Nigeria is to benefit from 7.2 million pound research support funded by the UK government for 20 new research projects, to help address the impact of COVID-19 in vulnerable communities.
The support, which aimed at delivering healthcare access for patients in Nigeria, would also deliver mass vaccination capacity in Bangladesh and protective equipment for refugees in Jordan.
The UK in the new programme, announced on Sept. 5, would be partnering with leading research institutions to address some of the research and technological challenges of the benefiting countries, especially as it relates to COVID-19.
Some of the projects announced are: “King’s College London will lead a training programme for healthcare workers across Nigeria and Tanzania enabling them to deliver trusted and safe care to patients over the phone where internet availability is limited.
“Trials will involve 20 health clinics in each country to test the effectiveness of remote health appointments, recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the pandemic, to help minimise physical contact that can spread the virus.
“King’s College London will work with University of Ibadan, Nigeria; Makerere University, Uganda; and St Francis University College of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania,” it said.
The funds would also cover the partnership between the University of Birmingham, working with Brac University and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology to increase vaccine access in developing economies.
This, it hoped to achieve by researching more effective ways of storing and transporting vaccines from point of manufacture to the point of use.
It also hoped to ward against weak supply chains with inconsistent temperature control which could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines by up to 25 per cent.
Also on the list is the University of Bath and the University of Lagos’ collaboration, aimed to address the issue of limited COVID-19 testing capacity in Africa by leading a project to measure the disease in domestic wastewater, which could help reveal the health status of a population.
“By studying wastewater, real time information about infection prevalence across South Africa and Nigeria can be accessed, enabling rapid identification of COVID-19 hot spots, and helping to shape decisions around entry and exit from ‘lockdown’ periods,” it said.
A statement by the UK Office quoted Business Secretary, Alok Sharma as saying:
“Defeating Coronavirus is a truly global endeavour, which is why we’re backing Britain’s scientists and researchers to work with their international counterparts to find tech solutions to treat and combat this virus around the world.
“The research projects we are backing today will ensure that we equip some of the most vulnerable communities with the resources they need to tackle COVID-19 and build their long-term resilience to respond to future pandemics, making us all safer.”
According to the statement, other projects receiving funding include: developing a parental advice app for families affected by COVID-19 school closures across Africa by the University of Oxford, working with the University of Cape Town.
Also on the funding list is a partnership between Birmingham City University and Lusaka and Ndola Colleges of Nursing to help improve the clinical decision making of nurses in Zambia, helping to free up their time and prevent healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed.
Also to be funded is the production of personal protective equipment with digital and 3D printing for Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp by the University of Sheffield, working with the UN Refugee Agency.
According to the statement, the Zaatari Camp is home to approximately 80,000 Syrian refugees
“The University of Edinburgh will work with the Open University of Tanzania to identify measures to make voting safer and more secure in African elections to promote social distancing and to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
Speaking, Prof. Andrew Thompson, International Champion, UK Research and Innovation said: “COVID-19 is demonstrating how the world’s biggest problems transcend rich and poor countries.
“To find lasting, sustainable solutions to help us all during this current pandemic as well as to make us all more resilient for the future, we require global thinking, the mobilisation of global expertise and a global response. That is exactly what these new projects provide.
“Working together, researchers in the UK and across the Global South, will combine their knowledge and experience to develop innovative solutions to help empower local communities to overcome the wide-ranging challenges created by COVID-19.
“The funding follows the launch of the government’s ambitious R&D Roadmap in July, which committed to boosting international collaboration in research and development and establishing global scientific partnerships that will create health, social and economic benefits across the world,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide
E! hosts skip Emmys red carpet after testing positive for COVID-19
The E! “Live From the Red Carpet” preshow for the Emmy Awards is missing a couple of key players this year.
During Sunday’s broadcast, Giuliana Rancic and Vivica A. Fox – who were expected to host a portion of E!’s 2020 red-carpet coverage – both announced that they tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore could not emcee the show as planned.
“As I go into my 20th year on the E! red carpet, I have to say I do not take missing an award show lightly.
“But unfortunately, this year is just so different. As part of E! and NBCUniversal’s very strict testing guidelines – especially before an event like this – I did find out that I tested positive for COVID-19.
“As much as I didn’t want to hear that, I’m very thankful I heard it before I traveled and possibly could have exposed other people. As far as my health, I’m doing well,” Rancic said via video chat.
Rancic added that her husband and son also tested positive for the respiratory illness and are “taking care of each other” in quarantine.
“I’m wishing you all the best,” she continued from home, adding: “Please protect yourselves and protect those around you. Take good care, and I’ll see you on the next red carpet.”
Later, E! hosts Brad Goreski and Nina Parker shared a statement from Fox explaining her own absence.
“I’m terribly sorry I cannot be with my E! family tonight,” the message read.
“Unfortunately I have tested positive for (COVID-19), so in an abundance of caution, I’ve isolated myself at home.
“During these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we follow all safety and health rules and guidelines to protect ourselves and each other. … I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.”
Parker and Goreski – who were originally slated to host the E! “Countdown to the Red Carpet” from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Eastern before passing the baton to Rancic and Fox – simply extended their hosting duties to the “Live From the Red Carpet” telecast.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
NCDC records 97 new COVID-19 infections, total cases now 57, 242
The NCDC disclosed this on its official twitter handle on Sunday .
