Female Genital Mutilation: Community Should Set up Watchdog Group

Female Genital Mutilation also known as Female Circumcision is a common practice in which children and young girls are subjected to injury to the female organs for non-medical reasons.

Female genital mutilation is considered by experts as a procedure that can cause severe bleeding and problems with urinating which could lead to infections, infertility as well as complications during child- birth for women.

The procedure is also viewed as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

Stakeholders,however,advocate the enforcement of existing law and involvement of rural community as a watch-dog at ensuring an end to the practice.

A family physician in Oyo State Dr. Ebunlomo Walker who said the practice was still common in some communities in the southwest Nigeria said it was high time government enforced existing laws to protect children as well as raise awareness on the danger inherent in the practice.

An Osun state social worker, Mrs Bosede Adeniji said the way forward at achieving zero tolerance against this practice was to raise army of volunteers who will serve as a watchdog in the community.

Two advocates for social change, Mr. Emmanuel Olashore in Abuja and Mrs. Florence Olusanya in Ekiti state condemned the practice and called for social mobilization among non-government organisations and international agencies at ensuring that female children.

They maintained that the attribution of culture and religion to the practice of female genital cutting was unfounded.

MDR Tuberculosis Still a Burden in Nigeria

TuberculosisTuberculosis an airborne disease is caused by a bacterium known as Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and according to USAID, it has infected over 2 billion people, one-third of the world population.

While someone around the world still dies every 20 seconds after tuberculosis was discovered 134 years ago and its declaration as a global emergency in 1993, another strain of the disease known as Multiple Drug Resistance Tuberculosis more vicious than the deadly TB had also reared ugly head and on the increase.

Stakeholders in Nigeria are poised to Free Nigeria of Tuberculosis in line with the five-year strategy adopted by National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program.

Tuberculosis as a contagious disease seeks after people so anytime a person with pulmonary or laryngeal TB coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings, experts say that 75,000 droplets of nuclei containing Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Complex M.tb are expelled into the air.

When someone cough Persistently for more than 2 weeks, complain of tiredness, fever, loss of appetite, chest pain, weight loss, sweat in the night and shortness of breath such person clinically is suspected to have TB.

Any infected person with active TB has the capacity to infect on the average between 10-15 people every year.

The Osun State Tuberculosis Leprosy Control Officer, Dr. Adedeji Gbadamosi who pointed that TB is a deadly disease expressed concern that while the battle to curtail it has not been overcome, a new strain of TB refer to as Multiple Drug Resistance TB was now on the rise

In a submission, an officer of KNCV-USAID Programme on Tuberculosis, Ms Chidubem Ogbudebe who noted that each stakeholder including state ministry of health, field TB and leprosy supervisors, CBO’s, volunteers, facility staff and treatment supporters has a role to play, stressed the need to remove human barrier and embrace strategies that could fast track that cases of TB were mopped up in the community

Ms Ogbudebe said though International Donors such as USAID and KNCV have set out five years strategy to fight TB in Nigeria, a disease that kills one and a half million people each year worldwide deserved the attention of all citizens.

An Abuja based social worker, Mr. Emmanuel Olashore and A nursing officer with Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife Mrs. Rachael Olowokere who both spoke on the threat of Multiple Drug Resistance Tuberculosis also suggested ways to stop TB and arrest the trend of MDR

They expressed worry that in view of the dreaded nature  of Tuberculosis the country has not exercise enough political will and commitment to fight the disease through funding.

A community volunteer in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Mr. Joshua Olusola pointed maintained that there was the need to aggressively trace out the disease wherever it could be found especially in crowded unhygienic settlements in both urban and rural areas

Mr. Joshua expressed the hope that the new five-year target to make “Nigeria Free of Tuberculosis” was realizable if everyone come on board to find, detect and cure tuberculosis as the treatment of Tuberculosis is free.

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OLAM Nigeria Promotes Farmers Healthy Living

OLAM Nigeria Promotes Farmers Healthy Living

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Well being of farmers and their knowledge on safe health practices will fast track wealth creation, food security, and raising of younger generation of farmers in the country.

