COVID-19: FG Releases N6.45bn For New Oxygen Plants In 38 Locations Nationwide

 

The Federal Government has approved N6.45 billion for the setting up of gas plants in 38 locations nationwide in a bid to enhance the treatment of COVID-19 patients who need oxygen.

This disclosure emerged at the first National Economic Council meeting of the year presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, with State Governors, Federal Capital Territory Minister, Central Bank Governor, and other senior government officials in attendance.

While briefing the NEC on the release of the funds, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed said the President approved the release of the funds for the production of oxygen, necessitated by the increased number of patients who need oxygen due to the surge in Covid-19 infections in the country.

Similarly at the meeting, the Health Minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire informed the Council that sequel to President Buhari’s decision to activate the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund based on the National Health Act, N55.1billion was approved in 2018 and that 50% of the sum has since been released to the States and the FCT.

Besides, the Federal Government has also allocated N35billion for 2021 for the Fund.

It would be recalled that the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF or “The Fund”) was established under Section 11 of the National Health Act (NHA Act), as the principal funding vehicle for the Basic Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS). The Fund serves to increase the fiscal space and overall financing to the health sector to assist Nigeria to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Funding of the BHCPF would be derived from contributions including — an annual grant from the Federal Government of Nigeria of not less than one per cent (1%) of its Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) — grants by international donor partners; and funds from any other source.

Other updates at the NEC meeting include account balances as of 20th January 2020 given by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, as follows:

Excess Crude Account (ECA), balance as of 20th January 2021, $72,411,197.80; Stabilization Account, balance as of 19th January 2021, N28, 800, 711,295.37; Natural Resources Development Fund Account, balance as at 19th January 2021, N95, 830,729,470.82.

Meanwhile, the Council also received an update from the Vice President who is the Chairman of Council’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Public Engagements regarding the fallouts of the EndSars protests of last year.

In the update, the NEC engagements will focus mainly on:

• Wealth creation, social safety nets and employment

• Education, digital economy and sports development

• Creative industry and hospitality

• Security

• Governance

TARGET GROUPS AND AUDIENCE

Participants of the NEC engagements will be drawn from the following groups

• Young intellectuals and emerging industry leaders from diverse sectors, students of tertiary and other educational institutions, youths in the Diaspora who are interested in social political developments, entertainers and social influencers, trained artisans etc.

• Youth leaders in (a) civil Society Organization (b) Politics (c) religious organization (d) traditional institutions.

• Young women and young people with disabilities.

MODALITIES AND STAGES OF THE NEC ENGAGEMENTS

The engagement will evolve in three stages:

1. Stage One: State Government(and FCT) facilitated youth engagements, guided by a panel of seasoned professionals(for comprehensiveness, practicability and effectiveness). This will essentially be a youth-driven engagement organised by each State Government or the FCT Administration. As the initial engagement, it will allow for streamlining of the thought processes of the youths’ interaction with State Officials and the selection of representatives, who will participate in subsequent engagements at Zonal and National levels.

2. Stage Two: This is the zonal-level engagement where the issues of concern and the consensus reform ideas developed from the State-level engagements are presented by the individual States’ representatives. This engagement is a collaboration between the youths and the State Governments in the respective zones.

3. Stage Three: This the national engagement, where select representatives from States and the Federal Capital Territory participate in an interactive session with Federal and other Government officials. The youth representatives present the consensus issues of concern and reform ideas developed from the first two stages. The session will be people-centric, providing a platform for the Government to listen to the youth and focus less on presenting its own achievements or defending its perspectives.

COVID-19: Buhari Approves Establishment Of One Oxygen Plant In Each State

File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of at least one oxygen plant in each of the 36 states of the federation.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced this during a briefing on Tuesday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

President Buhari also gave approval for the rehabilitation of five oxygen plants across tertiary health institutions across the country.

“Approval has been given to rehabilitate five oxygen plants across various tertiary health institutions in Abuja,” the PTF Chairman said.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Edo Records 113 Recoveries, Five Deaths Since December

“The President has also approved that at least one oxygen plant should be established in each state of the federation immediately.  The National Coordinator will elaborate on this during this briefing.”

“The PTF is progressing on the issue of accessing vaccines for Nigerians. Additional information will be provided to Nigerians on accelerated vaccines introduction and deployment plan.

“What is currently confronting us is a critical phase of infections globally. We are constantly reviewing our strategy to emerging situations especially in risk communication, vaccine hesitancy, fake news/disinformation.”

