With a view to enabling journalists carry out their duties in safety and relative comfort, even as Coronavirus ravages the country, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has called on the Federal and respective state governments to urgently provide safety kits and palliative to journalists in the country.
A statement jointly signed by Comrade Chris Isiguzo, National President, and Shuaibu Usman Leman, National Secretary of the Union, said It is of great importance that government come up with ways of cushioning the effect of the pandemic on Media houses in order to ensure they sustain the tempo of their coverage of the Coronavirus.
The duo lamented that, as numbers of cases increases in the country, journalists have become even more vulnerable because of the nature of their job.
“At the moment, journalists have become even more vulnerable because they are at the forefront of daily reportage of developments from this pandemic.
“Various states of the country are already on lockdown and the citizens confined to their homes but one thing remains constant; journalists are out there ensuring that the people are well informed of developments surrounding the rampaging Coronavirus”, the said.
While urging journalists to avoid sensationalism and scare mongering, racial profiling even as they go about reporting the pandemic, leadership of the Union reminded journalists on assignment in this period to bear in mind that responsible and ethical journalism is vital to the reporting of the pandemic.
“We must avoid sensationalism and scare mongering, avoid racial profiling, ensure the protection of affected persons to avoid stigmatization; maintain accuracy and report facts; seek expert opinion where necessary and provide context and point people to authoritative and credible information sources and resources in view of the prevalence of fake news, among others.
“Most importantly, we must ensure that we stay safe bearing in mind that the pandemic is already taking its toll on all of us”, the added.
Lagos Releases Guidelines On Safe, Lawful Abortion
The Lagos State Government has developed and launched guidelines for the development of safe and lawful abortion services within the ambit of the state’s criminal law.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, presented a 40-page policy document tagged “Lagos State Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications” at a stakeholders’ engagement on Tuesday.
Dr. Ogboye said the need was borne out of the desire for evidence-based data and information for health workers in public and private sectors.
Ogboye explained that while therapeutic termination of pregnancy is permissible under the law in Lagos State, the post-procedure absence of clear guidelines has stalled the effective implementation at appropriate levels of care resulting in preventable deaths.
His words: “In 2011, the Lagos State House of Assembly updated the criminal code, providing for abortion to save the life and protect the physical health of the woman.
“While physical health is covered under the Lagos legal framework, services conforming to the law have not been available in the procedure of the State health sector.
“This document provides information on relevant laws applicable in Lagos State while providing standards and best practices with regards to legal indications, pre, and post-procedure care, methods, the and monitoring.
“I must state here that this document has undergone wide consultation with relevant technical stakeholders within the legal and health service context in the State.”
Ogboye said the follow-up development of the guidelines commenced in 2018 with the Safe Engage project led by the Lagos Ministry of Health and hosted by the Society for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Nigeria (SOGON), with support from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).
He noted that stakeholders in the state’s health sector worked with key opinion leaders in Lagos and the southwest region to develop a tailored advocacy tool for terminations within the legal context.
He also pointed out that the advocacy messages on the Safe Engage project focused on ensuring that safe abortion services were available within legal indications in Lagos, and domesticating the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP, Act supporting women to terminate a pregnancy caused by rape or incest.
“To guide the implementation, one of the follow-up outcomes recommendations of the project was the adaptation of the National Standards and Guidelines for Safe Termination of Pregnancy within Legal Indications within the Lagos State context.
“The Federal Ministry of Health had developed and disseminated the national guidelines on safe termination of pregnancy which highlights the compendium of conditions and circumstances under which termination of pregnancy could be instituted.
“The guideline was intended to build the capacity of health professionals to identify pregnancies for which legal termination could be instituted.
“Marie Stopes International in Nigeria in collaboration with the Population Reference Bureau proposed to support the State government to adapt the document.”
Further, Ogboye said that the process for National guidelines adaptation included technical meetings to discuss sections of the law supporting safe abortion and conditions permitted within the legal framework to save the lives and the physical health of mothers; and validation meetings with the broader stakeholders to review the document.
“All that hard work has culminated in today’s dissemination of the guidelines. We hope this dissemination today will help guide health providers to provide this service within the ambit of the law”, Ogboye stated.
The Country Director, Marie Stopes International Organisation Nigeria, MSION, Mr. Emmanuel Ajah, stated that the development and dissemination of the policy document have once again proven that Lagos is leading the way for State-level intervention to stem the tide of unsafe abortion and give women and girls improved health outcomes.
