One thing is clear about the COVID-19 pandemic, as stock markets tumble, schools and universities close, people stockpile supplies and home becomes a different and crowded space: this is not just a health issue. It is a profound shock to our societies and economies, exposing the deficiencies of public and private arrangements that currently function only if women play multiple and underpaid roles.We applaud the efforts of governments who are taking extraordinary measures to stop the spread of infections. And the strong leadership, from grassroots to head of state, providing well targeted response, from Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Solberg addressing national anxieties, to Prime Minister Ardern highlighting welfare in her economic measures.With children out of school, mothers at home may still work, but many have also become teachers and caregivers, with consequences for those previously employed in those roles. For the 8.5 million women migrant domestic workers, often on insecure contracts, income loss also affects their dependents back at home. Professional women like South Korean mother-of-two Sung So-young are reporting the dilemma of needing to return to the office but are having to forgo that to enable their higher-earning partners’ continued work. As schools close in more countries, the number of mothers facing this across the world rises and the consequences accumulate.By the middle of March there were 207,855 confirmed cases in 166 countries, areas or territories. Without data that is disaggregated by sex, however, these numbers give us only part of the story of the impact on women and men. We need far more sex-disaggregated data to tell us how the situation is evolving, including on differing rates of infection, differential economic impacts, differential care burden, and incidence of domestic violence and sexual abuse.Even without this, experience from previous major epidemics points us to specific strengths and vulnerabilities that we can look out for and be proactive to safeguard. Where governments or businesses put income protection in place, this can ease these dilemmas, sustain incomes and avoid driving households into poverty. This response must also include those in the informal economy, where most women who work outside home make their livelihood. Such social protection is best directed specifically to women.The 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and the 2015-2016 Zika epidemic in Latin America provide essential, gendered public health and socioeconomic lessons. Women in those outbreaks were exposed to both health and economic risks, as they are again now, in ways intrinsically connected with their roles in the community and responsibilities as caregivers within the home and family.For example, both Ebola and Zika infections are potentially catastrophic for pregnant women. Yet during both previous outbreaks, access to family planning services were very limited, and pregnant and lactating women were excluded from vaccination against the viruses. This underlines the importance of sustained maternal health services to avoid a resurgence of birth-related deaths, and equal access for women to the development and use of all medical products including vaccines once produced.In Liberia, 85 per cent of daily market traders are women. Their livelihoods and economic security suffered as Ebola-related travel restrictions limited trade and affected perishable goods. Back then, together with the Central Bank of Liberia, we were able to help thousands of women cross-border traders to save and expand their businesses through cash transfers via mobile technology. This highlights the importance of looking ahead to women’s roles in recovery measures, and to the innovative use of technology to problem-solve.This is a moment for governments to recognize both the enormity of the contribution women make and the precarity of so many. This includes a focus on sectors where women are over-represented and underpaid, such as daily wage earners, small business owners, those working in cleaning, caring, cashiering and catering sectors and in the informal economy.Globally, women make up 70 per cent of frontline workers in the health and social sector, like nurses, midwives, cleaners and laundry workers. We need mitigation strategies that specifically target both the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on women and that support and build women’s resilience, as we saw in Liberia and elsewhere. And to make those responses as well designed as possible, women should be fully engaged in their creation, be priority recipients of aid, and partners in building the longer-term solutions.We are learning more every day from the arc of the pandemic in China. We have been working closely there with country leadership as part of the UN collective response. Joint campaigns have reached 1 billion people, with communications that raise awareness through public health information, combat stigma and discrimination, reflect women’s specific needs, promote women’s leadership and contributions and develop recovery plans that link equality, health and the economy.I am proud that our UN Women team has been there every step of the way, making sure of access to gender responsive information and collaborating with sister agencies like UNFPA which has been mobilizing support for pregnant women and safe conditions for childbirth. We are also working with women’s organizations all over the world, for example with the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh) where women, especially in highly segregated environments, can lack critical information. Here, women have organized themselves into a network that educates women and girls about keeping safe and avoiding infections.All of us engaged in this effort, whether public or private sector, need to take