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HIV/AIDs: Go for Test, Edo Govt Urges Residents

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The Edo State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (Edo SACA) has appealed to its residents to take advantage of the testing centres across the state to ascertain their Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) status.

The call was made by the Executive Director, Edo SACA, Flora Oyakhilomen, at an event organised by the agency to commemorate the National HIV Testing Day in Uselu Market, Egor Local Government Area in the state Mrs. Oyakhilomen called on residents in the state to visit testing centres to ascertain their status and access counselling services, adding that testing positive was not a death sentence.

She said, “free HIV testing is ongoing across the state’s 18 LGAs, with nine testing centres spread across Benin City, the state capital.

Edo SACA will not relent in its responsibilities to sustain awareness in the state, as part of measures to reduce its prevalence rate.

Oyakhilomen reiterated Governor Godwin Obaseki’s commitment to reducing the scourge through intensive enlightenment campaigns in the state, noting that the campaigns are designed to encourage more people to get checked and access care and support.

The Board Chairman, Edo SACA, Dr Alex Okoh, reiterated the need for people to be tested, adding that persons who test positive will be directed to the nearest centre to access free treatment and anti-retroviral drugs.

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Chairperson Egor LGA, Mrs Eghe Ogbemudia, hailed the initiative and commended EDOSACA for the drive to increase awareness and provide free testing and counselling services to residents in the state.

COVER

Tinubu Serious about Rural Healthcare Services – Akume, Ibikunle

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Minister of Special Duties, George Akume and a former Chairman, National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle, have assured Nigerians of improved rural healthcare services under the Bola Tinubu presidency.

This is contained in a statement issued by Alhaji Kehinde Olaosebikan, Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Committee (PCC) in Oyo State.

The duo gave the assurance during the inauguration and handing over of multimillion-naira hospital equipment to Igboora General Hospital in Ibarapa Central Local Government of Oyo State.

The equipment facilitated by Ibikunle, through National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF), included ECG machine, blood bank, blood chemistry auto analyser, chemistry analyser and autoclave machine.

Others were suctioning machine (4), hematocrit centrifuge (2), glucometer (4), BP apparatus (10), theatre gowns (100), theater aprons and two 20 KVA generators.

Akume said that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed NLTF to utilise the fund in its kitty toward making life better for people at the grassroots.

The minister, who spoke via zoom platform, said that the fund was meant for providing quality healthcare services and other peculiar needs of rural dwellers across the country.

He said that the fund had impacted positively on the lives of millions of people at the grassroots, through its various statutory interventions.

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Akume advised the people of Ibarapa Central Local Government and its environs to make good use of the equipment and give their maximum support to the Buhari-led administration.

The minister urged Nigerians to support Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, assuring them that he would consolidate on the achievements of the Buhari-led administration with improved healthcare services at the grassroots.

Corroborating the minister, Ibikunle said that the equipment were provided by government in order to enhance healthcare services in Ibarapa land, assuring them of Tinubu’s commitment to enhancing better life for all.

He said that the `Renewed Hope’ manifesto of Tinubu contained scintillating health and social programmes, aimed at improving the lots of people, while bridging the gap between rural and urban towns.

The APC chieftain commended Akume, the NLTF Executive Secretary, Dr Bello Maigari and the NLTF Zonal Director for South-West, Hajara Buhari, for judicious utilisation of the fund.

Ibikunle urged the management and staff members of the hospital to make judicious use of the equipment and ensure their maintenance.

He expressed commitment to always serving the people of Ibarapa land and utilise every opportunity open to him for the development of the zone and the state in general.

Maigari said that all the critical equipment handed over to the hospital were of high quality, appealing for their immediate deployment for the health needs of the town and its environs.

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A former Chairman of the State Hospital Management Board, Alhaji Olayide Abas, said that the provision of the equipment would enhance healthcare delivery in Ibarapa zone.

Abas, who is the state APC Deputy Chairman, thanked Ibikunle for using his position to better the lots of Ibarapa land and its people.

The Olu of Igboora, Oba Jimoh Titiloye, appreciated the facilitator of the equipment, saying that the gesture had confirmed Ibikunle as a true son and worthy leader in Ibarapa land.

Oba Titiloye, who was supported by other traditional rulers in Igboora, said that the equipment would greatly improve healthcare delivery in the area and make life more meaningful for the people. (NAN)

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DEFENCE

Army Provides Free Medical Services for Kogi Communities

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The Nigerian Army on Thursday provided free medical services for the people of Eika-Ohizenyi communities in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian Army provided the free medical services as part of its Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC)-related activities.

Speaking at the event, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. -Gen. Farouk Yahaya, said the medical outreach was carefully planned to cater for the identified common health challenges of the indigenes in the communities.

This, he said, would enhance the existing cordial relationship and boost the support the Nigerian Army had enjoyed from the people.

The COAS, who was represented by the Commander, Headquarters Command Army Records (CAR), Maj.-Gen. Sunday Igbinomwanhia, said the free medical outreach was in continuation of exercise Enduring Peace II, recently inaugurated by the Nigerian Army.

The COAS said it was in line with his vision of a professional Nigerian Army, ready to accomplish assigned missions within a joint environment in defence of Nigeria.

Yahaya explained that in pursuance of his vision, he had ensured that the Nigerian Army formations and units paid adequate attention to the non-kinetic aspect of the military operations.

