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NGO advocates provision of WASH facilities in schools, trains 300 girls on menstrual hygiene

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NGO advocates provision of WASH facilities in schools, trains 300 girls on menstrual hygiene

Menstruation

By Stephen Adeleye

A Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Heal For Africa Initiative, has urged government and other stakeholders to provide WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) facilities in public schools across the country.

Dr Kelechi Okoro, the Founder of the NGO, told newsmen at Al-Ansar Secondary School in Lokoja on Wednesday, that the call was part of activities to mark 2018 Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD), celebrated annually on May 28.

According to her, universal, affordable and sustainable access to WASH is a key public health issue within international development and is the focus of Sustainable Development Goal 6.

She said that the WASH facilities in schools would enable girl child to stay comfortably well in school during their menstrual period, saying “a girl must not miss school because of her menstrual period.’’


The NGO also trained and empowered over 300 schoolgirls in Kogi on safe and healthy menstrual hygiene, and gave them free sanitary pads and personal hygiene products.

“This program is the official launch of Pay Attention To Her (PATH) project, aimed at promoting good menstrual hygiene and educating the public that menstruation is everybody’s business, and not just for female alone.

“We are here to educate and empower over 300 schoolgirls on good menstrual hygiene and give them free sanitary pads and hygiene products.

“We will also train the girls on how to make reusable pads from local materials, and teach them how to dispose the used pads.

“We need to let our girls know that whatever sanitary method they use while menstruating, must be hygienic, and that they should not feel ashamed during their Period,” Okoro said.

She also recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture to look into production of reusable biodegradable eco sanitary pads made from agricultural materials, saying it would be more hygienic, safer and affordable than the non-degradable ones.

“This sensitization and training is going to be a continuous program that will cover all schools in Kogi, Nigeria and Africa. We are positive that the PATH project is going to be a huge success.

“Period is a thing of pride, you don’t have to be ashamed of it, it is everybody’s business. We need everybody to show support for it, because it is important to health and nation building.

“We are talking about empowering a girl child through personal hygiene; it is not just about health but also about social development.

“We thank our partners from across Nigeria and beyond who had donated passionately through internet to support this initiative; we call for more support to reach out to more girl child.

The medical doctor, however advised Nigerians to shun archaic and religious beliefs that made women to feel they were unclean and unworthy when menstruating.

“Menstruation should not be something hidden or to be ashamed of, instead, the girls should be empowered with enough information and means to make their menstrual periods more hygienic and comfortable for them,” Okoro said.

In her remarks, Dr Folashade Ayoade, the Secretary to Kogi State Government (SSG), advised the schoolgirls to take care, take charge and practice all they have been taught during the training and study hard.

“Don’t allow any man or boy to buy you over with an Android phone or recharge card, study hard to be empowered, you must study harder to have the highest Degree in your academic.

“I feel so excited and proud of the initiator of this program because it is something that is worthy of teaching that our children need to know about,” she said.

Mrs Petra Onyegbule, the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the NGO, said: “girl child are part of the society, they are a vocal group for the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development,

Onyegbule, who is also the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Yahaya Bello, advised the girls to know the purpose of their existence, and never allow anybody to put them down, stressing that they were unique and peculiar.

“We are all human beings and should not be ashamed when we made mistakes, there’s no shame in getting stained sometimes as a girl child during menstrual period.

“We must demystify menstrual period because ‘period is period’.

“Empowerment is not all about giving out money, it is about educating, sensitising, and enlightening a girl child to grow up and become an important personality in life.

“Empower a girl child to be well informed, bold, educated so as to become important personality in life,” she said.

Dr Ahmed Attah, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Matters, urged the girls to take the rare opportunity and utilize them, saying the should be courageous and hardworking in order to be successful in the society.

“The idea of giving this information on hygienic component of menstruation is laudable, and I think it is a thing they should hold on to and work with throughout their life and career,” Attah said.

One of the girls, Aishat Mohammed, said she was delighted about the empowerment program for the girl child, saying it has really broading her knowledge about menstrual hygiene.

“A very big thank you to the organiser of the training. For being part of this program today, I can boast that I now know more things about menstruation,” Aishat said.

Another girl, Mercy Sunday, said that the program was very interesting, saying “it has enlightened me to know who I am and how to maintain a good menstrual and personal hygiene, and develop my potentials as woman.”