a coordinated, people-centred approach to rapidly building health system capacity in both developed and developing countries, making a conscious effort to put women front and centre. For example, creating better access to appropriate personal protective equipment for home-based caregivers, and removing obstacles to their work, by promoting flexible working arrangements, and ensuring supplies of menstrual hygiene products. These needs are even more important for areas under lockdown or quarantine. So too are considerations of gender-based violence that are exacerbated by these conditions, but may not receive the attention they need, in the drive to respond to the pandemic.Violence against women is already an epidemic in all societies, without exception. Every day, on average, 137 women are killed by a member of their own family. We also know that levels of domestic violence and sexual exploitation spike when households are placed under the increased strains that come from security, health and money worries, and cramped and confined living conditions. We see this frequently among displaced populations in crowded refugee camps; and reported domestic violence has tripled recently in some countries practising social distancing.Cyberviolence too has become a routine feature of the internet, and as movement restrictions increase online gaming and use of chat rooms, this is an area for vigilance to protect girls. Girls too can step up their own resistance work in this area, and lead with social media solutions. In China the hashtag #AntiDomesticViolenceDuringEpidemic has taken off, helping to expose violence as a risk during lockdown and linked to online resources.According to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, "COVID-19 provides us with an opportunity for radical, positive action to redress long-standing inequalities in multiple areas of women’s lives. There is scope for not just endurance, but recovery and growth. I ask governments and all other service providers including the private sector to take this opportunity to plan their response to COVID-19 as they have never done before, and fully take a gender perspective into account, proactively building gender expertise into response teams and embedding gender dimensions within response plans. For example, include surge funding for women’s shelters so they can provide for women who need to escape violent relationships, and aim economic support and bail outs specifically at retail sectors, hospitality and small businesses where women are predominantly employed on precarious contracts, if any, and are most vulnerable to forced cost-saving."All of this needs funding; organizations responding to COVID-19 need budgeted resources for gender and social inclusion and I urge donors to include this in their support, viewing this as a constant, strongly positive element to include in development budgets and enhancing rather than cutting support to gender equality measures. Organizations serving women need assistance to bolster their response and to prepare for the recovery. This needs resources that many organizations lack. We appeal to funders to enhance their support for women rather than take an austerity approach. A global, coordinated response of the magnitude that followed the financial crisis is needed, constructed with a gender lens, and fully inclusive.This is a time of reckoning for our national and personal values and a recognition of the strength of solidarity for public services and society as a whole. This is an opportunity to build back better, stronger, resilient and equal societies. It is a time for bold prioritization. Taking the right steps now with an eye to a restored future could bring both relief and hope to the women of the world.
APO Group (www.APO-opa.com), the leading pan-African communications and business consultancy, today announced they will support the dissemination of coronavirus-related information from African governments to the press and public.
APO Group will aggregate and distribute all relevant content issued by African governments for free through its press release distribution service and a specially-designed coronavirus tag (https://bit.ly/APOcoroTag) on https://www.Africa-Newsroom.com/. Government-issued information will be distributed in English, French, Portuguese, and Arabic.
As the largest press release distribution service in Africa, APO Group reaches more than 400,000 journalists working in or reporting on the continent.
Dozens of health ministries will benefit from the programme immediately, including: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Any African government, institution or official organisation that wishes to distribute news releases about coronavirus for free can email APO Group at email@example.com.
APO Group will also distribute press releases from the World Health Organization (WHO), the WHO Regional Office for Africa and and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
“Keeping the public informed accurately about COVID-19 is crucial,” said Dr Zabulon Yoti, Acting Regional Emergencies Director for WHO in Africa. “These efforts by media organizations will help disseminate potentially life-saving information.”
“It is critical that African governments have a tool for their voices to be heard,” said APO Group CEO Lionel Reina. “In dedicating internal resources to managing this free press release distribution service and special tag in www.Africa-Newsroom.com we are helping African governments communicate their story to domestic and international audiences and we are contributing to the global fight against the virus in the best way we can. We believe in the power of community, which is why we’re working collaboratively with African governments, media organisations, and journalists to help communicate reliable information about the coronavirus.”
