On Tuesday, Australian middle-distance runner Peter Bol posted a statement to his social media channels, announcing his provisional doping suspension had been lifted. On Instagram, he captioned the statement with one word: “Alhamdulillah” – thank God.
If only it was so simple.
The initial outpouring of relief, that an Australian Olympic hero was not a doping cheat, was tempered by a subsequent statement from Sport Integrity Australia (SIA). Bol’s B sample had returned an “atypical finding”, or ATF. While his suspension has been lifted, SIA’s investigation remains ongoing. If this was a 800m contest, Bol’s preferred distance, the finish-line might be in sight, but the race is not over yet.
There are a few layers to unpeel here. Bol’s A sample tested positive for recombinant EPO – an artificial form of a naturally-occurring substance. His B sample was an ATF. This, in the words of SIA, is “is not the same as a negative test result”.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) publishes exhaustive technical standards that govern testing for different prohibited substances. When the results of a B sample “do not fulfil the quality and indication criteria described” in the technical standards, the result is returned as negative. That renders a positive A sample as a false positive; in simpler terms, it represents vindication for those like Bol who maintain their innocence.
An ATF, on the other hand, is recorded when testing results are “inconclusive” – for example because “presence of interferences, band(s) intensity too low to ensure reliable identification”. It is not entirely accurate, then, to say – as Bol did – that he “was hopeful that the process would exonerate me. This morning, I am relieved to report that it did.” An ATF is not a positive result; Bol and his supporters can take much relief from that. But an ATF is not a negative result either.
And so the process continues. SIA’s statement indicated that its investigation “remains ongoing”. It would not specify a timeframe, although a hearing is scheduled for next month. There are two possible outcomes. SIA can determine Bol has not committed any anti-doping rule violation and close its investigation. Bol’s nightmare will be over. Or SIA could reach the view that Bol’s combined positive and ATF results suggest a possible violation and proceed to take action. A legal fight would likely ensure.
Further complexity has been thrown on the situation with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting that Bol had contradictory EPO testing results in 2021 – with one lab identifying a minor positive, and another concluding the same sample was negative. Bol was reportedly unaware of this until now; it may suggest naturally-occurring high levels of EPO within his body.
Another unusual aspect of Bol’s statement, and the vocal criticism of the process mounted by his lawyer, is the attack on the transparency of SIA’s process. “I wish that the results of my A sample had not been leaked, but there is nothing I can do about that,” said Bol on Tuesday.
It is not quite right to describe that transparency as a leak – Bol’s sample result was not leaked. Bol’s positive result in his A sample meant that, pursuant to Wada rules, he would be provisionally suspended. It’s hard to envisage how Bol could be suspended but SIA and Athletics Australia say nothing. “We anticipated that his absence from training and published start lists for upcoming events would lead to questions and media reporting, as it did,” Athletics Australia chief executive Peter Bromley said on Tuesday.
“It’s always better to be transparent about these things,” one leading sports lawyer told Guardian Australia. “There’s discretion on part of the testing authority but ultimately transparency outweighs any prejudicial value, because a B sample negative means no provisional suspension and no positive finding.”
Bol’s case may well prompt further reflection on processes and disclosure within SIA; his lawyer has suggested that the US Anti-Doping Authority would not have announced the A sample result in such circumstances. Balancing transparency and the legitimate interests of an athlete is not easy.
None of which is to understate the immense impact of the past month on Bol. “The last month has been nothing less than a nightmare,” he said on Tuesday. His hopes of being named Young Australian of the Year were scuppered. Even if he is ultimately vindicated, this saga will remain a footnote to an otherwise glittering career.
Now able to train and compete again, Bol will begin a path towards the world championships in August and the 2024 Paris Olympics – but the lingering stress of the investigation won’t help his preparations. His ability to qualify for the world championships might also depend on discretion from Athletics Australia, if he does not compete in the national titles in March.