This understanding inspired Olam, a foremost player in Nigeria Cocoa Industry to organize a Healthy Living fair for farmers in Iperindo Community, Osun state

The Healthy Living Fair held in Iperindo Secondary School attracted over four hundred farmers and about one thousand students and thirty teachers.

Over two thousand Cocoa Farmers with members operating under the Umbrella Ore Agbe Ilesa had benefited from various intervention that began three years ago by Olam.

The Head of Cocoa Sustainability, Olam Ms Jennifer Abuah who led the company team to the Healthy Living fair stated that the outreach was organized for both farming parents and their children not only to keep them healthy, make their farming work profitable but also ensure sustainability of cocoa farming

Ms Abuah said though the organization had in the past promote knowledge on HIV prevention and treatment, it has scaled up its intervention to other important areas of health including, Basic Hygiene, Nutrition, Malaria, Diabetes, women well being including Breast Self Examination

The Head of Cocoa Sustainability also pointed out that young ones were also key to Olam strategy at transforming rural community and raising the profile of farmers.

Farmers Healthy Living Fair
Jennifer Abuah addressed school pupils on safe health practices

Ms Abua maintained that this networking with the grassroots had strengthen farming operations through training in best agriculture practices that improves quality of farmers bean, harvest and wealth creation and improvement of their health status.

Dr Shomefun Esther of the Action Health Incorporated who led a team of paramedics that counselled and examined participants said the vision of Olam was to see the development of prosperous farmers who will have knowledge of prevention of vital health issues and imbibed practices on healthy living

Beneficiaries of the Healthy living fair including Oba Ajijola George of Oloruntedo Community, The Principal Atakunmosa High School Mr Abayomi Ekuwale, and one of the farmers, Mr Jimoh Temijawa expressed their gratitude to Olam for the intiative and generousity.

Highlights of the Healthy Living fair include health talks, medical examination, quiz competition, distribution of food items and Mosquito nets to all the participants.

Corruption in Nigeria and the Battle for Nationhood

Author: Timothy BamideleContentment is a virtue respected and propagated by every religion; race and creed whereas covetousness and greed generally are regarded as vice and appals everyone with contemptuous annoyance.

A civilised human society has rules of engagement guiding private and public conducts, the rational minded in any given society frowns at every iota of dishonesty, how much more unbridled tendency for acquisition of wealth especially in primitive desperation.

Our country today is confronted with a bug called corruption. It has infested our world and had eaten deep like cankerworm into the fabric of our society. Ranging from pilfering to palace looting, pedestrian underhand dealings to official manipulation, corruption has become the caterpillar of destruction.

From petty stealing to palace looting, pedestrian underhand dealings to official manipulation, corruption has become the caterpillar of destruction.

It becomes worrisome that custodians of commonwealth, those in position of authority and entrusted with responsibilities are the ones who turned to be the captains among the legions of maggots eating up the nation.

The media is awash, daily, with divers tales of corruption, the stories of missing millions, starched away billions, bungled projects, the list is endless.

The scenario throws the present into a quicksand of under development and plunged the future into the ocean of perplexity and poverty.

How did we get here? Who fails to do what? Whose responsibility it is to check mate? Who should play oversight role and what institution should guard the state? All seemed to be compromised, guilty and culpable.

One wonder what moment in history did we detour and lose moral guard, our forebear are men of conscience and modesty. It is hard to pin down when the declension began, but greed, coloured with madness is at its crescendo.

The gains of greed, ostentatious lifestyle, and magnifications of its reward mutate the culture of diligence and hard work. The consequence is that the society breeds laziness, promotes indolence and destroys initiatives; after all, short cut pays.

Nigerians have not only tolerated corruption, they seemed to be getting conditioned, the system builds up social, psychological, ethnical and religious safety net to accommodate the menace to the extent that anyone who found himself in a privilege position especially public office is considered fortunate and expected to live big and be the father Christmas.

The game changing quality of service, sacrifice and selflessness had simply become alien, everyone for himself, all for God.

The social systems, schools, religious and family, aimed at building the society, have lost their relevance and also prey for a share in the reward of iniquity. Communities conferred traditional titles, Ivory tower bargained with honorary doctorate, and religion organisations pursue donations.