APO Group’s coronavirus tag (https://bit.ly/APOcoroTag) is important because it allows journalists easy access to all coronavirus-related news releases with just one click. Media can also subscribe (https://www.Africa-Newsroom.com/africarc) via email or create an RSS feed to remain updated with the latest government-released information on the virus.
As the pandemic escalates, timely, reliable communication plays an important role helping populations prepare and take as many preventative measures as possible. But the circulation of misinformation and rumours about the virus poses an enormous risk, as the WHO Director-General recently emphasised (https://bit.ly/3bha7cR). Some of the world’s largest social media companies recently pledged to work together to remove misleading posts from their platforms (https://tcrn.ch/2J3MXdR), and journalists and media organisations are working collaboratively to aggregate accurate, officially-sourced news to better inform the public (https://bit.ly/2vDMkVe).
Clear, accurate communication is critical, especially in an environment where fake news about the virus abounds. This initiative will help African governments communicate genuine, credible news content, as well as provide advice for how best to fight the coronavirus.
APO Group’s reputation as a trusted source for accurate information has long served as a beacon against fake news and is now, more than ever, critical to combatting misinformation about COVID-19.
It is a role that APO Group knows well. The company is a pro-bono distributor of press releases for several United Nations agencies (https://bit.ly/WHOonAPO and https://bit.ly/WHO-AFROonAPO).
During the Ebola crisis, the company provided free support to the Government of Sierra Leone, organising a series of online press conferences to broadcast their guidance and updates (https://bit.ly/APOfightEbola). Spokesman for the Government of Sierra Leone Abdulai Bayraytay commented at the time: “The online press conferences succeeded in generating much more international interest in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone. Thanks to APO Group, we were able to tell our story to the rest of the world from our own perspective.”
APO Group is also the press release distribution service in Africa for leading pharmaceutical companies Merck (also known as MSD), Novartis, and the Merck Foundation, among many others.
APO Group remains fully operational and ready to support clients through this extraordinary crisis.
Nigeria has enjoined all political actors and other stakeholders in Republic of Guinea to refrain from violence and commit to transparent, free, fair and peaceful elections in that country.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Nigerian Government made the call in a statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Saturday.
According to the statement, the Nigerian government has been observing with keen and constructive interest, recent political and social developments in the Republic of Guinea.
The statement maintained that Nigeria believed that West Africa had made significant and laudable democratic progress.
”Despite persistent security and political challenges, giant strides have been attained in building and strengthening the legitimacy of democratic institutions, conducting open elections, ensuring peaceful transitions and improving the rule of law in our sub-region.
”As a country, our faith in democracy as the foundation for peace, progress, development and stability in the sub-region is unshaken and we remain firm in our commitment to peaceful means of conflict resolution.
”We, therefore express strong confidence in the people of the Republic of Guinea to act peacefully and in concert, to resolve all internal challenges; and that the Government in Guinea should provide the required enabling environment.
”To this end, the Federal Government of Nigeria calls on all political actors and other stakeholders in the country to refrain from violence and commit to transparent, free, fair and peaceful elections,” it further stated.
The statement was signed by the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye.
Federal Government has called on all political actors and other stakeholders in the Republic of Guinea to refrain from violence and commit to transparent, free, fair and peaceful elections to consolidate peace and stability in that country.
Nigeria also underscored the need for the elections process to be inclusive to consolidate peace and stability in the Republic of Guinea.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, said the call became imperative in view of recent development in that country.
It stated that Federal Government had been observing with keen and constructive
interest, recent political and social developments in the Republic of Guinea.
The government also called on the people of the Republic of Guinea to act peacefully and in concert, to resolve all internal challenges while the Government in Guinea should provide the required enabling environment.
“Nigeria believes that West Africa has made significant and laudable democratic progress.
” In spite persistent security and political challenges, giant strides have been
attained in building and strengthening the legitimacy of democratic institutions, conducting open elections, ensuring peaceful transitions and improving the rule of law in our sub-region.
“As a country, our faith in democracy as the foundation for peace, progress,
development and stability in the sub-region is unshaken and we remain firm in our commitment to peaceful means of conflict resolution.
