UNICEF and IHS Nigeria, a subsidiary of IHS Towers, announce an 18-month partnership to help strengthen oxygen supply in hospitals for the treatment of pneumonia, COVID-19 and other hypoxemia disorders, particularly in newborn babies and pregnant women. This partnership aims to further support the Federal Ministry of Health in meeting demands for effective oxygen therapy in Nigeria.
IHS Nigeria has been a UNICEF partner since 2019. Under this new collaboration, oxygen plants will be installed in health facilities and incorporated into state-specific oxygen resilience plans, including training healthcare workers on the safe administration of oxygen. The partnership covers Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Cross Rivers, and Rivers states.
Oxygen is a life-saving medical gas used to treat respiratory illnesses and support various healthcare provisions such as emergency obstetric care, surgery, and anaesthesia. It is critical to improving health outcomes and reducing mortality due to pneumonia by 35%, yet, seldom available and often expensive. In Nigeria, over 120,000 children die each year due to hypoxemia.
“With limited access to supplemental oxygen, the line between life and death is blurred for critically ill patients with pneumonia and severe COVID-19 symptoms. This situation is, unfortunately, the reality for many,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative.
“At UNICEF, we value our strong partnership with IHS Nigeria. It is only through joint efforts and the support of trusted partners like IHS Nigeria that we can deliver robust healthcare and advance other sustainable development goals to all Nigerians,’’ said Peter Hawkins.
Mohamad Darwish, CEO of IHS Nigeria, said, “We are delighted to be contributing further to the provision of healthcare in Nigeria. When we read about the number of deaths in Nigeria that could be avoided by making oxygen available, such projects become a must-do rather than an option. By working collaboratively, we believe we can help improve the health and well-being of our communities and thereby express a very small token of appreciation to our beloved country and the communities that host us. We also hope this partnership will encourage others in the private sector to contribute to the delivery of vital healthcare for women and children across Nigeria”.
Covid-19 Vaccine: Mercy Corps Takes Advocacy to Community In Potiskum
Determined to ensure attitudinal changes in COVID-19 Vaccine acceptance and uptake in among vulnerable communities in Nigeria, the Mercy Corps in collaboration with Care International today held a dialogue meeting for Dogo Nini Community, Potiskum Local Government Area of Yobe State.
The dialogue meeting held at Yindiski Primary Health Care Center attracted various community members, Youth, Women, religious groups, and traditional Rulers among other critical stakeholders.
Anchoring the meeting, Kauna Sugabkya Ag. Program Manager Mercy Corps informed that dialogue aims to improve COVID-19 vaccination coverage by increasing vaccine confidence, acceptance, and uptake in vulnerable communities. It is a program in Yobe State where the Mercy Corps partnered with the state government and Care International to implement in four Local Government Areas of Damaturu, “Potiskum, Nguru and Gashua respectively.
She further disclosed that Mercy Corps is undertaking the program in Damaturu and Potiskum Local Government Areas to reduce the rumors about the Covid-19 Vaccines, address problems of misinformation as well as ensure attitudinal changes in the people.
Sugabkyo added that the topic of the message is directed towards encouraging Yindiski Community Members to COVID-19 Vaccine without resistance. “We have a Mercy Corps chat board which serves as a platform for all to make comments, complaints, observations, and inquiries on the Covid-19 Vaccine, the platform is called ‘Shehu’ with phone number 07034146757 ‘.
Comments generated from the discussion on the reasons for not accepting the COVID-19 vaccine revolve around poverty, ignorance, rumor, and political influence.. it is expected that the number of compliance will improve because of the meeting.
A resident of Yindiski, Musa Yusuf observed that some of the reasons behind noncompliance to accepting the COVID-19 vaccine include the disappearance of COVID-19 palliatives. He suggested that traditional rulers should be fully engaged in the program because of their relevance and importance in society. “The information dissemination strategy should be reviewed to make it more effective”.
Others told the meeting that all along they have not physically seen COVID-19 patients or symptoms to convince them that the disease is real.
COVID-19 Has Increased Depression, Anxiety By 25%, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has decried that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased global rise in depression and anxiety by an estimated 25%.
The claim was made made by the organisation’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, in a message to World Mental Health Day 2022, with theme, “Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All a Global Priority”,
The day, which is marked on 10 October every year, according to Moeti provides an opportunity to draw attention to Africa’s large and growing burden of mental health conditions, with children and adolescents worst impacted.
She said the theme of the year would “serves as a reminder that, after nearly three years, the social isolation, fear of disease and death, and strained socio-economic circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to an estimated 25% global rise in depression and anxiety.”
