UNFPA supports nationwide deployment of software for medicines and commodities management

UNFPA LogoAn element of the National Reproductive Health Commodity Security (RHCS) Strategic Plan 2011-2015 for securing RH Products is the development of software for the collection of data essential for determining the needs of the country. As such, UNFPA through a series of strategic interventions has taken the lead in supporting the nationwide deployment of a reliable and efficient electronic Logistic Management Information System (eLMIS) for the effective management of essential medicines and commodities.
UNFPA supported the Government of Akwa Ibom State, in building the skill pool of the human resources of the State through training on eLMIS for the management of its commodities. The key objective of the roll out is to strengthen the capacity of the State RH/FP Logistics team to utilize the CHANNEL software to ensure sustainability, and effective coordination so as to provide easy access to Reproductive Health logistic data throughout the distribution pipeline in the country. Participants were drawn from the thirty-one (31) Local government of the state, who were the LGA Family Planning supervisors and their Assistant M&E Officers.
Today’s event marks the official handover of equipment (computers, hard drives, printers, and UPS) to be used for the CHANNEL application at the State Ministry of Health, thereby ensuring availability of reproductive health data and also for the dissemination of the 2012- 2013 Global Program to Enhance Reproductive Health Commodity Security (GPRHCS) survey reports. The GPRHCS Survey is part of a flagship intervention of the UNFPA’s global programme on strengthening Reproductive Health Commodity Security’s technical and financial assistance in the country.
GPRHCS programme in Nigeria is assessed through indicators outlined in the Performance Monitoring & Evaluation Global Framework, assessed through a special study conducted in the GPRHCS Stream 1 countries which allows for comparison of data across country lines and, enables analysis that will enhance the repositioning of family planning and emergency obstetric and new-born care aimed at meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
This event, the fourth in a series of such support to the Government of Nigeria, is the first for the South South region.

UN Day 2014 marked with funfair in Lagos

It was a slightly cloudy Friday morning in Lagos. The streets looked normal – the traffic, cacophonous sound, the siren-blasting security vehicles; with vendors and hawkers dotting the major roads. As one veered off the expressway into one of the feeder roads Ajah, a Lagos suburb, a more euphonious sound faded in with an increasing decibel as one moved closer to the premises of Sunglee Formation School, Ajah, Lagos, the venue of the Day observance.

A presentation by the students of Sunglee Foundation School, Ajah Lagos

A presentation by the students of Sunglee Foundation School, Ajah Lagos

With funfair, over 200 students from Basic to Senior Secondary level presented country information of selected UN member States including recitation of their National Anthems, which drew a resounding applause from the guests. Of particular note was the drama presentation hinged on ‘The importance of community cooperation in fostering peace’ staged by the students.
A drama presentation by the students of Sunglee Foundation Schools, Ajah Lagos

A drama presentation by the students of Sunglee Foundation Schools, Ajah Lagos

The UN Day observance had started a day earlier with the visit to Falomo Senior High School, Ikoyi Lagos where over 50 students were engaged to discuss the United Nations and its works, as part of activities marking the 2014 United Nations (UN) Day.
In his message on the 2014 UN Day, the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, called for reaffirmation of commitment to the marginalized and vulnerable.
Students of Falomo Snr. High School, Ikoyi Lagos saying 'Happy Birthday UN'

Students of Falomo Snr. High School, Ikoyi Lagos saying ‘Happy Birthday UN’

The message read on his behalf by the Senior Public Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Envera Selimovic, added that everyone should ‘work in common cause for the common good.’
Selimovic charged the students to always be of good behaviour and worthy ambassadors of their families in order to excel in life.
Speaking on the occasion, the Proprietress of Sunglee Foundation Schools, Mrs Caroline Olaniyi, noted that global peace began with individual families and therefore, called on everyone to be instruments for promoting peace.
Envera Selimovic addresses the students

Envera Selimovic addresses the students

The Secretary General’s message was also translated into Yoruba Language and shared with the students of Falomo Senior High School and a live radio audience on ‘Faaji 106.5 FM Lagos by the National Information Officer of UNIC, Oluseyi Soremekun.SONY DSC

UNIC, LASG, partner to mark Global Handwashing Day… Students urged to continue handwashing

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in collaboration with the Lagos State Government (LASG), yesterday joined the rest of the world to observe the Global Handwashing Day. Addressing an audience of over 500 students from four schools, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, acknowledged the partnership that exists between UNIC and the Lagos State government; and called on Nigerians to continue the habit of frequent handwashing with soap despite the containment of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country. Hand washing by students in Lagos
According to her, ‘frequent handwashing with soap could prevent many communicable diseases’ adding that ‘clean hands save lives.’
Earlier, the Senior Public Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Envera Selimovic, noted that handwashing was not meant for the Global Handwashing Day alone, but an exercise that should be done as many times as required every day.

Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye addressing the students

Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye addressing the students

The ceremony, held at the premises of Falomo Senior High School, had in place thirteen handwashing points including that which was provided and donated by UNIC Lagos. Leading the enlightenment about handwashing procedure was the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adesina who explained in details the eight steps to washing hands and getting rid of germs.
A cross-section of students at the observance of the Global Handwashing Day

A cross-section of students at the observance of the Global Handwashing Day

Dr Adesina urged the students to thoroughly follow the procedure of washing hands and to make sure they do not turn off the water tap with their already clean hands. She advised that wrist or elbow should be used.
Afterwards, the Honourable Commissioner for Education led the dignitaries and students to wash hands in confirmation of the fact that ‘Clean hands save lives’
The Tutor General and Permanent Secretary for Education District III, Mr O.G. Olatunji, delivered the welcome address at the programme anchored by the National Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun.

UNESCO seeks more women in elective and appointive leadership positions

As the 2015 general elections approach in Nigeria and in continuation of its support to the electoral process, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Abuja Regional Office, has called for more women in elective and appointive leadership positions in Nigeria.UNESCO_SW_TOT (134)
Speaking at the training of trainers workshop on ‘Gender and Transformative Leadership in Nigeria’, the Director, UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja, Prof Hassana Alidou, noted that ‘Lack of women’s leadership is not only in itself a sign of inequality, but it tends to perpetuate unequal gender relations through a lack of role models for young women, and through the absence of women’s voice and input into the decision-making processes.’
According to the Director, who was represented by a UNESCO National Programme Officer, Dr Safiya Muhammad, ‘in the 2007 elections, some 516 women sought political office in elective positions at various levels, while in 2011 more than 900 women contested for elections into the various offices, an increase of about 78%.’ ???????????????????????????????
She added that even with such increase, the percentage of women currently in political offices in Nigeria is estimated to be 8%, an indicator of the high levels of exclusion faced by women in the political arena.
The training, aimed to equip women who intend to go into leadership positions whether appointive or elective, was initiated by UNESCO and Rutgers University in the US ; funded by the European Union (EU), UK AID, the Canada Government and UNDP through the Democratic Governance and Development project; and supported by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Other university partners on the project include : Rutgers’ Center for Women’s Global Leadership and Africa (Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA), the Center for Genders Studies and Advocacy (University of Ghana), University of the Gambia, University of Ghana, The Centre for Gender and Social Policy Studies, (Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria) and Tubmann University in Liberia.

UNFPA donates IEC materials to Ebola Emergency Operations Committee… commends Lagos, FG

In continuation of its commitments to the government and to the United Nations Country Team on a number of preparedness and response areas, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has donated thousands of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials to the Lagos Ebola Emergency Operation Committee to enhance prevention, preparedness and response efforts.
Making the public presentation of the materials in Lagos today was the UNFPA Country Representative, Ms Rati Ndhlovu, who noted that the IEC materials would strengthen public sensitization about the disease as part of the intervention to prevent a relapse.
The UNFPA Country Representative also commended the Lagos State government for its quick response to the break of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the state, especially the speed with which the index case was picked and all the emergency measures put in place to prevent further spread.
The efforts of the Lagos State Ministry of Health in moving quickly with materials and personnel, and the support of the Federal Government to the state and other flashpoints, she acknowledged, was commendable. “These efforts”, Ms Ndhlovu continued, “have paid off and now Nigeria’s fight against Ebola is being recognized, globally, as a success story from which other countries should learn.”
The UNFPA Country Representative presented to the Lagos Ebola Emergency Operation Committee, 10,000 copies of Standard information for Ebola virus disease (EVD) contact self-care; 10,000 copies of Screening suspected patients for Ebola Virus Disease in healthcare facilities; 500 copies of Filovirus hemorrhagic fever guidelines; 500 copies of Standard operating procedures for controlling Ebola and Marburg virus epidemics; and 500 copies of Interim infection control recommendations for care of patients with suspected or confirmed filovirus (Ebola, Marburg) Hemorrhagic fever.

