500 dengue deaths in Philippines in first half of 2019-Secretary



Health Secretary, Francisco Duque, on Friday, aid amid a steep rise in cases of the disease, about 500 people in the Philippines have died from dengue fever in the first half of this year.

Duque said that the health department has recorded 106,630 cases of dengue, a mosquito borne viral disease, from January to June 29, 2019.

He said the number was 85 per cent higher than last year’s 57,564 during the same period.

The secretary said the regions of southern Luzon, Bicol, Western Visayas, Zamboanga and Northern Mindanao had the worst hit while incidents in other regions are also increasing.

He added that tents are being distributed in some provinces in the central Philippines, where hospitals are already congested.

Duque said the government is also working with the Philippine Red Cross to ensure that there is enough supply in blood banks.

On Monday, the health department declared a national dengue alert after 456 deaths were recorded and cases reached critical numbers.


UI VC Race: Candidates make pledges to UI community



Candidates vying for the position of  Vice-Chancellor of University of Ibadan (UI) have made presentations and stepped up consultations,  preparatory to the final appointment of a new occupant of the post.

The candidates  made various pledges to the premier university community on Thursday, as they met stakeholders and other members of the community at a forum tagged: “One Cap; 18 heads.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the UI Community Forum 2020 was organised by the five unions in the institution.

They included the Students’ Union (SU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), among others.

In his remarks, Chairman of the event, Amb. Yemi Farounbi, a former Nigeria Ambassador to the Philippines, commended those who participated in the struggle for university autonomy in Nigeria. 

“Their struggle culminated immensely in the management of universities in Nigeria; one of them is the amendment to Section 3a and b of Acts No. 11 of 1993.

“By this amendment the university council now selects and appoints the vice chancellor and only informs the Visitor of the university. 

“With this amendment, the university acquired full rights to hire and fire its vice chancellor, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer as well as the  Chief Accounting Officer,” Farounbi said.

He also commended those who gave birth to the idea of the University Community Forum in 2000 as a way of democratising the process of appointing a vice chancellor.

Farounbi enjoined the next vice chancellor of the institution to rise above the contemporary contradictions and ineptitude to offer fresh opportunities for building a greater Nigeria.

“That is the challenge a vice chancellor of this great university must embrace.

“The 13th vice chancellor should not abandon yesterday and today, but must consolidate and build on the strength of yesterday and today,” he stated.

NAN reports that 16 of the 18 aspirants, were physically present, while one participated online and the other, absent.

Prof. Adeyinka Aderinto, one of the leady candidates for the position, pledged to make the premier university a solution centre to the country’s challenges.

According to him, Nigeria will be running to the institution for solutions to challenges, while promising to ensure that the premier university contributes to policy development, debates and engagements.

Aderinto further promised to pursue aggressive fund mobilisation, stating that UI would be repositioned to proffer solutions to Nigeria’s problems.

Also, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, pledged to make the institution a global first rate institution, distinguished in creativity and innovation, as well as service.

“Our administration will focus on funding and finances, UI like other universities, is presently underfunded largely due to the policies of the Federal Government. 

“It also has a lean IGR base. To address our funding challenge, we will be, transferring the management of all our revenue generating centres to one of our newly registered company, the UI Platinum Enterprises, to remove bottlenecks and enhance profitability and effectiveness.

“We will also encourage town and gown collaboration, so that research outcomes will be processed by the industry, to patent right product commercialisation to generate revenue,” Adebowale said.

Another candidate, Prof. Babatunde Adeleke, said he had been in the university system since 1986 and  had made modest contributions in various segments of the university life, in the University of Ilorin.

“And this I hope to bring to bear if I have the opportunity to lead this institution.

“I would ensure credibility is sustained in the academic programmes in terms of the admission process. We will also make sure that the good name of the University of Ibadan is sustained.

“We would sustain the accredited programmes and new programmes will be brought, to add value to the university in terms of generating revenue,” Adeleke said. 

Also speaking, Prof. Olusegun Ademowo, highlighted various challenges bedeviling the university which had affected its ranking and effectiveness. 

He pledged to confront the myriads of such challenges through consolidation and innovation, to transform the university into a world class institution that would be self reliant.

Prof. Aderemi Raji-Oyelade vowed to pursue a proactive welfare system that would discourage industrial strike and engender collaborative re-focusing research for a post-oil economy.

Also speaking, Prof. Kolapo Hamzat promised a technology driven and research intensive university that would empower graduates to be self-sufficient.

Other candidates also promised to reinvigorate the university as a world class and truly international institution for global competitiveness. 

NAN reports that all the candidates jostling for the position identified under-funding and infrastructure limitation, as impediments to the actualisation of the full potentials of the institution.

They also identified challenges of  welfare, instability in the academic calendar, poor research funding  and others and promised to aggressively reverse the trend.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Wale Ojetimi
Source: NAN
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Measles kills at least 36 children in Philippines this year



The Philippines’ Department of Health said on Thursday that at least 36 children under 5 years old died from measles in the Philippines in 2020.

The health department, which disclosed this in a statement, said: “In 2020, pockets of measles outbreaks are being reported in the Philippines.

“As of August, there are around 3,500 reported measles cases with 36 deaths. Most of the cases are among children under 5 years old.”

In the Philippines, according to the department, an estimated 2.4 million children under the age of 5 are susceptible to measles.

It added that measles was one of the most contagious diseases in the world, and that up to nine out of 10 people exposed to the measles virus would contract the disease if not vaccinated.

The department will conduct the nationwide measles and polio supplemental immunisation campaign starting Oct. 26 this year.

The World Health Organisation and the UN Children’s Fund are supporting the campaign, the department added.

The government is targeting children under 5 years old, around 9.4 million children for the measles-rubella vaccine and 6.9 million children for the oral polio vaccine.

“In spite of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a high-quality immunisation campaign is urgently needed to stop measles transmission and possible outbreaks,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.

Measles is a dangerous and fatal disease, with complications that can include severe diarrhoea and dehydration, pneumonia, ear and eye complications, encephalitis or swelling of the brain, or permanent disability.

There is no specific treatment for measles.

The only reliable protection from measles is vaccination, the department said in the statement.

“While measles is highly contagious, it is also a preventable disease.

“We must not lose the decades of progress we have achieved in immunising and protecting Filipino children, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” WHO Representative in the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe said in the same statement.

He reiterated that the measles vaccine is safe and has been in use for 50 years.


Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN
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26 COVID-19 vaccines under development in Russia, says public health chief



Russian Public Health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, on Tuesday stated that no less than 26 different vaccines against coronavirus were currently being developed in the country.

Anna Popova, head of the Rospotrebnadzor, said in August, Sputnik V, developed by Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, became world’s first registered COVID-19 vaccine.

“Thirty-six vaccines are at the stage of clinical trials, and globally 92 vaccines are going through pre-clinical trials,’’ Popova said at a meeting at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

According to him, in Russia, 17 scientific organisations are working on 26 vaccines.

“Currently, around 50 per cent of all the confirmed COVID-19 patients in Russia are either asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms, thanks to the epidemiological monitoring,’’ she added.

The Rospotrebnadzor chief also stressed that, according to official data, there has been no second wave of the pandemic in Russia during the summer season.

“Today, Spain, Germany and France approach the same figure of 50 per cent of asymptomatic cases, but they lost time when they said there was no coronavirus wave in the summer.

“They believe they had no wave in the summer.

“They believe there were two waves; while we think this is the same epidemiological process, just different manifestations,’’ Popova said at a meeting at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

After registration of Sputnik V, no less than 20 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil and India, have expressed interest in obtaining the drug.

Moscow’s plans include ramping up production of the vaccine to 200 million doses by the end of 2020, including 30 million in Russia.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ejike Obeta
Source: NAN
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Philippines probing 57 people, entities for Wirecard scandal links



The Philippines’ anti-money laundering agency said, on Friday, it was investigating 57 people and entities for possible links to the money-laundering scandal involving German payment company, Wirecard.

Mel Racela, Executive Director of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), told a news conference in Manila that so far no criminal cases have been filed.

Authorities were analysing transactions of these “persons of interest and entities to determine if they were involved in fraudulent activities related to Wirecard’’, said Racela.

The suspects include officials of two local banks, who allegedly forged documents related to accounts allegedly holding Wirecard’s missing 1.9 billion euros ($2.2 billion), two government officers accused of faking travel records to the Philippines of the firm’s former chief operating officer, Jan Marsalek, and foreigners.

“They are not necessarily the accused or respondents in any criminal case,’’ he said, adding that once the AMLC has evidence, criminal charges would be filed.

Recela reiterated that Wirecard’s money did not enter the Philippine financial system and there were also no reports of suspicious transactions that hinted at an attempt to transfer the money to the Philippines.

“Since the amount did not enter the Philippine financial system, this case is not that huge,’’ he said.

Due to this confirmation, two of the largest banks in the Philippines, where the missing funds were initially thought to have been held in accounts, were no longer being investigated, he said.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN
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