This comes as CACOVID commences the distribution of 100 oxygen cylinders per day to Critical Care centres, till March-end.

SEE FULL SPEECH HERE:

REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 FOR TUESDAY, 5th JANUARY, 2021

​I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for today, Tuesday, 5th January, 2021.

2.​Let me on behalf of the PTF welcome all Nigerians to the year 2021. The PTF wishes everyone a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year.

3.​At the last briefing to close 2020, we appealed to all Nigerians to stay safe and act in most defensive and protective ways by complying with the NPIs already prescribed. We do hope that at individual levels you took the expected responsibility.

  1. ​Closely associated with that is the increasing daily numbers that we are recording. Yesterday 4th January, 2021, we recorded 1,204 infections. This was the highest daily number ever recorded since we commenced the national response. From our analysis, we are beginning to see the effect of activities carried out during the Christmas festivities. We can only hope that numbers will not escalate beyond control. We however, still appeal to all citizens to take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance.

5.​As at date, the statistics for Nigeria shows the following:

✓ Cumulative cases: 91,351

✓ Cumulative Tests: 958,911

✓ Deaths: 1,318

✓ Week 53 recorded 57 deaths which is the highest for any single week since we started.

✓ There is also a rising rate of infections among health care workers and this calls for the escalation of surveillance.

✓ In Africa, Nigeria has joined South Africa in reporting the highest daily infection cases.

6.​As we have always maintained, testing is a key strategy under the national response. To this end we can report that there are about 100 laboratories across the country. These are 71 public labs; 22 private labs and 7 corporate labs. Collectively, they are to help improve testing in the country.

7.​Regrettably, however, there is still very low testing in a number of states. For clarity, the DG NCDC will elaborate on the spheres of responsibility in testing and the Federal Government has sufficiently supported the States to enable them support surveillance and IPC.

8.​To overcome some of these challenges, the PTF will intensify the risk communication and community engagement to create awareness. The share level of doubts about the virus is alarming and I call on every one to become advocates in support of the National Response.

9.​In continuation of the NYSC engagement, the PTF has conducted the testing of batch B Corpers using RDTs. Out of the 35,419 in the Batch B, 731 tested positive compared to 108 recorded during the Batch A. It is on record that cases were recorded from Corps Members from every State of the Federation.

  1. ​In the last two weeks, a lot has been discussed on case management and in particular, the availability of oxygen to save lives. We are pleased to inform you that the private sector – CACOVID has commenced supporting our response with 100 oxygen cylinders per day till the end of March, 2021, for distribution to critical care centres in Abuja.
  2. Furthermore, approval has been given to rehabilitate five oxygen plants across various tertiary health institutions in Abuja. The President has also approved that at least one oxygen plant should be established in each state of the federation immediately. The National Coordinator will elaborate on this during this briefing.
  3. ​The PTF is progressing on the issue of accessing vaccines for Nigerians. Additional information will be provided to Nigerians on accelerated vaccines introduction and deployment plan.

13.​What is currently confronting us is a critical phase of infections globally. We are constantly reviewing our strategy to emerging situations especially in risk communication, vaccine hesitancy, fake news/disinformation.

11.​Finally, I wish to confirm that the PTF has commenced the sanctions on passengers who defaulted on day-7 post arrival tests. Their passport numbers have been published and travel restriction imposed for a period of six months effective 1st January, 2021.

12.​Let me categorically state that the PTF has generated over 20,000 inbound passengers that have also defaulted. The publication will continue weekly till it is exhausted.

13.​Nigerians should be aware that every defaulter is a threat to public health which is unacceptable to us and represent a draw back to the National Response. We have a duty to advise our relations, friends, associates to comply with laid down rules. The DG (NCDC) and the National Coordinator will update you on this.

  1. I now invite the Hon. Minister of State for Health, the DG (NCDC) and the National Coordinator to brief you from the technical perspectives.

15.​I thank you all for listening.

 

Doctors to treat deafness with the use of Snake poison

Doctors at the University of Gottingen, Germany are set to start a research on patients, where they will receive injections of Ancrod, a drug  made from the the venom of the Malayan Pit Viper (snake).

According to Daily Mail, the drug is prescribed to people who suffer from sudden loss of hearing.

In some cases it (loss of hearing) may occur over night while others may hear a loud pop before their hearing disappears.

Such conditions occur when a part of the inner ear doesn’t get enough oxygen, or when it’s been infected by virus or a blood vessel defect.

The drug is supposed to work by thinning the blood and boosting circulation.
It can also be used in the case of stroke.