Posts tagged as: council

Nigeria: Govt Mandates Free Treatment for Women With Fistula

By Judd-Leonard Okafor

The Federal Government has mandated all federal-owned hospitals to offer free surgical repairs for women living with obstetric fistula.

Fistula is an abnormal hole that forms in the vagina caused by prolonged, obstructed labour during childbirth.

Minister of Health Prof Isaac Adewole said this in Ogoja, Cross River at the start of the latest pooled repair for women living with the condition.

By this, teaching hospitals and federal medical centres will be required to waive surgery charges and laboratory test fees for women who present for fistula treatment.

Speaking on behalf of the minister, the national coordinator of fistula care at the health ministry, Ogunmayi Peters, said, “The letter has been signed and is being dispatched right now to all the teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres.

“This is being done in collaboration with Fistula Care Plus Project, who will take care of the provision of consumables and other necessities,” she said.

The pooled effort at Ogoja General Hospital is the 16 at the centre, and the third in recent weeks as surgeons and nurses move from centres in Ilesa to Kwara and Zamfara to repair hundreds of women.

Adewole, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, joined in surgery at the Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa, and has already declared fistula and cancer a priority mandate for the ministry.

“For now we have about 16 fistula centres; we want to increase that to 36, in all the states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” Ogunmayi said.

The ministry is collaborating with Engender Health, which implements the Fistula Care Plus, to train nurses and surgeons in fistula care.

Cross River is among states whose health ministry has a dedicated fistula desk, considered endemic, according to its health commissioner Inyang Asibong.

The hospital chief medical director Dr Patrick Ubi said the proposed new block when completed, would house a consumables store, kitchen, internet services, physiotherapy and a theatre.

Other needs in the unit include utility vehicle, provision of ten solar electric light pole and medical commodities, Ubi noted.

Engender Health is already talking with Cross River government about meeting the needs to enable the centre perform better, according to its country manager Iyeme Efem.

Women who had undergone repairs testified to having given birth after successfully drying.

“This is proof that women who have been repaired can have a normal life,” said Paul Njagu, fistula coordinator for the Ogoja centre.

Nigeria

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Nigeria: ‘Banking Sector Sheds 1,487 Workers in Second Quarter’

By Francis Arinze Iloani

The banking sector in Nigeria shed 1,487 workers in the second quarter of 2017 from the total of 77, 096 staff in the sector as at the first quarter.

Data released yesterday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the total number of banks’ staff decreased from 77,096 in Q1 2017 to 75, 607 in Q2 2017.

The NBS stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) administratively supplied the data while the NBS verified and validated it.

Analysis showed that executive staff population declined by 7.47 per cent, falling from 174 staff in the first quarter of the year to 161 staff as at the second quarter.

The data showed that senior staff population in banks fell by 3.21 per cent in the period from 20,483 in first quarter to 19,826 in second quarter.

Similarly, junior staff population also plunged by 6.68 per cent from 36,237 staff in first quarter to 33,783 staff in the second quarter of 2017.

It appears that the shedding may have been deliberate as the banks increased their contract staff by 7.91 per cent as this category of staff increased from 20,237 staff in the first quarter to 21,837 in the second quarter of 2017.

Further analysis showed that a total volume of 327,366,042 transactions valued at N19.78 trillion was recorded in the second quarter of 2017 as data on electronic payment channels in the Nigeria banking sector showed.

ATM transactions dominated the volume of transactions recorded. 187,805,431 volume of ATM transactions valued at N1.54 trillion were recorded in the second quarter 2017.

In terms of credit to the private sector, a total of N15.71 trillion worth of credit was allocated by the banks in the second quarter of 2017. Oil & Gas and Manufacturing sectors got credit allocation of N3.53 trillion and N2.22 trillion to record the highest credit allocation in the period under review.

Nigeria

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Nigeria: NCAA to Register All Drone Users

By Chris Agabi

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has commenced the procurement process to build an online portal for the registration of all remote piloting aircraft system (drone) users in Nigeria.

