The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called for an improvement in the healthcare management system to reverse the prevailing brain drain and enhance the healthcare system for Nigerians.
Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, Chairman, NMA Lagos Zone, made the call in a statement on Saturday in celebration of Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Anniversary.
Olowojebutu said that it was possible to build a nation where healthcare works for all irrespective of tribe, creed, religious and political affiliation.
“We still do not have the healthcare management system of our dreams.
“Our current system is still plagued by strikes, unhealthy professional rivalry, inadequate facilities, poor working condition and the list goes on.
“It is even more worrisome that the present stochastic services have encouraged unprecedented brain drain.
“Many healthcare practitioners are religiously seeking greener pastures in climes where things work, where they can get better remuneration and fulfill their God-given aspirations,” he said.
He noted that past governments invested in the management of communicable diseases, however, various complications resulting from the infection of Ebola, Lassa Fever, COVID-19 and Monkeypox affected the country.
“This is a pointer that as a nation we must have a strategic National Medical Disaster Plan that will help us to be more proactive than reactive,” he said.
According to him, it is also crucial to have a strategic Medical Mitigating Blueprint that alleviates the sufferings of citizens, especially the aged, suffering from non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
He noted that the cost of medications was presently expensive due to high import customs duties.
Olowojebutu added that health matters should be for altruistic purposes and not necessarily pecuniary interests as was the present case with the importation of drugs.
The chairman urged the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to become more responsive to its duty and start intensifying enlightenment on the new National Health Insurance Act (NHIA) in different Nigerian languages.
According to him, doing this will ensure access to healthcare for every Nigerian.
Besides, Olowojebutu said that the current executives of NMA Lagos would work on a three-pronged focal agenda on ‘The Lagos Doctor, Lagosians and Lagos Healthcare System’ to ensure a health system that works for everyone.
‘The import of this tripartite trajectory is that the welfare of Lagos Doctors would be top-notch and reasonably encouraging enough to keep their services.
“The Lagos people would be the cardinal focus of Lagos Healthcare system and there will be patriotic advocacy for the improvement of Lagos healthcare system through various public-private-partnership, particularly in semi urban and rural areas,” he said.
Olowojebutu appealed to the Lagos State Government to expedite action in creating a Public-Private Partnership policy (Operate and Manage Model) that would revitalise and stimulate all Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in rural areas of the state.
“This will go a long way in arresting the already decimated systems in these largely forgotten areas of Lagos State.
“We would like to state emphatically that we are altruistically ready for any partnership that will positively improve the health status of Nigerians, particularly Lagosians.
“We know the most laudable vehicle for attaining the Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria is through the National Health Insurance Act,” he said.
He lauded states that have domesticated the Act and encouraged others to join in domestication of the Act. Olowojebutu also appealed to the Lagos State Health Management Authority to intensify efforts through deliberate partnerships with relevant stakeholders, particularly non-governmental organisations in encouraging Lagosians to enroll in the State’s Health Insurance Scheme (llera Eko).
He noted that health insurance schemes had proven to be the surest route to accessible healthcare facilities and patient management systems, even in developed nations.
The Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) and Nigeria Extractive Transparency Initiative (NEITI) have emerged as the most compliant agencies in terms of Freedom of Information (FoI) and transparency ranking.
The organisations were announced winners by the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), during the launch of the 2022 FoI Compliance Ranking on Wednesday, in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Debt Management Office (DMO), came third on the ranking.
The Chief Executive Officer of PPDC, Mr Jubril Shittu, disclosed that the BPSR and NEITI came tops because they proactively disclosed requested information on their portals.
Shittu said the PPDC had been consistently advocating the disclosure of public finance expenditure information.
This, he said, was to promote a more transparent and accountable government, as well as increase citizens’ participation, thereby leading to improved public service delivery.
Shittu said the rankings were to commemorate the International Right to Know Day and to ascertain the compliance of public institutions to the FoI Act (2011) based on the disclosure of public finance expenditure information.
“Today is globally known as the access to information day all over the world.
The various people that are celebrating access to information.
“So what we are doing here today, along with our cohort partners is to look at what the Nigerian experience is and we have been doing this for the past 10 years.
“You know, since the passage of the FoI Act in 2011, which opened up the space for the public to ask for information from the ministries, departments and agencies.
“This ranking exercise looks at the level of responsiveness of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),” Shittu said.
He also said that the ranking looked at the proactiveness of the disclosures on information from these MDAs, as well as being biased in terms of the disclosure whether disclosed in full or in pertial terms.