Stolen money is shared on the platform of philanthropist activities done to shut up the conscience. Men may excite themselves in their folly but God cannot be mocked, after all, Apostle Paul in the Holy bible stated that the gift of God can not be bought with money.

Greed perpetrated by the minority in the  upper class afflicts the poor and reinforces anti social behavior among the  millions at the lower rung of the ladder, though the former suffers the heaviest.

There is glaring paradox in the nation penal systems because those who commit minor offenses suffer heavy punishments whereas those with heinous crime enjoy mere spanking.

The younger folks just take a cue, resolved to go for the kill and aimed high to steal big, because they know that the size of their pockets will neutralized the consequence of their action, the end they say justify the means.This malady, the primitive acquisition of wealth deserves psychiatric investigation, declaration of national emergency and punchy chastisement.

The oppressed in the Nigerian society recently had a sense of relief and a new lease of life. They have perceived a new wave that under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the monster will not only be confronted but will be attacked frontally.

The populace must resolve and constitute itself as a nuisance against the cabals and pylons who pillage commonwealth and plundered the nation’s resources. This however demands re-orientation.

Just as the President had pointed that corruption will kill the country, therefore war against corruption should not be politicized and clothed in the garment of deceit, selectivity, ethnicity and religiosity.

It’s a serious warfare not only because of its damaging effect but it’s certainty of destruction, it should therefore not be reduced to sloganeering.

The President should beware of the mixed multitudes, many within and outside his fold who had hitherto lived with monstrous skeleton in their cupboards. These ones who suddenly become cheerleader apparently to cover up their trap, those big kettles calling the pot black, these “midnight” converts must not be allowed to dissolve until they vomit their loots hence they become the albatross of the new vision.

The President should not fall into the façade of their deception and fallacy of their décor.

Days ahead will be challenging as logjam will be created through the feeble institutional structures. It will be needful that the momentum is sustained by strengthening anti corruption institutions and supported with creation of special courts with distinct power to bite every culprit, regardless of class or caste, with a venom and pang of justice.

A blueprint to fight corruption should be developed; the message should be loud and clear, no longer business as usual.

To those who through goodwill rose to power with a promise to better the lots of the people but through greed and corruption wreck havoc on the society, in no long time, they shall be made to give account.

Leopard cannot change its skin, with the heat of the moment they will want to lie low and invent new tricks as old ways will be blocked, to contend effectively with the evil of the moment and the threat it posed to the future, the nation needs a new brand of warriors, whistle blowers who will alert the world and nip corruption at the bud.

Let it be proclaimed from Abuja to Abeokuta, Oyo to Uyo and Kastina to kwara that the cup of judgment of the kleptomaniac is full.

No doubt, Nigerians have great expectations under this dispensation, the path to liberty, greatness and prosperity is not hidden, we must resolved to walk the talk, follow the path of truth, openness, sacrifice, transparency, equity and fairness.

Righteousness still remained the indestructible springboard through which any nation can be exalted, Nigeria not an exemption

Digital Literacy for National Development.

Digital Literacy for National Development.

Timothy Bamidele

Information Age
Digital Age

From Adam man has striven to subdue and exercise dominion over the earth and at every juncture in human dispensation.

From Stone Age to Medieval Period and beyond, human history has been characterised by shift from agrarian economy and traditional industry through technological advancement to an economy that now thrives on information computerisation.

With development Milestones comes new realities, which present challenges men have to contend with.

The modern world is dubbed a global village: a compact entity, courtesy of the internet, which has ushered in unprecedented knowledge explosion.  Thus, this period in history is particularly described variously as the Information Age, Computer Age, Digital Age, or New media Age.

Curious enough the changes that overtake human development often evolved unannounced. Some people quickly flow with the trend, many refuse to join the train and are stampeded and overtaken by innovations, while several others are permanently sidestepped as the world moves on.

Aside hundreds of digital gadgets including computers, smartphones, multi-radio Wifi/Bluetooth, enabled devices litter the world and pop up every day, It may be hard to imagine life without the internet, especially in the developed world.

According to National Communication Commission, NCC Internet penetration rate in Nigeria is 59.4 percent of the 142.5 million subscriber base. People use the Internet, the World Wide Web to communicate, gather and distribute news, sell and buy, research, and play games.  In fact, flood of information available online seems overwhelming, there are billions of web pages.

