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Why we haven’t started chloroquine clinical trial, states explain


The Ogun State Government said it had not applied for the chloroquine clinical trial because it had no case that warranted it.

Responding to an enquiry by one of our correspondents on Friday, the Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Public Communications, Remmy Hazzan, said,

“The reason is that for now, we don’t have any case that would warrant the use or administration of chloroquine. One of our cases is even on the verge of being discharged from the hospital.”

In Osun State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu, said the state would apply for the clinical trial if the NCDC approved it.

He told one of our correspondents that not everyone in isolation would need treatment, adding that those at the isolation centre in Ejigbo were doing well and were in good state.

He added,

“If it has been approved for the treatment of COVID-19 by the NCDC, why not? We will apply.”

In Benue State, the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Sunday Ongbabo, on Friday said there was no need for such at the moment since the index case in the state had been transferred to Abuja.

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Ongbabo, who is the secretary, State Action Committee on COVID-19, explained that even though NAFDAC had come out to declare that only Lagos State had shown interest in the clinical trial, Benue could only show similar interest if the NCDC made it mandatory for the state.

“Our state has not applied to NAFDAC and I don’t know when we will until we get directives from the NCDC,” he added.

In Akwa Ibom State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, said the state would go by the rules set by NAFDAC on the issue.

“I go by the rules of NAFDAC,” he added.

In Ekiti State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, said the state did not have to apply for the clinical trial since it was not interested in going into its production.

“When you are doing investigational drugs, most of the time, it is the drug companies that will request,” she added.

“From what we are getting from everywhere in the world, this is an investigational drug and it is ongoing already. I’m a pharmacist, so investigational drug is requested by companies that make drugs.

“There are a lot of international papers which I have had the opportunity to read; they are papers supporting the use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19. If papers support it and it is effective as a drug, the fact that a state is requesting does not mean Ekiti State has to request. All of us don’t have to request for it.”

Efforts to get the response of the Edo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Patrick Okundia, on why the state has not shown interest proved abortive.

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When contacted earlier in the day, he asked one of our correspondents to call back in an hour because he was in a meeting. When his number was dialed again, he didn’t answer the call, neither did he respond to the text message sent to him.

But, in Bauchi State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Aliyu Maigoro, told one of our correspondents he would give a response to the enquiry on Saturday.

“I don’t like answering that kind of question on the phone. Tomorrow (Saturday) there will be (press briefing), when you come, I will answer that.”

Also, in Kaduna State, efforts to get the Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, proved abortive. A phone call and text message by one of our correspondents to the commissioner were not responded to as of press time.

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In Rivers State, the Commissioner for Health and Chairman of the State COVID-19 Response Team, Princewill Chike, said the state had its own protocol and regime on the treatment of coronavirus.

“Our protocol and regime have nothing to do with hydro-chloroquine. We know our regime; it is not something I say on air for obvious reasons,” he said.

Saturday PUNCH.


CAMA takes anti-malaria campaign to pregnant women, nursing Mothers in Oyo, Ogun and Lagos communities



With support from Access Bank Plc, the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA) held a Malaria Intervention Initiative in five communities in Oyo, Ogun and Lagos States recently.

The intervention which keyed into the strategy of the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) in Nigeria to end malaria-related deaths amongst pregnant women and children under 5 who bear the greatest brunt of malaria deaths in Nigeria and Africa.

Majorly targeted at pregnant women in the affected communities CAMA, sensitized the community on the need to prevent Malaria by using insecticide-treated nets, keeping their surroundings clean and ensuring they visit a hospital when they feel unwell, even as they were urged to stay safe from the deadly Corona Virus.

The Initiative, held in partnership with HACEY, a non-profit, raised awareness on malaria prevention and treatment, in addition to raising awareness on the need to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The intervention which reached over 5,000 pregnant women and mothers with children under 5 also provided about 1,600 pregnant women with long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) in Ogooluwa, Eredo and Iberekodo in Lagos, Aremo and Oke-Ado in Oyo state and Ibafo in Ogun state.

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Through the initiative, healthcentres in these communities also received donations of LLINs.

Speaking on the event, Hon. Wasiu Taiwo, Vice Chairman, Eredo LCDA, Epe thanked Access Bank and CAMA for holding the event in Eredo, citing the need for pregnant women to be educated on the use of Mosquito nets as timely.

He stressed that while the government was doing a lot, private sector collaboration with government efforts is needed to turn the tide in reducing maternal deaths and malaria-related deaths in communities like Eredo.