Tuesday’s announcement was met by a collective sigh of relief from many in the Australian sporting community. Bol is an inspiration, a hero – his journey from Sudan to Egypt to Australia to the Tokyo Olympics is truly remarkable. Most want Bol to be innocent, and Tuesday’s news is a step in the right direction. But he is not in the clear just yet.
Peter Bol, whose athletics career was in the balance after failing an out of competition doping test last year, has had his provisional ban lifted after a B sample did not match the original A sample, but Sport Integrity Australia will continue its investigations into the matter.
Bol, who finished fourth in the 800m at the Tokyo Olympics, was provisionally suspended by Athletics Australia in January after a urine test showed signs of synthetic EPO, a performance-enhancing agent that is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list.
The national 800m record holder and Commonwealth Games silver medallist strongly denied he had ever taken any banned substance and requested a B sample be analysed, as per Australian national anti-doping policy guidelines.
On Tuesday he tweeted a statement to say the B sample did not back up the original result, and that he is now free to return to training and competition.
“Last month I told everyone that I was innocent and asked that everyone in Australia believe me and let the process play out,” he said. “I was hopeful that the process would exonerate me. This morning I am relieved to report that it did.
“I was just informed that my B sample did not confirm my A sample. My provisional suspension has been lifted by Sport Integrity Australia. The relief I am feeling is hard to describe.”
Sport Integrity Australia, the country’s anti-doping authority, confirmed it had received the results of Bol’s B sample but “the investigation into the matter remains ongoing”.
The B sample returned an atypical finding (ATF) for EPO that SIA said required further investigation as per Wada rules, and it would now seek a second opinion from a Wada-accredited laboratory.
“An ATF is not the same as a negative test result,” a statement read.
“Sport Integrity Australia will, as part of its investigation, proceed to consider whether any anti-doping rule violation/s have been committed. It is not possible to provide a timeframe at this point.”
Athletics Australia confirmed the ban had been lifted and released a statement on Tuesday night saying: “The result of the B sample was reported by the laboratory as Atypical, which is neither negative nor positive, and requires further investigation.
“Under the World Anti-Doping Code, Athletics Australia is now required to lift the provisional suspension whilst the investigation continues.
“Peter is now permitted to train at a national, state or club level, compete and coach, as well as receive funding, use official or member facilities and hold a position with a sporting organisation.”
Since Athletics Australia imposed the provisional ban, the 28-year-old has not been permitted to train at a national, state or club level, or compete at any level. Funding was also suspended.
At the time Bol said he would cooperate fully with Sport Integrity Australia as a fair hearing process was worked through but admitted that his career “literally hanging in the balance”.
“The last month has been nothing less than a nightmare,” he said on Tuesday. “I wish that the results of my A sample had not been leaked, but there is nothing more I can do about that.
“To say it one more time: I am innocent and have not taken this substances I was accused. I have never in my life purchased, researched, possessed, administered or used synthetic EPO or any other prohibited substance, and never will.”
Bol was one of Australia’s stars of the 2020 Olympics, held in 2021, when he became the first Australian to reach an 800m final at a Games since 1968. A thrilling run, which saw him lead the world’s best but ultimately miss out on a bronze medal by a whisker, captured the imagination of a nation.
He was in November named Western Australia’s Young Australian of the Year for both his athletic achievements and his work off the track. He also works as a coach, mentor, keynote speaker and has been recognised for his philanthropic efforts.
Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games hero Peter Bol is not fully free from his anti-doping case - a point highlighted by fellow runner Matt Shirvington. Shirvington said on Tuesday night that Bol's clean 'B' sample was 'quite significant', but added that he 'wasn't out of the woods yet'.
Bol was provisionally suspended by Sports Integrity Australia (SIA) in January after an out-of-competition test sample recorded a positive result for EPO, a performance enhancing substance. But he announced publicly on Tuesday that his 'B' sample had come back clean, enabling him to return to competition.
However the process for his return isn't quite so simple, with SIA saying in a statement that Bol's second sample was an 'atypical finding (ATF) for recombinant EPO'. The agency said this would require them to get a second opinion from a WADA-accredited laboratory, and that the ATF was not a negative result - and as such, the investigation remained ongoing.