“This year, we ranked 250 institutions and as you are aware, there are 700 MDAs in government.
This just shows that we have quite a lot to catch up on.
“We should also be recognised in terms of the efforts for various ministries, MDAs, we’ve reached a level of increase from the previous years,” he said.
In his keynote address, the Minister for State, Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba, said the Federal Government was making necessary efforts to ensure the data of Nigerians were protected.
Agba, represented by the Deputy Director, Agric and Rural Development,Mrs Oluyide Adesola, said the Federal Government had taken cognisance of emerging data protection laws and regulations.
He said, “this was geared towards protecting privacy, identity, lives and property, as well as fostering the integrity of commerce and industry in the data and digital economy.
“As well as fostering the integrity of commerce and industry in the data and digital economy.
“We have realised the importance of developing data protection rules and regulations to protect the personal data of citizens.
“It is in view of this that the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019 was passed and it is the pioneer, comprehensive Regulation on data protection in Nigeria,” Agba said.
NAN also reports that others in the ranking were the National Orientation Agency (NOA), which came fourth, while the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), came fifth.
Others were Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (CRC), that came sixth, as well as National Commission For Colleges Of Education (NCCE), that clinched the seventh position.
In the same vein, the Bureau Of Public Enterprise (BPE), came eighth, while Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), came 10th.
In a bid to engage the senior citizens and make them more productive, The University of Third Age Nigeria (U3A), an online non-conventional university, was on Saturday evening launched in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that U3A Nigeria was chartered by the Association of International Universities of the Third Age (AIUTA) in France.
NAN reports that the first university of U3A was established in 1973 in France with the cooperation of International Labour Organisation (ILO), World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNESCO.
It has since been established in more than 75 countries across the six continents of the world.
In his remarks at the launching, Mr Babajide Afolabi, the U3A Coordinator for U.
S and Canada, called for collaborations from the government and private sector.
Afolabi said: “We are looking forward to a very successful entrepreneurship or partnership with various arm of the private sector.
“This is to help push the programme in the form of humanity support for elders to enjoy their prime years.
” He said that establishment of the online academy was to enable the senior citizens to have easy access to further learning through their mobile phones and Internet.
“The platform is designed for easy use.
It is designed so that our seniors will have access with their mobile phones and Internet.
“The beauty of this platform is the simplicity of usage.
Even, on it, you can form community of like-minds to interact and share ideas.
“It gives us and government the opportunity to have a very decent community where our elders are not forgotten,” he said.
Afolabi said that interested Nigerians of any age could register with U3A online to learn from over 300 courses with just N5,000 membership fee per annum.
Also, the U3A President Nigeria, Dr Charles Afolabi, said that the institution being a non-conventional university, has its spread in over 75 countries, adding by 2023, it would mark its 50th anniversary in Nigeria.
Afolabi said that the money invested in the university was sourced from individuals within the organisation.
“There is no job for life.
It is either the job leaves you or you leave the job; so, we continue to learn forever.
Nigeria has a reservoir of elders with brains and vocations.
“We want them to pass these to our youths for better engagement and we want to help UN to reduce poverty level comes 2030,” he said.
Commenting, Arvind Betala, the Edusity Co-Founder, said that one of the fundamental principles of U3A was the need to remove the boundaries.
“One of the fundamental principles of U3A is that we need to remove the boundaries.
“The boundaries can be estimated that they have to go to school, there is a boundary of communication,” Betala said.
Prof. Francois Vellas, the U3A President worldwide, who joined the session through a virtual platform, recounted how the university was brought to Nigeria.
Vellas said the development of U3A with the support of AIUTA was important for senior citizens to be proud of longline learning anywhere.
In his remarks, Mr Ademola Babalola, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State council, urged Nigerians to support the institution, being a first full online university to be established in Nigeria, through U3A.
From Left: Mr Babajide Afolabi, U3A International Coordinator; Mr Ademola Babalola, Oyo State NUJ Chairman; Dr Charles Afolabi, U3A President Nigeria and Mr Arvind Betala, Edusity Co-Founder, at the official launching of the online University of the Third Age (U3A) on Saturday evening in Lagos.
Babalola said: “I implore Nigerians to embrace this new reality in the area of learning and research innovation.
“The good thing about it is that it has no age barrier.
“This is a non-conventional university sponsored by some kind-hearted people across the globe.
“I want to urge the Federal Government to key into this project since they are making efforts toward digital literacy.