CAMA’s Country Representative, Ms Ochuko Keyamo, said

“we know that this is a trying time for everyone, especially pregnant women in suburban communities. This intervention is aimed at reminding people of the importance of combatting malaria even while staying safe from COVID-19 by providing the necessary information and support for people in the selected rural communities. At CAMA, we remained committed to galvanizing private organizations support national policies on ending Malaria.”

In addition, the intervention also organized a door-to-door awareness campaign and a social media campaign on preventing malaria and getting the right treatment for malaria. The campaign also encouraged visiting hospitals for tests for fevers over self-medication and taking the right steps to stay safe from Malaria and COVID-19. Over 200,000 people were reached through the online campaign by the intervention.

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Head of Sustainability, Access Bank, Mrs Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, said the malaria intervention was very important and timely.

“Malaria not only hurts families, but it also hurts businesses and the entire economy. As a member of CAMA, we have, over the years invested in and galvanized efforts amongst the private sector to end Malaria in Nigeria, working to complement existing government efforts.”

A participant and beneficiary, Mrs Halimo Keshinro of Ibafo, thanked CAMA and Access Bank for the laudable initiative as she said;

“I did not know a lot of things about malaria and how pregnant women can stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic until now. But this programme has opened my eyes to a lot of things.

“I had stopped going to the hospital because of COVID-19 but at this program, I learnt that it is ok as long as I take the necessary precautions such as using my facemask and washing my hands before touching my face.”

Established in 2006, the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA) is an initiative of GBCHealth to channel private-sector efforts to drive impactful partnerships for malaria control and elimination in Africa from workplaces to communities.

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Profit taking: Nigeria stock market down N155bn



Profit-taking was persistent on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday with investors net worth dropping further by N155 billion.

Specifically, the market capitalization dipped N155 billion or 1.17 percent to close at N13.049 trillion compared with N13.204 trillion achieved on Thursday.

Also, the All-Share Index which opened at 25,312.05 sheds 295.75 points or 1.17 percent to close at 25,016.30.

An analysis of the price movement table shows that Dangote Cement topped the losers’ chart, dropping by N2.90 to close at N139 per share.

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BUA Cement trailed with a loss of N2.30 to close at N40, while Nigerian Breweries lost N2 to close at N42 per share.

Cadbury was down by 80k to close at N7.65, while Guinness dipped by 70k to close at N18.30 per share.

On the other hand, Boc Gases dominated the gainers’ table, gaining 40k to close at N4.40 per share.

Skyway Aviation Handling followed with 24k to close at N2.73, while NASCON gained 20k to close at N11.50 per share.

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Custodian Investment garnered 20k to close at N6.05, while Neimeth Pharmaceuticals increased by 16k to close at N1.77 per share.

The volume of shares traded dipped by 20.62 percent as investors bought and sold 214.49 million shares valued at N2.51 billion in 4,342 deals.

This was in contrast with 270.19 million shares worth N5.29 billion transacted in 4,550 deals on Thursday.

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The banking stocks drove the activity chart with Zenith Bank emerging the most active, exchanging 22.27 million shares worth N373.34 million.

Fidelity Bank followed with an account of 18.54 million shares valued at N33.48 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank sold 17.16 million shares worth N412.26 million.

Nigerian Breweries traded 15.59 million shares valued at N666.58 million, while FBN Holdings accounted for 15.55 million shares worth N83.75 million.

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COVID-19: 80 Kwara rapid response officers test negative – Commissioner



The Kwara State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Raji Abdulrazaq on Friday confirmed that all 80 officers of the Kwara State Rapid Response Team (RRT) had tested negative to COVID-19.

Abdulrazaq, who made the confirmation in a statement in Ilorin, said that members of the team had been active in the tracking of COVID-19 cases in the state.

“For an abundance of caution, we decided to test all members of our hardworking Rapid Response Team, and we are glad to announce to the Kwara public that none of them is positive for the virus.

“This attests to the excellent adherence to the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and other safety protocols.

“By all standards, we are doing very well in the management of the pandemic. This is due largely to the unquantified support the committee gets from the Governor and the understanding of our health workers,” he said.

Abdulrazaq said that there was a joint effort in containing the virus in the state, adding that the State Government had received references from other states on how to it was handling COVID-19.

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He dismissed claims of non-availability or shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as unfounded, adding that the government was always supplying the equipment.

“Similarly, Kwara is one of those few states that are conducting as many tests as possible to ascertain the status of our people and prevent community spread.

“Our contact tracing and rumor management are one of the best in the country as attested to by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),” Abdulrazaq said.

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