Shirvington told 7News that although Bol had some ways to go before definitively proving his innocence, the mere fact there had been a variation in result from his 'A' sample to the 'B' sample was compelling. "It very, very rarely happens," Shirvington said.
"Based on previous evidence from other athletes in the past, it comes back about 0.02 per cent of the time different between the A and B. That’s in his favour, but he’s not quite out of the woods yet.
“He’s always said he is innocent … He’s not quite there yet, he will go to every length and he already has. He’s spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal advice, getting information of those samples back to him.
"Also, he was due to have a lie detector test tomorrow at the cost of $2000 just to build his case that he was absolutely innocent. He will continue that fight and hopefully for sport-loving Australians he will be cleared and for those that watch the Olympics in Tokyo 2021 – we got so much out of seeing Peter Bol run and that is the best result if he can be cleared here and we see him back on the track again very soon.”
While Bol had the happy opportunity to announce positive news regarding his case on Tuesday, it was not so when his positive test was initially recorded. Details of his 'A' sample were leaked to the media, with Bol's lawyer Paul Greene fiercely critical of the doping investigation.
“The fact that they announced this is a disgrace. The fact that they didn’t keep this confidential, he was never charged … he was never shown a lab document. He was told he was positive and then it was announced,” he said.
“They (SIA) should be embarrassed about the way this case was handled. You should not announce it until after someone has been charged because you have to have an A and a B sample to be sure charging wise.
“It’s a really poor process and in my opinion, they (sport integrity) need to review it. If he was an American athlete, no one would have ever known about this.
“Who’s going to suffer as a result? No one at Sport Integrity Australia or Athletics Australia are going to suffer from this ... Pete’s the only one that is going to suffer from this.”
Meanwhile, Shirvington was concerned that the saga would disrupt Bol's preparations for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Bol has already missed the first of the major track and field meets this year.
“Who knows what he’s missed out on. He’s not going to compete in the Australian summer athletics season. What sort of preparation that gives him leading into the 2024 Paris Olympics we don’t know,” Shirvington said.
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President Wavel Ramkalawan yesterday conducted visits at key locations on Mahé of project at Beau Vallon, Corgat Estate, Anse Gaulette as well as the Baie Lazare Police Station.
The purpose of the visits was to view first-hand how far the mitigation projects were being implemented and discuss pertinent issues on site that have been brought to the attention of the technicians and members of the community.
He was accompanied by the Minister for Land Use and Housing, Mr. Billy Rangasamy, the Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change & Environment, Flavien Joubert, the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Infrastructure Agency (SIA), Mr. Jitesh Shah, Principal Secretaries, and other senior government officials.
At Beau Vallon, the President visited the construction of the 170-metre sea wall coastal rehabilitation project undertaken to prevent degradation of the beach during the North West trade winds.
Funded under the Environment Trust Fund, the project cost nearly SRC2 million.
A second phase of the coastal rehabilitation project is expected to start in the near future.
The President and his delegation then proceeded to the Corgat Estate, Mont Fleuri, where the delegation viewed the desilting works and boundary wall construction being undertaken as part of the flood mitigation works in that area.
This follows, the heavy rains in March, which affected inhabitants living in that area.
The Presidential then visited the second sea wall rehabilitation project at Anse Gaulette, Baie Lazare in order to stop heavy erosion.
He was welcomed there by the elected member of the National Assembly for Baie Lazare, Mr. François Adelaide.
The 280-metre sea wall project is being financed by the Government, amounting to SRC5.3 million.
President Ramkalawan then visited the Baie Lazare police station, which has been closed since August this year, due to maintenance required on the building.
Following the tour and discussion with the technical team present, the President ordered that the Seychelles Infrastructure Agency undertake renovation works on the building as soon as possible so the station can resume operation at the soonest.
To conclude, following the visits the President said, “I am very satisfied with both coastal rehabilitation projects.