The items distributed includes: Stationary, soaps and detergents, antiseptics, deodorants, tissue paper, sanitary pads, sucks, provisions, drinks, among others.

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USAID, other stakeholders resolve to strengthen healthcare system in FCT

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USAID, other stakeholders resolve to strengthen healthcare system in FCT

By Ummul Idris

The USAID Integrated Health Programme (IHP), FCT Primary Health Care Board (PHCB) and traditional rulers have resolved to work together to strengthen healthcare system across the territory.

The stakeholders made the resolution at Orientation and  Inaugural Meeting of Area Council Health Authority (ACHA) Management and Advisory Structures for Abaji, in Abuja on Thursday.

The FCT Director of USAID IHP, Dr Juliana Nathaniel said Health indices within the FCT was poor hence major stakeholders must work together to adress it headon.

Nathaniel explained that morbidity and mortality had remained high amongst women, children, and the general population because of the weak health system which was not currently performing optimally.

She stated that the cost of health services had persistently denied the poor and vulnerable access to quality health care services and had indeed remained an issue of great concern to all and sundry.

“I am truly excited to be part of this historic event because what we are witnessing today is not just long overdue, but a very critical step towards the right direction.

“I want to congratulate the FCT leadership for this giant stride. Setting up these structures as prescribed under the PHC Act, is necessary for proper management, coordination, and effective delivery of PHC programmes.

“When in place, the structures will not only help to ensure that Primary Health Care (PHC) plans are properly articulated, but that it represents the interest and felt-needs  of the communities, thus helping to actualize the concept of bottom-top approach in PHC programming in the FCT.

“We are all aware that setting up the management and administrative structures for each AC is crucial because it is in line with the principles of the Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) initiative and was mandated by the PHC Enabling Act of 2019.

“Putting  these structures in place and making them functional is not just a basic requirement, but a prerequisite for accessing the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF)” she stated.

She enjoined the stakeholders involved to focus on implementation of well-articulated  strategies and interventions  to  bring about a complete turn-around  in PHC management  and the service delivery system, in order to  impact positively  on the health indices within the FCT.

Similarly, the Director, Finance and Administration of FCT PHCB, Alhaji Ishaq Sadeeq reiterated the government’s commitment to strengthen healthcare system adding that the meeting was critical in order to fortify the governance structure of PHC in FCT.

According to him, the structure is relevant in line with the Primary Healthcare Revitalisation Programme of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He explained that setting up the Abaji Area Council Health Authority was a prerequisite for FCT to access Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

He expressed appreciation for the technical assistance the board received from USAID funded IHP on task order seven in the FCT.

He added that the intervention had  supported FCT to implement its policies to improve management and delivery of Health Care at all levels in the territory.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Yunusa and the Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ajiya pledged their support for successful implementation of the health authority in Abaji. (NAN)

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Half a million families got succour from N1b across Nigeria says VSF COVID-19 taskforce

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Half a million families got succour from N1b across Nigeria says VSF COVID-19 taskforce

Victim Support Fund (VSF) COVID-19 Task Force has indicated that its preliminary N1b earmarked for cushioning the effect of Coronavirus pandemics was used to reach out to about 500 000 families across the country in real terms.
Speaking while delivering some of the support items that included laptops computers, and other technical equipments to the Federal Ministry of Health recently, the Chairperson of VSF COVID-19 Task Force, Toyon Akerele-Ogunsiji said they calculated that an average Nigerian will have a father, mother and four children, hence they provided food that will last them for at least a few weeks to a month.

She said from that point they observe to see what the government would do next from there.
According to her, the spread of Coronavirus could have peaked between March and April but for their intervention in providing more than enough food to the tune of of N1b.”For Abuja we spent about 20% out of the preliminary N1b, for Lagos 20% then for Yobe, Adamawa and Ogun State they got 10% each, maize, rice all in 10kg, sugar, salt in 2kg, 4litres gallon for cooking oil.
“One of the things priortized in our donation is the dignity of our beneficiary.
We didnt just want to donate food because we considered them as indegent of the vulnerable population.
“It was important that the food we donated will keep and sustain their families for a while.
“People were able to feed, we were giving out drugs because we priortized the immunity of Nigerians at that time. We have multivitamins, pain medicines and other supplement.
“We bought about 300. 000 pieces of tablet soaps because hand washings the single preventive mechanism against Coronavirus.”