This gamut of information provides new opportunities, promises, possibilities but also new threats. It is a challenge people cannot excuse themselves from, they will remain retarded and ill-informed in Information new Age.

The onerous task before citizens of developing nation in a world driven by Knowledge economy is to find value-adding credible information Online and reposition themselves for emerging opportunities.

It is apparent that online platform now determines the pace of information gathering and News-breaking, Commerce, E-banking, Point of Sales, POS system and the use of tokens for transactions.

Hence individuals need empowerment to be an active player in this new digital paradigm.

Enlightenment platform must therefore be created through the media while public lectures, workshops and seminars should be encouraged to make people become digitally literate.

For any nation however to maximize digital possibility, its government and private sectors must ensure the growth of bandwidth and reduction in the tariffs on the cost of digital hardware. This will encourage widespread access by larger number of the population.

Comprehensive training platform should be provided for public servants to learn new tools for communication, official dispatch, computation, report generation, strategic planning and networking to save cost and promote service delivery.

Students and scholars must key in and be equipped with advanced research skills, avoid plagiarism and leave their digital footprints in academic arena.  Parents need capacity to protect their children from exposure to nasty stuffs, cyber bullying through appropriate filtering of content both online and offline.

Digital Literacy will help the rank and file of the security agencies to beat crimes and nabbed criminals.

Knowledge of internet safety and security should be widespread, individual and organisations should know the implication of digital footprint, malware, safe downloading, online shopping, smartphones safety, privacy, and Online Gaming.

It is sad to remark that many have become victims of fraudsters due to lack of basic knowledge as simple as the use of Automated Teller Machines. Several others have carelessly shared vital information such as Personal Identification Number, PIN BVN numbers and Passwords to strangers via email and responded to a casual call from unknown callers.

Digital literacy will prevent unnecessary death as that of Cynthia, a post graduate student of Nasarawa State University in the hands of Ezekiel Nnechuwu Olisa Eloka, 25 and Echezona Nwabufor, 33, who met her on facebook and lured her to Lagos.

Digital Literacy will safeguard people from the trap of Yahoo Yahoo syndicates and help them exercise discretion before accepting friends on social network platforms. It will prevent citizens from falling to the bait of scammers who lurk everywhere online.

It is noteworthy to point out that in spite of the upbeat of digital trend and realities of its social incursion, many in work places, private life still deny the impact of digital encroachment. They remained glued to analogue model, resisting change and stifling growth.

Though the new technology apparently has distorted tradition, it will further set new social culture from African communal orientation   to the western individualistic cage. This is why we must take advantage of instant messengers to consolidate family bonds.

The exuberances of youths who are the early acceptors of digital tools should be properly channeled to make use of robust information online to improve their skills, employability, innovation and resourcefulness rather than waste their precious time on hedonistic stuff.

They should find new career path in digital industry, such as application and software developments, animation, and explore new entrepreneurship possibilities.

Now is the time for Nigeria to invest and support its citizens so that the nation can produce her own Microsoft Bill Gates, Twitters’ Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey, Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, Apple Steeve Jobs, and Facebook Mark Zuckerberg.

For the nation in quest for rapid development like Nigeria, now is the time to close the digital divide and unleash the potential of the people. Digital literacy will liberate anyone to be effective in private life, efficient in public, know more, be more and do more, stimulate national productivity and global competitiveness.

The stark reality of the modern time is that literacy will no longer be defined by ability to read or write but by capability to make adequate and effective use of digital tools.

Female Genital Mutilation, 19.9 Million Nigeria Women and Girls affected

Cross section of Participants at Unicef Training in Calabar on Female Genital Mutilations/Cutting and  Communication for Development.
Cross section of Participants at Unicef Training in Calabar on Female Genital Mutilations/Cutting and Communication for Development.

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Female genital mutilation, an harmful practice with health implication still remains a major problem in Nigeria.

According to Unicef about twenty million women and girls have been subjected to the experience and a recent survey also by Unicef  in Nigeria indicates that the practice is prevalent in five states including Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun and Oyo.

To address this problem, UNICEF and UNFPA organized a two -week Training the Trainer for stakeholders drawn from the five states with a view to exploring an evidence based process on Communication for Development to promote behavioral change.

