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Be Specific in Addressing Gaps in TB Treatment, Diagnosis Stakeholders, Task FG 

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja 

Stakeholders in the Health Sector on Thursday, tasked the Federal Government, FG, to be specific in addressing the gaps in treatment , diagnosis, locating people with Tuberculosis, TB, in Nigeria. 

Among those who spoke at at a one-day national stakeholders’ consultation on post-United Nations High level meeting, UNHLM, organized by Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, in collaboration with National Tuberculosis and Lebrosy Control Programme, NTBLCB, and USAID, in Abuja, include,Ag.

Board Chairman of Sop TB partnership Nigeria, Dr. Queen Ogbuji-Ladipo, Dr.
Chukwuma Anyaike, Director Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health.

Board Vice Chairman of Stop TB Partnership in Nigeria, Dr.

Austin Obiefuna, in his presentation, said Nigeria as a giant of Africa and the most populous black nation in the world, it is imperative that the nation do more in the area of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of TB.

According to him, “The major takehome for countries is to go back home to understand what is in there for their political declaration. We are looking at countries domesticating the UNHLM declaration.

“For Nigeria, we are not new , we already have programmes in place, what we need to do now is to look at our gaps, in relation to finding people with TB, we have huge gap in quality diagnostics, and affordability to the people. 

“What we should do is to look at those gaps in the ongoing programmes in Nigeria, what we have been able to achieve and what we were not able to achieve and look at what are the problems why we were not able to achieve them. Then we will reframe them and re-strategise to be able to cover the lapses. 

“TB has been here for long and we need different strategies to address the challenges, which include vaccines, not only for children but for everyone”. 

He insisted that there is need for Nigeria to focus on strong political advocacy.

Mr. Omoniyi Amos, who represented Abuja office of World Health Organization, WHO, said infact it was WHO that conceptualized the strategy in controlling TB not only in Nigeria, but for all countries all over the world. 

He noted that the only way Nigeria as a nation can address the challenges of TB is to show more domestic support and resources.

“The way Nigeria is, if we have to rely on international donors to do this, they would not achieve their goal but with more commitment from the government, the know how is there, they will be able to achieve their set targets.

“For example we still have about 70% gap on TB budgeting every year”, he lamented.

According to the abridged version of Political declaration of the UN high level meeting on the fight against TB, adopted by the 78th session of the UN General Assembly on 5th October , 2023, says To end TB by 2027 , these are the things that must be done, “At least 90% of people who develop Tuberculosis are reached with quality assured diagnosis and treatment, with all those diagnosis and treatment , having been initially tested with WHO recommended rapid molecular tests, and supported to complete treatment, which translates to providing treatment for up to 45 million people between 2023 and 2027, including up to 4.5 million children and up to 2.5 million people with drug resistant Tuberculosis. 

“At least 90% of people at high risk of developing Tuberculosis are provided with preventive treatment which translates to providing up to 45 million”.

Metro

Court Sentences Lady to Death by Hanging for Killing Enugu Make-up Artiste

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From Sylvia Udegbunam, Enugu

An Enugu State High Court, sitting in Enugu, has sentenced Chiamaka Ifezue to death by hanging for killing an Enugu-based make-up artist, Ijeoma Nweke.

The court, presided over by Justice Kenneth Okpe, in a two-hour judgement on Wednesday, found the accused guilty of killing the victim by forcing her to drink a poisonous substance.

The corpse of the make-up artist was found in Maryland within Enugu Metropolis on Monday.

The deceased, Nweke had left home on Wednesday November 11, 2020, for a job but went missing afterwards.

Her supposed client, having refused to disclose the location for the job, asked the deceased to stop at the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) Bus Stop, where she would then be taken to the venue.

Nweke, having perceived foul play, sent the client’s phone number to her brother via text.

Her phones were unreachable after hours leading to suspicion that she might have been kidnapped.

This led to a frantic search for her by friends and relatives until early on Monday morning when her corpse was found at Maryland in Enugu.

Eyewitnesses said that her corpse was mutilated with a substance suspected to be acid.

While delivering the judgement, Justice Okpe, said every evidence pointed to the fact that the convict lured the deceased to her house where she poisoned the deceased and evacuated her body out of her house.

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FCTA Disburses N4.82bn to Area Councils, Teachers, Pension Scheme  

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has disbursed N4.82 billion to the six area councils of the FCT, teachers and pension scheme as statutory allocation for December 2023.

The Minister of State for FCT, Dr Mariya Mahmoud, disclosed this on Wednesday while presiding over the 185th Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) meeting in Abuja.

