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UNICEF-EU Renovates 104 PHCs, Hands Over To Government In Bauchi

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Mr Bhanu Pathak, United Nations Children Fund head of field office, Bauchi, has said that UNICEF, in conjunction with European Union (EU) had completed the renovation of 104 out of 107 Primary HealthCare Centres (PHCs) promised to be renovated in Bauchi State.

Pathak made this known in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi state on Monday, while handing over a renovated PHC, ‘Yelwan Duguri PHC’ to the state government.

Pathak reiterated that UNICEF would continue to partner with authorities in ensuring quality services for children, women and everybody across the state.

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“This is one hundred and fourth facilities that we are handing over to the state government out of the one hundred and seven we promised to renovate.

Some of the beds in the PHCs handed over to the state government.

“We will continue working closely with ministry of health and primary health care development agency to provide quality services for children, women and the entire population in the state.

“I want to say that this particular centre we are handing over today is one of the centres for excellence where we have provided the supplies and supported the renovation and water system,” he said

The UNICEF boss called on the people of the community to join hands and maintain the facility, adding that it was not enough to build a house, but absolute maintenance made it standout.

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READ ALSO: Empowerment: Lawmaker Flags Off Agro-training For Constituents In Edo

He further explained that UNICEF and other partners such as Bill and Melinda gates foundation as well as Dangote foundation were trying their best to support the state government to fulfill the campaign promises of the state governor, Bala Mohammed.

Receiving the PHC, Mr Rilwanu Mohammed, Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BASPHCDA), said that the present administration recognised the importance of health sector with keen interest.

He said the government had partnered with various development partners in order to add value to governance and the lives of the people of the state.

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Mohammed who was represented
by Alh. Bello Mustapha, a director in BASPHCDA, said that the handing over of the facility has proven the resolve of the state government to address the infrastructural decay in the state.

He urged members of the community to ensure patronage by attending antenatal care, skilled delivery, postnatal care, child birth services, immunization and other PHC services so as to fully benefit from the objectives of the project.

READ ALSO: Reps Consider Bill Seeking To Disqualify Journalists Without Media Degree

“I want to assure you that the state primary health care development agency through the state ministry of health would continue to prioritize efficient health services in all the 323 main health centres across the state,” said Mohammed.

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Also speaking on behalf of the people of the community, Alh. Yusuf Garba, the Chairman, Alkaleri LGA, appreciated UNICEF, EU and the state government for the kind gesture.

He called on the people of the community to continue to support the state government in its quest to bring development closer to the people of the state.

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Health

Bauchi Leads In WASH Implementation, Says UNICEF

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has identified Bauchi as a leading state in the implementation of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related interventions in the country.

Mr Tushar Rane, UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, stated this at a news conference organised to commemorate the 2021 Global Hand Washing Day (GHWD), on Friday in Bauchi.

The theme for this year is: “Our Future is at Hand; Let’s Move Forward Together.”

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Rene, represented by Mr Amose Kudzala, UNICEF’s WASH Specialist, said that six local government areas of the state had attained the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.

“Bauchi is a leading state in the implementation of WASH related interventions in Nigeria.

“Dass and Warji, are one of the first to attain and sustain ODF status while four other LGAs have achieved similar feat,” he said.

He listed the councils to include Toro, Bauchi, Katagum and Zaki, adding that they needed the state government support to achieve similar results before the end of the year.

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According to him, the UN agency will continue to work with the state government, development partners and other organisations to ensure the fulfillment of the rights of children and women.

In his remarks, Alhaji Ahmad Jalam, the state Commissioner for Water Resources, said the state government had prioritised WASH in its policy.

Jalam said that the state had recorded significant progress in enhancing access to safe water supply and sanitation.

He, however, said that lack of toilets and handwashing facilities in homes and schools were negatively affecting the gains made in public health.

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Disparities in public health status and wellbeing is very clear between the over 6,000 ODF communities in the state, especially in Dass, Warji, Gamawa, Bogoro, Shira and Ganjuwa that are LGA-Wide ODF.

“To save lives and reduce the spread of preventable diseases, it is vital that we combine our expertise in technology and communication to raise awareness, promote safe sanitation and hygiene practices.

“Such practices include construction, usage and management of toilets in communities and handwashing with soap, under clean running water before we eat and after going to toilets among others, so as to support the government’s efforts at improving public health,” he said.

The Commissioner stressed the need for collective efforts to support government’s drive towards achieving ODF in communities across the state.

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This, he said, is critical towards reducing the burden of WASH related diseases, improve health status, wellbeing and productivity of the people.

Also speaking, Mr Garba Magaji, Permanent Secretary, Bauchi State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), said that hand washing practices played vital role to stem spread of COVID-19 pandemic globally.

He added that a lot of diseases could be prevented through hand washing with clean water and soap.

The event was organised in collaboration between the UNICEF, Bauchi State Government, WaterAid and African Development Bank (AfDB) Group.

