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Soaring e-waste affects the health of millions of children – WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the health of children, adolescents and expectant mothers worldwide is at risk from the illegal processing of old electrical or electronic devices.

WHO raised the alert on Tuesday in a landmark new report on the toxic threat, entitled: “Children and Digital Dumpsites’’.

In a statement coinciding with the launch, WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, warned that the health threat was growing, in line with the “mounting tsunami of e-waste’”.

“In the same way the world has rallied to protect the seas and their ecosystems from plastic and microplastic pollution, we need to rally to protect our most valuable resource – the health of our children – from the growing threat of e-waste,” he added.

Discarded electronic devices or e-waste has become the fastest growing domestic waste category in the world, according to the UN health agency.

The Global E-waste Statistics Partnership (GESP) said that of the 53.6 million tonnes produced worldwide in 2019, only 17.4 per cent was recorded as collected and appropriately recycled.

While the fate of the remaining e-waste is unknown, it is unlikely to have been managed and recycled in an environmentally-sound manner.

While some e-waste ends up in landfills, significant amounts are often illegally shipped to low and middle-income countries where informal workers, including children and adolescents, pick through, dismantle, or use acid baths to extract valuable metals and materials from the discarded items.

WHO said that an estimated 12.9 million women who work in the informal waste sector were potentially exposing themselves and their unborn children to toxic residue.

“Additionally, more than 18 million youngsters globally and some as young as five – are said to be “actively engaged” in the wider industrial sector, of which e-waste processing is a small part.

“Informal methods of removing materials from e-waste have been linked to a range of health effects, especially in children.

“Recycling e-waste particularly impacts those in vital stages of physical and neurological development, with children, adolescents and pregnant women most vulnerable.

“Children are more susceptible to the toxic chemicals because they absorb pollutants relative to their size and, with not-fully-developed organs, are less able than adults to eradicate harmful substances,’’ it said.

According to WHO lead author, Marie-Noel Drisse, improper e-waste management is a rising issue that many countries do not recognise yet as a health problem.

Drisse warned that if action is not taken now, “its impacts will have a devastating health effect on children and lay a heavy burden on the health sector in the years to come”.

The Children and Digital Dumpsites report delves into the multiple dimensions of the problem, to practical action that the health sector and others concerned, can take to confront the insidious health risk.

It calls for binding action by exporters, importers and governments to ensure environmentally sound disposal of e-waste and the health and safety of workers and communities.

The health sector is also being asked to reduce adverse effects from e-waste by building up capacity to diagnose, monitor and prevent toxic exposure, and to advocate for better data and health research on risks faced by informal e-waste workers.

“Children and adolescents have the right to grow and learn in a healthy environment, and exposure to electrical and electronic waste and its many toxic components unquestionably impacts that right.

“The health sector can play a role by providing leadership and advocacy, conducting research, influencing policy-makers and engaging communities.

“It can also play a role by reaching out to other sectors to demand that health concerns be made central to e-waste policies,” said Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health. (NAN)

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Buhari Launches Nigeria End Malaria Council In Abuja

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday launched the Nigeria End malaria Council at the State House in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The Council is expected to drive the Federal Government’s commitment to end malaria in the country.

In attendance at the launch is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, and Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire among other ministers and top government officials.

Speaking to a 16-member council headed by the President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote who accepted to be an ambassador for malaria, the President maintained the quest to eliminate mallards remains a priority for his administration.

“Malaria is an age-long disease and remains a major public health challenge in Nigeria.

The World Health Organisation report of 2021 shows that Nigeria alone accounts for 27% of all cases of malaria and 32% of deaths globally,” Buhari stated.

“Malaria infection can cause severe disease and complication in pregnant women and lead to high rates of miscarriage. It is also responsible for a considerable proportion of deaths in infants and young children, with children under 5 years being the most vulnerable group affected. These are reasons why we must not relent in fighting malaria.”

According to Buhari, beyond improving the quality of life, health and well-being of Nigerians, the strategy adopted had public health and socio-economic benefits for the country.

The President urged the council to deploy best practices in its dealings in order to reduce significantly Nigeria’s malaria burden which according to the WHO now accounts for 27percent of all cases and 32 percent of deaths globally.

He added, “Our inauguration today will therefore ensure that malaria elimination remains a priority on our agenda, with strong political commitment from leaders at all levels. Additionally, the End Malaria Council will provide a platform to advocate for more funding to protect and sustain progress made so far by our country, and put us on a pathway to ending malaria for good.

“The successful implementation of the Council’s agenda will result in improvement in the quality of life, health and well-being of Nigerians, by providing impetus for malaria elimination and by saving about N687 billion nationally which is the estimated economic burden of malaria for 2022. The savings could increase to N2 trillion in 2030.

A concerted strategy to tackle malaria, therefore, has both public health as well as socio-economic benefits for Nigeria.”

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Presidency lauds Oyetola for prioritising Osun people’s health 

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Osun State Governor Gboyega Oyetola
Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola
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As Oyetola inaugurates multiple state-of-the-art health facilities in Osun 

…says building healthy population nonnegotiable

The Presidency, on Wednesday, lauded Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun for prioritising the health of the people of the State.

Speaking at the inauguration of multiple state-of-the-art health facilities in the State, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, also commended the Governor for striving to build a healthy population.

She was in the State to join Governor Oyetola in inaugurating 100-bed Mother and Child Hospital; 80-bed Multipurpose Hospital, Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Centre and Transit Home and Vocational Centre for Abused Women and Girls.