The wall at Beau Vallon went exactly as planned and today we all understand why it was necessary.
Now, the area is protected from degradation.
We are now planning to beautify the place and install benches to make it a nice leisure spot where people can sit and enjoy the sunset.
At Corgat Estate and Anse Gaulette the works have progressed well and nearing completion.” President Ramkalawan also thanked and expressed his appreciation to the teams who worked on the various projects and encouraged the Government entities to maintain the same enthusiasm towards executing other projects that the country has to undertake.
The National Population Commission (NPC) has expressed concern over the low rate of national birth registration in Bauchi State.
Alhaji Ibrahim Darazo, the Federal Commissioner of NPC representing Bauchi State, said this at a news conference on e-recruitment, e-birth registration and Supplementary Immunisation Activity (SIA) on Friday in Bauchi.
He noted that a birth registration from the commission remained the passport of protection for the child.
“Birth registration provides legal and documentary evidence to certify a person’s existence, age, parentage, birthplace and nationality.
It enables a person’s eligibility for healthcare and admission into school.
“Voting, obtaining a passport, employment, marriage, etc, it helps to maintain records of certificates, and provides the legal evidence to the inheritance of property and the rights of surviving spouses to remarry.
“Most importantly, birth registration is critical for the Nigerian child’s survival, health, education, social services initiatives and development goals.
“Simply put, birth registration is the Passport to Protection for Every Child,” he said.
Darazo therefore urged parents and guardians to take advantage of the forthcoming SIA and register their children to benefit from the free national birth certificate.
He said that the NPC had signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the National Primary Health Care Development (NPHCDA) and UNICEF on immunisation activity.
“The birth registration of under 1 to 5 years old children is through the support of NPHCDA and UNICEF on the Supplementary Immunisation Activity in the state,” he said The federal commissioner also explained that NPC would on Oct. 31, commence online recruitment of ad-hoc staff who would assist the commission in the conduct of the 2023 census.
He said the introduction of the e-recruitment process was borne out of the need to ensure fairness and transparency in the recruitment process.
Darazo revealed that the bulk of personnel for the 2023 Census would be drawn from the communities where they are resident.
This initiative, according to him, will remove the huge logistics of moving personnel across the state for accuracy.
“The e-recruitment portal is geo-fenced and the application is restricted to only applicants residing in the local government area of residence,” he explained.
President Wavel Ramkalawan visited the Ministry of Land and Housing at the Independence House yesterday morning. This visit follows President Ramkalawan's announcement to improve service delivery in the public sector. The President was received by the Minister of Land and Housing, Mr. Billy Rangasamy, the Principal Secretary for Housing, Mr. Denis Barbe, the Executive Director of the Seychelles Infrastructure Agency (SIA), Mr. Jitesh Shah, and the Executive Director of the Seychelles Planning Authority (SPA), Ms. Angela Servina. The visit began in the Customer Service division, on the ground floor of Casa Independencia, and then went to the second floor, where the President was introduced to the staff of the Department of Land and Housing, as well as the SIA, where he had the opportunity to address them. The Head of State urged them to improve the level of service provision, to facilitate the requests that come from citizens who wish to acquire land, planning requests for construction projects, and housing requests. “This Ministry is one that is very important, as you serve the public on a daily basis. My visit here today is to better understand the day-to-day operations of the various departments, to see where there are challenges and how we can further improve the efficiency and quality of service offered to citizens. I am here today to encourage and show my support, but at the same time, I urge you all to be honest, fair, and transparent in your daily tasks. I know you are under a lot of pressure due to the demands of the public, but you must stay focused and show the utmost professionalism in everything you do.”, President Ramkalawan added. However, as the Ministry looks for ways to address those limitations, the President called on citizens seeking assistance to also take responsibility to do their part, contribute, and meet the ministry halfway. Staff members had the opportunity to express their concerns and difficulties with the high demand for land and housing, which is the main cause of frustration for applicants. Following the visit, President Ramkalawan chaired a meeting with the Minister and the leadership of the various departments of the Ministry.
