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Panic as Monkeypox Hits Lagos, Others

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Two suspected cases of Monkeypox have been recorded in Lagos State, according to Dr. Jide Idris, commissioner for Health in the state.

 

Idris, on Monday, said that “Though no confirmed case has been recorded, there is need to sensitise members of the public and provide adequate information on measures for prevention and control of the disease in line with the policy of the state government.”

 

Idris, said the two suspected cases were recorded in a private hospital which he did not name and added that one of the suspected cases just came from Bayelsa State and ate bush meat.

 

Idris said the two suspected cases had been quarantined in their various houses pending the result of the investigation.

 

The commissioner said in the wake of this outbreak, the government was reiterating the need for members of the public to observe and maintain a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease to the State.

 

He urged the public to be vigilant and report any suspected case of the disease to the nearest public health facility or the Directorate of Disease Control in the Ministry of Health.

 

“Also, health workers are advised to practise universal safety precautions in the management of suspected or confirmed cases, wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment when attending to cases, wash hands after each contact with patient or contaminated materials while surveillance system must be strengthened.

 

“The state government has mobilised the Disease Surveillance Officers in the 57 LGAs and LCDAs in the state and health workers in both public and private health facilities have been placed on high alert,” Idris said.

 

Idris called on residents to remain calm and go about their businesses without fear as the government had put in place adequate measures to effectively prevent and control the spread of the infection to the state.

 

“In case of any suspected case of Monkey Pox, the Lagos State Ministry of Health should be notified through the following mobile lines: 08037170614, 09087106072,” the commissioner said.

 

Elsewhere, Monkey pox, which started with an index case in Bayelsa on September 22, has spread to six other states, including Lagos.

 

There are 31 cases, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said.

 

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, national coordinator/CEO, NCDC listed the states as Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Ogun and Cross River.

 

He said samples had been collected from each suspected case for laboratory confirmation.

 

Said Ihekweazu: “It is unlikely that many of the suspected cases are actually monkey pox, but all are being    investigated.”

 

He said all the suspected   cases were receiving medical care and the patients improving clinically in their    various states.

 

Ihekweazu said the centre had activated an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to coordinate the outbreak  investigation and response across the affected states.

 

“The EOC is currently supporting state ministries of Health in their response to the outbreak through active case finding, epidemiological investigation and contact tracing. Measures have been put in place to ensure effective sample collection and testing to enable laboratory confirmation. Risk communication activities have been heightened to advise the public on preventive measures. All 36 states and the FCT have been notified for preparedness,” he explained.

 

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New Toll Gates to be Located at Old Spots – Fashola

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The Federal Government has announced that it has concluded plans to re-introduce tolls on major highways across the country.

 

Mr. Babatunde Fashola, minister of Power, Works and Housing, while appearing before the Senate Commitee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency on Thursday, said 38 points had been identified in the first phase of the re-introduction.

 

“Clearly, tolling is coming,” the minister told the lawmakers.

 

While saying that the new toll gates would be situated at the old spots, Fashola stated that tolls would be collected after the roads had been made motorable.

 

He said, “We are not going to ask road users to pay toll on a road that is not good. While the construction (of gates) is going on, we are working on the design. We want to standardise the design so that when we ask people to come and bid for the construction, we can control what they are going to construct. They are going to construct with the materials we have prescribed.

 

“We can also control the price so that nobody is bidding with disparage prices; there will be the floor and the ceiling. Your price will vary according to how many plazas you build and not because you claim to have used ‘foreign’ materials.

 

“The last part we are working on is the software that drives the management, audit and payment of toll. We want to use the development that has taken place between when the old toll plazas were dismantled and now. There were no GSM and payment platforms as of that time as we have cell phones and cards now. We want to make it very easy for people to go to kiosks and buy toll cards and pay tolls.

 

“It will also be easy to audit from any of our offices. We will be able to see what is going on, how many people passed, how many vehicles, and we can settle payments to operators in a very transparent and accountable way.”

 

Members of the committee decried that only N800m had been released to FERMA out of the N25bn voted to the agency in the 2017 budget.

 

They disclosed that there was a plan to move a motion next week to ask the government to release more funds for road maintenance as the Yuletide season was approaching.

 

Fashola however said releases to FERMA were suspended as the agency did not have a board for some time.

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AfDB Approves $15m Equity Investment in Africa Capital Works Fund

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US$ 15m equity participation in Africa Capital Works Fund.

The investment will finance Sub Saharan Africa’s mid-market companies in strategically selected sectors that offer the potential to be transformed into local and regional industry champions, over a longer than usual ownership period.

Launched by the independent alternative asset manager, Capitalworks Group, is a US$300m fund, targeting institutional and professional investors across the continent.  The Fund, led by Joint Managing Partners, Beth Mandel and Nana Sao, will invest in financial services, agriculture, healthcare and manufacturing by deploying longer termed equity.

