The World Health Organisation (WHO), yesterday, insisted that there was no approved vaccine in Nigeria or any part of Africa for the treatment of novel Coronavirus, saying that researches were still ongoing on the deadly viral disease.
The WHO Immunisation Team Lead, Dr. Fiona Braka, who gave this indication in Abuja, said that Covid-19, being a new disease, has no ready vaccines, adding that public safety was the key consideration of WHO campaign for now.
“Covid-19 is a new disease, and as such, there are no ready vaccines available to be deployed for the control of the pandemic.
“However, a lot of research and scientific works are ongoing to develop vaccines, but these usually take time to ensure that it is safe for use in the wider population and also effective for control of the pandemic.
“Public safety is a key consideration in this process,” the WHO team lead said.
Braka said that the claims of vaccines developed for the Covid-19 were untrue and not to the knowledge of the WHO.
“WHO is not aware of vaccine for Covid-19 in Nigeria.
“There is a large scientific study (clinical trial) involving many countries to review the effectiveness of some drugs for the treatment of Covid-19 going on at the moment.
“The result of this clinical trial will help understand the efficacy of these drugs and may inform the review of the case management guidelines,” she said.
On the assessment of Nigeria’s performance in curbing the spread of Covid-19, Braka said that the world health body’s partnership with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had been helpful.
“Nigerian Government through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and supported by WHO had developed a preparedness plan for Covid-19 and was implementing this plan when the first case was reported.
“A network of five Covid-19 testing laboratories was set up before the confirmation of the first case and has since been expanded to six additional laboratories over the past two weeks, making a total of 11 laboratories currently.
“From the onset of the outbreak, WHO has developed clinical guidance with input from clinicians around the globe, including in Nigeria.
“These resources include the updated Clinical Management Guidance for Covid-19, the Clinical Care training materials, and the Global Covid-19 Clinical Data Platform, the data tool which makes it possible for WHO to collect core clinical data from hospitalised patients to inform understanding of Covid-19.
“The guidance is continually reviewed, as more evidence becomes available.
“The government has scaled up isolation facilities capacity at state level to ensure readiness to receive Covid-19 patients,” she said.
Braka said that there would be more close observation, while the guidelines of operations of all the agencies assisting in the curbing of Covid-19 would be updated.
“The guidance of the clinical data platform will be continually reviewed, as more evidence becomes available.
“The government has scaled up isolation facilities capacity at state level to ensure readiness to receive Covid-19 patients and all these helped with the containment of the first cluster of cases.
“With the return of more Nigerians from countries where the outbreak was reported, more cases have been reported and these have been more challenging to contain.
“The government at national and state levels have provided leadership for the response and more needs to be done at the state level as the cases continue to increase,” she said.
Braka, however, listed the key areas of interventions for curbing Covid-19 to include non-pharmaceutical, such as social distancing, surveillance, contact tracing, among others.
“The key areas of interventions required now are non-pharmaceutical interventions like social distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene.
“Others, in addition to rigorous surveillance, are case identification, laboratory diagnosis, contact tracing and isolation and care for all confirmed cases.
CAS Lauds Troops For Exceptional Performance In South-East Operation
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has lauded Nigerian Air Force (NAF) troops for exceptional performance in ongoing Joint Task Force in the South-East code-named “Operation Udo Ka II”.
Abubakar said this yesterday in Enugu during his maiden visit and tour of operational and training assets and facilities within NAF Ground Training Command (GTC), Enugu.
He noted that NAF troops had done exceptionally well and recorded series of success in the joint operation meant to keep the South-East safe and secured for all.
The CAS noted that the GTC Command was highly important to NAF as it housed the ground component (non technical component) as well as a unit of air component necessary to ensure the attainment of the mandate of NAF.
He said: “Today, we are in Enugu, which is the host of the GTC Command in our maiden visit and we are here to interact with the NAF personnel, see the facilities and infrastructure on ground.
“We are also here to encourage the personnel to continue to do the good job they had been doing before now.
“The GTC Command and the Air Training Command are key to all of our activities in NAF and the two commands ensure we have the adequate and skilled manpower for all our activities and operations.
“I am also here to strengthen our activities within Operation Udo Ka II, which Enugu is the headquarters, and see how we can achieve greater successes more than what we are having now and ensure that South-East is totally secured.”
He disclosed that 750 personnel were currently undergoing training and would be graduating between December 2023 and January, 2024.
“These training are important to us in terms of our operation; and the current number is very significant amount of manpower to be injected into our operations and other activities in the country,” he said.
On the inspection in the new GTC Command Headquarters, new 553 Base Services Group (BSG) Headquarters and BSG Annex; Abubakar said that he was quite satisfied and impressed with the pace, level and quality of work done already.
“I have taken out time to inspect the projects and asked questions about the projects and I tell you that I am satisfied with what are on ground and all our assets and facilities are well maintained and protected,” he said.