Radio Nigeria Correspondent, who is among the participants in Calabar, Cross River state reports that the workshop was aimed at accelerating the total abandonment of FGMC practice in the next 20 years

left Timothy Bamidele, one of the Participants
left Timothy Bamidele, one of the Participants

Addressing the participants, the UNICEF Chief Child Protection in Nigeria, Rachael Harvey pointed out that Nigeria ranked 3rd in the world and still has the highest absolute number of women and girls who have undergone the practice.

  • An estimated 19.9 million Nigerian women have undergone FGM/C meaning that approximately 16% of the 125 million FGM/C survivors worldwide are Nigerians (NPopC 2014)

  • More than 65% of the women who have undergone FGM/C were cut before age 5 (MICS 2011)

  • The overall prevalence of FGM/C among girls and women aged 15-49 years in Nigeria (27%) is lower than in many countries

  • Prevalence of FGM/C has decreased by 9% between 2008 and 2011

  • However, due to its large population, Nigeria has the third highest absolute number of women and girls (19.9 million) who have undergone FGM/C worldwide (after Egypt and Ethiopia)

Represented by a UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Maryam Enyiazu, Ms Harvey said the training would adopt a new proven model in behavioral change to address the issue.

In a submission, the UNICEF Communication for Development Chief in Nigeria, Mr. Arthur Tweneboa-kodua corroborated that strategy of Communication for Development being a new proven theory will be adopted, as it provided an added value to programme intervention.

An evidence-based process to promote measurable behaviour and social change to accelerate programme results

C4D uses proven change theories and findings from formative research, C4D provides “leverage” and “added value” to programme interventions

Damilola Olofinjana from Osun and Istifanus John from Ebonyi states expressed their confidence in the new methodology in addressing the problem of Female Genital cutting

Contributing, a participant from Imo state,Kingsley Oguamana who spoke on the role of the media which was a strategic component of the training, stressed that there was the need to effectively carried media along at every stage of programme development for a far reaching outcome.

The Second part of the two week training which end this week will also involve over thirty community leaders from Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Osun and Oyo states.

World Aids Day_Osun State May forfeits Donors Fund on HIV

World Aids Day_Osun State May forfeits Donors Fund on HIV

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Osun Map
Osun Map

Osun state may forfeit the support of International Donors on HIV Prevention especially on the areas of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV-Aids

This is as a result of failures on the part of the people to make use of structures and facilities put in place thus leading to expiration and mopping up of retro viral prophylaxis drugs

This report examines the significant of Early Infant Diagnosis against the background of report that the state still had about 10,000 cases of dry blood spot sampling not reported out of fourteen thousand expected by December this year

Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV is one of the   National Policies on Prevention of HIV hence the strategic approach of early infant diagnosis.

To achieve this goal programmes that focused on pregnant women were developed with the engagement of cluster groups of Service providers including health workers and community based organizations

Also selected Primary Health Centers were strengthened to offer services for the community.

Speaking on the challenge on this prevention strategies and implications of available result, A community Mobilization Officer, of one the non- governmental organizations working in Osun state, Hygiea foundation, Mr George Olorunnisomo noted that a situation where funders made adequate provisions for resources and such not made use of by the people might lead to forfeiture of such privilege.

He described as disturbing; a situation when only two out of twenty exposed women to HIV returned to clinics for Dried Blood Spot Sampling after birth

Mr. Olorunisomo urged all stakeholders to break barriers and scale up outreaches to safeguard the interest of the unborn child.In a separate Interview, the Executive Secretary Osun state Agency for the Control of Aids, OSACA, Dr Monsuir Bello acknowledged the significant of   Early Infant Diagnosis saying it was one of the component to measure the success of  Prevention of Mother to child Transmission of HIV

He added that the agency would partner with the Media to raise level of awareness in the state.

In a submission, the Chief Executive Officer of a non- governmental organization, Living Hope Care, Ilesa, Osun state, Ms Ibiyemi Fakande noted that existing programmes should be reviewed as the present experienced indicated that more result was being obtained during outreaches rather than people visiting the health facilities provided for referrals.

She called for the need to bridge the observed gaps for the actualization of the set goals.