Noting that abortion in Nigeria is not illegal but restrictive, Ajah said significant numbers of health providers are unaware of the legal indications for safe termination of pregnancy.
He stressed the importance of healthcare providers with the responsibility to determine when the life of the woman is in danger as prescribed in Nigeria’s laws need to have the right understanding and make those critical decisions based on sound medical judgment and not on religion, culture, or other biases.
“The domestication of this policy provides that needed guidance to healthcare providers on medical conditions in pregnancy that pose a high risk to the woman’s life and health if the pregnancy progresses to term, and on the standard management of abortion within the extent of the law in Lagos state.
“This policy is a demonstration of the commitment of the Lagos state government to improving maternal health, especially mitigating the impact of unsafe abortion practices in the State,” Ajah stated.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Medical Sciences, Otukpo, Prof. Innocent Ujah, who was one of the Consultants who developed the document, said the enunciation, deployment, providing, and use of the guidelines will preserve the lives of pregnant women and women whose physical or mental health would be compromised with the continuation of their pregnancies.
On her part, a Professor of Law at the University of Lagos, Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa explained that the Lagos State Criminal law of 2011 only prohibits unlawful abortion.
Atsenua observed that the document clarifies and explains what lawful termination of pregnancy means in the context of the law adding that education of law enforcement officers is important with regards to providing and understanding the context of the law.
Edo 4, Delta, Rivers 5 As NCDC Confirms 62 Monkeypox Cases In 19 States
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said that 62 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the country.
The NCDC disclosed this in its latest monkeypox situation report released on Tuesday.
The World Health Organisation says monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe.
The agency said from January to June 26, 2022, the disease was confirmed in 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The report also showed that there were at least 204 suspected cases of the disease in the country.
“There were 42 new suspected cases reported in Epi week 25, 2022 (June 20 to 26, 2022) from 18 states – Lagos (five), Bayelsa (four), Nasarawa (four), Plateau (four), Gombe (three), FCT (three), Adamawa (two), Cross River (two), Delta (two), Ondo(two), Oyo (two), Rivers (two), Taraba (two), Abia (one), Benue (one), Edo (one), Katsina (one) and Kwara (one).
“Out of 42 suspected cases, there were 21 new positive cases in Epi week 25, 2022 from 13 states – Cross River (2), Delta (2), FCT (2), Lagos (2), Nasarawa (2), Plateau (2), Rivers (2), Taraba (2), Abia (1), Adawama (1), Bayelsa (1), Edo (1) and Katsina (1).
“Overall, from January 1 to June 26, 2022, there have been 204 suspected cases and 62 confirmed cases (44 male, 18 female) from 19 states – Lagos (10), Adamawa (6), Bayelsa (5), Delta (5), Rivers (5), Cross River (4), Edo (4), FCT (4), Plateau (4), Nasarawa (3), Kano (2), Imo (2), Taraba (2), Abia (1), Katsina (1), Niger (1), Oyo (1), Ondo (1) and Ogun (1). One death was recorded – a 40-year-old man with co-morbidity that was receiving immunosuppressive treatment,” the reported noted.
The NCDC says the exact reservoir of monkeypox is still unknown although African rodents are suspected to play a part in transmission.
Monkeypox: NCDC Blames Nigerians For Outbreak
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says citizens are not following the preventive measures against the current outbreak of Monkeypox in the country.
Dr John Oladejo, the NCDC Director of Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, made this assertion on Tuesday in Ibadan while speaking with journalists on the sidelines of the ongoing second Ibadan Public Health conference.
Oladejo said behavioural attitudes and negligence in following precautionary measures were contributing to the outbreak of viral diseases in the country.
“The main problem in the country, as related to these viral diseases, is the people themselves.
“When you give them instructions or protocols, they don’t follow it.
“So, at the community level, there are always behavioural problems,” he said.
Oladejo, however, said the federal government has scaled up the surveillance system, with immediate actions focussed on training healthcare workers on monkeypox surveillance and response at the state and local government levels.
“We have actually done a lot of work in terms of preparedness and activated the monkeypox emergency operations centre to strengthen our preparedness and response.
“We have trained our health workers in every state of the federation.
“It was this training we did that made the states really wake up and go out for active surveillance and get new cases that were treated immediately.
“We are using a digital surveillance system and molecular laboratory to know the sequencing of Monkeypox in Nigeria.
“We have done a lot to ensure that we are able to control as well as prevent the spread of Monkeypox in the country.
“The prevalence is very low, contrary to what many people think, the total number of cases from 2017 to date is 569,” he said.
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