The Ministry of Health will carry out the National Campaign for the Comprehensive Vaccination of Measles and Rubella (MR) and COVID-19 from October 25 to November 5, 2022.
Children from 0 to 59 months are eligible for the MR vaccine.
This was announced this Tuesday at a press conference held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health.
In accordance with the Global Strategy for the Elimination of Measles and Rubella/Congenital Rubella Syndrome, Lesotho decided to take advantage of the Measles Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIA) to administer measles and rubella vaccine to prevent epidemiology of measles and rubella in the country.
The rationale behind the COVID-19 campaign is for Lesotho to reach the goal of seventy percent (70%) of the population eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to reach herd immunity.
This means that enough people will have been vaccinated to slow the spread of COVID-19 among the Basotho.
Speaking at the event, Ministry of Health Surveillance Officer Ms. Malikhetho Motenelapi said that the purpose of the MR vaccine is to reach and protect all children, especially those who previously did not receive routine immunization services, and added that it will also protect children.
who did not develop immunity after the first dose of the MR vaccine.
She noted that routine immunization service provision was interrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, hence the need to detect and prevent future outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, and said there are confirmed cases of measles outbreaks in some districts.
Also speaking, the Expanded Program Immunization Officer, Ms. Malefaso Mosese, said that the SIA vaccines were funded by the Government of Lesotho with support from GAVI, the World Bank and UNICEF Lesotho.
She pointed out that procurement of vaccines and other vitamin A supplies and syringes is facilitated by UNICEF Lesotho and the UNICEF supply division.
She stressed that only vaccines prequalified and approved by the WHO, therefore Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) and Pfizer, will be used for the campaign.
The campaign will be carried out in all ten districts.
The President of the Republic, Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan, together with Vice President Ahmed Afif, chaired a meeting yesterday at the Seychelles Institute of Teacher Training (SITE) auditorium focused on disaster management and preparedness following the fire at Landfill 2 in Providence this week.
The purpose of the meeting was primarily to discuss weaknesses, challenges and the way forward providing greater clarity and ensuring effective planning for future incidents at the national level.
In his opening remarks, President Ramkalawan thanked all stakeholders present for attending such an important meeting.
After observing him at the landfill fire incident site and through various communications, he expressed that he called for greater coordination and collaboration among partner agencies.
He urged all involved, including national emergency operating centers, command posts and other interested agencies, to develop a comprehensive manual with relevant strategies that promote a collaborative approach.
Regarding the lack of equipment, the President also informed the meeting that the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has donated a shipment of masks, canisters and fire hoses.
“First of all, I would like to express my appreciation and thanks to everyone who was at Landfill 2 during the incident; namely, Disaster Risk Management Division (DRMD), Red Cross, Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA), Seychelles Police, Vijay Construction (Pty) Limited, Ministers, Management Agency Landscaping and Waste Management (LWMA), Vijay Construction, Civil Construction Company Limited (CCCL) and many others.
I salute your courage, determination and commitment,” said the President.
He continued: “From my observation, I have noticed that there has been a lack of communication and coordination between the different agencies and Ministries.
There has also been a lack of coordination in getting the necessary equipment and resources on site.
In terms of this effect, I would like each of you to take a look at the existing framework, discuss the weaknesses, focus on an effective preparedness program that is well defined for everyone and ensures that there is this effective collaboration and communication throughout the whole process.
the incident reoccurs.
Not just at the landfill, but anywhere else where there is a chance of an incident happening.” For his part, the Minister of the Interior, Mr. Errol Fonseka, underlined the importance of said consultation, the need for a unifying command and why all networks must be aligned.
In addition, he highlighted the need for all those involved to have the necessary training that allows them to deal with incidents of this level.
“This is an important milestone in our effort to bring together our thinking and understanding of risk and disaster management preparedness.
This meeting demonstrates political commitment at the highest level.