She said the execution of the projects was in fulfilment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promises to providing quality health service delivery for Nigerians particularly women and children.

“We are here to commission these projects that had been fully equipped for the benefit of the people of this community and the skill acquisition centre will in no doubt equip our people with requisite vocational rubrics to be self-sustaining and self-employed”, she added

Speaking while inaugurating the projects, Governor Oyetola said that his administration remains committed to the health and well-being of the people of the State.

The projects were facilitated by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Sustainable Development Goals  in partnership with the State.

The Governor also lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for considering Osun as one of the beneficiary states of the projects.

Inaugurating the projects in Iragbiji and Osogbo, the state capital, Governor Oyetola said the multi-billion naira health facilities would in no doubt improve significantly, the quality of life of citizens of the State.

He noted that the facilities would serve as catalyst to building a virile economy for the people, adding that the projects are critical to the country’s strident efforts to meet the vision of SDGs.

According to him, the 80-bed and 100-bed state-of-the-art multipurpose hospitals, for instance, are another fitting and timely complement to the ongoing effort of our administration at transforming the health sector.

“You will recall that since we assumed office over three years ago, our State has witnessed unprecedented investment in the health sector in a manner that has placed us as a leading State in innovative and sustained health investment across the country.

“Among other strategic interventions in secondary and tertiary healthcare, we are particularly proud of the ripple impact being achieved among our citizens through the 332 Primary Healthcare Centres revitalised across the State.

“The choice of the health sector as one of the preeminent sectoral drivers in our administration owes itself to the conviction that we would only be able to build a truly- sustainably virile economy to the extent to which our people enjoy quality, accessible and affordable healthcare.

“It must also be mentioned that the second facility, the Abused Women Transit Home, is unique in its conception as a solution centre for providing succour to women who are victims of abuse. This sprawling centre is impressively equipped with multidimensional skills acquisition facility alongside a hostel catering for over 100 hundred people.

“It is another excellent addition of which I am immensely proud of, as it would further significantly boost the ongoing campaign against gender violence, ably led by my wife, the First Lady”, he added.

Speaking further, Governor Oyetola urged people of the host communities to take full ownership of the facilities and ensure that they are protected against any form of vandalism, saying this is the only way to show gratitude for the investment.

Earlier in his remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on SDGs, Mr. Shittu Williams, described the projects as a dream come true, saying the people of the state stand to benefit largely from the services that the state-of-the-art facilities will be providing forthwith.

He said the actualisation of the projects in the State had put an end to the long agitations saying the facility would in no small measure further advance the course of quality healthcare delivery in Osun.

The Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Ayotunde Olabomi, lauded the initiative saying the facilities would go a long way to complement the health interventions of the state government.

Oba Olabomi who expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the citing of the projects in Osun called on the people of the benefitting communities to patronize the facility and stop going to substandard health centres just as he assured of the readiness of his subjects to put the facilities into good use.

In his remarks, the Atoaja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, applauded Governor Oyetola for being committed to the socioeconomic and infrastructural development of the state.

Ataoja who described the edifice as a welcome development befitting the state capital said its establishment in the heart of the city would further enhance the health of the people particularly Osogbo residents.

“I am not a sycophant but I do appreciate good works, indeed, this edifice is good and magnificent. This is another great thing coming to the State capital and we are appreciative of this.

“I am speaking on behalf of the good people of Osogbo, our reverred sons and daughters that this edifice befits us as we are awaiting more to come. We must appreciate the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for his commitment to turn around the socio-economic fortunes of the state in the face of the visible economic reality on the nation’s economy”, he added.

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Senate passes bills to establish Medical Centres in four states, amend Teaching Hospitals Act

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Senate in Session
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The Senate, on Tuesday, passed four bills to establish Federal Medical Centres in four states of the federation.

The medical centers will be established in Osogbo, Osun State; Onitsha, Anambra State; Gada, Sokoto State; and Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, respectively.

The passage of the bills to establish the Medical Centres followed the consideration of four separate reports by the Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary).

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), in his presentations, said the Centres would be equipped with facilities for diagnostic treatment and rehabilitation at the tertiary levels.

According to him, they would also serve as Centres for training of health professionals and conduct advance health research.

In a related development, the Senate, on Tuesday, passed a bill to amend the Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards, etc.) Act 2004.

Oloriegbe, in a separate presentation on a report by the Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary), explained that the amendment to the Teaching Hospitals Act, seeks to give full legislative recognition to the Federal University Lokoja Teaching Hospital.

“Mr. President and Distinguished Colleagues, every Institution needs to be backed by an enabling law.

“It is against this background that this bill is before the chamber.

“As at today, training facilities in the health sector are inadequate for the current population and projected population growth for Nigeria, currently out at 3 percent per annum.

“Therefore, establishing the Federal University Lokoja Teaching Hospital will address this gap among others”, Oloriegbe explained.

He added that the bill seeks to amend the First Schedule to the Principal Act to include the Federal University Lokoja Teaching Hospital.

“By this amendment, it creates a legal backing for the Federal University Lokoja Teaching Hospital”, he said.

The four bills to establish the Federal Medicam Centres, and the Bill to amend the Teaching Hospitals Act 2004, were all passed by the chamber during plenary, after a clause-by-clause consideration by the Committee of the Whole.

 

 

 

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