The general shallowness of African capital markets and the high cost of debt finance mean that Private Equity plays a central role in helping to unlock and grow the potential of individual companies and ecosystems.

Furthermore, mid-sized African enterprises struggle to raise the long-term capital they need to grow through the multiple phases of value creation to achieve enterprise growth and jobs.

The AfDB recognizes the significant imbalance between the supply of and demand for long-term capital in the rapidly growing and developing Sub-Sahara Africa economies and the mid-market companies within them and share ACWs’ thesis that longer-term capital offers a better way to address this imbalance.

The investment in Africa capital Works offers significant potential for development impact and helps advance the strategic agenda of the Bank’s High 5 priorities   with regards to Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

More specifically, the investment will support; the promotion of financial inclusion through offering affordable and improved financial services for the unbanked; gender and social benefits arising from support to smallholder farmers; private sector development through improved access to finance for mid-cap businesses; as well as enhance regional trade by investing in regional companies thereby facilitating their growth across countries and regions.

Africa Capital Works strategy is well aligned with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022) as it contributes directly to achieving the Bank’s inclusive growth vision.  It promotes the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy (2013-2017) by developing growth oriented enterprises as well as the Bank’s Financial Sector Development Policy and Strategy (2014–2019) whose priority is to increase access to finance to the underserved and to deepen the financial market.

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Bharti Family Pledges 10% of Wealth To Philanthropy

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By peter oluka

The Bharti Family, which has built one of India’s leading business enterprises, today pledged a part of their personal wealth for philanthropic purposes.

The Family has decided to pledge 10% of their wealth, including 3% of their stake in group flagship Bharti Airtel, towards supporting the activities of Bharti Foundation, the Group’s philanthropic arm, one of the few professionally managed philanthropic bodies in India.

With this commitment, the Bharti Family envisions to significantly step up the scope and reach of Bharti Foundation’s activities, and further enable the Foundation to develop and execute innovative development models to support the aspirations of India’s underprivileged including students of Satya Bharti Schools.

Set up in the year 2000, Bharti Foundation has grown in scale and stature, and evolved well beyond customary cheque book philanthropy to design and implement innovative development models, particularly in the area of education.

Led by a full time CEO and COO, the Foundation’s team of over 200 highly motivated professionals and approx. 8000 teachers work across multiple programs in the areas of education of approx. 240,000 underprivileged children in rural India.

Bharti Foundation has also supported the creation of Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology & Management at IIT Delhi, Bharti Centre for Communication at IIT Mumbai and Bharti Institute of Public Policy at ISB Mohali.

The Foundation has also instituted a number of scholarship programs, the prominent being scholarship for Indian students studying at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Bharti Foundation is a leading contributor to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan that is addressing the sanitation needs of poor households in the country.

The Foundation has built approx. 18,000 toilets in Punjab’s Ludhiana making it an Open Defecation Free (ODF) district benefitting approx. 90,000 people.  Bharti Foundation has now undertaken another similar initiative to make Amritsar District in Punjab ODF with a target to build 50,000 toilets in collaboration with the Punjab Government.

With this, Bharti will become the first corporate to facilitate ODF status for two districts in the country.

Announcing the commitment, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises and Chairman, Bharti Foundation, said, “Today is a major milestone in the journey of the Bharti Family. Being first generation entrepreneurs, we feel absolutely privileged that this nation gave us the opportunity to imagine and build world-class businesses. Bharti’s DNA has always been about creating a deep positive impact on society through our businesses, and we are proud to have contributed to the India growth story.”

“Firm believers in Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of Trusteeship, we have always reckoned that ownership of business is a social responsibility, and wealth creation cannot be an end in itself. Even when we were small in size and relatively modest with our business goals, we always aspired to be part of the wider nation building process.”

“We feel grateful every day for our good fortune and feel the instinctive and overwhelming urge to give back to the society and create opportunities for others. Bharti Foundation has done some exceptional work for uplifting the underprivileged and it stands out as a shining example of how professionally managed development arms of businesses can build innovative and sustainable models that make real and measurable difference on ground. We hope in the years and decades to come, Bharti Foundation will be able to unlock its full potential as a change agent and enable millions of fellow Indians fulfill their dreams.”

Today, Bharti Foundation also announced its plans to set up Satya Bharti University for Science and Technology to complement its existing programs in the area of education. The University will have a strong focus on future technologies like AI, Robotics, AR/VR, IoT, in addition to offering degrees in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and Management. It will be a non-profit centre of excellence and will offer free education to a large number of deserving youth from economically weaker sections.  It will also promote and fund advanced research with global linkages. It intends to add leading global industry partners, i.e. Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and SoftBank among others.

Making the announcement, Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice-Chairman, Bharti Enterprises and Co-Chairman, Bharti Foundation said, “Having built a successful model for primary and senior schooling under Satya Bharti Schools, Bharti Family plans to build Satya Bharti University – a world-class institution, to support the higher education aspirations of India’s youth. Our aspiration is to develop it into a centre of excellence not just in India but globally.”

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