” Commenting, Mr Tunji Ajibade, the General Manager, Soul FM, Ibadan, said the meeting thought him that it was good to take care of the senior citizens and the need for them to relate with others.
“You can’t just say because you are old, you are tired.
It is when you relate with others that you will be able to learn new things from them and be able to do other things for yourself,” Ajibade said.
Among the guest lecturers at the workshop proceeding the launching were Mrs Bolatito Joseph, the Zonal Director, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria(FRCN), Ibadan; Mr Kayode Odedokun, the Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Oyo State and Dr (Mrs) Abimbola Afolabi, from the University of Ibadan.
The event was also attended by the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Lekan Balogun, represented by a Senior Chief Ademola Odunade, the Ayingun Olubadan of Ibadanland, among others.
NAN reports that U3A also have a Nigeria Television, which offers contents designed for the elderly in the areas of health, education, sports, religion, entertainment and news.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has called for urgent sensitisation in communities in the frontline states to relocate immediately as the operators of Lagdo Dam in Cameroon have began the discharge of excess water from its reservoir with a likely flooding of 14 states in Nigeria.
The Director -General of the agency, Dr Garba Abari, made the call following the alert already issued by the Nigeria Hydrological Agency (NIHSA) with prediction of consequential damage to many communities on the coast of River Niger and Benue.
He recalled the 2012 flooding which cut off some roads in some parts of the North Central and North East regions of the country and displaced many communities.
”The report from NIHSA indicate that the Lagdo dam operators in the Republic of Cameroun have commenced the release of excess water from the reservoir by Sept. 13.“We are aware that the released water cascades down to Nigeria through River Benue through its tributaries, thereby inundating communities that have been already impacted by heavy precipitation.
“The released water complicates the situation further downstream as Nigeria inland reservoirs, including Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro are expected to overflow between now and October ending”.
According to Abari, NIHSA has also reported that Kainji and Jebba dams have already started spilling excess water from their reservoirs.
““This will have serious consequences on frontline states and communities along the courses of Rivers Niger and Benue.
“These States include Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Enugu, Kebbi and Kogi.“Others include the Niger Delta states of Edo, Delta, Anambra, Cross-River, Rivers and Bayelsa States,” he said.
The director-general urged NOA directors to create awareness on the need for State Governments to “identify safe high grounds for evacuation of communities at risk, preposition adequate stockpiles of food and non-food items.
Others, he said, are portable water and hygiene and provide safety and security to enable them have fair level of comfort during periods of possible displacement.
He urged the Community Orientation Officers to identify other partners that will help to support communities at risk with necessary information that will assist them to move to safety.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has called on stakeholders to promote the contents of National Ethics and Integrity Policy (NEIP), and Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking initiative (CEPTi).
The ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, made the appeal on Tuesday in Sokoto at a one-day sensitisation dialogue organised by ICPC in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
Owasanoye said the participants were considered important toward the full implementation of the ICPC’s projects in recognition of their proximity to people.
Represented by Mrs Hannatu Mohammed, a Board Member, the ICPC chairman said the efforts was part of the commission’s drive toward the emergence of a new and better Nigeria.
“Therefore, as leaders closer to the grassroots people your pivotal roles in the fight against corruption, demonstrated in the implementation of our strategies are highly invaluable.
“As such your various roles and how to support these platforms were expantiated in details at the sensitisation dialogue proper,” he said.
The ICPC chairman further thanked the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, for his fatherly role in ensuring the acceptability of the initiatives.
He commented the Sokoto State Government and the NOA for their support and cooperation toward the success of the dialogue.
The Sultan of Sokoto, who was represented by Alhaji Jabbi Kilgore, the District Head of Kilgore, said the Sultanate Council is fully aware of the ICPC’s project and would continue to be part of the exercise.
He appreciated ICPC for their commitment to anti-corruption fight in the country, adding that the commission’s activities will no doubt aid in achieving the required goal in fighting corruption.
“This activity will moreover address the security agencies commitment toward fighting insecurity, indiscipline as well as behavioral change among the society,” he said.
The state Commissioner for Local Government, Alhaji Abdullahi Maigwandu, also appreciated ICPC for its commitment in fighting corruption.
Maigwandu, represented by Alhaji Shehu Garba, the Director Administration in the ministry, assured that the state government would continue to support ICPC toward the success of its mandate.
Alhaji Mustapha Shehu, the Chairman, Sokoto North Local Government Council, who spoke on behalf of the 23 LGAs chairmen, said the dialogue came at the right time.
