The country’s apex body of scientists, the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS), has said measures put in place by the Federal Government to check the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the country came too late.
Although the government had earlier insisted that it was “well-prepared and ready to contain Coronavirus, if it eventually broke out”, decisive steps were not taken until the number of cases started rising, after an Italian tested positive on February 27.
The Federal Government has now closed the country’s borders, and the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states are on lockdown, following orders issued by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Some states have also locked their boundaries, while also shutting markets, schools, churches, mosques and other public places.
But the Nigerian Academy of Science said the Federal Government should have acted earlier.
The academy specifically faulted the failure to monitor visitors who arrived from high risk countries, as well as the delay in stopping flights coming into Nigeria from such nations.
In an interview with newsmen, President of the NAS, Prof. Mosto Onuoha, noted that the government started doing the right things when it was already late.
Assessing the government’s response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, Onuoha said, “The response was late in many areas – we should have been monitoring people coming from high risk areas.
“The Federal Government should have stopped flights coming from some countries early enough but that was not done until it became late.
“It was as if the Federal Government could not take that action because it was afraid of those countries due to the fact that we depend on them in many areas.”
The academy, an independent scientific body, also acts as an advisor to the government but our correspondent learnt that recommendations forwarded by the scientists to the authorities on ways to tackle the disease in the country were not acted on.
According to Onuoha, NAS sent the recommendations to the Federal Government even before the Coronavirus disease was recorded in the country.
The academy sent its advice to the government after the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed Nigeria among 13 African countries that were vulnerable to the disease due to close economic contacts with China, the country where the pandemic originated from.
The Federal Government’s reaction to the WHO warning was to set aside the sum of N620million, reportedly to monitor, detect and contain the virus in a bid to prevent an outbreak of the disease in the country.
With the disease now in the country, the NAS also believes that the government is not conducting enough tests.
“They are not conducting enough tests to detect those that are already infected. The government is not testing as many people as they should test,” he said.
Onuoha equally faulted the state governments for waiting until cases were recorded in their territories before taking steps to curb the spread.
“Many of the states were not doing anything. Apart from Lagos State, many of them did not have anything on the ground until they had their first cases.
“Also, the Federal Government did not do much to carry the states along in plans to check the disease,” he observed.
However, Onuoha said many Nigerians are not playing their part in the campaign against COVID-19.
He said, “People are flouting some of the directives issued by the government and the WHO on ways to curb the spread.
“Even there are so many people that believe the disease is not for them.”
The academy also called on the government to provide palliatives for Nigerians who are adversely affected by the lockdown.
Onuoha warned that the lockdown could be counter-productive if measures were not put in place to alleviate its economic consequences on vulnerable Nigerians.
The NAS, in the same vein, welcomed the planned visit of Chinese medical experts to Nigeria.
The Federal Government had on Friday disclosed that the medical team would visit the country to assist in efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
Some Nigerians have expressed concerns about the planned visit amid suspicions over China’s role in the emergence of the pandemic.
There are calls on the government to reject the Chinese assistance.
Onuoha said there was nothing wrong in Nigeria accepting medical assistance from China.
“I personally do not see anything wrong with that. China is currently sending help to many countries, I don’t see why Nigeria should not accept the help, especially if those coming are medical experts.
“China is one of our major partners and they have a lot to lose if Nigeria goes down.
“If we can accept economic and technological assistance from China, I don’t see why we should not accept medical help,” the NAS President added.
Renew Fight Against HIV/AIDS, EDOSACA Boss Charges Stakeholders
Amidst seeming less attention given to the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS following the emergence of Covid-19, the Executive Director of the Edo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (EDOSACA), Mrs. Flora Edemode Oyakhilome, has called on stakeholders to show more commitment, if the 2030 target of eliminating the epidemic can be achieved.
The EDOSACA boss, who made the call while fielding questions from journalists immediately after the just concluded two-day South-South HIV media roundtable held in Port Harcourt, said the 38th International AIDS Candlelights Memorial was implemented in Edo State.
According to her, the commemoration should serve as a reminder for both those infected and affected, as well as the vulnerable in our society of those who have died as a result of the pandemic.
She stated that the theme for this year’s commemoration, “One Big Fight for Health and Rights of People Living with HIV”, is apt.
“With just nine years to go in the UNAIDS ambitious targets of eliminating HIV/AIDS by the year 2030 through the 95:95:95 strategy aimed at achieving zero new infection by 2030, the well chosen theme for this year’s memorial, which is ‘One Big Fight for Health and Rights of People Living with HIV’, is nothing but a renewed call for girding our loins and redoubling our efforts towards the achievement of this target, especially with globally increasing rates of societal and workplace stigma and discrimination, and domestic gender-based violence, as well other acts of rights denial against People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHIV).
“The right time is now or never for all soldiers and gatekeepers in the global war against this most lingered pandemic to join efforts, time and resources towards greater outcomes and dividends from this year’s theme, which encapsulates in one dose the non-pharmaceutical panecea against HIV/AIDS”, she said.
Towards this renewed fight, the EDOSACA boss urged stakeholders to turn a new leaf.
“As the event is marked today, all should go into sober reflection over the plight of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as the vulnerable one not yet infected and work towards the mitigation of their sufferings and plan for greater improvement in their living standards through economic and academic empowerment, capacity building, skills aqusition and skills improvement, nutritional support, access to quality health services, free prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services, free legal aids, etc., especially for Adolescents and Young People (AYP), widows and orphans,” he said.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
Health Benefits Of Eating Apples (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 Centre 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.
- 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 aged 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
We Are Supporting States To Intensify Cholera Outbreak Response – NCDC
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it has activated a multi-sectoral National Cholera Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), following an increase in cholera cases across the country.
The NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this in a statement made available to The Tide in Abuja.
According to a document made available to The Tide states that since the beginning of the 2021, 10,833 suspected cholera cases have been reported with 112 confirmed cases and 289 deaths.
In the last one month, an increasing number of cholera cases has been reported across the states.
The most affected states are Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Zamfara, Bayelsa and Kaduna.
Given the risk of large outbreaks across states, Ihekweazu said that the agency had activated an EOC.
“The EOC is co-led with the Federal Ministries of Environment and Water Resources, given the link between cholera and water, sanitation and hygiene.
“The National EOC has been supporting states to ensure a coordinated, rapid and effective response to the ongoing outbreak.
“This includes the deployment of National Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to support the response at state level, provision of medical and laboratory supplies, scale up of risk communications amongst other activities,” he explained.
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