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Omicron : FG postpones 2021 home coming event for diaspora

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From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

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The Federal Government through the  Nigerians in Diaspora Commission has postponed its 2021 Home Coming Event due to global travel restrictions occasioned by the discovery of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The event, which was initially billed to hold on the 17th of December 2021 in Lagos, has been postponed until April 2022.

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NIDCOM in a statement posted on its website said: “Unfortunately, with rising global travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 Omicron variant, and heightened concerns for health and safety, it is necessary, regrettably, to postpone the event. The health and safety of all must be thoroughly considered.

“We sincerely regret all inconveniences to our esteemed and expected participants.

“We would like to thank all participants, investors, and event sponsors for the excellent preparatory work that has been done.                      

“Thank you all and see you in April 2022.”

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Nigeria Newspapers

UNICEF: $298m used to procure J&J COVID-19 vaccines

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From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, disclosed on Tuesday, that 298 million dollars was used by Nigerian government to procure 30 million doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

He stated that over 60 million COVID-19 vaccines, 40 million doses in 2021 and 20 million in 2022, have been received since February last year when vaccination against COVID-19 began in Nigeria.

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Hawkins who spoke at a joint press conference with the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, in Abuja, commended all stakeholders involved in the fight against COVID-19 for their efforts that heralded the success recorded so far, particularly in vaccination.

He specifically commended the NPHCDA and Federal Government for the fact that no death has been recorded as a result of COVID-19 vaccine, outside the mild reactions associated with immunization, an indication that the vaccine is safe for human use.

He confirmed that sufficient COVID-19 vaccine doses with longer life span have been procured, urging the unvaccinated to take advantage of the availability to get vaccinated and stand a chance against COVID-19.

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NPHCDA boss, Dr. Shuaib, in his remarks, disclosed that, as at Tuesday, January 25th, 2022; 14,093,873 eligible persons have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria, while 5,252,406 eligible Nigerians have been fully vaccinated.

“However, these results are not evenly distributed across the states of the federation. Our performance records revealed that Nasarawa, Jigawa, FCT, Ogun and Kwara have remained the top five performing states on COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

“Jigawa and Lagos have, each, vaccinated about 1.5 million eligible population with the first dose, while FCT, Nasarawa, Lagos and Delta are leading on second dose administration with more than 10 per cent of eligible populations in each of the states already vaccinated.”

Dr. Faisal, however, further disclosed that daily COVID-19 vaccination has doubled, rising to 200, 000 doses per day from about 100,000 doses per day last year, expecting a better and improved recorded soon.

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The NPHCDA boss further confirmed plans to integrate the campaign against COVID-19 with childhood immunization and other Primary Health Care (PHC) services. “What it simply means is that alongside the COVID-19 vaccines, childhood vaccines would also be available at COVID-19 vaccination sites.”

He, thus, advised parents and guardians with children aged zero to 23 months to take them along to the vaccination sites so they can get vaccines against polio, whooping cough, measles, yellow fever, tetanus, tuberculosis, and other childhood preventable diseases.

“This is to ensure that, while we are trying to control the transmission of COVID-19, we do not neglect other PHC services or even have outbreaks of childhood vaccine preventable diseases,” he said.

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2.5m Kaduna residents to benefit from ANRiN nutrition, reproductive health services

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From Sola Ojo, Kaduna

About 2.5 million Kaduna state residents have been targeted to be provided with basic package of nutrition services and adolescent health services at community level under the World Bank-supported Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) project, the Project Coordinator, Dr Zainab Muhammad-Idris said on Tuesday.

Muhammad-Idris who said this at the end of the quarterly stakeholders meeting of the ANRiN project added that the services would be provided by two non-state actors which are eHealth Africa and Society for Family Health (SFH).

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She reminded the attendees that ANRiN, a five-year World Bank-supported project was designed to increase the utilisation of quality, cost-effective nutrition services for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and children under five years.

According to her, the objective was to reduce chronic malnutrition, maternal and child mortality rates and in the long run, increase school completion, performance and improve labour force productivity.

She said that the two NSAs were contracted in 2021 to deliver the services to the target groups at the community level, adding that so far, the project has reached 895,724 in 2021.

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“Considering the outstanding performance of the two NSAs in 2021, I am confident that they will meet their targets which are expected to commence by June. We are happy with their performance so far. What we desire to see is for them to sustain the efforts and do better,” she said.

Project Director, eHealth Africa ANRiN Project, Dr Aminu Abubakar promised that eHealth would reach 556,749 beneficiaries in 12 local government areas between June 2022 and June 2023 saying the providers were being sourced from the communities where services were provided to strengthen acceptability and community ownership.

He said “We have employed two visually inspired persons who are providing services in their communities, and they are doing very well. We plan to recruit 24 more, two each from our 12 local government coverage areas.

“Out of the 556,74 targets, 104,187 pregnant and lactating women would be counselled on maternal, infant and young child nutrition, and provided deworming tablets to 138,502 children 12 to 59 months.

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“131,036 children from six to 59 months would be provided with Vitamin A supplementation, while 51,805 children and their mothers would be provided with Zinc/ORS for diarrhoea”.

The project director also said that micronutrient powder would be provided to 53,473 children, six to 23 months with counselling and IFA supplement tablets with counselling to 32,640 pregnant women.

“Malaria drugs will also be provided to 29,737 pregnant women and modern contraceptive services with counselling to 15,369 women and adolescent girls,” Abubakar said.

On his part, Project Director, SFH ANRiN Project Ibrahim Mohammed said that SFH had a target of providing services to 1.92 million beneficiaries in 13 local government areas.

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Mohammed said that of the 1.92 million targets, 360,784 pregnant and lactating women would be counselled on maternal, infant and young child nutrition, while deworming tablets would be provided to 481,755 children.

He said that 455,786 children would receive Vitamin A supplementation and 180,194 children would receive Zinc/ORS for diarrhoea ea, while their mothers counselled.

“Also, 185,839 will be provided with micronutrient powder six to 23 months with counselling, while 113,024 pregnant women will receive IFA supplement tablets with counselling.

“Malaria drugs will also be provided to 102,978 pregnant women while contraceptive services will be provided to 39,548 women and adolescents,” he said.

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