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General News of Saturday, 23 January 2021


Vaccine: We are expecting final confirmation from COVAX – NPHCDA

File photo: Dr Faisal Shuaib File photo: Dr Faisal Shuaib

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that it was expecting the final confirmation for coronavirus vaccine from COVAX Initiative, backed by Gavi Vaccine Alliance, World Health Organisation (WHO) and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja: “We are expecting final confirmation soon from COVAX on when our first doses will arrive through the programme.

“In parallel, we are speaking to both the African Union (AU) and manufacturers to get the doses we need.”

Shuaib noted that the country was expected to take delivery of its first coronavirus vaccine doses next month, with health workers, top government officials and vulnerable people to be given priority, noting that the country is aiming to vaccinate 70 per cent of its population.
This just as the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in Nigeria said precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases must include eating right.

The National Coordinator of EOA, Dr Olugbenga AdeOluwa, who made the assertion at the organisation’s stakeholders’ forum in Abuja yesterday, added that consumption of organic and natural foods, vegetables and spices are effective in boosting immunity and aiding cure of some symptoms of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Shuaib said the first batch would be enough for a maximum of 50,000 people, equivalent to about 0.00025 per cent of the country’s population, adding that it would be allocated to healthcare professionals working in the coronavirus isolation centres and those supporting them and government officials.

He stated that Nigeria had also acquired three ultra-cold freezers to keep the Pfizer vaccines at the required temperature, saying in the long term, government plans to invest in vaccines that are easier to store, such as those created by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford.

Nigeria hopes to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines to cover one-fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme. The initial vaccines would come as part of Nigeria’s plan to inoculate 40 per cent of the population this year and another 30 per cent next year, with 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine later this month or early next month.

AdeOluwa said although researches had been carried out to find effective vaccines against the pandemic, eating organic food was very necessary.

The EOA Initiative is an AU-led continental undertaking currently implemented in nine countries - Nigeria, Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda - and implemented under the guidance and oversight of the AU-chaired Continental Steering Committee to establish an African organic farming platform based on available best practices and to develop sustainable organic farming systems and improve seed quality.

AdeOluwa said: “Eating right starts with eating chemical-free foods, as organic farming does not permit the use of substances that are foreign to nature.
“Organic agriculture does not allow the use of organisms or substances that are foreign to nature, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), chemical fertilisers, pesticides or food additives.

“Rather, it gives farms and animal life conditions that correspond to their ecological roles and allow them to display natural behaviour.”

He urged Nigerian farmers to embrace organic system to enable them to access the benefits associated with it, identifying the strengths of organic farming to include production of healthy produce.

“In organic farming, use of inputs that are hazardous to human health are avoided” inputs are rather used with due regard to their implications on the health of consumers and the environment.

“Some of these benefits include improved health and nutrition. Organic farming causes little damage to the environment while reducing nutrient losses and erosion.

“Several studies have shown that persons with strong immune systems are more likely not to be affected by the COVID-19.

“Even if they get infected, they have higher chances of surviving the attack; hence the need to explore ways to build the body’s immune system,” he said.

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