An expert in HIV/AIDS, Dr. Adesigbin Clement Olufemi, has said that in order for Nigeria to end HIV by 2030, necessary attention should be paid to checking paediatrics HIV prevalence.
Speaking at a two-day meeting on “FGN/Breakthrough Partnership, Advocacy Mapping Consultation” in Abuja, recently, Olufemi said there was the need to “expand active paediatric and adolescent HIV case-finding, using novel strategies”.
Olufemi, whose presentation was titled, “Paediatrics and Adolescent HIV Status in Nigeria: Advocacy Mapping”, also called for an improved community-focused service delivery strategies, which, he said, would focus greatly on specific identified children.
Olufemi, who is of the National AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), and Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (NASCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, and Deputy Director, Head, Treatment Care and Support at the ministry, stated the need to address demand-side barriers to uptake HIV services by children, adolescents and their families.
According to him, Nigeria will further need to implement service delivery frameworks, as well as to ensure weight-based Anti-Retroviral (ARV) prescription and transition of treatment optimisation.
These, he said, are in line with the reversed National Acceleration Plan for Paediatrics and Adolescent HIV Treatment and Care (2020-2022).
“Of course, children die of HIV because they are fragile. If we don’t find these children on time, within two years we can lose up to 50percent of them, and in five years, we can lose 80percent of them.
“Currently, Nigeria records about 12,000 children that die yearly of HIV”, he stated.
Speaking in a post-meeting exclusive interview, the Senior HIV Specialist, UNICEF, New York, Dr. Dorothy Nbori-Ngacha, explained that the essence of the two-day meeting was to work towards ending HIV/AIDS in 2030 by focusing on HIV infection in children and women.
While acknowledging that Nigeria has achieved a lot in checking HIV among adults, she stated that the country has not fared well in paediatrics infection.
“Nigeria has done something exceptionally well in adults getting tested and being placed on treatment at a high level. Over 90percent of adults needing treatment in Nigeria are already receiving treatment.
“Unfortunately, for the children, we are not doing well. Only 40percent to half the proportion we’re seeing in adults get treatment. Why are our children left behind?” she said.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
NADCEL 2022: Army Embarks On Tree Planting In Barracks
In commemoration of this year’s Army Day celebration, the Nigerian Army has embarked on tree planting exercise within barracks.
The Commander, Army Headquarters (AHQ) Garrison, Major-General Kabir Garba, who conducted the exercise alongside other officers within Mogadishu Cantonment and barracks in the AHQ Garrison’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) such as Yar’aduwa Barracks and CBA extension, at the weekend, said the exercise was a stand against deforestation in the county.
According to him, the aim is to create awareness against deforestation and to support units under his command and the barracks community to take a stand against deforestation and participate in greening of the environment.
Garba added that the tree planting exercise was also in line with the Chief of Army Staff’s position on tree planting, adding that the Army Chief has always demonstrated it by planting a tree in all the building projects he inaugurated in recent times.
“It is also worthy to note that the exercise is in line with tree planting campaign of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Buhari has pledged to plant 25 million trees in Nigeria to enhance the country’s carbon sink as part of the country’s efforts to implement the Paris Climate change agreement”, he said.
The Nigerian Army Day is celebrated across army formations and units on every July 1 to July 6.
The 2022 edition, which was billed to take place in Owerri, Imo State, commenced with a news conference last Wednesday, followed by Juma’at prayer on Friday while the interdenominational church services were held yesterday in all formations across the country.
Other activities lined up include humanitarian outreaches while grand finale would take place on July 6 in Owerri.
PDP Crisis: Wike’s Our Jagaban, Man Of Revolution –Atiku
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has described Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, as the Jagaban of the party.
Atiku said he holds Wike in high esteem, stressing that he was a man of revolution.
He disclosed this through the spokesperson of his presidential campaign, Segun Sowunmi, on Arise Television, last Friday.
He stressed that the Rivers State governor was a straightforward person who says things as they are.
“Wike is our own Jagaban; how do you explain a governor being able to keep other governors in line? One thing you can’t deny him is that he has the ability to say it as it is. He will not bend or colour things.
“Atiku holds Wike in high esteem, time and space may not bring them together, but he does. Wike is a man of revolution; he is one of the totems of PDP,” he said.
There are claims of crisis within the PDP following Atiku’s selection of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his running mate.
Strike: Redirect Presidency, NASS Budgets, Others To Meet ASUU’s Demands, SERAP Tells Buhari
The strike which has lasted more than 130 days jeopardising the future of Nigerian students also caught the attention of the organised labour threatening protest.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), had last Thursday, said it would embark on a one-day protest to force the Federal Government respond to ASUU demands.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has, therefore, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “urgently recover missing N105.7billion of public funds from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to fund the country’s public tertiary institutions, improve the welfare of staff members, and ensure that the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) return to class without further delay.”
