Stakeholders embark on NCDs research among People Living with HIV



The International Research Center of Excellence (IRCE) at the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) and ISN Products Nigeria Limited have embarked on a joint research into Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) among People Living with HIV (PLHIV).

The information is in a statement by Patrick Dakum, Chief Executive Officer of IHVN, on Wednesday in Abuja.

He stated that the research would take place at five designated medical facilities in Abuja.

He added that the study would help estimate the burden and progression of NCDs among PLHIV.

Dakum explained that “the study will take place in Kubwa General Hospital Abuja, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Nyanya General Hospital, Asokoro District Hospital and Police Hospital, Garki, Abuja.

“It seeks to estimate the burden and progression of non-communicable diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, prostate and cervical cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases among PLHIV over a period of two years.”

He added that the study was also significant because it would explore clinical, behavioural and psycho-social risk factors of NCDs among people who were newly diagnosed.

“All participants will be assessed for willingness to participate in future HIV vaccine and cure research with samples stored for future genetic research,” he assured.

Prof. Alash’le Abimiku, the IRCE Executive Director and Principal Investigator of the ISNNCD study, said that the study would characterise risk factors that may trigger future development of NCDs among PLHIV.

The director said “we aim to recruit and follow up 200 newly diagnosed HIV positive clients and 200 people who are HIV negative for a period of two years.

“This cohort of individuals may also be used to study diverse disease outcomes in the future.”

The Executive Director of ISN Products Nigeria Ltd, Mr Felix Ofungwu, said “we are excited about this collaboration, primarily because the ISNNCD study addresses two critical disease areas of HIV and NCD.

ISN stands for quality and innovation in the medical diagnostics industry and we recognise that research provides the bedrock for innovative medical solutions.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ISN Products Nigeria Ltd is funding the research, to be conducted by .

The company, a leading indigenous medical diagnostic outfit, had also donated equipment and reagents to Kubwa General Hospital, Abuja, which is the central laboratory location for the research where samples from all study sites will be analysed.

Equipment contributed are a Cobas C111 Chemistry Analyzer, an AVL Electrolyte Analyzer, a BC 5150 Haematology Analyser and a Merck Lab Water Unit.

IRCE is a centre of excellence established in 2016 by IHVN.

The collaboration with ISN Products Nigeria Ltd is in line with the centre’s mandate of promoting public/private partnership for quality health services, capacity building and research in West Africa.

For this ISNNCD study, IRCE researchers, Dr Elima Jedy-Agba, Dr Evaezi Okpokoro and Dr Gbenga Kayode will serve as co-investigators and coordinate the site activities at the five participating hospitals.

Edited By: Nick Nicholas/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)


NEPWHAN commends NACA, UNAIDS for initiating HIV self testing roundtable



The Network of People Living with in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) has commended the leadership of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the UN Joint Programme against AIDS (UNAIDS) for initiating roundtable on HIV self-testing in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NACA and UNAIDS initiated the HIV self-testing roundtable: “Accelerating HIV Self-Testing in Nigeria” on Sept. 15.

The National Coordinator of the network, Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

Ibrahim, who said that the exercise was in line with UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 goals, said it was key to unlocking one of the 90 goals.

He said that self-testing was a roadmap to reducing infection in Nigeria using preventive interventions, having known one’s status.

“Knowing your HIV status is very instrumental in fighting the virus because as soon as you know it, the next step is treatment aimed at suppressing the viral load assuming the status is positive.

“I am very happy with the leadership of NACA and UNAIDS for doing this, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Ibrahim said.

The national coordinator advised Nigerians, especially youths to support the exercise by participating in self-testing without fear, aimed at reducing HIV in the country.

NAN reports that the West and Central African Region (WCAR) still registered some of the highest rates of new HIV infections worldwide (16 per cent) in spite of a low prevalence of HIV (1.9 per cent).

In this region, only 48 per cent of people living with HIV were are of their status.

To fill this gap, HIV Self-Testing (HIVST) can potentially be an additional approach to overcoming the barriers to diagnose HIV infected patients.

Therefore, being one of the keys to unlocking  the first 90 goals as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since 2016.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Ejiofor)
Source: NAN
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Foundation says COVID-19 pushes 37m people into extreme poverty



The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed some 37 million people into extreme poverty, a majority of them in developing countries, a report released on Tuesday by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shows.

The Goalkeepers 2020 report shows that after 20 straight years of poverty numbers coming down, the disease has reversed the trend.

“The pandemic has pushed almost 37 million people below the 2,000 shillings ($1.9) a day extreme poverty line.

“The poverty line for lower-middle-income countries is $3.20 a day and 68 million people have fallen below that one since last year,’’ says the report.

Apart from fanning poverty, the disease has disrupted food access and exacerbated child and maternal mortality.

“Due to the COVID-19 economic crisis, local food markets are less busy and consumers have less money to buy food, which means small-scale farmers are selling and earning less.

“This is on top of climate stresses that have been getting worse in recent years as well as this year’s locust infestation in East Africa, both of which threaten their livelihoods,’’ says the report.

It added that COVID-19 was causing more women than men to suffer and die, in large number because the pandemic has disrupted healthcare before, during and immediately after childbirth.

“Preventable, treatable complications such as severe bleeding, infection and high blood pressure cause the vast majority of maternal deaths.

“Many healthcare workers who used to manage these emergencies, including experienced nurse-midwives, are being diverted to COVID-19 wards,’’ says the report.

According to the report, ids and tuberculosis patients are the other groups that are worst affected by the pandemic, according to the report.

“Current evidence shows that people living with HIV are at increased risk of death due to COVID-19.

“Before COVID-19, there were already three million ‘missing cases’ of TB; people with active TB who didn’t know it and were passing the disease to others while going untreated themselves.

“Now, that number will grow even larger as people either cannot go to health facilities for diagnosis or choose not to go to avoid the possibility of exposure to COVID-19,’’ notes the report dubbed COVID-19, A Global Perspective.

But many countries have responded to the crisis well, notes the report, investing $18 trillion in economic stimulus proving that the world understands how massive the COVID-19 crisis is.

“Many developing countries are doing impressive work on digital cash transfers that put money directly in people’s hands.

“According to the World Bank, 131 countries have either implemented new programmes or expanded existing ones since February, reaching 1.1 billion people,’’ says the report.

In Africa, eight members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, allowed people to open accounts by text message or telephone and follow up later to verify their identity in person.

“More than eight million West Africans signed up for accounts while their countries were in lockdown,’’ says the report.

In spite of bleak projections, Bill and Melinda Gates describe a path to ending the pandemic and resuming progress toward the Global Goals.

In the report, which they co-author every year, they call on the world to collaborate on the development of diagnostics, vaccines and treatment

Collaboration is also required in manufacture tests and doses as quickly as possible as well as delivering these tools equitably based on need rather than the ability to pay.

“The response to COVID-19 pandemic has shown us some of the best of humanity like path-breaking innovation, heroic acts by frontline workers and ordinary people doing the best they can for their families, neighbours and communities,’’ Bill and Melinda Gates write.

“This is a shared global crisis that demands a shared global response.’’

The report makes clear that no single country will be able to meet this challenge alone.

Any attempts by one country to protect itself while neglecting others will only prolong the hardships caused by the pandemic.

Developing and manufacturing vaccines will not end the pandemic quickly unless they are delivered equitably.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN
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Oil & Gas

Chevron invests $1.45bn in Nigerian content development – Report



Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) says it invested $1.45 billion in Nigerian Content Development (NCD) in 2019.

The oil major made the disclosure in its 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report, which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Tuesday.

The report said to demonstrate its commitment to NCD, Chevron Nigeria’s local content policy had been updated, such that it gave contracting preference to competent Nigerian companies.

The document added that the policy also promoted technology transfer.

It said :”Our investment in Nigerian content in 2019 was approximately $1.45 billion.

“Of this amount, expenditure on materials and services obtained from local community contractors was approximately $358 million.”

The report listed projects executed by Chevron Nigeria and its indigenous partners to include Escravos Export System Project and Okan Gas Gathering Compression Platform (GCCP) Debottlenecking project.

It said other projects executed were the Meji GCCP Debottlenecking project and Consolidated Maintenance Workshop project.

According to the report, 184 Nigerians benefited from quality training valued at over $5 million in technical and professional skills in 2019.

It said the company, with the support of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), also trained over 200 community contractors to build local capacity and strengthen indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry.

Commenting on the report, Mr Jeffrey Ewing, Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria, said the company was focused on operational excellence and helping its host communities prosper.

“We are committed to continually improving the quality of life of the people of Nigeria through our social investments and community engagement activities, ” Ewing said.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Ejike Obeta
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: Igala nurses support widows, orphanages in FCT



Igala Nurses and Midwives Association (INAMA), Abuja on Monday supported 104 widows and two orphanage homes in the FCT with food items to ease the pain inflicted by COVID-19 pandemic.


The items given to the widows, who came from Gwagwalada, Kuje, Suleja, Karu, Mararaba are: rice, cassava flakes, beans, spaghetti, vegetables oil, Indomie noodles, magi seasoning, salt and little cash to support their transport fare back to their various places.


The Divine Orphanage, Kubwa and Mothers Welfare Group, orphanage, Karu also received bags of rice, cartons of noodles, cartons of juice, toiletries, beverages, detergents, biscuits, medical drugs and others.


The President of the association, Mrs Christie Awunor, while speaking to newsmen during the event said that the donation was done through the support of Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an Abuja-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).


According to Awunor, the donation is to assist the people put food on their table, going by the challenges occasioned by the novel Coronavirus.


She said that the association had been in the business of helping people since it was founded in 2007, adding that this particular donation was a special one because of the support it got from AHF.


INAMA has been in existence since 2007; we are a group of nurses who work in different hospitals, organisations, NGOs and ministries and even in schools.


“We put money together to support women who are in need, especially the widows, children in orphanages, young women and girls.

“We put the money together to assist them to do some petty trading and support their families,” she said.


Mrs Helen Wada, former President of the Association, who appreciated AHF for the support, said the association would continue to touch lives to better the lives of women in the society.


The Secretary of the Association, Mrs Mary Nwankwo, also stated that the association had carried out so many routine tests such as checking of blood pressure, sugar level, HIV test and so on to ensure the well-being of women.


Nwankwo said that people who were tested and were down with such illnesses were referred to the appropriate places where they could get treatment by the association.


Mrs Ladi Emmanuel, Mrs Christy Joseph and Mrs Elizabeth Nwogugu, on behalf of other beneficiaries, thanked the association for the care of widows and prayed for God’s blessings  on them.


Mrs Enearu Gloria, the Coordinator, Divine Orphanage home, also appreciated the association for the donation noting that not every Nigerian had the kind of philanthropic disposition as members of the association.

She also appreciated the FCT social welfare department which had been a major support in taking care of the children in her orphanage.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN
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