The project is a part of the capital budget expenditure of the NCAA approved by the National Assembly.

Recall that the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, at the sidelines of the 3-day International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Symposium had said the Federal Government recently said it would soon commence full regulation of drones in the country and that unlicensed use of drones would be sanctioned.

“We cannot afford to allow drones to continue to roam about our airspace uncontrolled and unregulated. We will for sure regulate but we will not kill the enthusiasm of lobbyists and other users of drones; we will only regulate and make sure that we are safe and secure,” Sen. Sirika said.

The General Manager Procurement, NCAA, Mr. Diyajo Yahya Ahmed, who moderated the opening of the bid process, told our correspondent that the capital projects to be procured were safety critical and the response was impressive.

“We also opened bidding for the Remotely Piloting Aircraft System (RPAS), or drones, which is a new phenomenon in the Nigerian aviation industry. On the RPAS we advised for technical experts to design the portal for us so we can register all drone users in Nigeria,” Mr. Ahmed told our correspondent.

“We want some people who have remotely piloted aircraft or drones to come for registration when the online portal is ready. This will assist the NCAA for certification of all drone users,” he also said.

He explained further that the RPAS and other projects bided for were all those appropriated by the National Assembly for the 2017 capital budget of the NCAA.

“We advertised these projects in the Federal Tenders’ journals and two national dailies. We opened the bids on Monday 21st August 2017. Most of the capital projects are to enhance our safety oversight of the NCAA in the aviation industry. There are some that are to support our logistics and operations,” he explained further.

“The bid response was impressive. At the NCAA, we have a reputation for transparency so once we announce bids, a lot of people respond. We have never had problems with our procurement processes,” he said.

Nigeria

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Tough Rules Issued to Curb Exam Cheating

By Ouma Wanzala

The Kenya National Examinations Council has issued tough guidelines on managing national tests set to start in November, as it moves to eliminate malpractices.

In the guidelines to field officers, county directors of education and centre managers — who are undergoing one-week training across the country — and only qualified teachers will be allowed to manage the exams.

In a directive that comes two months to the start of the tests, Knec acting chief executive officer Mercy Karogo cautioned against the recruitment of supervisors and invigilators with questionable qualifications.

“Knec still gets unqualified personnel supervising and invigilating at some examination centres,” Ms Karogo said in a brief to officers.

INTEGRITY

The training, which is going on in all sub-counties in the country, started on Monday and ends on Friday.

Ms Karogo has also directed Teachers Service Commission sub-county directors to identify teachers of high integrity to supervise and invigilate the exams.

“Supervisors and invigilators must not be allowed to administer examinations in any institution for more than two consecutive years,” Ms Karogo said, adding that the officers should not be posted to schools adjacent to where they teach.

She said timetables for the exams had been prepared and uploaded on the Knec website.

“It is expected that all stakeholders in this very important national exercise will uphold high levels of integrity,” Ms Karogo said.

REGISTRATION

Last year, there were no cases of malpractices in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.

Among the challenges that have so far been identified by the council are non-adherence to the registration deadline.

This prompts some schools to request registration as late as August 15.

The registration of candidates for the exams took place between January 16 and March 17.

“There was also poor verification of candidates’ registration details, leading to wrong entries in terms of gender, subject choices, spelling of names, and school choices for KCPE candidates,” Ms Karogo said.

CANDIDATES

Schools are set to reopen for third term on August 28 and close on October 29.

During the term, no non-academic activities will be allowed in schools.

There will also be no prayer sessions during the term, a move aimed at avoiding unnecessary contact between candidates and outsiders during the exam period.

A total of 1,003,556 candidates registered for the KCPE exam while 615,773 registered to sit the KCSE test.

HEAD TEACHERS

There will be 28,566 exam centres for KCPE candidates and 9,350 for KCSE candidates.

A total of 6,037 KCPE and 7,001 KCSE private candidates also registered this year.

The KCPE exam will run from October 1 to November 2, while the KCSE one will start on November 4

This year, deputy principals have been engaged in managing the exams.

While issuing guidelines on the exams last month, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said only candidates should be in schools during the exams.

“Deputy head teachers will remain in school to assist head teachers, who will act as centre managers,” Dr Matiang’i said.

Crisis Looms at Varsities Amid Threat of Another Strike

By Ouma Wanzala

A crisis looms in higher education once again after university lecturers issued a one-week notice to the government to implement their salary increase or face another round of industrial action from next month.

That follows a decision by universities to revert to the salaries and allowances that the dons were earning after implementing a Sh10 billion arrears up to June 30.

SALARY RATES

With universities set to re-open on Monday, and after two postponements, they hope the government will release the cash to save the sector.

“This is to inform you that universities have computed the additional funds that are required to pay the new salaries as per 2013-2017 CBAs and sent a request for the same to the Ministry of Education,” an August 22 memo to all staff from Professor Francis Wachira, Deputy Vice-Chancellor-Administration at South Eastern Kenya University, says.

LEARNING

Prof Wachira added that the management was “waiting for a response from the ministry and, in the meantime, the university shall continue to pay salaries based on the old rates until the matter is addressed”.

The situation was replicated at all 31 public universities across the country with lecturers at the University of Nairobi warning it will not be business as usual.

Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) secretary-general Constantine Wasonga has since written to the chairman of Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum, Prof Paul Kanyari, demanding an explanation in 10 days.

IMPLEMENT CBA

In the August 22 letter, Dr Wasonga wants to know why the government has not implemented the 2013-2017 collective bargaining agreement and deposited it with the Industrial Court, saying it was a violation of their deal.

“We also wish to inquire on the utilisation of the Sh10 billion,” Dr Wasonga added.

“We want full disclosure on how the cash was used.”

Universities said they used the money to pay salary arrears for 27,700 staff following two strikes in March and July.

The more than 9,000 lecturers were paid Sh5.5 billion, junior support staff Sh1 billion while non-teaching staff in senior positions got Sh3.5 billion.

Kenya

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Nigeria: Boko Haram Conflict Threat to Polio Eradication

By Kelvin Ebiri

The protracted Boko Haram insurgency in the North East might frustrate efforts to completely eradicate polio from Nigeria.Rotary International polio plus committee chair, Michael McGovern, expressed this concern when he led a team for immunisation at the Rumuodumaya model health centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State yesterday.

McGovern observed that Nigeria has worked so hard to eradicate polio especially as it has not seen a case in over a full year now. He however, expressed concern that all the efforts put into ensure that the country is rid of polio might be jeopardised by the Boko Haram conflict which has rendered some children inaccessible for immunisation. According to him, “We still have some concern up in the far North Eastern part of the country that there may be children who are inaccessible”.

He expressed delight that many of the children once trapped in the conflict engulfed areas of the North East are now accessible. Many mothers, he pointed out are bringing their children to be vaccinated in areas where the Nigerian security agencies have repel the insurgents.

“The North East, everyone understands there has been some conflict there and in any part of the world where there has been conflict, it is inevitable that things like vaccine will take a back seat. But the good news is that all the parties seems to be working together now to ensure that the vaccines are delivered and they are creating safe zones in order for that to happen” said McGovern.

The polio plus committee chair said it was really inspirational to see the work that has been done here in Nigeria by the Rotarians; the various levels of government, health workers, mothers and fathers who are wiling to bring their children to get the polio drug.

McGovern noted that in many parts of many countries around the world, it has been challenging over the years to reach people in dire need to medical attention due to similar conflict Nigeria is faced with in the North East. He observed that great progress has been made in Borno State and commended everyone that has played a role in ensuring that children in need of polio vaccination are accessible.

“We are very pleased with the government of Borno and that that they are working very closely with the national government, with everyone involved to make sure that those kids receive polio drugs. We are confident that the progress we have made in Nigeria will continue to be made and with everyone working together we will soon see not only a polio free Nigeria, but a polio free work” he said.

He explained that he was in the country to thank the Rotarians who are working so hard to eradicate polio and to hear from the government their different concerns in terms of how the progress is going. Secondly, he said there are a lot of people who have made tremendous investment in the global campaign to end polio and it is important to see that investment is properly utilised.

Rivers State deputy governor, Mrs. Ipalibo Banigo, lauded Rotary International for investing tremendous financial resources, advocacy and countless volunteer service in the past thirty years that has led to over 99 percent reduction reported polio cases.

She expressed delight that Nigeria has not recorded any incident of polio in a year, which according is a clear indicator that the country was almost at the verge of total eradication of polio.

The deputy governor said the government of Rivers state remains committed to ensure that polio is kicked out of the State permanently and every effort was also being made to strengthen the primary health services and make sure that no child is left out.

Nigeria

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Businessman Behind ‘Ritual’ Murders of Women – Police Chief

Photo: Michael Kakumirizi/Daily Monitor

General Kale Kayihura addresses residents of Nansana.

By Joseph Kato

Kampala — The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, has said a businessman is behind the Nansana and Entebbe women murders for his ritual sacrifice.

While speaking to Wakiso residents at Kabumbi Zone, in Nansana Municipality yesterday, Gen Kayihura said a suspect in connection to the murders revealed that a businessman in Nansana hired him to collect women’s blood for his ritual satisfaction.

“The suspect confessed that he had killed eight women on orders of a businessman here in Nansana. The blood is to feed his rituals to get more wealth,” Gen Kayihura said.

At least 17 women have been killed in Nansana Municipality and Katabi Town Council on Entebbe Road between May and August. Nine women have been killed in Katabi and eight in Nansana.

The latest victim in Katabi was killed last weekend while Nansana’s last victim was recorded on July 24.

At least six suspects are in police custody in regard to the murders.

Gen Kayihura attacked the media for exaggerating the murders and branding the police as stuck on tracing the murderers.

He said police was doing well in investigations and promised that the crime will soon be over.

The police chief said police would work with Gen Salim Saleh to extend Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) to the youth in Nansana by giving them boda bodas (motorcycles) since unemployment is one of the major reasons driving them into criminality.

“Some girls doing prostitution have told me that they have children they have to look after. They decided to use their bodies for survival. One girl told me she was chased from a home after conceiving in school and she is now doing prostitution. We are planning to help such girls,” Gen Kayihura said.

Nansana Division mayor, Kizito Nsubuga, asked Gen Kayihura to assure the residents that they would be protected when they share information about the suspected criminals.

He said one of the reasons why the locals were scanty on telling police of the people they suspect to be wrongdoers was because they fear to be exposed.

“My residents have a lot of information they can share but they don’t have trust in police. At times their shared information is revealed back to the suspects and that creates enmity,” Mr Nsubuga said.

Gen Kayihura tasked Kampala South Regional Police Commander (RPC), Siraje Bakaleke, to continue exposing officers who dose off while on duty. He said that would help officers to change.

Uganda

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NGO Verification Is Good for Us All, Govt Says

By Ludovick Kazoka in Dodoma

THE government yesterday began a countrywide verification of all non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in a move aimed at establishing their level of capacity to serve the communities in partnership with the government.

The Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Sihaba Nkinga, noted here that the government has also suspended registration of new NGOs across the country up to November 30, this year or until the verification exercise comes to an end.

“… This will give room for government experts to process NGO information from all centres set up for the verification,” the PS told a joint press conference with members of civil society organisations.

Ms Sihaba Nkinga said the exercise would also enable the government to get the actual number of active NGOs operating within the country, adding that the 14-day exercise would also assist the government in reviving the database of active NGOs.

By last July, some 8,316 international and local NGOs with focus on health, education, environment, agriculture, good governance, human rights, gender and special groups were on record as having been registered across the country.

Ms Nkinga pointed out that the verification teams – expected to finalise their work on September 4 – requires that all NGOs submit receipts of annual fee payments or bank slips since the date of registration – plus original registration certificate.

“NGOs should hand over duly filled-in NGO forms with registration number – UHK/2017 – which is available online plus a letter from regional or district community development officers confirming addresses of the NGOs under review … in the areas,” she explained

.As she spoke, Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition National Coordinator Onesmo Olengurumwa was quick to allay fears that the government would target any single NGO – saying it would instead help make public vital contributions made by civil society movements across the country, stressing the sector makes an important contribution to community development.

Back to government corridors, Ms Nkinga said in light of the country’s huge geographical size, the state had set up zones to facilitate smooth implementation, stressing that the exercise would be implemented in five zones with Eastern Zone alone covering five regions – Mtwara, Lindi, Coast, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam, where the teams would carry out the task at the department of NGO coordination offices along Kivukoni Street.

The Central zone would meanwhile cover four regions, namely: Kigoma, Tabora, Singida and Dodoma, whose verification exercise will take place in the building housing the community development portfolio at the University of Dodoma (UDOM).

The Lake Zone with six regions – Kagera, Geita, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Mara and Mwanza and that the centre is operating out of the regional administration secretariat (RAS) offices; the Northern Zone, will also span four regions, namely: Manyara, Arusha, Tanga and Kilimanjaro, whose centre of verification would likewise take place at the RAS offices.

Further, she said the Southern Highland Zone will cover six regions, which will include: Katavi, Rukwa, Ruvuma, Njombe, Iringa and Mbeya where the verification will take place in RAS offices at Mbeya.

The general secretary in National Council for NGOs, Mr Ismael Suleiman, welcomed the move, saying the move would help create an active system of NGOs across the country and urged the government to establish a board for NGOs to facilitate their activities.

He appealed to all NGOs to take part in the verification which takes place across the country for the first time.

Zimbabwe: Mimosa Sets Pace in Switch to Solar Power

By Jeffrey Gogo

At Mimosa Platinum in Zvishavane, more than 350 solar water heaters installed in staff houses three years ago generate 1,5MW of power, but the company says this has made only a small difference to its electricity bill, given the amount of power required by the mine itself. The mine uses 26 mega volt amps of grid power at maximum demand, according to company executive chairman Mr Winston Chitando. That’s about three times the capacity demand for Chinhoyi town, excluding the farms, on a daily basis, or one and half times the demand for Gweru city, minus the mines.

But despite the initial lack of tangible financial gain, plans were now afoot for a complete switch to renewable energy, Mr Chitando told The Herald Business.

“The financial impact in the context of Mimosa’s overall costs has not been as significant . . . the little we save through solar initiatives improves in that small way the overall supply of electricity,” said Mr Chitando, via email.

“There are a number of independent power producers that were engaged to carry-out feasibility studies on the viability of the installation of solar (power) plants at the mine. The results of the feasibility studies and tariffs to be used and way forward are still awaited,” he added.

Countrywide, power supplies have now largely stabilised over the last 12 months.

But when drought hit hydro-power between 2015 and 2016, industrial production fell by more than 50 percent, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, as state power utility Zesa Holdings failed to produce sufficient electricity to meet demand.

And as grid electricity supplies have for the greater part of the past 15 years come in drips and drops, businesses, which consumes 64 percent of the national power supply, have been hurt badly. During 2015-16, CZI data show that energy costs levied the equivalent of 8 percent on total company operating costs,

Now, a lack of tangible financial savings — at least at the outset or when done at a smaller scale — may be a big put off for some companies in the switch to renewable energy.

But Mimosa Platinum appears to have settled for the long-term view, moreso in a country where power costs can be huge drag on profits.

“We feel proud to play a part in renewable energy initiatives,” Mr Chitando boasted, out of sync, of course, with several of his peers in business that haven’t played the part in transitioning to renewable energies, even when they were the largest source of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.

