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Akeredolu calls for synergy between researchers, policymakers in Nigeria

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The wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has called for synergy between researchers and policymakers in Nigeria for suitable implementation of research at the government level.

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Akeredolu said this while speaking on the topic “Taking Ownership: Sustainability of PEPFAR Programmes” at the 7th Nigeria Implementation Science Alliance (NISA), Conference in Abuja on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NISA is a collaborative network of program Implementing Partners in Nigeria, committed to identifying, understanding, measuring, and sharing its work done in Nigeria.

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According to her, the big question is: Do we have a synergy between researchers and the policymakers whose role is it to implement the results of research at the government level?

She said there was a need to create awareness and understanding around the policymakers who were in positions to affect the implementation of programmes.

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She said that when policymakers had the right understanding of the way things were done, there would be that natural inclination in them to ask the right questions and implementation would become a natural thing for them to do.

She said that by so doing, the knowledge gap would be bridged.

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She stressed that researchers should do more than merely converging to convey research findings in conference situations.

“When a programme is pronounced by researchers, it is expected that policymakers take certain steps regarding implementation, but the knowledge gap sets it at some point and hinders effective results.

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“With the advantage of my various backgrounds, I have the insight that those you expect to play the role of sustainability do not usually understand what there is to be done.

“Even when such a programme cascades to the state level, it again falls into the same hands of policymakers. Something has to be done in this regard.”

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Akeredolu explained that apart from her being the governor’s wife, her background in civil society as a founder of multiple Non Governmental Organisations, private sector investor and retired fishery officer from the Federal civil service, put her in good stead and experience in matters related to programme implementation.

“I belong to three worlds that are of relevance to this conference. And that is the more reason this gathering is of great interest to me.

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“Firstly, I am a retired Federal Fishery Officer after 28 years of service, so I know what happens at the civil service level.

“I also have a background in civil society as I run about four Non-Governmental Organisations, and I am also into the private sector, doing large-scale fish production,” she said.

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“Among my NGOs is the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) which thrives on medical research, which is why I am very much interested in this conference.

“In the NGO world, for instance, funding is usually a contentious issue, particularly at the level of programme implementation,” he explained.

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She advised researchers to place priority on specific programmes while noting that doing this would go a long way in helping to achieve better results.

“Let me also add that we need to prioritise what our needs are. We need to answer what policy priorities we make even at the state level.

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“My experience in Ondo State, particularly shows that we have so much awareness creation to do on breast and cervical cancer. There are also the issues of molestation and gender-based violence,” she said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, lamented the dearth of home-grown data as Nigeria’s perpetual bane in its bid to break through in the areas of scientific research and programme implementation.

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Mamora, however, said that the Federal Government already had plans underway toward ensuring that the country resolved its data challenge.

The United State of America Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Country Director, Dr Mary Boyd, observed that donor’s focus is not only on the individual patient but its on building.

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Boyd said that it should be a resilient system that could handle any new epidemic like COVID-19, so the progress made would not be compromised.

In his remark, NISA board chairman, Prof. Echezona Ezeanolue, said that NISA was proud to unite over 50 leading organizations.

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“The conference allows members to exchange ideas and develop collaborations in public health.

“NISA members are strongly committed to improving public health globally. Their work is in the different fields, but the overarching objective is to apply implementation of science principles to the challenging areas in healthcare,” he said.

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Ezeanolue said it started as a collaboration among United States PEPFAR –supported implementing partners, research universities and policymakers to enhance the quality of health care through implementation of science and research.

“Its goal is to use the information generated from this network to serve in decision making and policy formulation for policymakers, researchers and consumers.

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It’s also utilising the country-specific information generated by Nigerian Implementation Science (IS) Researchers and their collaborators to enhance the quality of care being provided,” he said.

Dr Jay Samuel, Director Laboratory Service, APIN, said health organisations and government agencies needed to share information on research and bridge the gap between research and practice.

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Samuel said the conference was aimed at solving problems, including those concerning healthcare in the country.

He said: “We are looking for a solution through implementation research. We can implement the things we already know can work.

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ECOParl: MPs Say Covid-19, Russia-Ukraine War, Low Import Duties, Reason For Low Remittances of Community Levy

ECOWAS
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By Gloria Ikibah

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, have attributed the causes of low remittance of community levy by member states to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, low import inflow, the effect of Covid-19 on the global economy leading to recession among other factors.