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Meanwhile, the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), under the auspices of Newtwork Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), has described WASH, as a fundamental right to all citizens.

Mr Jinjiri Garba, the CSOs Lead Team, said this at a news conference as part of activities to mark 2021 Global Handwashing Day in Bauchi.

Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore, a basic human right.

“Contaminated water jeopardises both the physical and social health of the people. It is an affront to human dignity.

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“The right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water, and it must be enjoyed without discrimination equally by women and men.” he said.

READ ALSO: UNICEF Decries Deaths Of Children Through Unexploded Reminant Of Bombs

He decried the prevalence of cholera disease in the state and stressed the need for practical measures to enhance the provision of sustainable WASH services.

More so, Dr Evelyn Mere, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, said: “Hand washing promotion is proven to be cost-effective. Investments in health, education, and improved water supply are all jeopardised if hand washing with soap is not included in the overall plan.

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“Governments should not wait for another crisis to hit the nation before investing wisely in the health and wellbeing of the people and the resilience of its economy,” she said.

On his part, Claire Seaward, WaterAid’s Global Campaign Director, also advised government at all levels to promote behaviour change and set out clear roadmaps for achieving hand hygiene for everyone by 2030.

Partnerships with businesses will be crucial to strengthening supply chains for hygiene products and services.

“Donors need to rapidly increase their financial support in low and middle income countries, recognising the critical role that hand hygiene has in pandemic preparedness and addressing antimicrobial resistance.”

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40% Of Nigerian Population Has No Access To Quility Health Care – Expert Laments

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… Says Nigeria’s Health Budget Rated 3rd Lowest Globally

The country Director of Oxfam Nigeria Dr. Vincent Ahonsi has said that over 40 percent of the Nigerian populace has no access to quality health care services.

He lamented that Nigeria’s health budget is the third lowest in the world.

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The country Director, who revealed this during his opening remarks at the 2021 Tax Summit in Abuja recently, stressed that, immediate and urgent steps are needed to support the financial health of West African countries through grants and other highly concessional financing, supporting debt cancellation and restructuring, and issuing a new allocation of special drawing rights.

Dr. Ahonsi lamented that COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the narrowing of the middle class and worsening gap between the rich and poor, pointing out that , this was why Oxfam and like-minded organizations issued a statement and demanded that the IMF stop promoting austerity around the world and instead advocated for policies that advances gender justice, reduce inequality and put people and the planet first.

“Nigeria’s health budget (as a percentage of its overall budget) is the third lowest in the world (3.6 percent) and 40 percent of its population do not have access to healthcare services.

“We believe that commitment to reducing inequality index for most west African countries may have been poor due to the policies and decision they made in response to IMF’s advise to these countries to return to austerity once COVID-19 pandemic abates.

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“When IMF released the said advice, Oxfam globally raised concerns. We highlighted how the pandemic has shown the systematic weak investments in health, education and social protection, with the hardest hit population being the vulnerable and marginalized people. These include women, older people, racial and ethnic minorities, informal workers and low-income families”, said Dr. Ahonsi.

On the fiscal policies of the Nigerian economy, Oxfam Nigeria said that the country loses $2.9 billion a year from tax incentives to corporations, but that in 2021 Nigeria increased value-added tax (VAT), which applies to everyday products like food and clothing from 5% to 7.5%, thereby affecting citizens, whose level of hardship may thus be impacted.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Nigeria Announces Updated COVID-19 Travel Protocol

“There are useful information that can support our inequality campaigns and advocacy works before the 2022 IMF annual meeting , we should not relent!

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“The index we are launching today is also a campaign tool, to sensitize stakeholders – including governments at all levels, on the need to take action.

“We at Oxfam will continue to support efforts to reduce poverty and inequality with all the resources at our disposal, and we firmly believe that the desired change is certain.

“We are of the view that medium to long term recovery efforts should continue promoting further fiscal and policy space that allows for an increase, rather than a decrease, in social spending, and progressive tax policies that collect sufficient revenue and redistribute wealth fairly”, Dr. Ahonsi posit.

 

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BREAKING: Nigeria Announces Updated COVID-19 Travel Protocol

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The Nigerian government has released the revised travel protocol into Nigeria effective Monday, 25th October, 2021.

Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee and Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, issued a statement on Friday.

The SGF said travellers arriving in Nigeria must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result conducted not more than 72 hours before boarding.

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Henceforth, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated in-bound passengers will be required to observe a mandatory 7-day self-isolation in addition to a COVID-19 PCR test on days 2 and 7 after arrival.

Fully vaccinated in-bound passengers will not be required to observe the mandatory 7-days self-isolation but will be required to do a COVID-19 PCR test on day 2 of arrival.

Also, persons arriving on “Business” trip or on official duty staying less than 7 days in Nigeria must be fully vaccinated, produce a negative COVID-19 PCR result 72 hours before boarding, and conduct a PCR test on day 2 of their arrival.

Mustapha explained that the revised travel protocol was based on science, national experience, and global developments.

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