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RSG, US Govt Partner To Tackle Infectious Diseases

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The Rivers State Government has expressed appreciation to the United States Government for its immense support and sustained contributions that had helped in reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS in the state while improving the overall health of the people.
Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Oreh, expressed the appreciation when she hosted and conducted the Consul General of the United States Consulate, Mr Will Steven, who was on a one-day working visit to the State, round critical facilities at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH), yesterday.
Oreh recalled that the National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) of 2018 had put Rivers State HIV prevalence at 3.8 percent, which was above the national average of 1.4 percent, showing an unmet need of over 79 percent.
Consequently, Oreh said Rivers State was categorised as a high burden, low saturation and prioritisation State, leading to the establishment of the SURGE project by the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) in April 2019 to address the challenge.
Oreh pointed out that with sufficient funding from the United States Government and technical support from the US Center for Diseases Control (CDC), the Rivers State Government through the Ministry of Health administered the AIDS and STIs control programmes efficiently to close the gaps.
“The project has achieved the followings: the provision of enhanced HIV testing services (HTS) to over 4,805,619 persons in the state especially in local government areas with high number of estimated persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs).
“These services were taken to the doorsteps of residents in the various communities in addition to the traditional methods of providing HTS in the facilities. There was also increased number of facilities providing Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) services from 88 to 114,” she said.
In his remark, the Consul General of the United States Consulate, Mr Will Steven, said his country’s government was more interested in Nigerians to know that HIV/AIDS was preventable, and no mother should give birth to HIV-positive child if proper precautions were taken.
“So, how do we make sure they are healthy? That we are building the health system that we need to build and put in place so that they can have a future? This is why I am so excited to be here today.
“We are here to talk about preventing mother-to-child transmission. No child should be born with HIV/AIDS. It is preventable. And what you are doing here is preventing it.
“This incredible testing and the support you are giving to the mothers before they give birth and afterwards is ensuring that the next generation doesn’t have to face those threats,” he said.
In his speech, the Acting Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Rivers State University, Prof Chizindu Alikor, said RSUTH has expanded from 200-bed to 500-bed facility.
“It has also been strengthened with the partnership from the US Government to become reputable as a centre for AIDS care and data capturing authenticity. It remains committed to service, research and manpower development,” Alikor added.

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Fubara Promises To Maximise Youth Potentials In Rivers

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has affirmed his administration’s focus in prioritising policies that will maximise the potentials of the youths in the State.
Fubara made this declaration yesterday at the State NYSC permanent orientation camp, Nonwa-Gbam Tai, in Tai Local Government Area during the swearing-in ceremony of 2024 Batch A Stream 1 corps members deployed to Rivers State.
This was contained in a statement by the Head of Press Unit, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Juliana Masi, yesterday.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services Bureau, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Sir Samson Friday Dede, the governor commended the NYSC Scheme for the positive impacts it is making in the nation’s quest for sustained development.
“My administration will be unwavering and fully focused in supporting the youths in maximizing their potentials”, he said.
He assured the corps members of his administration’s commitment in supporting them to achieve the mandate of uniting and integrating to the nation.
The governor further admonished corps members to take full advantage of the camp programmes and activities to equip themselves to contribute to nation building.
Earlier, Coordinator, NYSC, Rivers State, Mr. George Mfongang, had urged the corps members to be in the forefront of the nation’s development by being hard working, disciplined and morally sound.
He commended them for being passionate and enthusiastic in imbibing the lessons of the orientation exercise.
The Coordinator thanked Governor Fubara for his unflinching commitment in ensuring the security and welfare of corps members in the State especially, the payment of State allowance to them.
A total of 1,585 Corps members made up of 819 males and 766 females took the oath of allegiance at the ceremony that was administered by Justice Ibiwengi Roseline Minakiri.

