Members of the Rivers State Association of the deaf have raised alarm over what they christen “marginalisation and neglect” by the state government.
Speaking to The Tide on Thursday, the Chairman of the body, Comrade Tamunoibi Chamberlain, who led a delegation of three to The Tide in Port Harcourt, said the alleged marginalisation and neglect is a result of the government’s “non-chalant attitude towards our plight.”
According to the chairman, several attempts have been made “to get through to the state government to tell them our problems so that they can help us, but nothing has come out of it.”
The crux of their plight, according to the chairman, is that no opportunity is given them to prove themselves suitable for employment, even after the body officially registered with the Ministry of Social Development, Youth and Sports in 1994, a year after its formation.
Comrade Chamberlain noted that the body has over 400 members, out of which only five members are employed by the State Governments, at the School for the Deaf.
He explained that over 2oo of the members have completed their secondary education, ten of them have National Diplomas and National Certificate of Education (NCE), while only one is a first degree holder in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
The body, also has “over 35 members who are skilled in various fields that could earn them employment if given the opportunity”, he said.
Chamberlain continued that “because of the neglect, some of our members are compelled to go into such areas as street begging and prostitution to earn a living.
“We are not begging them (government) to come and give us money. All we want is for government to give us the opportunity for us to have access to necessary education and job opportunities so we would not always be seen as beggers,” he said.
On his part, General Secretary of the body, Mr Akim Ade also called on the government to look into the plight of the School for the Handicapped in Creek Road, saying that the school needs facilities and competent teachers to function effectively.
“All of this adds up to the neglect because even our education is given less attention,” he said.
They thus urged, the state government to “please come to our aid by including us in the scheme of things so we can have a sense of belonging.
“I promise the government that if they can give us necessary opportunities, among other things, we can even help to rid the streets of fake beggers.”
Also present in the delegation was Mr Opuene Yellowe, the vice chairman of the body.
NYSC Boss Charges Corps Members On Host Communities Development
The Rivers State Coordinator, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), George Mfongang, has charged Corps members serving in the State to ensure landmark improvement of the organisation of their primary assignment.
Giving the charge at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Batch C, Stream 1 Orientation Course Exercise in Port Harcourt, Mfongang urged them “to impact positively not only in the organisation, but also the lives of the people of the State”.
Mfongang, who noted the roles of corps members in places of primary assignments, said such roles would be adjudged right when they positively impact on the lives of their host communities.
According to him, the corps members imbibed and exhibited the spirit of patriotism, resilience and hardwork during the 3-Weeks course exercise and stressed the need for sustainability “to make landmark improvements in the lives of the good people of Rivers State”.
While reminding the corps members of the Oath of Allegiance they swore to in camp, Mfongang insisted that they integrate with their host communities as well as respect the culture of the people to ensure a hitch-free service year.
The State NYSC Coordinator stressed the need for corps members to keep to the rules and regulations of workplaces and remain ever guided by the provisions of the NYSC Act and Bye-laws.
“I charge you all to strive to meet up with the expectations of Nigerians in your places of primary assignments”, he stated.
Mfongang further charged the corps members to perform their duties with utmost diligence, in line with global best practices.
By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu
Health Experts Urge Parents To Vaccinate Children Against Rotavirus
A health specialist, Immunization, UNICEF, Abuja, Dr Patrick Akor, has called on parents to vaccinate their children against Rotavirus disease.
Rotavirus is a highly contagious disease among infants, and major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality.
Dr. Akor, who was speaking at a press briefing on diarrheal diseases caused by Rotavirus at the Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board (RSPHCMB) in Port Harcourt, yesterday, also disclosed that the disease is a key cause of malnutrition among infants.
“Rotavirus disease is a highly contagious virus that causes severe diarrhea amongst infants and children all over the world.
“It is the leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in developing countries and an important cause of malnutrition.
“Diarrhea accounts for 15% of under-5 mortality in Nigeria, with a prevalence rate of 18.8%. On average, over 200,000 children under the age of five die annually from diarrhea disease”, he said.
Akor, who represented the UNICEF Chief of Health, Dr Eduardo Caledes, at the briefing, further stated that majority of Rotavirus infections occur in infancy.