”We, therefore express strong
confidence in the people of the Republic of Guinea to act peacefully and in concert, to resolve all internal challenges; and that the Government in Guinea should provide the
required enabling environment.”
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola
Prof. Abdusalami Nasidi, a don and physician
with more than 32 years’ experience in clinical medicine has debunked the myth that the negroid race has generic resistance to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Nasidi, who was one of the guests at a
Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) programme, ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ on Wednesday said that the claims that COVID-19 does not affect black people or if it comes to Nigeria, it will be destryed by the intense heat, are fallacies.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnibe Mamora, and the Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr Garba Abari, who were co-guests, g
ave update on the disease.
“It is actually right. Some viruses cannot penetrate some genes and DNA but this is not the case in this coronavirus.
“If it were to be, we would not be seeing the cases we have been recording.
‘The same thing happened with , if you remember, around 1986 to 1987 in Lagos.
“There were so many claims that it is not an African disease and it that could not affect the black race.
‘The myth was quashed when we recorded about 3.5 million cases.
‘There is no race that is immune to this virus,” said Nasidi, former Director General of National Disease Control and currently the Provost, College of Health Science, University of Africa.
The don, therefore, charged both the government and the citizens not to be complacent in stopping the disease from spreading.
He specifically charged Nigerians to take personal hygiene seriously and to avoid social gatherings as much as possible to protect themselves.
“We are now at a stage where we should access our readiness because it is an ongoing epidemic and according to experts, the worst is yet to come because it may affect more people.
“It took Italy three weeks to move from four cases to 21,000 cases, and Iran five weeks to move from eight cases to 16,000 cases.
“We are now at the stage where we have to combine containment and mitigation activities,” he said.
Nasidi also stressed the need to empower healthcare workers and prepare them for the challenge.
“The high number of those contacting the disease are the health care workers, so our preparedness must take into consideration how to take care of the health care workers.
“In Italy, 10 per cent of all cases affected are health workers. In Iran, 40 per cent of those that came down with the disease are healthcare workers.
“Even their Minister of state for health was involved.
“Therefore, we must mobilise, train, and empower them, build their confidence by providing protective gears, and facilities that will make them do the job better at every level,” he said.
Nasidi made comparison between Ebola virus and coronavirus concluding that the latter is more dangerous.
“Ebola virus is more inert. You acquire it by touching anything that has come in contact with the patient, but it is not transmitted through aerosol and the droplets
‘The contagiousness is that you have to come in contact with the patient or any other thing he has touched or the secretion even from the dead body.
“That is why at a time, the dead body became more contagious than the living body.
“But this virus (coronavirus) is a very strange one.
“It is part of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus which devastated the world between 2003 and 2004
“All of them come from animals including this virus. Some from camel.
“The coronavirus combines the contagiousness of Ebola and common cold flu, meaning it is highly transmissible and very contagious and more dangerous to acquire.
“It has a last stage of infection that is very dangerous.
“The Ebola affects the patients and the patient is in pain, devastated, and in severe state of health, .
“For the coronavirus infection, it is very gradual and when it shoots up, it gets to a stage that no medical assistance can help the victim.
“That is when it descends into the lungs and cause severe respiratory sydrome and affects the lungs, turning it to something like rubber.
Nasidi continued: “You can imagine the number of people that are dying In developed countries which have high tech medical system. This is because they cannot save them at that stage.
“As compared to the fluid that we know before like SARS, death rate with the coronavirus is about twenty times higher.”
The don, who admitted the fact that Nigeria had very intelligent people and competent medical personnel that could do a lot, however, said that was responsible for the feat recorded in containing the Ebola pandemic.
“You can see that within a few days we could identify the virus and sequence it.
“We have good laboratories, about six of them now, that can carry out the test.
“That means we can participate in the development of the vaccine worldwide,” he said.
The expert, however, warned Nigerians against laying unverifiable claims to a cure.
“If you do not pass through the scientific stages and go into the media to announce that you have a cure, you may ridicule yourself and your country.
“There are several negative claims at the height of that there were vaccines and drugs which could slow down our response.
“We have to be careful in presenting to the world information that could mislead other countries,” he said.
