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Strong Reasons COVID-19 is in Kogi State – Fisayo Soyombo

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On Saturday, a patient died at FMC, Lokoja, Kogi State, after exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. His samples weren’t taken. That was the fourth such death at that FMC last week alone. Not once was the patient’s samples taken, dead or alive. A familiar cover-up

March 22 was the first time this scenario occurred. A patient who came into Kogi from Lagos required a CS. The patient exhibited COVID-19 symptoms, prompting the hospital to request for her to be tested. It was turned down. The patient was isolated for some time, surgery was done and she was discharged without testing.

Last week, there were some patients in the O&G ward who manifested respiratory issues, inability to breathe and other COVID-19 symptoms. Three of them died. They’d come from private hospitals — one in Lokoja, another in Okene and the third in Ogudu.

The first of the trio, Mrs GI (her initials), a 43-year-old woman who arrived at the hospital on Thursday, had a temperature of 38.8°C. The other two had temperatures of more than 40°C. In each case, no sample was taken before or after death.

Now, on the final day of the week, a patient admitted to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Ward with a temperature of 40.3°C was transferred to the male medical ward. The patient spent three hours in the ward and then died. One more patient exhibited potential COVID-19 symptoms on Sunday but moves for sample collection were futile; by yesterday, the patient was dead.

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I’ve been told there are more suspected cases, but these were the ones I personally tracked. Ideally, the FMC ought to notify the Ministry of Health of the need for sample collection if it suspects a case, but the ministry needs to secure the authorization of the Incident Manager, that is the Commissioner for Health, who directly relates with the NCDC. If the Commissioner says no, end of request! Meanwhile, state hospitals are not even in a position to call the health ministry.

I understand the instruction from Governor Yahaya Bello is that there should be no testing. I know the question you want to ask and I’ll answer it: Why would the state government want to hide COVID-19 cases? There may be many reasons but I’m sure of three, so far:

  1. None of the three isolation centres — at SDG/FAREC Clinic, the Kogi State Diagnostics Centre and the Maimuna and Usman Yahaya Foundation Hospital — is ready for use. A patient can’t be taken into any of them. The only ready space is at Kogi State Specialist Hospital, Lokoja, where Lassa Fever cases were once managed. And it has only four beds. Not four wards — four beds! All are just building structures, no equipment at all for the doctors to work with. The diagnostics centre is a private facility donated to the state several years ago, but the 100-bed structure is an ongoing project that has spanned three executive governors and doesn’t even have power supply!
  2. I understand the state has no money to give the people as lockdown palliatives, should there be the need to restrict their movement. But many in Kogi aren’t asking for palliatives; they just want their salaries, which the government is making moves to halve. It is unclear why there is no money, as the Bello administration hasn’t executed a single project since its reelection in May 2019 apart from payment of salaries. Despite receiving increased federal allocation of late due to a temporary halt of bailout deductions, the state government was going to pay workers only 50% of their salaries in March but the union stood its ground. April salaries haven’t been paid because of this ongoing disagreement.
  3. For whatever reason, the state government believes the NCDC has politicised COVID-19 cases such that if samples are sent, they will automatically return +ve. It is a reason that defies logic, actually, but it exists all the same.
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Kogi has blatantly REFUSED to test. Lots of medical experts agree that “it is a lie to say the state does not have COVID cases”, but scientifically, no one can put a figure to it.

The FMC has been warned that if it breaches protocol by sending anyone’s samples to the NCDC, it would be shut down on the pretext of exposure to the virus. For that the reason, the state and hospital officialdom will counter this story with all they have, rather than make amends, but the hope will be that Kogi won’t go the way of Kano before making a U-turn.

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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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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.

Author Profile

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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