The purpose of this meeting today is to clarify 'who is responsible for what?' In such a complex undertaking under a crisis scenario, such as disaster management, this is the moment for such a question.
In the face of a series of conflicting demands and pressures facing decision-makers at all levels, it is crucial in crisis management and for commanders to make quick decisions,” said Minister Fonseka.
The General Director of Risk and Disaster Management (DRMD), Mr. Robert Ernesta during his intervention explained the tactical requirement of the Bronze and Silver levels as well as his responsibilities.
There was also a presentation on the Operationalization of the National Integrated Emergency Management Plan (NIEMP).
The opening discussions focused on the Bronze and Silver level topics where participants from the different Ministries and agencies had the opportunity to present their challenges, proposals and the way forward.
Based on the deliberations, President Ramkalawan requested a report with the necessary follow-up actions and that before December 2022 there will be another meeting to review the status.
The president also requested a master plan for all landfills, including those on Praslin and La Digue.
He will also attend the autopsy meeting regarding the fire at Landfill Two. The Head of State also called on the Emergency Brigade and the volunteers to come forward and unite for such important causes where the necessary training will be provided.
Concluding, he said: “I feel everyone's commitment, concern and willingness to improve the current problem.
I appreciate the different issues presented, whether you are small or large agencies, you all have a role to play.
I wish to call on all organisations/agencies, you are all professionals, and all Ministers in your respective ministries, to reconsider the disaster element more seriously and how there can be better coordination.
How you can help other places, to encourage other agencies like SFRSA and DRMD.
Get involved with other agencies, know their standard operating procedures.
When training is necessary, act immediately.
I would like to emphasize that risk management is what will prevent a disaster from happening.
As a country and we are all responsible for their safety.” The meeting was attended by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ted Barbe, Ministers, the Attorney General, Mr. Frank Ally, representatives from the Disaster Risk Management Division (DRMD), the Seychelles Police Force (SPF), the Health Care Agency (HCA), Public Health Authority (PHA), Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA), Seychelles Port Authority (SPA), Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), Defense Forces Authority (SDF), Seychelles Meteorological Authority (SMA), Ministry of Government and Community Affairs (MLGCA), Land Waste Management Agency (LWMA), Seychelles Infrastructure Agency (SIA), Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority ( SMSA), Seychelles National Parks and Gardens Authority (SNPGA) and other supporting ministries and agencies.
In line with the vision of the Government of Nigeria to integrate all Primary Health Care (PHC) services under one plan, one team and one budget to optimize resources and deliver all services efficiently for one team, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is integrating COVID-19 vaccination with Polio Supplemental Immunization Activities (NPSIA) campaigns, Routine Immunization Services (RI) and vitamin A supplementation.
Integrated campaigns started in 3 states (e.g. Lagos, Ogun, Gombe) in June 2022. Also, recognizing that many children were left out of RI, NPHCDA, World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF , Gavi and its partners collaborated with the States to roll out a Zero Dose (Children Who Never Received a Vaccine) Drop Operational Planning (ZDROP).
In Lagos state, the immunization campaign aims to reach more than 5.4 million children aged 0 to 59 months with oral polio vaccine (bOPV), more than 4 million children aged 9 to 59 months against measles and almost 5 million with vitamin A, while to those over 18 years old millions of people over 18 for COVID-19 vaccines.
Ms. Ope A, 39, a mother of three residing in the Alimosho Local Government Area (LGA), is passionate about children's health and was grateful that all vaccines were available and could be administered during the campaign.
Seeing the vaccinators, she called other mothers in the neighborhood to get their children vaccinated.
“Bringing all vaccines to our doors is a good strategy since parents will no longer have excuses for not showing their children to be vaccinated.
I have met many mothers who have not taken their children to the clinic to be vaccinated, and I always advise them that vaccination keeps the child healthy,” he said.
In addition to providing IR to children, the team distributed COVID-19 vaccines to those over 18 years of age.
For example, Mr. Oluwademilade, a father of two residing in Yaba LGA, Lagos State, was one of the parents who took advantage of the integrated campaign and received the COVID-19 vaccine.
