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Deceased COVID-19 patient: Ekiti to partner Kwara on contact tracing

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The Ekiti Government says efforts are being made to partner its Kwara counterpart to exchange ideas on the medical history of a patient who died of underlining complications from COVID-19.

The 75-old -year woman had died in one of the tertiary health institutions in Ekiti after being hospitalized upon referral from a public hospital in Kwara

Ekiti Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, made this known in Ado Ekiti on Friday when the COVID- 19 Taskforce was giving an update on the pandemic.

She disclosed that the deceased had been hospitalized at the General Hospital in Omu Aran, Kwara, where she was initially treated for cardiac-related issues before her referral.

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The commissioner stated that though there was no COVID-19 lockdown in Kwara then, the issue of contact tracing was now crucial given the present circumstance.

” After they suspected COVID- 19, the deceased was referred to Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, on May 14.

” She was treated for two days in isolation before the state was informed and the specimen collected.

” The result came on May 20 and unfortunately the woman died.

” We have been able to establish that the deceased came from Ayedun in Kwara and she was not infected here in Ekiti.

“As of now, Ekiti has no problem, the only problem we have is the people coming or sneaking into Ekiti illegally and only two Coronavirus fatalities have been recorded,” she said.

She also said that the state had not recorded an upsurge of victims that would warrant the introduction of home isolation methods as adopted by the Lagos State Government.

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Also speaking, the Director-General, Office of Transformation, Strategy and Delivery, Prof. Bolaji Aluko, said the security situation in Ekiti remained stable with no further cases of incursion from neighboring states.

Aluko added that those who had been arrested for defying the lockdown were given appropriate punishment to serve as a deterrent.

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The Special Assistant on Public Health, Dr. Jimlas Ogunsakin, said over 300 farmsteads had been visited by the task force and adequate sensitization on the pandemic done.

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Foundation empowers 100 infertility women in Nigeria

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Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, has empowered 100 infertility women in Nigeria to establish small businesses to be independent and rebuild their lives.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer of Merck said in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, that the foundation had supported the women, in collaboration with the First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Buhari.

According to her, the foundation has been partnering with Buhari, who is also the Ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’.

“We have been working to break the infertility stigma in the country and building equitable and quality healthcare capacity, through ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign.

“Over 100 infertile women were supported to establish small businesses so that they can rebuild themselves and lead independent and happier lives.’’

Kelej said Merck foundation had provided training for embryologists in Nigeria to create a platform of local experts’ infertility care.

“Merck Foundation has also provided two Nigerian doctors with one-year diabetes and hypertension post-graduate diploma training from the University of South Wales, UK.

“We are fully committed to continuing to provide specialized training in the fields of cancer, fertility, and diabetes care to more doctors across Nigeria after the official launch,’’ she said.

According to her, First Ladies of 18 countries are part of the ambassadors of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’, leading and executing the initiatives in their respective countries.

“They are leading the initiative to empower infertile women and break the stigma around infertility.

“This speaks volumes about the work we are doing.

“As a part of Merck More Than a Mother, we have been providing clinical training to candidates from Africa and Asia to establish a platform of fertility specialists and embryologists.

“So far, the number of Merck Foundation Alumni in this field is more than 185 candidates from 35 countries across Africa and Asia.

“Also, we have supported the establishment of the first-ever Public IVF centers in Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Uganda by training their staff to be able to support the infertile couples.’’

The official said she was proud of the success stories, saying “I always feel that they are my children and I am super proud of their success.

“It is very important to empower infertile women by providing treatment so they can bear children as part of their human rights.

“But, for those who cannot be treated anymore, Merck More Than a Mother’s initiative ‘Empowering Berna’ helps to train them to establish their own small business so that they can be independent and re-build their own lives’’.

Kelej also said that the foundation also worked with local singers, film-makers, media partners and fashion designers to raise awareness to break the stigma of infertility.

“These initiatives are very important for Nigeria since it is the hub of art and fashion, I cannot wait to explore these beautiful talents and work closely with them.

“The aim is to sensitize our communities that women are more than just mothers and men are more than just fathers.

“It takes both a man and a woman to have a child,’’ she said

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Edo records more than 50 cases of gender-based violence during virus lockdown

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Edo Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues says more than 50 cases of gender-based violence were recorded during the coronavirus lockdown in the state between April and May.

Mrs. Maria Edeko, the Commissioner of the ministry, disclosed this in an interview with the Newsmen in Benin on Saturday.

The commissioner said that nearly 20 of the reported cases had to do with rape, defilement, and incest.

“We had an upsurge in gender-based violence in the state during the lockdown period from April to May.

“We had a case of a father, who committed incest with the daughter and a case of a tenant, who repeatedly defiled a co-tenant’s daughter and impregnated her.

“The girl is now in our custody while the violator is being investigated,” Edeko said.

She urged mothers to be extra vigilant, saying that violators were in most cases well-known persons to the victims.

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She also urged people to see gender-based violence as a problem that should be tackled head-on.

The commissioner also said that many family disputes were recorded during the lockdown period as many couples were not used to staying together for a long time.

“Most of the time, everyone goes to work, but during the lockdown, the bad sides of couples were seen and this resulted in an increase in violence.

“Lack of enough money to take care of the home was also a cause of domestic violence especially among persons working in the private sector, who were not paid salaries,” she said.

The commissioner added that the ministry had been involved in discussions on gender-based violence and counseling of couples on how to live peacefully during the lockdown at the community level

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Trafficking fears as about 1,000 Nigerian refugees, some pregnant, vanish from Dutch asylum centres

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Almost 1,000 Nigerian refugees disappeared from Dutch asylum centres last year, and there are serious indications many of them have been trafficked, according to an investigation by radio programme Argos.

The figures, obtained from the refugee settlement agency COA using freedom of information legislation, show pregnant women are among those who vanished, Argos said.

The disappearances coincide with a sharp rise in the number of Nigerians applying for asylum in the Netherlands – a total of 2,461 last year.

While some are sent back to Nigeria or Italy, which is an important arrival point for Nigerian refugees, at least 961 have disappeared while living in a Dutch refugee centre, Argos said.

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A further 128 disappeared in January this year. The reports would indicate that Nigerian drugs and prostitution gangs have gained a foothold in Europe, Argos said.

Many of those who have disappeared said they had been forced into prostitution or drugs smuggling in the past. In particular, some victims are told they owe tens of thousands of euros to the smugglers who brought them into the Netherlands.

‘The women absolutely don’t want to go back to Italy,’ one refugee centre worker is quoted as saying.

‘They are worried about the trafficker whom they still owe €20,000. He is threatening to come to the Netherlands.’ Crime gangs Warner ten Kate, who covers human trafficking on behalf of the public prosecution service, told Argos that Nigerian gang activity is concentrated in Italy but is now spreading out.

And he says he is particularly concerned about the pregnant women, whose babies may be victims of illegal adoptions.

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A spokesman for the COA told Argos that it did not have anyone in the organisation who was specialised in Nigerian refugees and that refugee centres are open locations.

People who disappear are reported to the police, the spokesman said.

Earlier this year, Argos reported that dozens of pregnant women from Western African countries had vanished from Dutch refugee centres.

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And several years ago, scores of young Nigerian girls were disappearing from refugee centres every month. Some of them were later traced working in brothels in Italy and Belgium.

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