Shehu, who is also the state chapter Chairman of ALGON, urged the National Assembly to enact a law in which implementation of constituency projects must involve states and LGAs. “This is in order to make the projects more beneficial to the general public without any discrimination of which political party one belongs to,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Garba Idris, the Resident Anti-Corruption Commission, ICPC Sokoto Office, stated that the gesture is in order to sensitise the society on the ownership of government project executed in their constituencies.
“The programme is aimed at fighting corruption by sensitising the stakeholders in order to fight corruption in public procurement and achieve value for money in government projects,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that participants at the training include local government chairmen, traditional and religious leaders as well as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) Ebonyi State chapter, has intensified campaign against corruption among school children as part of its bid to purge the nation of its menace Dr Desmond Onwo, NOA’s Director in Ebonyi, announced this to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakaliki on Monday, He said that an Integrity Club was established in schools to target the integrity of the young ones and inculcate the virtues of National Ethics.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Integrity Club Competition for Secondary Schools across the country was also established by NOA in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) in 2021. The Director said that it was to enlist the youth in the anti-corruption vanguard in the country.
“It is to eradicate social vices among students such as lateness to school, disrespect for teachers, cultism, stealing and prostitution amongst others.
“The maiden edition of the competition was held in 2021 and many schools participated all over the country.
“About 30 schools in Ebonyi were part of the first edition but only six succeeded and went on to the national level, Abuja,” he said.
He noted that in 2022, “we came up with the second edition and the theme for this years competition is titled: “Integrity Pays,” Onwo said.
The Director, however, said that the programme tended to engage the school children early in the anti-corruption campaign.
“NOA is embarking on the second edition of the Integrity club competition in schools to follow up the 2021 maiden edition.
“As at now, we have 30 secondary schools that have registered in Ebonyi, both public and private schools.
“We wish to have more schools cutting across the three senatorial districts in the state.
“Now, the registration is ongoing; it started from Sept. 8 and will end on Sept. 22. We urge schools to register and participate in the 2022 competition.
“The inagural competition was held last year (2021).
Model Comprehensive Girls Secondary School, Ugwuachara in Ebonyi emerged winner of the maiden edition of the Integrity Club national drama-video competition for the state,” he said.
NAN reports that some schools that participated in the first edition included Abakaliki High School, Presco, Nnodo Boys Secondary Schools, Girls Secondary School, Azuiyioku.
Onwo expressed the hope that programme would help the schools to engender the spirit of patriotism, honesty and togetherness towards nation building.
On the competition, the NOA Director noted that it was usually a one minute drama sketch, poetry or in form of citation.
Youths in the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) in Abuja have asked Nigerians to intensify prayers for the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections.
They made the while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria at the Abuja National Mega Praise, organised by the church on Sunday.
Miss Temilade Gideon, a youth from the Gwagwalada District of the church called on Nigerians, particularly the leaders to ensue all forms of differences that could stand as hindrance to the success of the election.
”We need to pray to God to guide us as we move towards the 2023 general elections.
”The youth want progress for this country.
We are calling on Nigerians particularly our leaders to ensure we have a free and fair election.
”We are also praying along this line to make sure our dreams come true,” Gideon said.
Also, Israel Pius, CAC Karu District, called on the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure adequate voter education before the 2023 elections.
“We are optimistic that with adequate sentisation from NOA, our youth would shun any forms of violence.
”We are eager to see a Nigeria that is working .
A Nigeria where other Africa countries will like to learn from,” Pius said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the INEC announced Feb. 25 as for thepesidential and National Assembly elections while governorship and state assembly elections will now be held on March 11, 2023. The INEC Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakub, said the new dates followed the signing of the amendments to the Electoral Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The commission had earlier announced Feb. 18 for the presidential election.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has disclosed that the Federal Government was committed to increasing the beneficiaries of the National Homegrown School Feedimg Programme in Ebonyi.
Dr Desmond Onwo, Director, NOA in the state, disclosed this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria , on Friday in Abakaliki.
Onwo explained that the programme would get to all the public primary schools across the 13 local government areas of the state.
He added that the agency would soon embark on sensitisation to create awareness about the scheme “That is, primary one to three pupils.
We are embarking on a sensitisation campaign to ensure that people from the Grassroots are aware of the scheme.
“We shall be meeting with the critical stakeholders in the state, including the traditional rulers, market women, parents and even teachers, among others.
“Some schools have been captured in the 13 local government areas by the enumerators and the government is trying to increase the number of beneficiaries so that it gets to all the public primary schools,” he said.
