Uganda says it is fast-tracking efforts to eliminate malaria, which continues to take lives and bleed the country’s economy more than any other disease.
The disease is responsible for 30 to 40 per cent of outpatient hospital visits, 15 to 20 per cent of admissions and 10 per cent of inpatient deaths, mostly pregnant mothers and children, according to the health ministry figures.
The mosquito-transmitted disease remains a serious health problem that continues to stagnate economic growth and social development as man-hours are lost because of absenteeism and the meagre household incomes spent on treatment.
To reverse this trend, the east African country is fighting at different fronts against the disease.
The country on Sept. 2 launched the board of directors of the Malaria Free Uganda Fund as part of its continued investment to eliminate the disease by 2030, as per the global target.
Malaria Free Uganda Fund is a non-profit public-private partnership established to mainstream responsibility for malaria across all sectors and help remove financial and operational bottlenecks in fighting the disease.
The National Malaria Control Programme currently faces a three-year 206 million dollars budget gap, or 33 per cent of the total, according to the ministry of health.
External donors, according to the ministry, fund more than 95 per cent of the fight against the disease in the country.
The country is now looking at domestic resourcing in view of the global uncertainties like the COVID-19 pandemic that is affecting foreign financing.
“The talent and experience we have mobilised to this board from the private and civil society will help the government achieve a significant reduction of malaria cases and deaths in Uganda,” said Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health while launching the board.
The ministry late last month launched the use of larvicides in the fight against malaria.
Larvicides, according to the ministry are microbial or chemical insecticides put in water bodies or water containers that breed mosquitoes.
“The exercise helps reduce the adult population of mosquitoes by killing the aquatic immature forms, so that fewer will develop into adults,” said Alfred Mubanginzi, Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Vector Control division.
“This should reduce the number of mosquitoes that bite and infect humans with malaria,” he said at the launch on Aug. 27 in the northern Ugandan district of Lira.
In June, the country launched the distribution of 27 million long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets to districts across the country, under the third universal coverage campaign.
The countrywide campaign that was meant to kick off in April was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the east African country.
Under the free mosquito net distribution, the ministry targets to have all citizens sleep under a mosquito net every night to prevent malaria.
The ministry believes that these strategies among others including use of indoor residual spraying will yield good results.
“These combined interventions will go a long way in fighting and eventually eliminating malaria from our country,” said Aceng.
Indeed the country is making notable progress in the fight against the disease.
According to the 2018/19 Malaria Indicator Survey, the disease prevalence rate dropped to 9 per cent from 19 per cent.
The progress is attributed to the continuous distribution of mosquito nets, case management, and indoor residual spraying.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
Environmentalist harps on mitigation of climate change effects
An environmentalist, Mr Adewole Taiwo, on Monday listed tree planting, use of alternative energy sources, and proper waste sorting as some strategies to mitigate climate change effects.
Taiwo, a Director at Recyclepoints, made the recommendations in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.
He said it was imperative for Nigerians to clean up their environment and address climate change issues with more commitment.
“We must all take responsibility for our immediate environment, clear our drainages, bag our waste properly and sort recyclables.
“Some people still do not believe in the impacts of climate change just like some do not believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is real.
“However, the impacts of climate change are getting more glaring every day, for example the flooding we currently experience can testify that climate change is real and we need to carry out more awareness about it.
“The major challenge in sensitising Nigerians on the negative impacts of climate change effects has to do with lack of information, education and proper enlightenment among the people,” he said.
Taiwo urged Nigerians to practice sustainable lifestyles and habits to help curb the negative realities of climate change effects in the country.
He also encouraged the imitation and replication of developed countries strategies of mitigating climate change effects in their environment.
“To mitigate climate change effects, we can start by reducing our carbon footprint generation by making use of alternative sources of energy and fuel.
“We can also reduce the emission of green house gases into the environment when we live sustainably by walking where necessary instead of riding a car or vehicle.
“We need to plant more trees and reduce waste generation to curb the increasing greenhouse gas emission into the environment.
“We are imitating more developed countries in adoption of their strategies to mitigate climate change effects by observing some of these international events, already we have so many organisations that are now into renewable energy.
“We commend the German delegation in Nigeria doing everything possible to promote renewable and alternative energy sources in the country.
“We also have many non-government organisations embarking on tree planting and clean up with support from these developed countries,” Taiwo said.
According to the environmentalist, the government at all levels can play a vital role in curbing climate change impacts on the environment through policy implementation.
“We have lots of environmental policies out there but the problem has to do with government implementation.
“An important point to note here is that the world’s worst polluters are human beings and not plastics,” he said.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
ENSG woos investors to beautiful tourist sites
The Enugu State Government on Monday called on international and local investors to take advantage of the state’s naturally endowed and beautiful tourist sites.
The state’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Ugonna Ibe, made the call in Enugu during a press conference to announce the state’s line-up of activities for World Tourism Day 2020.
The conference was organised by the Ministry in collaboration with i-Tour Africa.
Ibe said that the state government was ready to assist any potential investor in the tourism sector, adding “we are also open to Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) with any investor to develop these tourism potentials’’.
According to him, the tight security and peace put in place by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the homely nature of our people and communities makes Enugu State number one tourist destination in Nigeria.