“My wife and I had no excuse because the vaccinators brought the COVID-19 vaccine along with other essential childhood vaccines,” he said.
Similarly, Ms Favour, a mother of two residing in Kosofe LGA, Lagos State, said: “I like that they have brought us the COVID-19 vaccine this time with the vaccination of the children because, in previous years , only children were considered. .
Having received all full doses of the COVID-19 vaccine prior to the campaign, Ms. Favor said the initiative would encourage adults who have not yet received their vaccinations to do so.
Reinforcing the importance of effective immunization activities throughout the state, Ms. Shagari, an official with the NPHCDA, said that “the reason for integration is to reach all communities and hard-to-reach areas and offer them the best services in terms of immunization for both adults and children. The goal of integration is being achieved as the records and data collected during the campaign, especially on vaccination against COVID-19, indicated that many novices were being vaccinated,” she said.
Keeping polio at bay
While the focus of the campaign is measles, an opportunity arose to administer polio vaccines to eligible children in every state, to contain the spread of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2).
As of December 2021, Nigeria had recorded a total of 1,028 confirmed cVPV2s from different sources in 31 states. This represented more than 70% of cases in the African Region.
In Gombe state, the immunization campaign aims to reach more than 700,000 children aged 0-59 months with bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV), more than 700,000 children aged 6 months to 59 months with measles and vitamins A and 2 million people ages 18 and older for COVID-19 vaccines.
Mr. Musa Muhammed, a resident of Funakaye LGA, Gombe State, and a father of five, praised the tenacity of the government and partners in keeping children safe in his locality.
“Vaccination teams visit our community regularly as they were also here less than two months ago. Carrying out vaccination of children with the COVID-19 vaccine is also a welcome intervention because it will encourage those who have not yet received the vaccine to accept it,” he said.
“Integrating NPSIAs (eg measles, yellow fever, meningitis) with PHC and other services, including COVID-19, will allow us to use one activity to capture a wide range of the population, says Executive Secretary, Gombe State. Primary Health Care Development Agency (GSPHCDA)”, Dr. AbdulRahman Shuaibu.
Dr. Shuaibu also highlighted that the innovative approach will maximize the cost of running the campaign.
Furthermore, Dr. Adamu Haruna Ismaila, WHO Northeast Zonal Coordinator, explained that the integrated approach “is essential as the country must ensure that all eligible children are vaccinated in accordance with the Gavi-funded ZDROP through the WHO.
The implementation of ZDROP
As part of the process to address equity issues and linkage to Gavi 5.0 and the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030), the campaign focused on the use of SIA to reach children with zero dose. ZDROP has been integrated into these campaigns to further improve vaccination reach, especially in 313 low-performing, underserved and hard-to-reach settlements in 59 districts in 13 LGAs in Lagos, Gombe and Ogun states. A total of 39,659; 49,633; and 91,699 zero-dose children received bOPV, measles vaccine, and yellow fever vaccine, respectively, in the 3 states between June 17 and July 6, 2022.
WHO supported planning activities by conducting trainings at both the national and state levels, and by overseeing implementation activities.
Travelers from selected cities in Australia and New Zealand will be able to transit through Changi Airport to other destinations from Thursday, said Singapore Airlines (SIA) on an advisory on its website.
These are the first passengers allowed to transit at the airport since Changi Airport announced last month that it will gradually allow transit travelers during Phase 1 of Singapore's reopening after the circuit breaker period.
SIA said that the transit flights are only for outbound journeys from these seven Australia and New Zealand cities: Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Auckland and Christchurch.
Transfers are only allowed on flights between airlines within the SIA Group, it added.
"In line with the regulatory requirements, transit and non-transit passengers will be kept apart at Changi Airport. This is to ensure the health and safety of our customers and staff," said SIA.
Separately, Changi Airport said it has set up new Transit Holding Areas with safety measures in place to prepare for the gradual resumption of transit passenger services.