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He said that conscious efforts had been made to cater for pregnant women and nursing mothers by making provisions for the distribution of treated mosquito nets during the outreach.

According to the COAS, aside the free drugs to be dispensed, free medicated eye glasses would also be distributed to people with sight challenges.

He stressed that Nigerian Army had enjoyed and would continue to enjoy the support and cooperation of the good citizens of Kogi in surmounting the challenges of insecurity in the state and the nation in general.

The COAS appealed to the people to see the medical outreach as evidence of the cooperation between the Nigerian Army and Kogi residents.

“Let it foster the desired peace, progress and prosperity in these communities and the entire Kogi,“ h said.

The COAS assured the people that the Nigerian Army, in conjunction with other sister security agencies, was working assiduously to rid the country of criminal activities and all forms of insecurity.

He thanked Gov. Yahaya Bello for his support in making the apparatus of the Kogi State Government available for military operations.

He also commended the heads of all the sister security agencies for the seamless synergy in their efforts to rid the state of criminal elements.

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Yahaya urged the people to continue to live in peace and harmony and to be tolerant of one another.

In his remarks, Bello commended the COAS for the medical outreach and for ensuring adequate security in the state.

Bello, who was represented by the State Security Adviser, Commander Jerry Omodara (rtd.), advised the people to be well informed and to use the opportunity to give credible information to the security agencies to rid the state of criminal elements.

The Chairman of Okehi Local Government Area, Mr Abdulraheem Ohiare, praised the COAS for the gesture and for restoring peace to the area.

According to Ohiare, the area had been a den of criminals, noting that Eika Police Station was burnt down twice and many people killed.

“We thank the Nigerian Army and other security agencies for restoring peace to our communities,” he said.

Some of the beneficiaries of the outreach,  Mrs Sabiat Abdulkadiri, Mrs Hajara Salihu and Hajia Habibat Sadiq, all praised the COAS for the free medical treatment and free drugs. (NAN)

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Health

FG Disburses N101bn From Basic Healthcare Provision Fund – Official

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The Federal Government has disbused N101billion to 7,600 primary health care facilities from the Basic Healcare Provision Fund (BHPF).

Dr Chris Isokpunwu, Secretary of the Ministerial Oversight committee, for BHCPF, in the Ministry of Health made this known in Abuja at a two-day retreat organised by the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the retreat was supported by Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) and other partners.

NAN reports that the BHCPF was designed  as an earmarked Fund to be financed from not less than one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government and other sources including donors’ contributions. 

Isokpunwu said that the BHCPF gets 100 per cent release from the federal government.

”The funds have so far been disbursed to over 7, 600 primary health care facilities across the country.

“We received our release up to October . This accounts to about 83 per cent of the total funds that will be released this year.

“We have also made progress in the enrolment of the number of beneficiaries as well as in the disbursement of funds to over 7,600 primary health care facilities across the country.

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“While we may not regard the enrolment of beneficiaries or the disbursement of funds to health facilities as an achievement, we believe that we begin to feel the impact of this funding.

“That is where the coalition comes in to ensure accountability of the fundis at all levels, supporting the government to block all leakages. We urge those who are involved in the pilfering of resources to stop,” he explained.

He also said that under the BHCPF , funds are made available to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure that some funding gets to the states to promote the activities of the emergency operation centres.

The states, he stated, also needs to provide their counterpart to do that.

He, urged CSOs to continue to advocate for increased funding for health across all levels of government

“It is true that the budget office of the federation has said that the federal ministry of health keeps returning funds and there is no basis for asking for more. But we know that there is a lot that needs to be done with money in the health sector.

“The BHCPF, the creation of the National Health Act promises to be a game changer in the health sector if there is increased funding.

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”We all agree that the primary health care facilities are the first point of call for all Nigerians. But why is it that with all the funding and resources that we are committing to primary health care, the results are not changing?

“Maternal mortality is still high, under-five mortality is still high and in fact, neonatal mortality refuses to move anywhere. Either it is stagnant or it continues to go up.

“We realise that the human resource for health in the primary healthcare system is poor, we also realise that the quality of services delivered in the primary health care is also poor.

“What can the coalition do to strengthen that system to deliver quality health services to Nigerians?

”We need to prepare for the next pandemic. It is a matter of time before we will be faced with another pandemic.

“Is our health system able to stand and face the next pandemic? The Coalition can set agenda for government and also push the government to continue to build infrastructure for such situation,” he questioned.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the HSRC, Dr Idris Muhammed, said that the retreat was meant to address some pertinent issues including finalising the development of an appropriate Charter for the coalition.

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Muhammed said that the retreat would also develop a two-year costed  workplan for the coalition.

“More importantly to enable us to develop sustainable funding sources and pathways for the coalition which we believe is very key if the coalition must pursue its objectives,” he said.

The retreat, he said, also aims to develop an agenda for the coalition’s activities especially, in keeping with the Nigeria Health Sector Reform initiative.

NAN reports that BHCPF) was established under section 11 of the National Health Act as a catalytic funding to improve access to primary health care.

The BHCPF is a federal and state funded initiative,it is a component of the National Health Act of 2014, which called for better investment within the health sector. It was signed into the 2019 fiscal budget by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018.

BHCPF will provide free minimum basic healthcare to the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians through accredited Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in each of the 36 states and federal capital territory. (NAN)

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