According to the minister, the amount represents a slight increase when compared to N4.

73 billion shared in November of the same year.

“A breakdown for the amount shows that N2.36 billion was disbursed to the six area councils, while N2.

45 billion was disbursed to other stakeholders.

“Of the N2.

36 billion distributed to the area councils, Abuja Municipal Area Council got N549.98 million, Gwagwalada got N371.09 million while Kuje received N402.34 million.

“Also, Bwari Area Council received N364.67 million, Abaji N313.34 million, while Kwali got N362.73 million.

“For teachers and pension scheme, primary school teachers got N2.07 billion, N226.48 earmarked as 15 per cent pension funds, N107.85 million as 10 per cent employer pension contribution, while N48.16 million was earmarked as 1 per cent training fund.”

The minister commended the synergy between the Satellite Towns Development Department and the area councils, particularly in waste collections and management. (NAN)

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FCTA Gives Quit Notice to Traders in Gwarinpa Illegal Market

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

The Department of Development Control in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has served a quit notice on ‘Ya Kasuwa’ market along the 16 road corridor in Gwarinpa, saying they must quit latest by Wednesday as clearance operations would commence on Thursday.

Director of the department, Mukhtar Galadima gave the order during a meeting with stakeholders including representatives of the traders union.

He said the contract for the full scope development of the arterial road had since been awarded by the FCT Administration and that the contractors had been engaging the traders since last September but that the traders kept asking for more time, a development he said could no longer be tolerated.

According to him, the timeframe for the contract had since been eaten into by the traders’ refusal to quit, saying if the contract is not executed as scheduled, the cost of materials would keep rising and could lead to demands for contract variation, which is against the policy of the present Administration.

“We want to tell them that yes the FCT Administration gave out this contract from Ring Road 2 to Ring Road 3. The Ring Road 2 starts from Katampe Extension to Life Camp to Jabi Mbora up to Galadima roundabout and in between, there is Ring Road 3.

“The contract has been awarded and we are calling on all those people doing business on the corridor to leave. All structures existing in that corridor are to be removed. We are calling on you traders and others there to please cooperate with us. Start removing your valuables before we come there.

“We are coming to clear the place. We are giving you up till Wednesday to clear your things. By Thursday, we are going to start”, he added.

According to him, the contractors had begun discussions with the traders since September 2023 and that “granting further extensions would eat into the contract time which could lead to contract variations and more costs”.

On request by the local council revenue collector for a new market site, the director said since markets are under the councils, it is incumbent on them to look within and allocate a new market to the affected traders.

Secretary of the traders union, Mohammed, said they had operated the market for over 20 years, saying he would convey the government’s message to the traders.

“We have been there over 20 years ago and now it has come to our notice that the road is to be constructed. We are grateful to have been invited and ours is to now go and sensitize our people so that the traders can look elsewhere. We are asking for more time as we are already concluding plans to relocate”, he stated.

Meanwhile, the department has pulled down a structure within an estate in the Karmo district, for obstructing a flood plain.

An official of the department, Garba Jubril said the developer had been so recalcitrant to the extent of even enlisting policemen to frustrate the department from carrying out enforcement duties on the estate.

He said; “We are on Plot 840 Cadastral Zone CO1 Karmo District. It is an estate development, but the challenge we have here is an issue of a recalcitrant developer. This structure we are removing has been marked right from the outset at the foundation level.

“While efforts to bring to the attention of the developer that this plot is outside his boundary, it is on the green area and on the flood plain. You can see the building, just a few metres to the stream here. So that means it is not safe for habitation. So, all efforts to bring this to his attention proved abortive. Sometimes, when we come here, we meet stiff opposition from the forces that are behind the man. So, we had so many such challenges here.

“There are about 12 structures that are affected. Some are on the green verge, some are on the floodplain, and some are on the road corridor.

“The developer came, and ironically, he came with his own force. In fact, if you look up there, you can see some policemen in red caps against our own policemen that we came with. In fact, they almost outnumbered our policemen. So, when they came initially,  they wanted to confront us and force us to stop, but we proved to them that we cannot stop the demolition as it is a directive from above. So eventually, he had to come down and plead after seeing that force can’t work.

“They should obey the law. Abuja is a planned city. Whoever wants to build knows what to do. Once you secure a duly allocated land, you should apply for the building approval. And one thing is to get approval, another thing is at the point of implementation, or they invite our building inspector to come and assess what they are doing because even the quality of structures here is questionable”, he added.

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