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COVID-19: Benue index case cries to Buhari, British govt to rescue her from Ortom

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By Yemi Itodo

A 54-year old Susan Okpe, who was said to be the Benue index case of Corona Virus, has cried on President Muhammad Buhari of Nigeria and the British Government, to evacuate her from Benue state.

Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom had on Saturday, 28th March, announced that Mrs. Okpe was the Benue’s first recorded case of Corona Virus, also known as COVID-19.

Mrs. Okpe, a British Nigerian, arrived the country on Saturday, 21st March via Kenya Airway, for the burial of her mother slated to hold early next month.

According to a family source, Mrs. Okpe ran series of tests before leaving the United Kingdom with all results showing negative to COVID-19.

“When she arrived Benue State on the 23rd of March, she was running temperature, perhaps, due to the fatigue of traveling, an experienced Doctor was contacted and tests were conducted and she was being treated for malaria and typhoid.

“When the NCDC contacted me, on the invitation of the Benue State government, I gave my consent that she should be tested. But as I speak with you, none of us has seen the test result, not even the Medical Director of the Cottage Hospital who assisted the NCDC to get samples, has seen the result. We only got to see through the television where the Governor announced her name”, the source hinted our reporter.

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Meanwhile, in a message sent via WhatsApp to our reporter, Mrs. Okpe appealed to the Federal Government and the UK Government to move her out of Benue State.

“I have kept my cool, but am now sick with swollen gums, being stooling throughout the night, no nurses or medical attention. My crime is that am a British who came into Nigeria, particularly Benue State; felt feverish, took myself for check up because I have travelled longer than usual.

“After examinations, I was told by the doctor my temperature was high and I said keep me for observations as I did not experience any before I left London, passed from Lagos to Abuja my temperature was like any other passenger was being monitored by the authorities.

“Back to my self presentation and request for isolation which was done, I was told by the doctors that the standard procedure was to call for a test from the state ministry of health of which two gentle men came to do a throat and nose swoop.

“After two days, by now my temperature has normalised from 38:2 to 36:4 the record are there to be verified. Only to be told by the Doctor after asking why am I still kept in the hospital, a friend now came in to tell me that a press conference is being done with my name that I have Covid-19, on air, on social media, without my knowledge.

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“I went mad as a human being and demanded to see the Medical Director who told me he was fighting for me; how, why and for what and with who I don’t understand, still fuming the next thing was armed men, ambulance and a siege round the hospital for me to be removed for what I don’t know.

“As someone who knows the principles of the law (weather it works in Nigeria or not I can’t tell), I said I was not moving without a reason, I was surrounded and to stop the embarrassment to my family and poor junior sister who I think is not fair on, I went down to speak with the Deputy Governor for thirty minutes and he assured me I was safe, will be cared for, though not sick with any symptoms, also that the following day the health commissioner and medical doctors from the state will come and see me.

“I told him that if the state is insisting that am ill I should be taken to Abuja to be tested, I have never in my life seen a staged played drama with human life and politics like this before, I want the world, Nigerians, Benue state to hear my side and verify am not a Covid-19 positive, left my children behind in London they are healthy till this moment”, Mrs. Okpe cried out.

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She pleaded with the authorities concerned to take her to any standard center and verify her claims, as there was no single facility in Benue to even handle or manage any case, should it be true that Benue had a case.

Already, our reporter gathered that, the Consulate General of the UK in Nigeria had been contacted by Mrs. Okpe, whose fundamental rights have been grossly breached and arrangements were underway to get the Presidency to help the British Embassy evacuate her citizen from Benue State, before it results to death.

Health and Life Style

Group Urges FG To Ensure Affordable Access To Drugs For PWD

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The Diabetes Association of Nigeria, has called on the Nigerian government to ensure affordable access to fundamental care for people with diabetes(PWD).

Speaking during  sensitization exercise to commemorate the 2021 World Diabetes Day, National President of the Association, Dr Alkali Mohammed,  stated that access to care which include information, drugs, technology, and support is a right to all citizens and will go a long way to reverse the emerging ugly trend of the diabetic epidemic. 

“Diabetes has become a major global epidemic being the leading Non-Communicable Disease (NCD).There are 537million people living with diabetes globally and is projected to reach 743 million by 2030 unless urgent steps are taken. Almost 1 in 2 of the people living with diabetes are undiagnosed while 4 in 5  of them are  in the middle and low-income countries.