Nasidi recalled similar situation when a traditional healer claimed he had cure for Ebola and the people paid dearly for it.
“Ebola started in three African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia within the belt occupied by the Kisi tribe.
“There was a traditional healer who claimed he had medicine for the cure of Ebola and he was from the same Kisi tribe.
“People trooped there from Liberia, Sierra Leone thinking that they were going to be healed.
“All of those who went there with the disease thinking they will he healed died and the claimant also died,” he said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
The coronavirus spread further across Africa on Wednesday, with Burkina Faso reporting its first death and new cases found in at least three more countries.
Africa had for weeks been spared from the virus, but it has now been confirmed in more than half of the continent’s 54 countries.
There are concerns that African countries may struggle to contain the outbreak because of weak health systems.
The patient who succumbed to COVID-19 – the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus – in Burkina Faso was a woman who also suffered from diabetes, according to Martial Ouedraogo, the National Coordinator for the Response to the Coronavirus Epidemic.
He said at a Wednesday news conference that she had died overnight.
It is the second death in sub-Saharan Africa from the disease, following a man who passed away in Sudan last week.
Burkina Faso is among the world’s 10 poorest nations, according to the UN.
Djibouti and Zambia on Wednesday reported their first cases.
The patient in Djibouti is a Spanish special forces soldier, while a couple that just returned from a holiday in France were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Zambia, health authorities said.
“I appeal to the public not to panic as the situation is under control,” Zambian Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya said in a statement.
The Gambia late Tuesday also confirmed its first case. The 21-year-old Gambian woman had returned from Britain on Sunday and transited through Morocco, the Health Ministry said.
Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Rwanda and Tanzania all reported additional cases in their countries late Tuesday and on Wednesday.
Cases have also surged in South Africa, which on Wednesday reported its largest daily increase yet – 31 new cases – to reach a total of 116.
On the African continent that is second only to Egypt, which had reported 196 cases.
South Africa’s initial CIVID-19 cases involved people who had travelled abroad, but it is now also seeing local transmission of the disease, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
It said that a cruise ship with more than 1,500 people on board, the AidaMira, had been stranded at the Port of Cape Town since Monday.
It said this was because six passengers were preventively tested after they were on the same flight with a crew member from another cruise ship who later developed coronavirus-like symptoms.
All tests came back negative, Aida Cruises said on Wednesday.
Several African countries have introduced stricter measures in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.
Nigeria on Wednesday announced travel restrictions for travellers from 13 countries: China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Africa’s most populous nation also reported five new Covid-19 cases, bringing its total to eight.
Niger, meanwhile, will stop international flights and close all land borders for at least two weeks from Thursday.
Bars, nightclubs, cinemas and places of entertainment were to cease operations from Wednesday, while schools and universities will be closed from Friday, the president said on national television.
Niger’s government also banned all gatherings of more than 50 people and introduced compulsory hygiene measures in markets, shops and restaurants.
In Congo, the two chambers of parliament on Wednesday suspended activities until April 5.
President Felix Tshisekedi was expected to announce further restrictions in the evening.
Edited By: Peter Dada
Edited By: Fatima Sule/
The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has urged the Federal Government to immediately announce a comprehensive travel restriction to nationals of countries that have been confirmed to have Coronavirus.
Capt. Nogie Meggison, the Chairman of AON, made the call in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday.
Megisson said the government should also announce a comprehensive travel restriction to only Lagos and Abuja entry points for Nigerian travelers coming into the country.
He said the call came on the heels of a strategic response meeting held between the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Megisson said others at the meeting were the Nigeria’s representative to ICAO, members of Port Health and Chief Executives of Airlines and Helicopter operators to develop and implement measures to prevent the importation of the virus into the country as well as curb its spread.
“Nigeria is about the only country in Africa yet to take a decisive action in putting in place strict measures to stop the inflow of the virus into our shores.
“We can say for sure that if the situation escalates in Nigeria other countries of the world would not hesitate to stop us from flying into their country.
“We would like to appeal to government to stand tall by putting Nigeria first at this time and take an immediate action by restricting travel into Nigeria.
“May I propose that government should immediately reduce entry points into the country to Lagos and Abuja airports only.
