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Ban sale of cigarettes in single sticks – ERA/FoEN

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Lara Adejoro

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on the federal government to immediately commence enforcement of the ban on sale of cigarettes in single sticks following a new Africa-wide report which shows that sale in single sticks is a tactic by tobacco corporations to reach kids because of their ready availability and cheapness.

The report, Sale of Single Sticks of Cigarettes in Africa, released in Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday (March 7, 2018) by the Africa Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA), identified the British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris International (PMI), and Imperial Brands as the main perpetrators of the practice in 10 African countries surveyed.

The 10 surveyed countries are Nigeria, Togo, Uganda, Niger, Kenya, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Chad, Cameroun, and Burkina Faso. According to the ATCA, the data for the new report was collected around locations where young people meet such as malls, shopping centres, movie theatres, and game shops in the capital cities of the countries under study.

Three questionnaires were used for three different target groups to provide different perspectives on single stick availability in the respective countries.

At the public presentation of the report in Cape Town, Deowan Mohee, the Executive Secretary of ATCA, said although many African countries have legislation banning the sale of cigarettes in single sticks, tobacco companies have continued to “openly flout” the laws.

In a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN said that the mention of Nigeria in the list of countries deliberately targeted by the tobacco corporations has further reaffirmed how desperate the tobacco industry wants to grab the lungs of kids in Nigeria and across the continent.

ERA/FoEN Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “Report after report has shown that the tobacco industry is deliberately targeting kids as replacement smokers. The depth of the single sticks survey shows this wicked practice is Africa-wide and urgently requires swift and deliberate actions across the continent to save our kids and the next generation”

Oluwafemi noted that the report confirmed findings in the Big Tobacco Tiny Targets Nigeria Report which ERA/FoEN and the Nigerian Tobacco Control Research Group presented to the public in 2017 after a survey in five states – Nassarawa, Lagos, Oyo, Kaduna and Enugu.

The ERA/FoEN boss said, “the Nigerian government needs no further proof to justify further delay in commencement of the enforcement of the NTC Act. Single stick sale is a proven ploy that gives our kids unfettered access to the lethal products marketed by BAT, PMI and other tobacco entities. Only an immediate ban will save our kids from an imminent epidemic”

“Tobacco consumption is a major public health concern and a serious threat to development in Africa. Since tobacco companies worry more about illicit profits by getting as many people as possible to smoke, it is the duty of our government to safeguard our lives. Banning single sticks is one of the ways of doing this,” Oluwafemi insisted.

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FCT doctors hail Minister for paying arrears, seek reviews

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The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, have commended the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, for paying the backlog of doctors’ arrears.

Briefing newsmen in Abuja on Saturday, Dr Roland Aigbovo, President of the Chapter, said that the action of the minister was commendable as he had kept to his promise.

Aigboyo however used the opportunity to appeal to the Minister to also remember the stagnation of doctors who have long be due for promotion but were yet to be promoted.

He stressed that some doctors have been stagnated for over three years while others due for promotion have remained on the same level for two years.

He added that some of the promotions that had been done were done wrongly as some of the doctors were promoted to the same level that they were already on.

He explained that some doctors were wrongly placed and the wrong placement was corrected and they were skipped and placed on the next level, only to now also be promoted to the same level that they were skipped to.

“They were promoted to the same grade level they were skipped to.

“For example, a doctor on grade level 12 was skipped to grade level 13 by correction of the error and was then again promoted to grade level 13.

“The arrears paid was for skipping, which is the correction of the wrong placement,” he said.

On the issue of budgets for hospitals, the President of fthe association appealed to the minister to budget for each hospital according to their needs and to separate the budgets of each individual hospital.

“We also appeal to the minister to make provision of each hospital to have their budget and not a blanket budget because every hospital has different running cost,” he said.

He appealed for more training for residents, non-residents as well as for other departments in the hospitals.

“Presently, only four departments are involved in residency training which include family medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Surgery and ophthalmology.

“We want more depts to included like internal medicine, paediatric, radiology and psychiatry,” he said.

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Optometrists mourn former world council President Udom

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Eye screening

Eye screening

The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) on Thursday mourned the death of former President of the World Council of Optometry (WCO), Dr Uduak Udom.

Udom reportedly died on Monday in Uyo at the age of 63 after a protracted illness.

The association, in a statement, in Abuja said that Udom was a notable and outstanding member of the global Optometry family.

It noted that Udom made significant contributions to the development of optometry in Nigeria and worldwide.

“Significantly, until her demise she was the immediate past President of the World Council of Optometry (WCO), former President, Women Optometrists in Nigeria (WON), among others,” the body said.

Udom graduated from University of Benin in 1978.

NOA said it had opened a condolence register at its secretariat in Abuja.

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Scientist claims local remedy for diabetes

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Scientist claims local remedy for diabetes

Scientist claims local remedy for diabetes

Prof. Chukwunonso Ejike, a researcher at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi,
says he has developed a local remedy for diabetes mellitus.

He made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday on the sidelines of the ongoing
Technology and Innovation Expo 2019 holding in Enugu.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired,
resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Organised yearly by Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to encourage interaction among researchers, inventors, innovators
and investors, the Science and Technology Expo is to largely commercialise research results from the country’s tertiary institutions.

The theme for the 2019 expo is “Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth.”

Ejike said that the remedy product known as the VOG Tea was one of six products exhibited by the university at the Expo,
invented in 2018 after four years of intensive research.

The don, who is the Dean, Basic Medical Sciences in the institution, said that the tea was produced from three
culinary vegetables, noting that the process of patenting the product had already begun and would soon be in the market.

He added that “I thank the university authority for supporting every effort so far made to develop and produce the tea.

“I want to appeal to investors to partner with us to get it to the market place at the minimum best price.”

The researcher said that Nigerian scholars had the capacity to compete with their peers in developed economies,
adding that to achieve this, however, they needed to be funded.

He added that he was motivated to go into the research due to increasing incidences of diabetes mellitus in the country,
especially in urban areas.

He said “our interest in developing this tea was to find out how to help our people manage diabetes mellitus.

“We thought of local remedies that could be cheap and identified these vegetables. We did clinical tests and collected
data on the vegetables and confirmed that making tea from the vegetables could be of great benefit to sufferers of diabetes mellitus.

“Constant consumption of the tea will ensure that the glucose concentration will not overshoot the normal level.”

The dean said that the product would also help people at risk of getting diabetes.

He said that the usage of the VOG Tea by those at risk would ensure that they never developped it.

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