“In Nigeria, more than 50% of hospitalisations result from Rotavirus infection, and 77% of these Rotavirus hospitalisations occurred in infants (children under the age of one year), which is also consistent with the age epidemiology on deaths from diarrhea diseases”, he stated.
Rotavirus, he continued, “is spread mainly by faeco-oral transmission and characterised by diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and severe dehydration, which may lead to death.
“Modelling studies estimate that over 600,000 deaths between 2018-2027 can be prevented by the introduction of the Rotavirus vaccines.”
He disclosed that “UNICEF is supporting Nigeria for the procurement and supply of the Rotavirus vaccines with a total of 19 million doses of Rotavirus vaccines, which will be expected in the country before the end of the year”.
The UNICEF immunization Health Chief assured that the vaccines would be administered to children in accordance with Nigeria’s immunization schedules at 6 weeks,10 weeks and 14 weeks of age, and to other children less than one year of age.
“I would like to encourage parents and guardians to take their children to the nearest health facility for vaccination of the Rotavirus vaccines and other antigens”, he said.
Also speaking, the Deputy Programme Manager, National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Ahmed-Rufai Garba, said Rotavirus is documented to be responsible for more than 25% of all diarrhea diseases.
“The number of deaths in under-5 children is really scary, but today, the Nigerian Government is providing the vaccines free for every child that’s eligible to access it”, he said.
On his part, the Rivers State Immunization Officer, Dr. Joseph Inwon Urang, stated that the Rotavirus vaccines are available in all primary and tertiary healthcare facilities that conduct immunization in Rivers State.
“The approach we’re using is Fixed Post Approach, where people come to access the vaccine.
“Immediately after the routine immunization intensification, we’ll add the Rotavirus vaccines as part of our routine immunization”, he said.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
NDBDA MD Tasks Staff On Productivity
The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA), Engr. Mark Daso Derefaka, has called on staff of the Authority to brace-up for the challenges of repositioning the Authority on the path of increased productivity.
Derefaka said this in a welcome address at the opening ceremony of the 56th FMWR/All River Basin Trade Group meeting in Port Harcourt.
He said the Authority has braved the odds and established No.1 Songhai farm in each of the senatorial districts, making eight so far established within the Authority’s catchment areas.
“We have started PPP arrangements with external bodies to implement our projects in various states of the region .
“As a partially commercialised RBDA, we need to think outside the box to meet-up the task ahead”, he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Federal Ministry of Water Resources/River Basin Development Authority’s Trade Group, Comrade Mudi Olayinka Raji, said “the union will not antagonise any management, and we have not positioned ourselves as a pressure group, but rather as a partner in progress”.
According to him, in most cases, their intentions are misunderstood.
“Our congress strongly believe that our progress and wellbeing is in the development of our various River Basin Authorities. This has left us with no other choice than to give our maximum support to the managing directors and the management as a whole”, he said.
He said further that the union is determined to achieve a better salary for its members..
Earlier in her welcome adress, the Niger Basin Development Authority Chairman, National Union of Agriculture and Allied Employees, Mrs Ifiemi Ikpaikpa, said the event provides the union another opportunity to re-evaluate the progress the agency has made in the actualisation of goverment’s set objectives, project the way foreward, and further equip staff with the necessary tools to promote industrial harmony .
She also said the union has grown in leaps and bounds as the leadership strongly believe that dialogue, negotiation, and collective bargaining are the hallmarks of a labour Union in a present day industrial relations compliant environment.
“The Union leadership under my watch has surpassed the benchmarks we set for ourselves as excellent.
“Our results speaks volumes for us, such that even in the eyes of the storm, we have kept our peace and so our focus did not shift”, she said.
Mrs Ikpaikpa also charged the management of Various River Basin Development Authorities to undertake critical assesment of the needs of their catchment areas during planning.
“Funds earmarked for projects and other development initiatives should be judiciously used for massive turnaround of facilities in our host communities”she said.
She commended members for their support so far, and also solicited their sustained cooperation to management to enable it achieve set objectives.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards to some distinguish personalities .
By: John Bibor
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