The commissioner noted that Enugu State occupies a strategic position in the country being the capital of the old Eastern region and with a rich historical culture “making it a place to be for leisure and tourism’’.
Ibe said that the state was richly endowed with natural resources such as hills, beaches, rivers, blue-deep lakes, fine waterfalls, caves and clean streams and springs (cold and hot) yearning for investment.
According to him, these gifts of nature in their natural and virgin states are virtually found in many communities in the state.
“The tourism sites are: Ezeagu tourism complex; Udi range of hills – Milikin-Hill, Onyema-Hill etc; Awhum falls; Opi chain of eight lakes; and Oji, Ajali, Duru, Ebonyi and Ezu Nmamu Rivers.
“We also have Nyaba, Akwuke and Ekulu beaches that can challenge any modern coastal beach anywhere in the world.
“Again, the Obinofia, Akpugoeze and Awa mangrove-tropical forests infested with Bezier wild lives and the Odoro Achi hot lake to mention but a few. These eco-beauties are what nature presents to us that desire harnessing,’’ he said.
The commissioner noted that there were other historic landmarks that had been identified but not harnessed, such as the relics of Okpogho Oghe/Legga Nsukka iron smelting and the Ugwu-Uto Pyramid of Nsude among others.
“These landmarks have been tested through carbon dating and found that they dated over 3,000 years ago. This proves that technology existed here in the state even before the western countries,’’ he said.
Ibe said that the state government had been desirous to build its diversification from oil dependent economy to tourism-based economy; where a lot of local people would be employed through services they render to tourists.
Speaking, the Founder of i-Tour Africa, Mr Uche Ugwu, lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for the security and peace his leadership had brought to the state, which had singled Enugu State out as “a first-rate tourists destination’’.
Ugwu said that his organisation was partnering the state through the ministry to “restart tourism and give it a pride of place in the socio-economic polity of the state’’.
“We have a line of activities, which will culminate on the World Tourism Day being Sept. 27. First is this particular press conference.
“We are billed to conduct the first tourism road walk/show in Enugu metropolis otherwise called the `coal city’ on Sept. 26.
“On the D-day, Sept. 27; there will be a tourism carnival and a carnival ride from Enugu metropolis to Ezeagu Waterfalls. Where people will view and feel the natural beauty of the Ezeagu Waterfalls.
“We will be having curators that will educate us more on the Waterfalls; other current and historical things concerning Ezeagu and Enugu State people in general,’’ he said.
Ugwu, however, said that the lined-up events would adhere strictly to the COVID-19 Protocols to ensure health of all.
The World Tourism Day is celebrated yearly on Sept. 27 and this year’s theme is “Tourism and Rural Development’’.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
KDSG attracts 25 new business worth $500m – El-Rufai
Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, says his administration has attracted 25 new businesses worth over $500 million as it continues to open up the business space in the state.
El-Rufai made the disclosure on Monday at the opening of the 5th Kaduna Investments Summit.
He said that the over $500 million was invested by local and foreign companies.
The governor explained that the summit was one of the means through which the government showcase and market Kaduna State to national and international audiences as the prime investment destination in Africa.
This year’s theme is “Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation.”
According to him, the target of the government is to make Kaduna as the number one state for doing business and the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the country.
He said among the recent investments were the setting up of a tomato processing plant by TomatoJos, an Agro company, and Damau Milk Farm by Arla, designed to transform livestock production from a culture into a business in the state.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, who joined the virtual summit as special guest, commended the efforts of the Kaduna State Government to establish its credentials as the investment destination of choice in Nigeria.”These efforts have received just recognition in the response of the business community which has put in new investments in the state.
“It is hardly a surprise that Kaduna State has emerged as the leading destination for foreign direct investment within Nigeria.
“This is a further affirmation of the ranking of the state as Number One for Ease of Doing Business by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018.” the president said.
“It is a fitting statement of the resilience of the Kaduna State Government that it is able to host #KadInvest 5.0 amidst the severe disruptions caused by COVID-19.
“This is the sort of focus that can help the country to navigate the challenging consequences of the pandemic,” Buhari added.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that keynote speakers at the 2-day summit include President of African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, Mr. Bismark Rewane, Prof. Doyin Salami and Chinelo Anohu.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed
Cricket Federation hopes to complete phase 1 of oval construction in November — Official
The Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) says it is hopeful that the first phase of the oval at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja would be completed in November.
The federation’s Secretary, Taiwo Oriss, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja that the Federation had made significant progress with the construction.
Oriss said the focus at the moment was on the playing area and not the pavilion, which comprises of stands and dressing rooms.
“We are at the planting stage now. The planting is in two phases and we have completed the planting for the general pitch excluding the center pitch.
“For the general pitch, we are using the local grass but we will be using an imported grass for the center pitch because it is a special area.
“We hope to take advantage of the rainy season to conclude planting of both phases on or before November,” he said.
“We are also doing same at the Tafa Balewa Cricket Oval in Lagos and we are looking at the same time frame for Lagos and Abuja.
“The federation is working very hard to see how we can achieve this within the time frame, though COVID-19 stalled our progress a little but we are very positive,” he said.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Peter Ejiofor)