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Speaking with Journalists at the ongoing 2nd Extra-Ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Lome, a cross-section of Parliamentarians from different countries also blamed the development on negligence on the part of some member states.

The Ghanaian Head of Delegation, Hon. Alexander Afenyo Markin, asserted that the current economic downturn experienced across regions is a major deterrence to remittance of levies.

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“Without attempting to speculate, I should think that the recent downturn in business is a result of economic crisis leading to low import could be a factor, in the sense that now we are having this Ukraine- Russia war which came just after COVID obviously import have come down, it has reduced drastically, and this levies are imposed on import at our Ports so obviously.

“It could also be the slow pace at which member states transmit or transfer such levy as collected so we need that political will from the Commission, the Heads of States, or those responsible for this, and those coordinating to ensure that these levies as at when they are collected are transmitted to ECOWAS on time.

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While MP from Seirra-Leon, Hon. Veronica Sesay said the possible cause of countries non-remittance of levy was negligence.

“This could be out of negligence. We cannot move, we cannot succeed, even ECOWAS Parliament committees cannot come to Lome or go to Abuja without paying of levies, and that is why we are asking the other member states to pay their levies because it is sometimes unfair if others pay their levies on time then you benefit on time, so I don’t want to call it parasitic because we have to work together as a team”, she said.

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Hon. Adjaratou Traore from Cote d’Ivoire said, “without the community levy there will be no ECOWAS Parliament, there will be No ECOWAS Commission, every country need to contribute, we have to make sure our government take this issue very seriously to make the operation of the regional body smooth, so all Member States have to work hard on it”.

Similarly, Nigerian Delegate to the session, Sen. Smart Adeyemi said, “There is a global economic recession now, I think as the economy improves maybe next year, some of these West African Countries will be able to meet up their obligation to the ECOWAS Parliament”.

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Hon. Siryon from Liberia added “the pandemic came in and interrupted countries economic plans, I feel that is the reason why some of them have not been able to pay, no matter what, they have to pay, if they have problems, they have to come to us, they have to come and let ECOWAS know the problem, they put the Act together, they sign it and I believe that they will pay” she said.

The Parliamentarians furthermore called for mechanism to be put in place to fast track payment by making sure that such funds come to the Commissions by the use of technology.

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They also believe that, bureaucracy of collection and transmitting should be eliminated by creating a network which will automatically ensure that ECOWAS and other institutions receive their payment directly from the Member States once charges are made in their Ports. That according to them will be one way of resolving that issue of non-remittance of community levy.

“There will be no excuses as to what the Member States have collected and refused or delayed. It is these levies that are used for capacity building, for all activities, for stability and for work to progress, and also for salaries of workers, our community institutions depend on this levy, that is our only source of income and funding for our activities as a Sub-Region, for me, it is a key thing that must be considered”.

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North Korea fires two missiles, blames US

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North Korea fired two ballistic missiles Thursday and claimed its recent blitz of sanctions-busting tests were necessary countermeasures against joint military drills by the United States and South Korea.

As the United Nations Security Council met to discuss Pyongyang’s Tuesday launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, North Korea blamed Washington for “escalating the military tensions on the Korean peninsula”.

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The recent launches — six in less than two weeks — were “the just counteraction measures of the Korean People’s Army”, Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday.

Seoul, Tokyo and Washington have ramped up joint military drills in recent weeks, including large-scale naval manoeuvres and anti-submarine exercises.

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No Amount Of Fasting, Prayer Can Cure HIV” – Bisi Alimi

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Bisi Alimi is of the belief that no amount of fasting or prayer can be able to heal an individual who is infected with the HIV virus.

Alimi is a Nigerian gay rights activist, public speaker, blog writer and HIV/LGBT advocate who gained international attention when he became the first Nigerian to come out on television.

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In a new development, Alimi who has been living well advised those living with the virus to live a happy life by thinking positively, exercising and taking their medications regularly.

He also urged people living with the virus not to listen to naysayers.

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“If you are HIV+, no amount of prayers and fasting will cure you. Take your medication, exercise, think positively and live a happy life. There is no healing in faith.

“Your viral load will only come down if you adhere and not by how days you pray or fast.

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“If your viral load is taking long to come down, talk to your healthcare provider about it and be very honest about the lifestyle choices you have.

“Don’t mind the idiots laughing cos you are positive; at least you know. Many of them hide under their clothes, their greatest shame. Turn their stigma into your crown of glory”.

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