She reiterated the fact that healthcare is not only about providing medication and drugs adding that the taskforce extended its support in combating the COVID-19 pandemic beyond drugs and medicals to human capacity development as well as provision of technical support for the Federal Ministry of Health. She said the quality of human capacity will determine to a very large extent the successes the ministry will achieve in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today we are providing technical equipments to the Federal ministry of health, we are supporting them with the ministerial expert advisory committee and we are also providing support for the development and the management of the national pandemic action plan.
“We are going to be supporting the ministry by renovating the elevators within the ministry because now we have more staff coming in and out spending more time within the ministry than they use to and we are providing support for the secretariat.
“We are paying for Zoom subscription, we are covering the cost of Wi-Fi of the COVID-19 of the FMOH we believe that healthcare is not just about providing medication and drugs, the human capital element is also very crucial.
She said the VSF earmarked N1B naira in the first phase of its intervention, adding the the second phase got N832, 720, 000,480 adding the the third phase will get a little less than N1b.
She said so far the task force has given support worth more than N150m to the federal ministry of health which is apart from the support it gave to the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
On the extent to which the support of the taskforce has impacted positively in bringing down the pandemic she said,
“I am very bold to say that we are probably the first private sector led humanitarian initiative in this country that responded to the COVID-19 pandemic at the peak of it.
“COVID-19 task force was set up by General Danjuma and was inaugurated on the 30th of March and we tried to take action and by 14th of April we were already in Abuja here at the Malaysian Garden in Karu to give out food items, medicals, PPE, drugs, family care drugs to IDPs in Abuja from Abuja on the same day we were in Borno to meet with Governor Babagana Umaru.
“From Borno we were in Yobe to Kano and from there we moved on to Lagos and Ibadan and Ogun State.”
She said they chose to intervene in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja because they were the frontline COVID-19 locations
She said, “The people were so Hungary they could not stay at home, they had to go out. As schools resumes she said, “We are going to set wash facilities going forward, we are going to providing wash facilities for schools, support the gradual reopening of schools from Nursery to primary and secondary because we want children to be able to wash their hands.
“We will setup more boreholes, donate tablet soap for hand washing, wristband hand sanitizers that children can press constantly and sanitizer their hands support teachers, we know that education is important and we cannot stop the education of children.
“What we must do as a responsible organisation is to make sure we set in motion a system where the health and the hygiene of children are not compromised as they go to school.”

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Respite as FMC Lokoja resumes wednesday 23rd, september, three months after deadly attack

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Respite as FMC Lokoja resumes wednesday 23rd, september, three months after deadly attack

The Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Lokoja chapter of the Joint Action Congress (JAC) on Thursday suspended their three-month old industrial action embarked upon following deadly attack by unknown hoodlums.
It would be recalled that while the FMC was under lock and key, health workers and patients who needed specialised care were at the recieving end.
Suspected hoodlums had stormed FMC, Lokoja, in the early hours of Wednesday-July 1, destroying the administrative block, carting away computers and files allegedly relating to COVID-19. 

I a statement after emerging from a meeting with the management of the hospital, JAC said it suspended the strike after the show of commitment by the hospital management to guarantee and ensure the safety of lives and property of the workers, among other demands.
According to the statement, “This decision is premised on the compliance with our request to guarantee safety of lives and properties among other things as a result of attack by unknown hoodlums on the Federal Medical Centre Lokoja and her staff dated 1st of July 2020.”

It however disclosed that the tertiary health institution will resume full services from Wednesday 23rd September 2020. “We have decided to resume full services on the 23rd of September 2020.” The statement, jointly signed by the various unions and professional associations, thanked the Minister of Health, Kogi State Government, State House of Assembly, FMC Lokoja Board and security agencies for their intervention, and people of the state for their understanding. Recall that medical doctors and other health professionals of the facility had on July 1, 2020, embarked on industrial action after the hospital was invaded by hoodlums. The Kogi State House of Assembly has recently called for the urgent reopening of the medical facility in the interest of the masses.

The House, in a motion of urgent public importance, argued that the continued closure of the health institution was not in the best interest of the people of the state considering the deteriorating health situation of the people of the state, hence called for its immediate reopening. 

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