etubom Ntiero Effiwat, stated this recently while reading a document signed by 13 of the conclave members before the others at the palace of the Obong of Calabar.
According to Effiwat, Abasi-Otu of Adiabo Ikot Mbo Otu House, having fully satisfied with candidate qualifications and eligibility, the Etubom’s Conclave therefore, declared him the successor.
“He is hereby on this day, Jan. 18, 2023 been proclaimed as successor to the throne of the Obong of Calabar.
“The qualified Etuboms who fall under this group were communicated to and directed to produce and present their nominee to the Etubom’s Conclave by Jan. 18, 2023.
“The most senior Etubom of Atai Iboku group, Etubom Otu Efa-Otu, presented thier selected nominee for the throne of Obong of Calabar in person of HRH, Ekpo Abasi-Otu of Adiabo Ikot Mbo Otu House,” he said.
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