She said: “Across the African Region, more than 116 million people were already estimated to be living with mental health conditions pre-pandemic. Suicide rates remain particularly concerning, as are the exponential rates of alcohol use and abuse among adolescents as young as 13 years of age.
“We need to urgently strengthen regulatory systems to close the gaps that allow such young people to easily access alcohol, contributing to heavy episodic drinking rates as high as 80% among teens from 15 to 19. The situation poses a serious threat to their education, while setting the stage for a lifetime of alcohol abuse, and the associated risks of noncommunicable and other related diseases.”
She lamented that “Inadequate financing for mental health continues to be the biggest limitation, negatively impacting efforts to expand Africa’s mental health workforce. As things stand, there are fewer than two mental health workers for every 100 000 people, the majority of whom are psychiatric nurses and mental health nursing aids.
“With these scarce resources concentrated at large psychiatric institutions in urban areas, people at community and primary care levels are left critically underserved. For example, while two-thirds of Member States report having guidelines to integrate mental health into primary health care, fewer than 11% are providing pharmacological and/or psychological interventions at this level.
It is however heartening that up to 82% of our Member States are receiving training on how to manage mental health conditions at primary care level, with up to 74% reporting that specialists are involved in providing appropriate training and supervision to primary health care professionals.”
Moeti however observed that: “African governments have also made some progress on mental health spending, which has risen to 46 US cents per person. But that is still well below the recommended US$2 per person, with mental health not featuring in national health insurance schemes.”
She noted that: “To address the challenge, it is crucial that Member States follow through on the implementation of commitments they made at the Regional Committee in August 2022, when they endorsed the Framework to Implement the Comprehensive Global Action Plan 2013 to 2023 in the WHO African Region. This key document highlights the severe shortage of mental health services on the continent, and makes recommendations for key actions by Member States.
“Among the developments of which Member States can be proud is the launch of Special Initiative for Mental Health frameworks by Ghana and Zimbabwe. Supported by WHO training, the aim is to strengthen relevant services at lower levels of care.”
She revealed that: “WHO in the African Region is also supporting task-sharing and integration of mental health into multisectoral programmes in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Mali. Examples include joint tuberculosis and mental health programming in Ghana and Kenya, and joint Neglected Tropical Diseases and mental health efforts in Nigeria.
“Additionally, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe have been supported to complete mental health investment cases. These provide a valuable base from which to make the case for increased investment in this neglected aspect of our health systems.”
She said: “To advance continental efforts towards equitable access to mental, neurological and substance abuse care, I want to take the opportunity today to urge Member States to prioritise the implementation of the Framework to Implement the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan in the WHO African Region. This requires, among other things, increasing government expenditure on relevant services, and mobilising resources from partners.
“Countries especially need to strengthen the mental health and psychosocial response in humanitarian emergencies, including COVID-19 and Ebola, which have a significant negative impact on school-age children and our health care workers. Mental health and psychosocial support are integral to any successful response.”
She appealed that: “On World Mental Health Day today, let us all commit to work together to deepen the value we afford to mental health, to reshape the environments that negatively impact mental health, and to strengthen the care systems to make mental health care accessible to all Africans.”
About 169 Households To Benefit From EDO-CARES Grants
No fewer than 169 Individuals from vulnerable households have been trained in Benin to benefit from the Nigeria CARES (COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) code named EDO-CARES) grants in Edo.
Mrs Ifueko Alufohai, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Humanitarian Affairs announced this during one-day livelihood support training and orientation organised on Friday by the State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU).
The beneficiaries, she said, would be given grants ranging from N20,000 to N200,000.
Alufohai explained that the N-CARES was an emergency Relief World Bank funded Programme put in place to ameliorate the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on livelihoods, especially of the operators of businesses in the informal sector.
The Head, of State Cash Transfer Unit, Flora Bossey in a welcome address said the programme was designed for economically active youth and women.
“This programme is Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLI 1.3) under the EDO-CARES livelihood support programme, one of the eleven DLI being supported by the State Government.
“The programme is taking place in two pilot local government areas of Oredo and Ikpoba-Okha in the state. The beneficiaries were selected from the state social register for the poor and vulnerable households.
“The state government has made it possible for the beneficiaries to receive grants to improve their businesses that were affected by COVID-19.
According to her, what we are doing here today is the first round of livelihood and soft skills training to support their businesses before the grants would be disbursed.
Mrs Precious Osunde, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries thanked the state government for the kind gesture and promised to expand her business with the grant.