The United Nation (UN) office in Nigeria, says that the exemplary leadership demonstrated by the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, earned him the post of Assistant Director General of the Health Emergency Intelligence at the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Ihekweazu, who assumes duties at the WHO on November 1, 2021, steered Nigeria to a successful response to the enraging COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Erasmus Morah, of the UN system in Nigeria, said on Monday in Abuja, said Ihekweazu’s sterling performance has now been recognized not only in Africa but globally.
He was speaking at an event to reflect on the NCDC’s transformation journey and the collaborative efforts that have contributed to the journey in the country.
In 2016, the NCDC began activities to develop a 2017–2021 strategic plan. This was approved and launched in 2017.
In the last five years, NCDC has worked to implement this plan and developed a strong National Public Health Institute (NPHI) for Nigeria.
This year marks five years since NCDC began its transformation journey. In addition, this year marks a transition in leadership following President Buhari’s approval of Ihekweazu’s appointment as Assistant Director General at WHO and Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa’s appointment as the new Director General of NCDC.
Morah said that the partnership between the UN Development System in Nigeria and the NCDC had shown that working together, there is almost nothing insurmountable.
“It is one of the critical factors for Ihekweazu’s appointment to the WHO. Achieving global and national health security has increasingly become complex especially as people get more interconnected and interdependent with people, goods and services,” he said.
The WHO Representative for Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need for countries to remain fully prepared to prevent and quickly contain such pandemics.
“COVID-19 has continued to be transmitted across countries,” he added.
According to Mulombo, Nigeria and many countries across the region appeared to have escaped the worst predicted catastrophe so far .
He noted that the NCDC played a critical role of putting into action a fully working government response and robust outbreak containment measures which helped to avert the catastrophe in the country.
He thanked the outgoing Director General for the cordial relationship that existed between the NCDC and the WHO under his leadership.
He, however, urged the incoming Director General to build on the NCDC five years legacy and put up an agenda for the next level efforts toward critical health security intervention, mainstreaming into the health delivery system that must be accelerated, efforts towards domestic funding and investment to advance the National Health security agenda and the global health security. (NAN)
Man, 25 Commits Suicide in Kwara over Inability to Pay Debt
From Alfred Babs, Ilorin
A 25 year old man whose name was given as Olakunle Obaoye was allegedly found hanging in a bush at Erinmope Village near Ayedun in Oke Ero Local Government Area of Kwara state on Monday.
The deceased according to family sources allegedly killed himself over depression occasioned by his inability to pay debts that he owed some people.
The Kwara State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) which confirmed the incident said that the deceased was found dead in a bush on Monday.
The Command’s public relations officer Babawale Afolabi said in a statement on Tuesday that the deceased elder brother reported the incident to it office.
“On Monday 17/01/2022:at about 1200 hours one Thomas Obaoye of Ayedun town went to our divisional office in the area to notify our men on ground about the demise of his brother Olakunle Obaoye, 25, whose lifeless body was found hanging on the tree in what look like a suicide
“Following the report, NSCDC men from Ayedun Division later went to the scene of the incident and worked together with the relatives of the victim to bring down his corpse from the tree.
“The dead body was later handed over to the family for proper burial”, he said.
Babawale said that the matter had been handed over to the police for further investigations and necessary actions.
COVID-19 Vaccine: Covax Leads Supply Operation – WHO
The World Health Organization, WHO, has revealed that COVAX with its billionth dose supply to Rwanda, it is the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history,
In a statement issued by WHO and made available to newsmen in Abuja, said a shipment of 1.
“Together with our partners, COVAX is leading the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history, with deliveries to 144 countries to date.
“But the work that has gone into this milestone is only a reminder of the work that remains.
“As of 13 January 2022, out of 194 Member States, 36 WHO Member States have vaccinated less than 10% of their population, and 88 less than 40%.
“COVAX’s ambition was compromised by hoarding/stockpiling in rich countries, catastrophic outbreaks leading to borders and supply being locked. And a lack of sharing of licenses, technology and knowhow by pharmaceutical companies meant manufacturing capacity went unused.
“COVAX is working with governments, manufacturers and partners to ensure that when countries receive vaccines they can get them to people quickly,” the statement read.
The world noted that with updated vaccines in the pipeline, now is the moment for all citizens to demand that governments & pharmaceutical companies share health tools globally & bring an end to the death & destruction cycles of this pandemic, limit new variants and drive a global economic recovery.
COVID-19: Omicron Pandemic Has Flattened – WHO
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has said that the Omicron-fueled COVID-19 pandemic fourth wave in Africa has flattened after a six-week surge, marking the shortest-lived surge to date in the continent where cumulative cases have now exceeded 10 million.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who stated this during a virtual press conference, said that even though the continent appears to be weathering the latest pandemic wave, vaccination rates remain low as just around 10 percent of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated.
Early indications suggest that Africa’s fourth wave has been steep and brief but no less destabilizing.
“This year should mark a turning point in Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination drive. With vast swaths of the population still unvaccinated, our chances of limiting the emergence and impact of deadly variants are frighteningly slim.
We have the know-how and the tools and with a concerted push we can certainly tip the balance against the pandemic,” Moeti argued.
In countries experiencing a surge in cases, WHO observed that the fast-spreading Omicron variant has become the dominant type.
The global health body said while it took around four weeks for the Delta variant to surpass the previously dominant Beta, Omicron outpaced Delta within two weeks in the worst-hit African countries.
“So far 30 African countries—and at least 142 globally—have detected the Omicron variant. The Delta variant has been reported in 42 countries in Africa.”
According to Moeti, as of 11 January, there have been 10.2 million COVID-19 cases in Africa. Weekly cases plateaued in the seven days to 9 January from the week before. Southern Africa, which saw a huge increase in infections during the pandemic wave, recorded a 14 percent decline in infections over the past week. South Africa, where Omicron was first reported, saw a 9 percent fall in weekly infections.
“East and Central Africa regions also experienced a drop. However, North and West Africa are witnessing a rise in cases, with North Africa reporting a 121 percent increase this past week compared with the previous one.
“Across the continent, though, deaths rose by 64 percent in the seven days ending on 9 January compared with the week before mainly due to infections among people at high risk. Nonetheless, deaths in the fourth wave are lower than in the previous waves. Hospitalizations have remained low.
“In South Africa, for instance, around 9 percent of its over 5,600 intensive care unit beds are currently occupied by COVID-19 patients.
“Testing, which is crucial to COVID-19 detection and surveillance—including genomic, rose modestly by 1.6 percent over the past week with over 90 million—mostly polymerase chain reaction (PCR)—tests carried out across the continent. Twenty-three countries recorded a high positivity rate of over 10 percent over the past week.”
She noted that in West Africa where COVID-19 cases are on the rise, the number of Omicron sequences undertaken by countries including Cabo Verde, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal is growing. In Cabo Verde and Nigeria, Omicron is currently the dominant variant.
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