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FG, Cement Manufacturers Agree On N7,000, N8,000 For 50kg Per Bag

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The Federal Government and cement manufacturers have agreed on a N7,000 to N8,000 per 50 kg bag price of cement to halt the astronomical rise in the price of the product.
This agreement was part of a deal struck after several hours of meeting held behind closed doors at the headquarters of the Ministry of Works, between the Federal Government and cement manufacturers , in Abuja, yesterday.
The manufacturers agreed to sell a 50kg bag of cement at a retail price between N7,000 and N8,000, depending on location nationwide.
They, however put a caveat that the price drop from the current market price would largely depend on government fulfilling its promised interventions in certain areas of concern to ameliorate critical challenges faced in the industry.
Retail price for cement jumped from N5,000 to N10,000 within one week in the open market, after wholesalers, citing increasing cost of transportation and other variables, made adjustments to the price they sell to retailers.
Retailers in turn transferred the additional cost burden to consumers to stay afloat.
This prompted President Bola Tinubu to order the Ministers of Works, David Umahi and his Trade and Investment counterpart, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite. to meet with cement manufacturers to find a solution to the crisis.
Umahi had, while calling for the meeting, expressed the Federal Government’s concern over the development, adding that if the situation wasn’t brought under control, it had the potential of hurting the prosperity agenda of the current administration.
After the meeting, Umahi read out a communique in which he mentioned concerns raised by the manufacturers.
These concerns include: bad roads, smuggling, high cost of energy, and the Forex crisis. This according to the manufacturers were the primary reasons behind the price hike.
He also said the manufacturers which include Dangote Cement PLC, BUA Cement PLC, Larfarge Africa PLC and Cement Producers Association, expressed willingness to reduce the prices going forward.
Representatives of the Federal Government include the Minister of Works and his counterpart in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
While reading the communique, Umahi said: “The meeting noted the challenges of the manufacturers like: cost of gas; high import duty on spare parts; bad road network; high foreign exchange; and smuggling of cement to neighbouring nations.
“The government noted the challenges and reacted as follows: Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to seek some remedies from Mr. President on cost of gas and import duties.”

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We Are Hungry, Dying, Ibadan Protesters Tell Tinubu

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Thousands of people, on Monday, thronged the major streets of Ibadan in Oyo State, to protest the hardship in the country.
The protesters, who are mainly youths, kept saying they were not out to cause trouble, but to call the attention of all the tiers of governments to the unbearable hardship in the country.
Though they did not use any objects to block the roads, they converged on accesses leading to the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Sango, Dugbe and Eleyele, thereby blocking vehicular traffic.
They displayed several placards with inscriptions such as ‘Give us good health, End bad governance, End food hike, Open border, End hardship, ‘Is this the renewed hope you promised?’
At intervals, organisers of the protest kept updating the security agents who kept vigilance to arrest anyone who caused problem or hijacked the protest for selfish ends.
During the protest, some schools and banks shut their gates.
The Tide learnt that the protest was convened through the social media.
One of the messages sent by the conveners read, “People should not pass through Mokola roundabout because there will be protest on Monday”.
The message advised that motorists should take alternative routes to their destinations.
A lady who refused to disclose her name, caught the attention of many people with a placard that read: ‘Sanitary pad now costs N4,000; we can’t be using cloth, Please, help us’. Nothing should happen to me. All I’m asking for is my legitimate earning and ease of life.’
Another woman, who identified herself as Mobolaji Inaolaji, one of the coordinators, said: “We want to tell our leaders that things are not right, they should make things easier for us. We are not here to cause violence, things are too costly and people are dying.
“It is our right to protest whether we got permit or not. We have told the security agents that they should arrest whoever causes problem. We are peaceful and law abiding. All we want is to make government know our pains. We will go through most parts of the city.”
Other protesters who were speaking with anger, said: “This problem is too much. Whoever wants to arrest me should come and do so. If we don’t die outside, we’ll die at home.”
After about an hour at Mokola, the protesters headed towards Sango and other parts of the city.

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