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U.S. to support Nigeria on gender equality, says official



Joseph Kruzich, Public Affairs Officer, U.S Consulate General Lagos, has restated the commitment of the American government toward initiative that will drive gender equality in Nigeria.

Kruzich told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the graduation ceremony of 50 beneficiaries of the ‘Break the Bias, She Can’ innitiative on Tuesday in Lagos.

The event was organised by Additional Plus Sports and Education Initiative (APSE) in partnership with Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC).

NAN reports that ‘Break the Bias, She Can’, is an initiative of the Management of APSE in partnerships with LSSC, to provide a one-tear sports and political empowerment programme to empower some outstanding girl children.

The graduation ceremony was held at the Rowe Park Sports Centre, Yaba, Lagos.


The programme was designed as education in sport and political education with major focus on taekwondo, table-tennis and sensitisation.

It also involves mentorship programme on political participation and how vote can count as a tool in combating the disturbing phenomenon.

At the graduation ceremony of the 50 beneficiaries, the U.S. envoy in Nigeria, Kruzich noted that the drive toward the gender equality was one of the American dreams.

“Gender equality is one of the core values of the Americans and I believe it is one of the core values of Nigerian government as well.

“As both country now have strong democracies, we are committed to working together with Nigeria to do more in the area of gender equality, economic development and good governance.


“We are not also forgetting the boys as well, because they are also important. We need both sides, but in traditional settings, we sometimes forget our women, their voices and needs are neglected.

“We want to focus on these, so that everyone in the society have a role to play in the rebirth of Nigeria, in her development and Africa as well,” he said.

Kruzich also stated that the American government was excited to partner the ‘Break the Barrier’ Initiative, adding that it is the right change that Nigeria needed.

“The U.S. government is excited to be part of this programme, especially because of the ambition of the initiator of this programme, Dr Oluwaseun Nariwoh.

“This is a strong initiative that gives training in sports and educational development, which in turn gives confidence and political training.


“This programme would have afford the participants good outlook on their roles in the society and what they should do to make Nigerian society a better place.

“The initiative is great and the organisation is good putting smiles on the faces of the children.

“It is now time for the children to show the world what stuff they are now made of, while we appreciate other organisations to come on board,” he said.

Mrs Adetoun Tade, the President of International Visitors Leadership Programme, (IVLP), U.S. Consulate, told NAN that the programme had been able to fulfill its mandate.

Accordong to Tade, this is shown with the successful completion of the one year intensive programme for the beneficiaries.


“This is a good way of giving back to the society which we are all proud of and we will always like to support.

“This is the way to go in raising the next generation of talents that will positively impact on our society and youths with responsible values.

“I am sure that this programme will be more encouraged to ensure its sustainability,” she said.

Also, Moses Kolawole, the Director of Sports, Lagos State Sports Commission, (LSSC), noted that the commission was proud to be part of the initiative.

Kolawole said that it was because the inniative was part of the core values being upholded by the state government.


“This is a programme that Lagos State is known for. We can’t have it better than this in raising responsible children to adulthood,” he said.

The initiator of APSE, Dr Oluwaseun Nariwoh, said that the programme was designed to identify some gaps in the development of athletes, which included combining sports with education.

“We need to prepare these young ones well ahead of the future challenges, and this is what we have been able to achieve.

“The young participants, now, know the values of education and not sports alone, which have a lifespan,” she said.

NAN reports that highlights of the graduation included the distribution of reading books such as “21 girls who made the world a better place,” some exercise books, other writing materials and certificate of participation.



Diphtheria: Children at risk as 7,202 cases are confirmed in Nigeria



A staggering 7,202 cases of diphtheria, a highly contagious bacterial infection that can be fatal without treatment, were confirmed in Nigeria last week.

The outbreak has been particularly severe among children under 14, with three-quarters of cases (73.6%) in this age group.

Most cases have been recorded in Kano state, Nigeria’s second most populous state. In the past three months, there have been 453 deaths from diphtheria in Nigeria.

Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease, but low vaccination rates in Nigeria have made the outbreak possible. Only 42% of children under 15 in Nigeria are fully protected from diphtheria.

Diphtheria symptoms begin with a sore throat and fever. In severe cases, the bacteria produce a toxin that can block the airway, causing difficulty breathing and swallowing. The toxin can also spread to other body parts, causing heart kidney problems and nerve damage.


Save the Children is launching a wide-scale health response in the three most impacted states of Kano, Yobe, and Katsina. The organization is deploying expert health and supply chain staff to help overstretched clinics detect and treat diphtheria cases and to support mass vaccination campaigns.

However, Save the Children warns that a mass vaccination campaign will only be successful if the vaccine shortage is urgently addressed.

Severe shortages in Nigeria of the required vaccine and the antitoxin needed to treat the disease mean that the situation could continue to escalate, placing many children at risk of severe illness and death.

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WHO releases $16m to tackle cholera, says Director-General



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies to tackle cholera.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said this during an online news conference.

Ghebreyesus said that the organisation was providing essential supplies, coordinating the on the ground response with partners, supporting countries to detect, prevent and treat cholera, and informing people how to protect themselves.

“To support this work, we have appealed for 160 million dollars, and we have released more than 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

“But the real solution to cholera lies in ensuring everyone has access to safe water and sanitation, which is an internationally recognized human right,” he said.


According to him, in the previous week, WHO published new data showing that cases reported in 2022 were more than double those in 2021.

He said that the preliminary data for 2023 suggested was likely to be even worse.

“So far, 28 countries have reported cases in 2023 compared with 16 during the same period in 2022.

“The countries with the most concerning outbreaks right now are Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq and Sudan.

“Significant progress has been made in countries in Southern Africa, including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but these countries remain at risk as the rainy season approaches,” Ghebreyesus said.


According to him, the worst affected countries and communities are poor, without access to safe drinking water or toilets.

He said that they also face shortages of oral cholera vaccine and other supplies, as well as overstretched health workers, who are dealing with multiple disease outbreaks and other health emergencies.

On COVID-19, Ghebreyesus said that as the northern hemisphere winter approaches, the organisation continued to see concerning trends.

He said that among the relatively few countries that report them, both hospitalisations and ICU admissions have increased in the past 28 days, particularly in the Americas and Europe.

WHO boss said that meanwhile, vaccination levels among the most at-risk groups remained worryingly low.


“Two-thirds of the world’s population has received a complete primary series, but only one-third has received an additional, or “booster” dose.

“COVID-19 may no longer be the acute crisis it was two years ago, but that does not mean we can ignore it,” he said.

According to him, countries invested so much in building their systems to respond to COVID-19.

He urged countries to sustain those systems, to ensure people can be protected, tested and treated for COVID-19 and other infectious threats.

“That means sustaining systems for collaborative surveillance, community protection, safe and scalable care, access to countermeasures and coordination,” he said.

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