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Nasarawa Sets 5-year Plan To Eradicate Hepatitis C, Budgets N40m to fight Scourge.



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Idris Ahmed, Lafia

Nasarawa State Government has announced a five-year Hepatitis C elimination plan, in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) elimination goal of 2023, aimed at screening 2.4 million persons, as well as providing treatment for over 124, 000 others.

Engineer Abdullahi Sule, Governor of the state, disclosed this while inaugurating a Technical Working Group (TWG) to execute the plan, which held at the Government House, on Thursday.

The Governor further disclosed that, as a demonstration of the commitment of his administration to fight the viral disease, the state government has committed N40m as seed fund to combat the disease.

While commending the Clinton Health Access Initiative, (CHAI) development partners for the programme, for collaborating with the state government, Engineer Sule said the intervention has become necessary considering that viral hepatitis, among other communicable diseases, contribute greatly to the high mortality rates with estimated 1.3m deaths yearly across the globe.

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Maintaining further that health is indeed wealth, the Governor underscored the determination of his administration to save lives and help people of the state live healthy lifestyles, stressing that the present administration is committed to building on the gains of the immediate past administration by working closely with other development partners, such as CHIA, in order to domesticate the national treatment guidelines and integrated innovative diagnostic technologies for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

“A study conducted in Nasarawa State, showed a sero-prevalence rate of 13.2 percent for Hepatitis C Virus, a figure significantly higher than the country’s average. This calls for great concern and immediate attention,” the Governor stated.

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He urged members of the TWG to live aboard board in the fight against the disease, calling on development partners and other stakeholders in the health sector, both local and international to work in synergy with the TWG, in the collective determination to reduce the scourge of hepatitis C viral infection in the state.

Earlier, Deputy Country Director, CHIA, Mrs. Folu Lufadeju, commended the state government for empowering its citizens by reinforcing investment in the healthcare by addressing the issues of public health.

According to the country director, Hepatitis C is a growing public health burden, with over 325m persons are living with the disease, with the epidemic a growing concern.

She pointed out that while deaths due to HIV Aids is decreasing, deaths through hepatitis C is increasing.

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Fortunately, she added, there is now effective and affordable tools for diagnosing and treating patients with hepatitis C that allows for simplification of care and decentralization of services, allowing for treatment of complicated cases of the disease.

In an opening remarks, Pharmacist Ahmed Baba Yahaya, State Commissioner of Health, who doubles as the chairman of the TWG, restated that Hepatitis C has been a great health burden across the world.

Yahaya disclosed that 9 per cent of deaths globally is caused by the disease, with Nigeria contributing almost 8.1 per cent of hepatitis B and 1.1 per cent of hepatitis C, with Nasarawa State having 13.2 prevalence rate, the highest in the country.

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Breaking: Labour Suspends Today Planned Strike As FG Reverses Electricity Tariff Hike



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The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have suspended the strike scheduled to commence today (Monday).

This followed an agreement reached with the Federal Government at a meeting which started at 8.30pm on Sunday and ended at 2:50am this morning.

After exhaustive deliberations on the issues raised by the labour centres, the meeting agreed to suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments for two weeks.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, read the five-page communique signed by the representatives of the government and labour.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Quadri Olaleye, amongst others signed on behalf of Organised Labour while the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Minister of State Petroleum, Timipre Silva; Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and others, signed on behalf of the government.

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Olaleye confirmed the development in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday morning.

He said, “Definitely correct. We just left a press conference. We signed a document to suspend the action for two weeks for the government to implement those things that we agreed in the agreement. So, we are suspending for two weeks.

“We don’t need a notice again to re-convene if there is a need to do that.”

The parties agreed to set up a technical committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC.


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Senator Abbo’s followers Pledge Loyalty To Gov Fintiri



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Some key followers of Sen Ishaku Abbo of Adamawa North District have declared a shifting of loyalty to Governor Ahmadu Fintiri.

Although, Abbo is in the same Peoples Democratic Party ((PDP) with the state governor, Abbo has been a critic of both the party and the governor, waging an unending battle against both.

In an action indicating disaffection against him by some within his own support base on Friday, however, many among his supporters visited Governor Fintiri, pledging their loyalty to him.

Members of the delegation to the Government House in Yola, led by Abbo Support Group’s former Coordinator, Peter Ishaya Kwache, told Fintiri that he now had their “complete shift of loyalty”.

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Mr. Kwache said they were members of the PDP, who worked to ensure the success of all candidates of the party in the 2019 general election, particularly Abbo, but that they had for a while been at a loss about Abbo’s relentless criticism of the party and the government led by Fintiri.


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Water Bill: A Northern Agenda To Righten The Noose On The South – Rep Member



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The Member representing Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Francis Waive, has described the Water Resources Bill as a Northern agenda to tighten the noose on the Southern part of the country.

Hon Waive who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC from Delta State in a statement, weekend while expressing concerns on the bill, explained that though some provisions in the bill are welcoming and warm, because of the nature of governance and the tendencies to misuse powers in the country, “we cannot at this point in time properly handle this kind of a law without causing more harm than good.”

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According to him, “One will be tempted to ask, what is the intention behind this law? Is it really for the general good of the Nigerian people as it states? How well has the various natural resources been managed for the general good?”

Speaking further, he said: “The oil from the Niger Delta region has not positively impacted the life of the people from the Niger Delta and the one who bears the impact of the exploration activities.

“The various River Basins which are currently under the control of the government, has not been properly managed; instead it has been grossly politicized, how then can the government manage and control all the water bodies in the country.

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“According to public opinion this law is a Northern agenda to further tighten the noose on the South, because obviously the majority of the states from the middle belt down south are surrounded by water. There is also a high resemblance of intentions of some provisions of this act with that of the unsuccessful RUGA bill.

“In my opinion, the bill is of no immediate benefit to the generality of the populace at this point in time, plus we have not developed enough as a country to be able to properly manage all the resources we have to now begin to look at water. Water is the least of our problems as a country.”

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