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Osun govt assures of hitch free 2019 Osun Osogbo festival

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The Government of the state of Osun has assured of a hitch free 2019 edition of the annual Osun Osogbo Festival, describing the festival as the pride of the state. 

The Supervisor in charge of the Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism Ministry, Dr Obawale Adebisi gave the assurance over the weekend during a courtesy call on him by the newly appointed marketing and event management consultant for the 2019 edition of the festival, Esquire Global, representatives of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria.

While receiving the delegation, Dr Adebisi reiterated that the State Government of Osun is committed to partnering with individuals who are ready to promote the growth of the state, saying that Governor Gboyega Oyetola promised during his electioneering campaign to make the state a tourists destination.

He, also lauded  the management of Esquire Global for their efforts in marketing and promoting the Osun Osogbo Festival, assuring that the state government would give the firm, the necessary support to make the 2019 edition a success.

“Osun Osogbo is our pride. We want to sustain the reputation and commercial viability of the State of Osun State as a cultural enterprise destination. We will therefore continue to seek and partner with anybody, group or firm that will promote and develop tourism in the state. We are impressed with your firm’s efforts so far on the 2019 Osun Osogbo Festival and we look forward to having a rewarding relationship”, he said.

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Speaking on behalf of Esquire Global, the Managing Consultant, Mr. Toye Arulogun promised that the firm would ensure that it sustains the traditions of the festival, inject fresh ideas and attract people from around the globe that will ensure the success of the 2019 edition of the world heritage, tourism and cultural fiesta.

Arulogun maintained  that the firm’s objective is to position Osun Osogbo as a global festival with the unique attributes of myth, mystery, heritage, cultural tourism and traditional festivities with inherent economic potentials for the State of Osun.

“We are desirous of sustaining Osun Osogbo Festival as an international cultural tourism brand in partnership of the state government. The support of the State of Osun is therefore crucial to the success of this year’s edition, as we jointly promote, preserve and sustain the uniqueness of Osun Osogbo Festival,” Arulogun added.

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News

Covid-19: Makinde promises to turn around Saki facility, as Oyo govt. receives N250 million CACOVID support

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Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has declared his readiness to turn around the standard of the 100-bed isolation and treatment Centre in Saki, Oke Ogun part of the state.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that Governor Makinde gave this assurance while receiving support of medical equipment worth N220 million from the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a private sector initiative supporting Federal Government and state governments in fight against COVID-19.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan, said that when completed, the treatment and isolation facility in Saki will be an improvement on the one existing in Olodo, Ibadan.

CACOVID had earlier promised the state N220 million worth of medical equipment and a cash gift of N30 million.

The private sector-driven CACOVID, the statement said, is in partnership with First Bank of Nigeria.

According to the statement, some of the equipment donated to the state government include, lead ECG electrode, heavy duty apron, autoclave, auto syringe pump, biohazard bag, blood warmer, centrifuge (refrigerator), defibrillators (AED) and portable ultrasound imaging.

Others are mobile digital x-ray unit, face shield, protective goggles, hospital gowns, oxygen cylinders, wheelchairs, oxygen concentrator, oxygen regulators, nebuliser, kidney dish, patient multiparameter monitor, stretcher and suction devices, among others.

The governor explained that the Saki isolation centre to be completed and commissioned soon, will be for both treatment and research, adding that the facility will have provisions for observatory, isolation and treatment sections.

He appreciated the CACOVID team for the initiative and donations, assuring that all the facilities are to be deployed to the Saki isolation centre, because of the peculiarities of the axis, which shares a border with neighbouring West African countries.

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He said “The Saki Isolation Centre is going to be three-in-one. It will have what you call an observatory, isolation and treatment centre.
“The reason we need to have an observatory is because Saki is a border town and many people come in from different parts of the West African states, especially Burkina Faso and Benin Republic, they come in through that area.

“So, when patients come in, what we do is to create an observatory. An observatory is not available in Olodo as I speak. So, Saki is the only one that will have an observatory, an isolation and a treatment centre.

“What that means is that the bed capacity of Saki ideally should be more than that of Olodo. Saki already has a hundred capacity bed, divided into Intensive Care Unit (10), High Dependency Unit (20), general male and female ward (70).

“But because we want to add an observatory, where patients who come in with no symptoms but have had a contact and may be worried that they may have contracted the infection. What we need to do is to bring them to the observatory, take their samples and within 48 hours get the result and decide whether they will get into isolation or go home.

“So, Saki by all standards, is going to be bigger than Olodo even though the structure is the same. But we have harnessed some areas specifically for the observatory and that will take ten extra beds.

“It will take about six weeks to put the place in shape, because the governor has approved the funding, which will be utilised. We are installing everything that will make the place fully functional as soon as we take off.”

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Justifying the decision to move all the donated facilities to the Saki Isolation centre, the governor said “why we are taking all the facilities to Saki is because we want to give everybody the same sense of belonging.

“We have built the Olodo centre and we must also care for those outside of Ibadan. When test results of people come out negative, nobody wants to know which part of the state they are from but are more concerned that they are from the state.

“We don’t want to see any COVID-19 patient dying in any part of the state. So, if we now say after all we have done in Olodo and we decide to put other structures in place in other parts of the state, is there anything wrong in that?”

While appreciating the CACOVID team for the donations, a member of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force, Professor Temitope Alonge, in his remarks described all the equipment donated as appropriate for the treatment pattern being followed in the state in the fight against COVID-19.

Alonge said “What thrilled me is that the CACOVID team took cognisance of the disease pattern that we are managing and decided to provide equipment that are appropriate. On many occasions, people have made donations that are good on paper but in terms of usefulness, probably not as good.