The director explained that the essence of the programme was to deliver school feeding to young children with a specific focus on increasing school enrollment, and reducing the incidence of malnutrition.
“The scheme will help promote nutrition, education and better eating habits and also encourage the diversification of production with a special emphasis on local crops.
“It is a Federal Government funded initiative; it was introduced by President Mohammadu Buhari in 2016. “It is free for all the beneficiaries.
The objective is to improve the nutritional and health status of primary school children.
“It will also boost the income of farmers and provide empowerment opportunities for women,” he further said.
Onwo explained that the programme had created significant economic impacts on local agricultural production, benefited communities and the children.
“We urge parents and all stakeholders to support us in the awareness campaign to ensure that the messages got to the people, especially the rural dwellers,” he added.
NAN recalls that the Federal Government had in 2021, promised to enroll more than 67,307 primary school pupils into the programme in the state.
The government in 2021 also said the programme would capture about 561 public primary schools across the 13 local government areas in the state, covering primary one to three in public schools.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA), Kaduna Directorate on Thursday urged Nigerians to support and protect the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
Zubair Galadima-Soba, State Director of the programme told the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Kaduna that it has numerous benefits to school children.
“The NOA in collaboration with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has begun a sensitisation campaign to enlighten communities on the benefit of the programme.
“The sensitisation exercise is ongoing across the 23 local government areas of the state by Community Mobilisation Officers (COMO) to create awareness on the programme and its benefits,” he said.
He said the objective of the sensitisation exercise was to clarify some misconceptions about the programme which included the use of funds and the recruitment of cooks.
The director noted that the state government recruits the cooks but the federal government pays them directly adding that the feeding cycle was 20 days per month.
He explained that the school feeding programme was free for pupils and the menus were deliberately designed to optimise child nutrition which should be followed strictly.
According to him, communities were expected to own the programme and become conscious of the benefits to the community which included child nutrition, empowerment of local women in the area.
Galadima-Soba added that the programme would improve the local economy by giving local farmers and traders the opportunity to supply food items for the programme.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NOA was part of the team that distributed enumeration forms to various schools enrolled for the programme.
NOA also assisted in enumeration at hard-to-reach areas and difficult terrains in the state.
Stakeholders have called on relevant institutions and citizens to be responsible towards information dissemination to avoid misinformation that causes chaos in the society.
They made the call at a panel discussion on Thursday at a one-day dialogue with key election stakeholders which focused on “Disinformation in Elections 2022” in Abuja.
The panel discussion focused on “Disinformation as a Tool for Voter Suppression:Role of Election Stakeholders.
” Mr Ismaeel Ahmed, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Social Investment Programmes said that some political parties leverage on misinformation as propaganda.
Ahmed said that it was the job of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to educate the populace on bearing the right information.
Mrs Tari Oliver, ex-presidential aspirant, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), said that while political parties thought of winning elections,they should be responsible as well.
“As a political party and with our interests,while thinking of winning elections,we should be thinking of governance.
“We also need to engage our institutional and religious leaders because they have a way of moulding the opinions of the people towards elections,” she said.
The Public Relations Officer,Nigeria Police,CSP El-Mustapha Sani,said that misinformation affected the polity which could make or mar the system.
Sani said that at the peak of the EndSARS protests in 2020,the Nigeria Police realised that people, especially the youths accessed information on social media, which spurred them to create accounts to counter false information.
“Our doors are open to the youths and those studying criminology and crime related courses on their internships and we are trying to change the narrative of misinformation about the Police.
“We are taking steps for strategic planning that will help eradicate misinformation within the polity.
“It is also important that our political parties,politicians have a sincerity of purpose during elections,” he said.
Mr Kunle Lawal,Executive Director, Electoral College,in his opinion,said, ”to curb disinformation,we need to identify where it started from.
”We have a gossip culture and that is what is happening on social media where lots of disinformation is taking place.
“We need a general political education because people lack the knowledge of the political system.
”Mr David Akoji, Special Assistant to the Director-General of NOA,identified that political players do not consider the impact of disinformation on the society while driving their interests.
Akoji said, ” we need to equip the citizens with basic fact-checking skills and NOA is collaborating with CJID to train 37,000 Nigerians.
“We want to have at least one person from every community that can check information.
”The dialogue was organised by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development(CJID) and funded by the National Endowment Fund (NEF).
The event was part of CJID’s effort,through its Media in National Elections (MiNE) and fact-checking (DUBAWA) projects to ensure the provision of accurate information to Nigerians before,during and after the 2023 elections.