SERAP said, “Pending the recovery of the missing public funds, we urge you to redirect some of the presidency’s budget of N3.6billion on feeding and travels, and the N134billion allocated to the National Assembly in the 2022 budget to meet the demands by ASUU.”
SERAP also urged him to “send to the National Assembly a fresh supplementary appropriation bill, which reflects the proposed redirected budget, for its approval.
In the letter dated July 2, 2022, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “Meeting the demands by ASUU would confront the persistent and widening inequality in educational opportunity, and promote equal protection for poor Nigerian children.”
According to SERAP, “The apparent failure by your government to agree with the reasonable demands by ASUU, implement the good faith agreement with the union and to satisfactorily resolve the issues has kept poor Nigerian children at home while the children of the country’s politicians attend private schools.”
The ASUU accused the government of poor commitment to the payment of academic earned allowance (EAA); poor funding, the continued use of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and refusal to adopt the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), among others.
SERAP said, “Meeting ASUU demands would also ensure protection against the harms of discrimination and educational deprivation.”
The letter, read in part: “The poor treatment of Nigerian children in the country’s public tertiary institutions is inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations.
“Widening inequalities in the area of education bear all the more dramatic consequences given the importance of education, as an empowering right, in giving the possibility to all to explore and realise their potential.
“Inequalities in education have a rolling effect, leading to even more and continued inequalities in the future.
“Apart from being a right in itself, the right to education is also an enabling right. Education creates the ‘voice’ through which rights can be claimed and protected, and without education people lack the capacity to achieve valuable functioning as part of the living.
“If people have access to education they can develop the skills, capacity and confidence to secure other rights. Education gives people the ability to access information detailing the range of rights that they hold, and government’s obligations.
“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.
“Recovering the missing N105.7billion of public funds and redirecting the funds, as well as some parts of the presidency and National Assembly budgets to meet the demands by ASUU would end the protracted negotiations between ASUU and the Federal Government and improve access of poor children to education.
“Recovering the missing N105.7billion of public funds and redirecting the funds, as well as some parts of the presidency and National Assembly budgets to meet the demands by ASUU would also be in the public interest.
“The proposed spending of taxpayers’ and public funds would also be consistent with constitutional responsibilities and oath of office by public officers, as well as comply with Chapter 2 of the Nigerian Constitution relating to fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy.
“Recovering the missing N105.7billion of public funds and redirecting the funds, as well as some parts of the presidency and National Assembly would be entirely consistent with your constitutional oath of office, and with the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution, as it would promote equal opportunities for poor children who rely on public schools and have no opportunity for university education elsewhere.
“SERAP is concerned that Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions have continued to experience a steady decline. The quality of public education offered is low and standards have continued to drop. The learning environment does not promote effective learning.
“Public school facilities are in a state of extreme disrepair, requiring major rehabilitation. Basic teaching and learning resources are generally not available, leaving many lecturers and other staff members profoundly demoralised.
“The failure to end the ASUU strike has hugely contributed to denying poor Nigerian children access to quality education, opportunities and development. The enjoyment of the right to education for millions of poor children remains a distant goal.
“Under international law, states are required to progressively implement socio-economic rights, including the right to quality education commensurate with the level of resources available. Gross misallocation of resources to the detriment of the enjoyment of the right to quality education can constitute a human rights violation.
“A violation of the right to education will occur when there is insufficient expenditure or misallocation of public resources which results in the non-enjoyment of access to education by poor Nigerian children.
“The failure to meet the reasonable demands by ASUU cannot be justified especially given the failure and/or refusal by the Federal Government to recover trillions of Naira reportedly missing in ministries, departments and agencies, and the huge funds allocated to the presidency and the National Assembly in the 2022 budget.
“According to our information, N105.7billion of public funds are missing, as documented by the Auditor-General of the Federation in his annual audited report for 2018. Also, while the presidency has budgeted N3.6billion for feeding and travels, N134billion has been allocated to the National Assembly in the 2022 budget.
“Furthermore, ASUU and other university workers’ unions have been on strike for several months. The unions’ demands, among other things, include better funding for the nation’s public tertiary institutions and improved welfare for their members.
“While your government has reportedly released N34billion for the payment of minimum wage consequential adjustments from 2019, ASUU has maintained that until its core demands are met, it will not suspend the strike.
“In protest of the continuous use of IPPIS and refusal by the Federal Government to implement the renegotiated 2009 agreement that was completed in May, 2021, ASUU resumed nationwide strike on February 14.”
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