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“But what they have done is to provide everything from the most mundane to the expensive ventilators, which are all going to be utilised for the management of this disease.
“And to top it all, they brought us about 40 cylinders of oxygen, meaning for the next one year or thereabouts, there may not be need for the Saki Centre to run to Ibadan to come and collect oxygen.”

Speaking while making the donations, the CACOVID Team Lead in charge of Oyo and Osun states, Dr. Timothy Aroowogun, said the objective of donating the equipment is to “support the state government in eliminating COVID-19, help the citizens and also help the health workers to contain the pandemic in the state.”

Aroowogun, who also represented FBN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, maintained that the bank is a frontline partner in the extensive measures that the Federal Government-led public and private sector partnership have taken to treat the sick and to stop the spread of Coronavirus in the country

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Nigeria: Antibody-based COVID-19 test kits failed medical lab council evaluation

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The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has disclosed that only four of the COVID-19 test kits said to be in use in Nigeria have been evaluated by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria and all four failed the validation tests and results; therefore, “the tests obtained from these kits may be wrong and misleading”

Dr. Ehanire said, “The NCDC certified laboratories in Nigeria use WHO recognized PCR testing methods which give reliable result.  “Though expensive, this option is right and we have 30 laboratories deployed, with the aim of establishing at least one laboratory in every state.”

In view of the failure of some of the test kits in use, the Minister has urged healthcare workers to ensure they are properly protected with the appropriate PPEs and have a high index of suspicion when treating patients.  He also advised the general public to continue to adhere to the guidelines on prevention and control of COVID-19.

Further, Dr. Ehanire revealed that there are some COVID-19 medical supplies being expected from Beijing, and to be able to haul in the expected COVID-19 supplies to Abuja, the Minister of Health said that West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) and Nigeria are presently working together on a cost-sharing plan for a common air transport plane.

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These much and more were disclosed by the Honourable Minister at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Press Briefing on Thursday 4th June, 2020 as the outcome of a virtual meeting of the ECOWAS COVID-19 Ministerial Coordination Committee on Health, hosted by the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and attended by 15 ECOWAS Ministers of Health or their representatives held on Tuesday May 2nd, 2020.

The Ministerial Coordination Committee on Health of WAHO is one of the three Committees set up to facilitate the work of the ECOWAS COVID-19 response champion, in the person of President Muhamadu Buhari, who was elected on April 23, 2020, at a virtual meeting of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments.

Dr. Ehanire disclosed that the Meeting compared notes, discussed matters of regional cooperation and collaboration around the COVID-19 strategy and response, border-related challenges on movement of people and goods when borders are reopened.

In a similar development, the  Minister disclosed that, he represented President Muhammadu Buhari at a virtual Global Vaccine Summit that was hosted by the UK Prime Minister, Mr. Boris Johnson, the purpose of which, was to mark 20 years since GAVI was founded, and also to raise funds to support its activities.

Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire updated that the nation currently has a total of 11,166 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 35 States and FCT, of which 3,329 have been treated successfully and discharged, while 315 deaths have been recorded. According to him, “the daily epidemic curve of confirmed cases shows a consistently rising trajectory with corresponding increase in fatalities, but nothing comparable with what is observed in some foreign countries.  To rest on our oars for that reason, would be a serious mistake.  COVID-19 is real and we have explained that the increase in cases is due to improving testing capacity and of activities of other response pillars, such as surveillance, community mobilization, coordination, contact tracing improved awareness, the demographics and other factors.”

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The Minister also updated the nation that the teams deployed to Lagos and Ogun States have returned: They visited the State EOCs, identified State specific challenges and exchanged ideas with health workers.

He added that “the team to Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa Borno, Katsina, Gombe will submit their final reports Friday, 5th June, 2020.  The preliminary reports, he said show that the goals of the intervention were met.”

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AfDB approves $288.5 million for Nigeria COVID-19 response support program

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Friday approved a $288.5 million loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.

The loan will bolster the government’s plans to improve surveillance and response to COVID-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses and strengthen the social protection system.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest oil producer, is facing twin crises – a health epidemic caused by COVID-19, and an economic crunch largely occasioned by a global oil price plunge. As of June 5, the country reported 11,516 coronavirus cases, 3,535 recoveries and 323 deaths.

The loan is the Bank’s initial response to help mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the national economy.

About 40.1% of Nigerians live below the poverty line of $1.90 per day and it is feared that the fall in household income during the pandemic will result in wealth deterioration for both the formal and informal sector workers.

“The proposed program will ensure that the fiscal position and the economy are sufficiently supported to weather the COVID-19 shocks, thereby limiting its potential adverse impact on livelihoods and the economy more generally,” Ebrima Faal, Senior Director of the African Development Bank for Nigeria said.

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Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Nigeria’s economy was projected to grow by 2.9% of GDP in 2020 and further expand by 3.3% in 2021. But with the advent of the pandemic and the slump in crude prices, the economy is expected to shrink by between 4.4% under a conservative baseline scenario, and 7.2% should the pandemic persist to end-2020.

Faal said beyond the country’s immediate economic recovery needs, the Bank and other development partners, will dialogue with the government on proposals for medium-term structural reforms to diversify and boost domestic revenues away from the oil sector.

The Bank has instituted strong fiduciary measures to monitor the use of COVID-19 funds, and will maintain dialogue, particularly with the Office of the Auditor General in Nigeria, to ensure adherence to the transparency and accountability of the funds, Faal said.

The Bank’s intervention aligns with its COVID-19 Response Facility (CRF); Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022); and High 5 priorities, especially “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”. It is also consistent with the second strategic pillar of the recently approved Bank’s Country Strategy Paper 2020-2024 for Nigeria.

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