“This will allow for effective deployment of critical medical support staff and utilisation of thermal scanners and other resources.
“This will further promote proper monitoring of those entering the country through our airports by members of the Port Health that are already overstretched.”
Meggison cited examples of countries in Africa that had taken action to include Kenya, Rwanda, Egypt, South Africa, Ghana, Guinea, Angola, Morocco, Chad and Tanzania.
He called for immediate action to reduce the number of entry points into the country.
According to him, this is to effectively control the influx of people into the country as AON members are willing to offer their services to distribute travelers around the country from the two entry points.
Megisson also urged Ministry of Aviation to take a cue from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by directing the various agencies under its supervision to immediately provide extend critical palliative measures to Nigerian airline operators.
He said the measures would further reduce the burden of colossal loses they had suffered and continue to suffer from the impact of the virus on air travel.
Meggison called on the aviation agencies through the Federal Ministry of Aviation to follow the same path by taking action to support domestic airlines that were the drivers of its national economy.
“Nigerian airlines are suffering heavily from the impact of the virus issue as the passenger numbers have dropped drastically and our overheads remain the same on many fronts and even increasing significantly on other fronts.
“Like we all know, Nigerian airlines trade in naira, but we do our business in dollars and the naira has come under pressure since the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The agencies should therefore help the airlines by immediately streamlining the over 32 multiple charges given to airlines which are mostly double billing.
“Government should also bear 100 per cent cost of disinfecting all aircraft for this period and provide thermal scanners, hand sanitisers and mobilise more manpower and training of Port Health personnel at our local airports to encourage more people to travel,” he said.
The AON chairman said the potential impact of the virus to the economy and security was unquantifiable.
Meggison said it need the immediate response of restricting travel into the country by allowing only entry points in order to minimise the spread of the virus.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Tajudeen Atitebi
Mrs Christy Abayomi-Oluwole, the Chief Executive Officer, Global Hope for Women and Children Foundation (GLOHWOC) says the organisation is partnering with Landmark University to train 120 women on entrepreneurship and skills.
Abayomi-Oluwole made this known on Tuesday during a capacity gap assessment of the beneficiaries at the palace of the Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara.
She said that the beneficiaries of the scheme were carefully selected across Irepodun and Ilorin-South Council areas of the state through a constituted 15-member project steering committee that comprised of critical stakeholders.
She noted that the training, which would attract seven facilitators, had been scheduled for between April 7 and April 9.
According to her, the training of beneficiaries is part of a larger scheme toward empowering identified vulnerable women, girls and cooperative groups for them to be self-sufficient and reliant.
She said the project tagged: “Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Scheme” is also in collaboration with Actionaid and Global Affairs Canada.
The GLOHWOC boss said the beneficiaries had been grouped under Ifesowapo, Okogbemi and Abundant Multipurpose Cooperative Societies for those residents within Irepodun Local Government Area.
“Those in Ilorin-South Local Government Area are grouped under Agro Women, Asejere Women and Agbeloba women Multipurpose Cooperative Societies,’’ she said.
Abayomi-Oluwole listed some of the training areas and topics to include Fundamentals of Vegetable Production, Fundamentals of Maize and Guinea Corn Production and Fundamentals of Tubers Production.
Others are, Poultry Production, Fishery, Animal Production, Ruminant Production as well as Crop Classroom and hand on/field/practical training.
She said the training would be preceded by the opening of groups and individual accounts for the beneficiaries toward the provision of an enhancement grant for their businesses and vocations.
“The project is meant to identify vulnerable persons, especially women, girls and non-registered cooperative societies for financial literacy assistance for them to be self-sufficient and legally registered to function effectively,” Abayomi-Oluwole said.
Dr Elizabeth Alori, the Head of Department, Soil and Crop Science, Landmark University, Omu-Aran, and a member of the project steering committee, expressed the institution’s readiness to promote agriculture mechanisation among the womenfolk.
She was optimistic that the training would afford the beneficiaries more knowledge and information on agricultural practices, entrepreneurship, skills and vocations
Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi
In a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease in West Africa, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has directed the establishment of Committees on Coronavirus Management in all its institutions.