It added that three persons died of COVID-19 complications while 138 patients, who recovered at various isolation centres across the country the same day, were discharged.
Based on the figures released, Lagos state recorded the highest number of infections with 46 new cases.
The data released also indicated that Kwara recorded 12 new infections, Rivers 11, and Adamawa 4.
Others were Niger – 4, Ogun – 4, Osun – 4, Ekiti – 3, Imo – 3, Kaduna – 3, Plateau – 2, and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – 1.
“Till date, 57, 242 cases have been confirmed, 48, 569 cases have been discharged, and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the FCT,” the centre said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Emmanuel Yashim
Golf: DeChambeau muscles his way to United States Open victory
A bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau bashed his way to a six-shot United States Open victory on Sunday, silencing any lingering questions as to whether his brawny game could translate to the major stage.
World number nine DeChambeau, who began the day two shots back of United States Open debutant Matthew Wolff, clinched his first major title with a mix of jaw-dropping drives and clutch putts.
He shot a virtually flawless three-under-par 67 to reach six under for the tournament at Winged Foot.
“On nine is when I first thought, ‘OK, this could be reality’,” DeChambeau, speaking during the trophy presentation, said of his mindset after an eagle at the par-five ninth.
“I made that eagle, long eagle putt and I shocked myself by making it, too, and I thought to myself, ‘I could do it’. And then immediately after, I said, ‘nope, you’ve got to focus on each and every hole’.”
Wolff (75), appearing in only his second major, was one shot back of DeChambeau at the turn but fell apart over a back nine that included two bogeys and a double-bogey.
A fearless DeChambeau, whose final round included the eagle, two birdies and a bogey, attacked at every chance.
For his efforts was the only player to break par in the final round as he cruised to a maiden major at his 16th attempt.
He attacked Winged Foot all week like few other golfers can.
So confident in his approach, DeChambeau unleashed his driver on practically every par-four and par-five hole as he figured the birdie chances would outweigh the risk that Winged Foot’s nasty rough creates.
DeChambeau grabbed the solo lead after five holes, hit a perfectly-paced 40-foot eagle putt at the ninth to maintain a one-shot cushion.
It was a tournament that came down to a two-horse race between him and Wolff as they made the turn.
The 21-year-old Wolff was bidding to become the first player to win the United States Open on his tournament debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.
But he bogeyed the 10th and 14th holes, before a double-bogey at 16.
“I battled hard. Things just didn’t go my way,” said Wolff. “But first United States Open, second-place is something to be proud of and hold your head up high for.”
Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (73) birdied the last to finish alone in third-place, a distant eight shots back of DeChambeau.
He was one shot clear of Harris English (73), who made a double-bogey at the first where he lost his tee shot.
Xander Schauffele (74) looked ready to make a back-nine charge after making the turn fresh off back-to-back birdies.
But the world number seven made five consecutive bogeys from the 13th and finished in fifth-place.
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (75), who finished in a share of eighth-place, was almost left in a state of disbelief at DeChambeau’s win.
This was given his inaccuracy off the tee at a tournament renowned for its thick rough.
“I don’t really know what to say because that’s just the complete opposite of what you think a United States Open champion does,” said McIlroy.
“Look, he’s found a way to do it. Whether that’s good or bad for the game, I don’t know.
“But it’s just – it’s not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played. It’s kind of hard to really wrap my head around it.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Buhari holds closed-door meeting with Ghanaian president at Aso Villa
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday night met behind closed doors with President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Bashir Ahmad, the President’s Personal Assistant on New Media, confirmed this on his Twitter handle.
The presidential aide, who could not elaborate on the agenda of the meeting between the two leaders, however, posted pictures in which the Nigerian leader could be seen escorting his guest after the meeting.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the closure of shops owned by Nigerian traders in Ghana had heightened tensions between the two countries, a situation which led the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama to summon Ghana’s Charge d Affaires to Nigeria, Ms Iva Denoo for discussions.
Onyeama had also met with representatives of Nigerian traders in Ghana, led by Jasper Emenike, the National President of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (PAN), and the organisation’s National Director, Ruth Ango over the matter.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had also visited Ghana on Sept. 2 with a view to seeing how the issues at stake could be resolved amicably.
According to the speaker, the closure of the Nigerian shops in Ghana contravenes the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on free movement of citizens of member states, and trade liberalisation scheme.
NAN reports that the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) adopted in 1979 with an agreement on agricultural, artisanal handicrafts, and unprocessed products, and extended to industrial products in 1990, is the main framework for trade and market integration in ECOWAS as it addresses protocols on the free movement of goods, persons, and transportation.
The scheme’s main pursuit of consolidating the free trade area is guided by the National Approval Committee that informs the member states.
Similarly, Article (3) of the Revised Treaty of ECOWAS on trade and market integration stipulates the removal of trade barriers and harmonisation of trade policies for the establishment of a Free Trade Area, a Customs Union, a Common Market and an eventual culmination in to a Monetary and Economic Union in West Africa.
NAN further reports that the Ghanaian government had proposed a meeting between the two leaders prior to the one they held behind closed doors on Sunday.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim