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Ebonyi First Lady assures development partners of favorable environment



Ebonyi First Lady, Mrs Mary-Maudline Nwifuru, has promised an enabling environment for development partners and other agencies to advance their missions in the state.

Nwifuru made the promise on Wednesday when officials of UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) and Alex-Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike (AE-FUNAI) Women Association paid her a courtesy visit in Abakaliki

The First Lady also sought synergy with the partners to facilitate coherent humanitarian response.

She said that the partnership would help agencies partnering with her projects to achieve long-term sustainable development.

She expressed her readiness to work with UNFPA in eradicating human trafficking, Gender-Based Violence (GBV), harmful practices against vulnerable persons in the society and to promote family planning.


Nwifuru praised the development partners for their support and interventions in the reduction of vices in the state.

“My office is ready to partner with NMS to check and ensure every child taken away from the state is certified.

“This will reduce the trend. We need your help, including that of the police,” she said.

Mr Arasu Jambuke-Swaran, UNFPA Programme Coordinator, said that the agency would use its technical resources to partner her projects billed to better the lots of Ebonyi people.

Jambuke-Swaran, who is also Head of Office, Cross River, disclosed that the GBV cases were high and requested for synergy to reduce the menace.


Speaking, the NIS Comptroller in Ebonyi, Mrs Catherine Uzzi, pledged her organisaton’s readiness to support the Office of the First Lady in the fight against human trafficking.

According to her, human trafficking emanated in the early 1980s because of the country’s dwindling economy.

Mrs Chinyere Elom, President of AE-FUNAI Women Association (AE FUNAI WA), said the group would identify with the Ebonyi government in its tripartite principle of equity, fairness and good conscience.


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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