It also placed stringent restriction on meetings and missions as well as cancelled all prior approvals for meetings or mission, directing all institutions, committees or missions to seek fresh approvals for events that were not already ongoing.
A statement issued by ECOWAS President Jean-Claude Brou, noted that the virus had infected more than 168,000 people in over 140 countries including some in West Africa, and has killed more than 6,000.
Brou pointed out that already, 38 cases had been reported with zero death across Senegal (26), Burkina Faso (3), Cote d’Ivoire (3), Nigeria (2), Ghana (2), Guinea (1) and Togo (1), stressing the need for greater preventive measures.
While assuring that the sub-regional body stood in solidarity with all the affected countries, the ECOWAS President said that stringent measures must now be taken to curb further spread and avert further negative health, social and economic impact.
“ECOWAS remains committed to its mandate and the safety of their staff and other stakeholders. In this regard, ECOWAS would therefore take all necessary preventive and containment measures to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
“A Committee on Corona Virus Management is hereby established at the ECOWAS Commission and all other ECOWAS Institutions and Agencies are requested to establish a similar Committee;
“In pursuance of appropriate measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, and to ensure that staff are available for possible deployment to support Member States, the ECOWAS Commission on the advice of West African Health Organization (WAHO) has decided in the abundance of caution that effective immediately:
“Only critically necessary missions will be approved; All Missions that have not started will be resubmitted to the Head of Institution for approval; WAHO Covid 19 Guidance for ECOWAS Missions will apply after approval.
“All staff who have been on mission to any high burden country or country with local transmission within 2 weeks of returning to their duty station should go into self-isolation for fourteen (14) calendar days, counting day 1 as the day the staff left the hotspot country. Transit at the airport does not apply,” he said.
ECOWAS also suspended until further notice, all meetings involving participants traveling on international flights and discouraged all local meetings involving more than 50 participants.
For the approved meetings, its said that the rule of social distancing must be applied while encouraging the use of technology for meetings with international participants.
The Commission president urged any staff that develops any symptoms of fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing to not only self-isolate but should also call dedicated telephone number or Covid 19 Toll free number in the Member State where they work.
Brou called on staffers to take care of their health and protect other people.
“All staff members and other stakeholders are advised to comply with the health advisory on the Covid-19 virus issued by WAHO and the national or regional centre for disease control.
“I urge all staff not to panic but ensure that they remain calm and healthy. All staff are advised to go about their normal duties calmly whilst practicing personal hygiene and social distancing in a professional manner,” he said.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, says there are now 273 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Africa in 26 countries and there have been six COVID-19-related deaths.
The UN health agency disclosed this in its regional official twitter account @WHOAFRO.
The agency said Government of Benin had on Monday confirmed the country’s first case of COVID-19.
According to agency, the patient is a 49-year-old male of Burkinabe nationality, who entered Benin on March 12.
“Over the weekend, Central African Republic, Eswatini, Rep of Congo, Rwanda, Seychelles announced first cases.”
WHO, however, gave the breakdown of confirmed cases in the continent as follows:
“Algeria 48, South Africa 51, Senegal 24, Cameroon 3, Nigeria 2, Burkina Faso 7, Togo 1, DRC 3, Cote d’Ivoire 5, Ghana 2, Gabon 1,
“Kenya 3, Ethiopia 4, Guinea 1, Rwanda 5, Namibia 2, E Guinea 1, Seychelles 2, CAR 1, Congo 1, Mauritania 1, Eswatini 1, Liberia 1, Egypt 110, Morocco 28, Tunisia 18, Sudan 1.’’
Meanwhile, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said “With COVID-19 officially declared a pandemic, all countries in Africa must act.
“Every country can still change the course of this pandemic by scaling up their emergency preparedness or response.
“Cases may still be low in Africa and we can keep it that way with robust all-of-government actions to fight the new coronavirus.”
According to her, containment remains the most appropriate strategy for African countries.
Apart from South Africa and Algeria – which have clusters of transmission linked to imported cases – the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the African region are sporadic importations from European countries, mainly Italy, France, Germany and Spain.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola