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Nigerian govt unveils strategic plan on HIV/AIDS, to end epidemic by 2030

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The Federal Government has unveiled the National HIV/AIDS Strategic plan for 2023-2027 (NSP 2023-2027) and the Sustainability and Country Ownership HIV Response in Nigeria.

George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation stated this during the 2023 World AIDS Day (WAD) on Friday in Abuja.

He said that the documents show the government’s commitment towards ending the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, AIDS, epidemic by 2030.

“The key strategy for sustainability and country ownership of HIV launched today indicates a pivotal commitment towards ending AIDS by 2030 and beyond, with states providing leadership.

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“I therefore encourage State governments to key into this agenda for ownership of sustainable HIV response in Nigeria.

“It is my honour to unveil the national strategic framework 2023 to 2027 and the symbol of a new business model for sustainable HIV response in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Mr Akume was represented by Chris Tarkar, his Chief of Staff on the occasion.

He said the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, collaborated with the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS, NiBUCAA, to launch a N62 billion private sector-driven HIV/AIDS Trust Fund of Nigeria.

”We call on the organised private sector to deliver on its pledge to support Government efforts to achieve a HIV free generation where no baby is born with HIV in Nigeria.

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He expressed appreciation to the United Nations, United States of America, Global Funds and communities for their support to HIV/AIDS responses in Nigeria.

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Dr Gambo Aliyu, Director General, NACA, said the NSP 2023-2027 was developed through a participatory and consultative process.

Mr Aliyu said the strategy involves equitable and equal access to HIV services for all and breakdown barriers to achieving HIV service outcome.

Others, according to him, fully resource and sustain efficient HIV responses and integrate them into relevant systems.

He highlighted the role of leadership of communities to ending social, cultural, legal and economic inequalities holding back progress to ending AIDS, and elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

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“As the country continues to make progress towards achieving epidemic control necessary to end AIDS by 2030, we are also mindful of the fact that ending AIDS comes with a huge challenge of sustainability of the control.

“To overcome this challenge, the Government of Nigeria, United States Government, UNAIDS and the Global Fund initiated an alignment programme aimed at ensuring country ownership and sustainability of national response beyond 2030,’’.

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Japa: Stay back to salvage Nigeria, FG urges doctors

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Vice President Kashim Shettima has appealed to Nigerian doctors to remain in Nigeria and collaborate with President Bola Tinubu’s administration in its efforts to salvage the nation.

Shettima also urged the doctors to resist the temptation of absconding from the country to offer their services outside the country in a phenomenon colloquially called the “japa syndrome”, adding that Tinubu empathised with the medical professionals who chose to remain in the country.

 

Also read : 1,197 Nigerian-trained doctors move to UK since May

 

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The VP stated this on Tuesday when the National Executive Council of the Nigerian Medical Association, led by its newly elected President, Prof. Bala Audu, paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa.

In a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communication (Office of the Vice President), Stanley Nkwocha, Shettima commended the doctors for their contributions to repositioning the health delivery system in Nigeria.

He urged them to encourage young doctors to specialise in key disciplines of the medical practice and to also check the activities of quacks in the profession.

“President Bola Tinubu has Nigerian doctors at heart. He has a lot of empathy for our medical doctors who have opted to stay put at home, not for lack of offers. Let us stay back and salvage this nation together, this is our country the greatest black nation on earth, and a promising nation that we need to invest in.

“The NMA is one of the most prestigious, preeminent associations in this country. We must commend you for the sacrifices you are making and for staying put in this nation. All hope is not lost because Nigerian doctors are making giant strides, recording milestones in the profession and, most importantly, making tremendous sacrifices to serve this nation.”

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On his part, the NMA President, Prof Audu, said the executive members were at the Villa to show solidarity for the Tinubu administration, especially on account of its laudable policies in the health sector.

He also assured the Vice President that the NMA remained patriotic to the nation and would support the health policies of the government to improve healthcare delivery and access to health services for all Nigerians.

“The Nigerian Medical Association has come here today as a partner to your government and a patriotic group of Nigerians dedicated to the success of the Renewed Hope Agenda of this government and to ensure that this government delivers quality healthcare to all Nigerians.

“(The NMA) remains patriotic to this nation and will fully support the health policies of your government to drive improvement in quality healthcare delivery and universal access to services to all Nigerians. This committee will work closely with this government, in delivering and implementing the policies of the administration in the healthcare sector. The NMA wants to assure and reassure you that it will play a key role in ensuring stability in the health sector and by extension, stability for this government to deliver on its promises to Nigerians as it has already started doing,” he added.

Audu also applauded the health policies of the Tinubu administration, noting that when fully implemented, the programmes and projects will “increase the training spaces for specialists in the country known as the residency training programme as well as the quality of the postgraduate medical training”.

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“We are sure that this government will address the infrastructural needs to be able to sustain the quality of this training as well as the remuneration that will improve the wellbeing of Nigerian doctors to remain and serve in this country,” he stated.

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Environmentalists raise alarm over high-level deforestation in C’River

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Environmentalists raise alarm over high-level deforestation in C’River

Environmentalists have raised the alarm over the high level of deforestation ongoing in Cross River.

They warned that if nothing is done to address the situation, it might impact negatively on the environment, especially now that climate change is posing a significant challenge globally.

The Executive Director of ‘We the People’, an environmental advocacy group, Mr Ken Henshaw, while speaking on Friday in Calabar at a round table discussion themed, ‘Fostering Strategies and Partnership for Forest Protection in Cross River’, said the current level of deforestation in the state could be described as ‘the fastest anywhere around the world’

Quoting data from the Global Forest Watch Platform, he described the situation as “alarming and disturbing.”

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Henshaw added, “Logging has taken an unbelievable dimension since the current administration in the state lifted the ban on it.

“The administration merely set up a new forestry commission without addressing the key drivers of the illegal activity.”

The executive director noted that the state government introduced a scheme that permitted people to log identified trees and pay taxes on them.

“This means that the illegal activity has yet to be addressed. At the moment, the report we get from the field is even worse than that of 2023.

“The state government should not see the forest as a resource that can only bring revenue through logging,” he stressed

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Henshaw said other non-timber revenue sources could be legally explored and tapped from in the forests.

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He revealed that the challenge of deforestation had taken a new twist as hundreds of young men had invaded the forests mining for solid minerals.

The Chairman of the Cross River Forestry Commission, Mr George Oben-Etchi, on his part said averred that massive sensitisation was needed to educate rural communities on the dangers of deforestation.

He said that the commission was challenged by the issues of poor funding, a dearth of manpower and outdated laws.

Oben-Etchi noted that irrespective of the challenges, the commission would continue to do its best to tackle logging activities in the state.

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A Calabar-based environmental expert, Mr Odigha Odigha, called on residents of the state to rise up in defence of their environment by tackling the growing level of logging.

“It will be wrong to blame the government alone, the problem is our own, we should rise up to tackle it,” he added.

Odigha, who is a former Chairman, Cross River Forestry Commission, called for collaborative efforts to fight illegal logging activities in the forests.

“Before now, it used to rain in Calabar all year round, but gradually, the rains are getting scarcer and giving way to intense heat,” he said.

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Makinde approves immediate recruitment of doctors, nurses, others

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Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, approved the immediate recruitment of doctors, nurses, consultants and other healthcare professionals in the state.

The Chairman, Hospitals Management Board, Akin Fagbemi, in a statement issued after meeting with the leadership of the National Association Of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives in Ibadan, the state capital, said the move was to address the pressing issues raised by the healthcare workers.

Fagbemi said, “The governor has approved the immediate recruitment of consultants, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

“The significance of the governor’s decision to recruit additional healthcare professionals as it directly addresses the shortage of staff in hospitals and healthcare centres across the state.

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“We praise him for promoting transparency and accountability within the health sector, which aligns with the core values essential for providing quality healthcare services.”

The state chapter of the NANNM, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, had ordered its members to embark on an indefinite strike, following the non-response of the State Government to its eight-point request.

Fagbemi noted that the governor’s decision had been commended by various stakeholders, recognising his commitment to prioritise the health sector and provide quality healthcare services for the state’s residents.

He expressed gratitude for the governor’s proactive steps in addressing the concerns of healthcare workers, emphasising that such efforts demonstrate genuine dedication to improving healthcare services in the state.

Fagbemi, therefore, pledged his full support and cooperation with the Ministry of Health in implementing the necessary changes and initiatives that will ultimately benefit the residents of the state.

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The board chairman assured the union leaders that in addition to the hazard allowance that has been approved and already being paid, and the recruitment exercise which is going to start immediately, other issues raised are frontally being addressed as evidenced by revelations at the meeting

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