Grid dependent

According to the latest CZI Manufacturing survey, only 2 percent of company spending on energy alternatives to the national grid in 20l6 went to solar power.

Another 10 percent went to liquefied petroleum gas. The majority — 60 percent — went to diesel generators, the survey said.

Altogether, CZI data show that over 25 percent of Zimbabwean companies remain completely dependent on grid electricity supplies.

But Mimosa Platinum expects that installing solar power will not only achieve long-term financial gain, but dovetails with the company’s cost cutting measures.

“. . . our cost saving strategy is that every dollar you can save is necessary as all the various dollars savings aggregate to a good operating cost base which Mimosa has managed to maintain over the past few years,” said Mr Chitando.

He said the company had constantly negotiated with Zesa Holdings for prioritised power supply at times of critical shortage.

Across industry, most companies have been slow in making the switch to cleaner energy, said Mr Tendai Marowa, a director with the Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe, in a past interview.

That’s in part due to a lack of clear-cut national policies for driving renewable energy use in industry, he said then.

“Business, development partners and Government have stepped up collaboration on building capacity on preparing bankable projects that can attract climate-related funding which companies can use to re-engineer their operations to achieve economic, social and environmental benefits including carbon emissions reduction,” Mr Marowa said by phone Friday.

Miles Ahead

At Mimosa Platinum, Zimbabwe’s second largest platinum producer, solar power still makes up for a “fairly insignificant” portion of the overall power supply.

The current supply from solar energy has been limited to heating water in staff houses and at a park at the mine, Mr Chitando said.

However, this fits well into national goals for curbing the emission of carbons into the atmosphere, which have been blamed by scientists for causing the earth’s temperatures to rise, sparking a deluge of dangerous extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods.

According to a Government plan drawn up under the Paris agreement on climate change, Zimbabwe requires $3 billion in global aid to roll out solar projects that are not connected to the grid.

The plan aims to avoid 179 gigatonnes of emissions by 2030 through mandatory installation of solar water heaters in all new homes, and in commercial and industrial buildings.

Overall, the country aims to cut emissions by 33 percent (17 300 gigatonnes) by 2030, mostly by increasing investment in hydro and solar power and improving energy efficiency.

As at August 16, nearly 28 percent of Zimbabwe’s electricity supply came from fossil fuel power plants, and over half from hydro-power.

The remainder is imported, according to ZESA Holdings.

However, the share of renewable energy in Zimbabwe’s electricity mix still compares favourably to much of Africa by far. Morocco is targeting a 52 percent share by 2030.

‘No Sign of Positive Evolution’ in Burundi, Says Head of Independent UN Rights Probe

Ahead of next month’s presentation to the United Nations Human Rights Council, an independent panel today said that the human rights situation in Burundi has not improved.

Fatsah Ouguergouz, the head of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, told UN News that based on more than 470 testimonies with people inside Burundi and in exile, alleged human rights abuses in the Great Lakes state are continuing.

“Since last June, where the Commission made its oral declaration at the Human Rights Council, we received no sign of a positive evolution of the situation in Burundi, in particular as far as the restriction to certain freedoms are concerned,” Mr. Ouguergouz said. “On the contrary, we have received some testimonies since June showing that there’s a kind of tendency that what we have underlined in June is persisting.”

The Commission is following up on reports of horrific abuse including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances, and sexual violence.

“The signal that we have received through those testimonies are for us clear evidence that the situation is not improving since June,” the senior official said.

He noted that “there is no cooperation with the Government” on these findings, and that the Commission was not allowed into the territory. The nearly 500 interviews were done outside of Burundi or through third-parties with people in Burundi.

The findings will be presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in September.

Established for a period of a year at the Council’s 33rd session last year, the Commission has also been mandated to identify the alleged perpetrators of violations and abuses, since April 2015, with a view to ensuring full accountability.

Burundi

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