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 “In the year 2021,diabetes is responsible for 6.7million deaths. Although no reliable National Data is available in Nigeria, about 6 million Nigerians are  estimated to have diabetes.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that almost everyone in Nigeria has a relation or friend that is diabetic and might have lost one. This is only going to worsen unless concerted efforts are put in place,” he said.

He also called on government to develop appropriate policies to improve the presentation of type 2 diabetes and also improve screening to ensure timely diagnosis and prevention of diabetes related complications.

Mohammed urged for implementation mechanisms to engage with diabetes meaningfully in the development of policies to tackle diabetes. 

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He revealed that this year’s commendation of the event is  unique because of the  COVID-19 epidemic as people with diabetes have higher complications and mortalities among the infected patients.

The national president also added that this year also mark the 100 years since the discovery of insulin which was a breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes.

“However, despite the existence of insulin for a decade, 1 in 2 people in need of insulin globally cannot afford it. In Nigeria, the gap in access is even more as our health care system is mainly funded through out of pockets system.

“Additionally, the current economic realities and high inflationary trend is a major challenge to the effective management of diabetes as most patients cannot afford the minimum basic care since they do not have money,” he said.

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The World Diabetes Day is celebrated on the 14th of November annually to serve as the primary global awareness campaign of the diabetes world.

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UNICEF Organises Workshop On COVID-19 Vaccine For Journalists On Demand Creation

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The United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) has organised a workshop for journalists  on ways  to support the Federal Government on COVID-19 vaccination exercise in Nigeria.

Speaking during a  Two Day Media Engagement Dialogue on Demand Creation for COVID-19 Vaccine organized in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of information and Culture in Kano, Communication Specialist for UNICEF Nigeria, Geoffrey Njoku revealed that the vaccination exercise was slow in some states because the government were reluctant to provide  logistics  for the exercise.

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He therefore urged journalists in the country to use their various tools for advocacy to both Federal and state government to provide logistics and operational support for the delivery of vaccines to every part of the country. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Njoku also added that Journalists have to be on the forefront of allaying fears amongst Nigerians who had  conspiracy theories about the vaccine, there creating vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the country.

While being optimistic that the workshop will avail the participants on the skills to use to ensure the increase of uptakes of the vaccine, Njoku urged the journalists to use data from World Health Organisation(WHO), UNICEF, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) and other reliable organisations to derive stories that will bring about positive impact on the vaccination exercise.

Also speaking while giving an opening remark, the WASH Manager, UNICEF Field Office, Kano, Rafid Salih stated that vaccine hesitancy have to be tackled hands down so as to avoid deaths caused by the virus.

Salih who was represented  UNICEF Chief of Field Office in Kano State, Maulid Warfa urged the journalists to use that same medium used to perpetrate misinformation about the virus, to propagate the fact to every part of the country.

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COVID-19 Misinformation: NOA Promises Collaboration With Paged Initiative To Battle Scourge

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The National Orientation Agency(NOA) has promised to work with the Participatory Communication Through Gender Development (PAGED) Initiative, a media and advocacy Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) to battle the issue of COVID-19 Misinformation in 19 Northern states of the country.

While the organisation paid a courtesy visit to the Agency, the Director General of NOA, Garba Abari stated that they were ready to collaborate with any organisation on the dissemination of information to curb the COVID-19 virus.

Abari who was represented by the Agency’s Director of Special Duties and State Operations, Mette Edekobi revealed that NOA was well equipped to carry out any awareness in the country as it has staff in all the 774 local government in the country.

“Our strength is the fact that we speak all languages. Our 774 officials are in their local government areas where they can speak the local languages and communicate with the people in the way that they will understand. We are predestined to do what we are doing,” he said.

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Abari who lamented that the Agency had to battle with the issue of fake information about the virus and its vaccine, added that collaboration with other organizations would help a great deal as many Nigerians do not believe in their leaders, no matter what they tell them.

“So we need Nigerians to hear from other people that do not come from the government and maybe that will make them believe,” he said.

Earlier while stating the reason for their visit, the Programme Director, Paged Initiative, Ummi Bukar, said her NGO was there to ascertain the challenges NOA has encountered in the dissemination of information about COVID-19 and where the organisation can come in to assist curb the pandemic.

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“In terms of COVID-19 media response, what we want from NOA is to know the gaps you have encountered that you will need the media to help address because there are still a lot of people who do not believe that COVID-19 exist. There is a lot of mis-information out there. We are have a lot of media partners across the 19 states that can help in this aspect,” she said.

Bukar added that her NGO in collaboration with European Union and Free Press have helped push for participatory development to ensure that the needs of the communities were met.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

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