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Osinbajo Inaugurates $750m COVID-19 Recovery Programme, NG-Cares

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday inaugurated the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-Cares), which will be implemented with a 750-million-dollar World Bank facility.

He performed the inauguration yesterday as prelude to National Economic Council (NEC) meeting which he chaired at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

He said that under the NG-Cares, which would be for a two-year-period — 2021 to 2023, each state would get 20 million dollars, while the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would get 15 million dollars.

He explained that “NG-Cares is a multi-sectoral programme designed to support vulnerable and poor Nigerians to provide essentially emergency relief to small holder farmers and MSMEs, especially those that adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The programme will build on the varied and extensive Federal Government interventions developed as part of the president’s plan for taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty and in response to the severe socio-economic fallouts of the pandemic, especially those programmes and plans contained in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).

“The essential addition to the Federal Government’s programme is that the NG-Cares programme will leverage on existing programmes in the states, especially job creation programmes, wealth creation, poverty reduction programmes at the community level such as state cash transfer units, state Fadama or agriculture development agencies, state job creation units and MSME units.

“All of the support by Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).

“The World Bank loan is in the order of 750 million dollars and this will be over a period of two years — 2021-2023; the intervention allocation to each state is 20 million dollars and 15 million dollars to the FCT; there is also 15 million dollars for the Federal Cares Support Unit.’’

According to him, the programme is to be driven by the states and there will be a programme for result-delivery mechanism type in which case, performance must be shown.

He said that the Federal Government also regarded the programme as an important complement to its own scaled-up number of beneficiaries of social transfer.

“Subsidy and grants to support individuals, households and MSMEs in the multi-year development plan for 2021-2024 was developed in the context of the response to the COVID-19 crisis and the ESP.

“That plan serves as a bridge to ensure successful programme implementation. The Federal Government will provide quality assurance, monitoring, capacity building and technical assistance to states and the FCT on project activities and results.

“Consequently, the Federal Government has inaugurated the Federal Cares Steering Committee, the Federal Cares Technical Committee and the Federal Cares Support Unit to provide overall policy direction, technical support to all the states and the FCT and to advise the president appropriately,” he said.

The vice president said he was looking forward to prompt and effective implementation of the programme both at the federal and state levels.

He urged stakeholders to deploy their wealth of experience and expertise to ensure successful take off and implementation of the programme.

In his address, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, said that the vision, concept and design of NG-Cares was derived from the novel social protection agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

He said that the framework of the NG-Cares programme was within the context of the ESP and the National Development Plan 2021 to 2025, developed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, the objectives of the NG-Cares are; to expand access to livelihood support, food security services and grants for the poor and vulnerable households and firms.

On his part, World Bank Country Director in Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said NG-Cares involved collaboration between the Federal Government, multiple ministries and the states. (NAN)

Health

400 Benefit from Free TB Screening in Bauchi

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No fewer than 400 residents of Bauchi have benefitted from free Tuberclosis screening exercise initiated by a group, Langa Women Development Association.

The Programme Manager of the group, Mr Ogala Ogala, said this at the inauguration of the two-day exercise on Saturday in Bauchi.

He said the exercise was designed to promote public health and curb spread of Tuberculosis.

He said exercise was being implemented in collaboration between the organisation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria ( BACATMA).

“We targeted the ECWA Women Conference for the Bauchi South, to conduct free screening exercise.

“The aim is to promote public health and awareness creation among the people to encourage healthy living.

“This is not just for women alone but whoever is at the designated venue can also access the free screening,” he said.

Also, Dr Simon Mafwalal, its Senior Project Manager, said the group with the support of the U.S. agency was providing TB screening services in the state.

“We can have all the equipment used for screening TB, whoever is diagnosed with the disease or has symptoms will be given the required treatment and counseling.” he said.

Mafwalal said that the medical van has the capacity to screen 250 clients daily, adding that a reasonable number of people would be screened before the end of the exercise. (NAN)

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Health

Meningitis Outbreak Kills 20 Students Of FGGC Potiskum, Other Schools In Yobe

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Twenty students have died in three boarding girls’ secondary schools and the Federal Government Girls’ College in Potiskum and Fika local government areas of Yobe State from a suspected outbreak of meningitis. 

The Yobe State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education Mohammed Sani-Idris told journalists that “20 students have been confirmed dead in the last few weeks from the suspected meningitis outbreak across some boarding secondary schools in Potiskum and Fika local government areas.

Many have been hospitalized but now discharged”.

He explained that after the outbreak at the secondary schools, “I as Commissioner, my Permanent secretary and the Executive Secretary of the State’s Science Technical Board as well as the Chairman of the Teaching Service Board have relocated to Potiskum temporarily to ensure the disease does not escalate”.

Meanwhile, Governor Mai Mala Buni represented by his Deputy Idi Barde-Gubana visited the affected schools of Fika Government Secondary School, Government Science Technical College, and Federal Government Girls’ Technical College all in Potiskum and well as Government Girls’ Science Technical College Gadaka in Fika Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Buni said: “As part of the effort geared towards containing and effectively tackling the outbreak, the government has already provided the emergency treatment drugs as well as deployment of a rapid response team to all the affected areas”.

While briefing the representative of the Governor at Specialist Hospital Potiskum, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Isa Bukar said a total number of 214 cases were recorded and three are still in the intensive care unit of the hospital responding to treatment.

A similar outbreak had killed many residents of Degubi community in Fika Local Government Area of the state in April 2023.

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Health

Cross River Warns Residents about Suspected Outbreak of Haemorrhagic Fever

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Cross River warned about a possible outbreak of viral haemorrhagic fever in old Ndebeji, in Akamkpa Local Government Area of the state on Saturday.

Viral haemorrhagic fever is any group of infectious diseases that interfere with the blood’s ability to clot.

They are spread by contact with infected animals, people or insects.

Examples include Ebola and yellow fever.

Commissioner for Health, Dr Henry Ayuk, said in Calabar that a suspected index case was currently being investigated in complete isolation at the Ndebeji healthcare centre.

He said he had directed the state’s epidemiologist and her team to work with the local government team to collect samples from suspected cases for diagnosis

“They will provide palliative case management and institutionalise adequate infection prevention and control in the facility.

“They will also work with community leaders to identify and restrict movements of known contacts till the sample results of the suspected index client are out and entrench risk communication in the community.

“I must note that cases are most likely to present early with fever, rash, body weakness, bleeding from body openings or may even be asymptomatic,’’ he said.

Dr Ayuk appealed to residents to avoid rodents and insect bites, adding that they should put on personal protective wears if they must come close to livestock, other animals and zoos. (NAN)

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