The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF and partners has launched an SMS-based platform called U-Report. The innovation will allow Nigerians to participate and engage in policy-making, governance and access information on key social issues.
To become a U-reporter, the user will have to register and use the forum to talk about happenings in their communities and send alert messages to relevant stakeholders like the media or political office holders especially those representing their constituencies at the local and federal levels of government. The technology also provides decision makers a forum to listen to millions of voices through simple messaging.
UNICEF Nigeria reports that in the last one year, with support from telecommunication service providers like Airtel, MTN, GLO and Etisalat, the number of U-reporters has rapidly grown to about 200,000 with thousands joining every month from all parts of the country. They expect the number get up to a million by the end of 2015.
UNICEF added that initiative also attracted strategic partnerships with civil society organizations, UN agencies and Government Ministries, who contributed by selecting poll questions and promoting the platform to Nigerian citizens, as a tool for civic engagement and community empowerment
“Today more than ever before community journalism through communication technology can help engender good governance, accountability, social change and improve health standards.’ said Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. ‘U-Report platform provides a thrilling opportunity to contribute to positive social change in the Nigeria,’ she noted.
UNICEF strongly believes that through U-reports, communities can constructively contribute to the improvement of their standard of living and significantly contribute to transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.
To become a U-reporter in Nigeria text the word ‘JOIN’ to 24453. It is free.
The National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs) campaign is a polio preventive initiative under the polio Eradication Initiative in Nigeria by vaccinating at least 95% of children between 0-59 months old with oral polio virus (OPV) in all the local government areas in Lagos regardless of their previous immunisation status
The Lagos State Government on 14 April 2015 discredited claims of fresh cases
of Ebola Virus Disease to Nigeria.
At an emergency press conference, the Commissioner for Health Dr. Jide Idris assured Lagosian that enhanced surveillance of the virus have been on-going to ensure the country remains free of Ebola. (Although when I revisited the borders after Nigeria was declared Ebola free, that was not what our camera captured)
Dr. Idris was reacting to stories published on http://www.mercyjblog.com/201504/breaking-ebola-returns-to-Nigeria-after.html and http:www.naijabadoo.com declaring that 3 people were already killed by the disease and 12 others infected. According to the said ‘rumour’ the deceased were returnees from Liberia. While the commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lateef Ibirogba who was also present believes the authors of these materials simply wanted to generate traffic to their websites; Dr Idris says:
“The propagators of the EVD rumour failed to give information on the date of arrival of the victims in Nigeria, the port(s) of entry as well as the name of the health/aboratory in Lagos where the confirmatory diagnosis of EVD was made’’
There was another account involving 2 Chinese visitors from Sierra Leone posted on twitter @iChexo on 12 April, 2015 saying the 2 Chinese died of Ebola at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital LUTH Idi- Araba . However, the Acting Chief Medical Director of the hospital professor Chris Bode told journalists has refuted the tale
saying: “This is to swiftly deny any such rumour and inform members of the public that no such event happened…”
“Our professionals at the emergency services, various lines of responders, laboratories and nurses all reported no such cases in our hospital…” the professor of medicine added.
In the mean time, the federal government has directed the public to ignore reports of recurrence of the Ebola Virus in the country and says: ‘’…The rumour is false and there is no known case of Ebola in Nigeria.’ We also gathered that the World Health Organisation WHO is investigating the matter.
The general public is advised to continue to adhere strictly to preventive measures against the virus and report suspected cases of Ebola or any known travellers from Ebola affected countries with history of persistent fever by calling the Help line:0800EBOLA HELP (0800-32652-4357
Whether Ebola has re-entered Nigeria or not, it only makes sense for Nigeria and Nigerians to remain alert because as long as our neighbouring countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are yet to come to grips with Ebola, the country cannot afford to be complacent
The Lagos State Government has announced that it is investigating a suspected case of Ebola Virus Disease.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health Dr. Yewande Adeshina while addressing newsmen on Thursday 24 July 2014 said the suspected patient is being hospitalised in a private facility in the state.
The suspect is a 40 year old Liberian who arrived in Lagos on Sunday July 20th 2014 on a flight from Monrovia through Lome
Dr. Adeshina advised residents of the state to reduce risk of infection by observing strict personal and environmental hygiene by washing their hands often with soap and water. She also cautioned against close contact with people who are sick and added that objects used by the sick are to be decontaminated and properly disposed
Meanwhile the Lagos State government has called on residents to remain calm as appropriate measures are being taken to prevent and control an outbreak
It should be recalled that more than 630 people have died of Ebola in the three West African states (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea) since the outbreak began in Guinea in February.
According to the World Health Organisation, Ebola Virus Disease is the world’s deadliest outbreak to date and there is no known cure.
The public is to report any suspected cases to their local government areas or the ministry of Health or call any of the following numbers:
08023169485; 08033086660; 08033065303; 08055281442; 08055329229
The World Health Organisation says immunisation is one of the most successful and cost effective health interventions ever introduced.
Vaccines prevent about 3 million deaths every year.
The theme for this year’s World Immunisation Week is: Are Your Vaccinations Up-To-Date?
I have been wanting to work on this story for a long time. It is a common practice to see Nigerians buy cooked foods and drink in plastic bags. I have done several times in the past with my colleagues; but had often wondered if it is a healthy thing to do. In the cause of my research and speaking with Emmanuel Unuabonah I realised we are gradually poisoning and killing ourselves. It is probably why we have rising cases of kidney failures and cancer related cases.