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BusinessDay 09 Apr 2018

Monday

Monday 09 April 2018 Half Africans with HIV have access to antiretroviral drugs - WHO LAIDE AKINBOADE-ORIERE The World Health Organisation (WHO), on Friday, revealed that out of 28 million Africans infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), 14 million have access to lifesaving HIV treatment. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, stated this during a media parley organised to mark its 70th anniversary as well as the World Health Day, saying it was imperative for African leaders to live up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pledges they made in 2015 through commitment and concrete actions. The theme of this year’s World Health Day celebration is “Universal Health Coverage: everyone, everywhere.” He stressed that effective leadership and high-level of political commitment were critical to achieving the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Africa. In his speech, Moeti said, “The WHO has in its 70 years of existence recorded major advancement in health and health technology as well as improved access to treatment and essential services.” According to Moeti, for the first time in the history of Africa, more than half of all people living with HIV in Africa (14m) have access to lifesaving HIV treatment. ‘’Over the past 70 years, there have been major advances in health and health technology, including lifesaving medicines for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, hypertension and diabetes. In the African Region, health outcomes have been improved through strategies such as distributing insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria, and vaccinating against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer,” he said. The WHO regional director, who also said new cases of malaria dropped by 20 percent between 2010 and 2016, added that the risk of developing pneumonia and meningitis was largely reduced for nearly two thirds of children on the continent following their vaccination as compared to the 3 percent in 2010. He reiterated WHO’s continued support to member states towards achieving its Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the WHO boss, added that it had developed a framework of actions to assist countries in selecting their own path towards achieving both UHC and SDGs. Four more states sign into Lagos rice revolution … to jointly cultivate 32,000 hectares of paddy JOSHUA BASSEY Four states in the southwest have signed on to the planned Lagos rice revolution that will see to the production of 32 tons of rice per hour from the Imota Rice Mill, in Ikorodu, which is presently undergoing expansion and retooling by the Lagos State government. This brings to six the number of states that have signed agreement to collaborate with Lagos in the areas of agro value chain and other economic ventures, Kebbi and Kano had already done so. The four states include Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti. However, Lagos’ next-door neighbour, Ogun, is yet to sign into the rice production deal. Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, has advantage of market with a population estimate of 21 million people. It is learnt that Ogun is currently resolving areas of disagreement with Lagos, bordering on a large expanse of land that Lagos acquired from it (Ogun) during the administration of Babatunde Fashola, the immediate past governor of Lagos, which is yet to effectively utilise for purposes acquired. It is expected that Ogun will join the rest of the states upon the As Nigeria’s longest rigid pavement road project inches closer to completion, motorists travelling from Northern part to the South say the road has started supporting vehicular movements across the regions. The Obajana-Kabba road in Kogi State is said to be the longest concrete road project in Nigeria, one of the country’s roads that links the North to the South. A businessman from the North, Ibrahim Dantsoho, as well as other motorists commended the president of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, and described the project as a big relief, saying it had already eased travelling and connectivity across the regions. Managing director of AG- Dangote Construction Company, Ashif Juma, said the project would be completed as planned and that Nigerians would yearn for more of such roads when they see the difference with bituminous road, So far, 33km earthwork and 22km concrete pavement have been accomplished, Juma said, adding that every care is being taken to ensure that Nigeria has a most durable road in Nigeresolution of the differences. The deal, which is being pushed through the southwest regional integration, aims at upping food production and making the region self-sufficient in rice. It will involve the cultivation of over 32,000 hectares of paddy with Lagos as the milling hub. The rice paddy expected from this massive cultivation will complement the earlier agreement signed between Lagos and Kebbi states, which had resulted in the production of Lake Rice brand already in the Lagos market. Aside jobs to be created, the joint rice production will also serve as income generator for rice farmers within the southwest states. Governor Akinwumi Ambode had during the recent meeting of the southwest governors in Lagos explained the role of Lagos in the deal. “We are building a 32-ton per hour rice mill in Imota, and we are going to require 32,000 hectares of paddy cultivation, which even the whole of the south west cannot even provide. But because we are interested in integration and also independence, it is important that beyond going to Kebbi or Kano, all the southwest states should also benefit from it,” Ambode said. C002D5556 Dangote hailed over longest concrete road project in Nigeria BUSINESS DAY A13 NEWS ria. He assured: “We will deliver the project by December this year. All hands are on deck,” and urged Nigerian governments at all levels to switch over to construction of concrete road instead of asphalt, as it is far superior, durable and cheaper, and does not require frequent maintenance. A human right activist and consultant, Abdullahi A. Umar, who normally travels through Okene in Kogi State, said he now used the Obajana-Kabba road, and called on other companies to emulate the Dangote Group. Most of the motorists who spoke with our reporter hailed Dangote and urged governments at all levels to the partner Dangote Group in road construction. They called for a timely completion of the project, saying it would make transportation and businesses across the two regions easier. A statement from the Corporate Communications Department of the Dangote Group said: “Concrete road last longer than asphalt roads and do not have potholes. It does not require frequent maintenance as asphalt roads. It saves fuel for motorists and protects tyres from wear and tears.”

A14 BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 Monday 09 April 2018

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