The NAF boss commended NAF officers, airmen and airwomen in GTC Command for “doing a good job and keeping the flag flying high” as well as extolled their sacrifices and commitment to duties as well.
“I am very happy for their performance. We at the NAF headquarters, we are doing all we can to make sure they have all the necessary support and equipment as well as welfare and accommodation to carry out their jobs effectively,” he said.
He assured NAF personnel of doing more by providing all necessary infrastructures to ensure the maximum working of the GTC Command.
The CAS also inaugurated a renovated airmen’s club and new Mrs Rakiya Abubakar Children’s Park as well as inspected the water treatment and reticulation system and the hospital within NAF Base, Abakpa in Enugu.
UNIBADAN Lecturer Wins Best Thesis Dollar Prize
The Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), University of Lagos, has announced Dr Muhammad Ribadu as winner of this year’s Rahamon Bello Best Ph.D thesis in African Studies award.
The Director of the institute, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye, made the announcement in a statement issued to newsmen yesterday in Lagos.
Ribadu, of the University of Ibadan, will be rewarded with a total of 1000 dollars, a plaque and a certificate.
Falaiye said a total of 18 entries for the 4th edition of competition were received from various universities in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa
He gave the title of the winning thesis as: The Social Context of Gentrification in Lagos State; Ph.D (Jan. 2023) Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan.
“The first runner up for this competition was Oluwaseyi Popogbe, currently a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Crawford University in Ogun.
“The title of his thesis is: Social Exclusion and Poverty in Selected Coastal Slum Areas in Lagos State; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) Department of Economics University of Lagos.
“The second runner up position went to Dr Charles Akwen, currently a lecturer at the Department of English, University of Lagos.
“Akwen’s thesis is titled: Notions of Identity in the Literary Creativity of Odia Ofeimun and Yang Mu; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) English Literature, University of Lagos,” the director stated.
He said that both the first and second runners up would be awarded plaques and certificates in recognition of their contributions and hard work.
Falaiye noted that the competition was in honour of Prof. Rahamon Bello, who was the 10th Vice Chancellor of the university, at the time the institute was inaugurated.
The prize money is usually donated every year for the award by friends of Prof. Bello.
Falaiye said that Dec, 6, had been fixed for the presentation of the awards.
The Tide source reports that the award was first presented in 2020.
States, LGs Lack Infrastructure To Manage Ecological Fund, Shun Queries – Perm Sec
The 36 states of the federation and the 774 local government councils have no structure in place to manage Ecological Fund.
The declaration was made in Abuja, yesterday, by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Malam Shehu Ibrahim.
Ibrahim made the declaration at an interactive session with the House Representatives Committee on Ecological Fund.
He said since states and local governments began to share the fund with the Federal Government they had not been able to put structures in place to manage their share.
The Ecological Fund is an intervention fund by the Federal Government to address the multifarious ecological challenges in various communities in the country.
Ibrahim told the house committee that the sharing of the fund among the three tiers of government followed a court decision.
He said governors and local council chairmen never welcomed queries about how they deployed the ecological funds.
“It is a `no-go’ area,’’ he quipped.
“They don’t want to see officials of the Ecological Project Office near them; so we cannot ask them how they spend the money,’’ he added.
Ibrahim said also that all motions by the National Assembly regarding intervention on ecological project matters had been treated.
“The Ecological Project Office acts expeditiously on documents sent to it to solve problems; it looks at some of the gaps within the motion and tries to fill the gaps, and we have had more than five of such motions.
“ The Ecological Project Office does not handle funds; it only appraises projects and makes recommendations to the president,’’ he said.
The permanent secretary explained that it is the Ministry of Finance that manages the fund and the projects.
He stressed that it was a misconception that the Ecological Project Office is in charge of funds and at liberty to decide on where projects would be sited with the money in its coffers.
He said whenever there were interventions; the Ecological Project Office informed affected communities and went with the contractor to hand over the projects to the community.
This is to enable the community to take ownership of the intervention and communicate their observations to the project office.
Responding, Rep. Sani Jaji (APC-Kaura Namoda/ Birnin Magaji), chairman of the committee, said there should always be stakeholders engagement before embarking on ecological fund intervention projects.
He noted that the projects were stakeholders’ projects and failure to include the stakeholders would always lead to security breach.
“So many things happened with UNICEF’s polio vaccine rejection; but when it included stakeholders, people began to accept the vaccine.
“It is critical to involve stakeholders and ensure equity. Security cannot be the reason why you won’t execute projects in certain parts of the country.
“The perception about your office is that there is money out there; so you need to change that perception and let people know that you have limitations about the execution of projects,’’ he said.
Jaji challenged the Ecological Fund Project Office to provide the needed advice to the president to enable him to take the correct steps.