Secretary General’s Message On World Habitat Day

06 October 2014: Over the past decade, efforts under the Millennium Development Goals have cut the proportion of people living in slums by more than half. Yet, over the same period, rapid urbanization, especially in the developing world, has seen overall slum populations rise. In some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, as many as 70 per cent of urban dwellers live in slums and informal settlements.

Slums are often located on the least desirable and appropriate land, such as flood plains and steep hillsides, and are inherently vulnerable to the increasingly severe weather events that climate change is causing. Many of the people who inhabit slums were pushed to migrate by the lack of opportunities in rural areas or their countries of origin. They regularly lack basic services such as water, sanitation, electricity and street lighting. Crime is often endemic, with women and girls particularly at risk. Unemployment, under-employment and the cost of transport to distant places of work add further hardship.

To achieve sustainable development and a life of dignity for all, we must address these issues. This year, World Habitat Day is devoted to giving a voice to slum dwellers. Often, people in the slums live in near-anonymity — no address, no census and no idea when their living conditions will improve. By learning from their experiences, city planners and policy makers can enhance the well-being of a significant portion of the human family. Let us hear from people who live in slums what has worked and what has not – and what we need to do.

On this World Habitat Day, I encourage governments, businesses, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations to give slum dwellers a voice – and to listen to what they have to say. We have the technology and the know-how to build economically, socially and environmentally sustainable cities based on local solutions. Ensuring that our towns and cities expand in a well-planned and managed way is not only necessary to meeting the housing needs of our growing urban population, it is also vital for combatting climate change, protecting the environment and supporting sustainable development. Let us focus on a new urban agenda that leaves no-one behind.

‘Handwashing for peace’: UNIC Lagos raises public awareness on handwashing to prevent Ebola

As part of its contribution to the United Nations and government’s efforts to raising public awareness about prevention of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and other communicable diseases, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos has organized a handwashing exercise for a group of students from seven schools in Lagos.Boy washing hands
The students who were part of the production of a children magazine programme on Africa’s largest television network, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), gleefully washed their hands with soap at UNIC premises, the location of the programme production.Group foto- Ebola IEC
They were treated to short presentations on the ‘United Nations for School Children’ and on the activities of UNIC.Envera and the pupils
In an interactive session after the presentations, the students sought to know why the United Nations declared an International Day for Peace and how the United Nations promotes peace worldwide.
In a related development, UNIC Lagos in consultation with other UN Agencies in Lagos has approached the Lagos State government for collaboration on programmes, including organising Handwashing campaign in public schools in Lagos State. seyi and handwashing
Speaking at the meeting initiated by UNIC and involving the UN and the Lagos State Inter-ministerial Committee, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, noted that the proposal of UNIC to the State government would strengthen the existing relationship between the UN and the Lagos State Government. She added that the proposed handwashing campaign in schools was in line with the plan of the government, preparatory to the opening of schools after the containment of the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the State.
Earlier, the Senior Public Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Envera Selimovic, thanked the Lagos State Government represented by the Commissioner for Education, for considering UNIC Proposal and calling for the partnership meeting.

UNIC Lagos dominates airwaves, features on six Radio/TV Channels to mark International Day of Peace

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, has in the last three days, dominated Nigeria’s radio and television airwaves as it joined the rest of the world to mark the International Day of Peace.
In separate appearances on Metro 97.7 FM; Radio One 103.5 FM; Faaji 106.5 FM; Radio Nigeria Network; Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Educational Television; and the Nigerian Television Authority Network News Segment (Panorama), the Senior Public Information Officer, Envera Selimovic and the National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, shared the message of the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, asking ‘combatants to put down their arms so all can breathe the air of peace.’

Envera Selimovic (middle) at Radio One 103.5 FM

Envera Selimovic (middle) at Radio One 103.5 FM

‘Let us all reflect on peace, and what it means for our human family. Let us hold it in our hearts and minds and tenderly nurture it so it may grow and blossom,’ the Secretary General added.
Oluseyi Soremekun (left) at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA)

Oluseyi Soremekun (left) at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA)

Discussing with their audience, Selimovic and Soremekun noted that the observance was meant to raise public awareness on issues related to peace and to also strengthen the ideals of peace within and among all nations and peoples.
Oluseyi Soremekun at Metro 97.7 FM

Oluseyi Soremekun at Metro 97.7 FM

They enjoined their respective audience to hold peace dearly and pursue peaceful co-existence with other people.
The Secretary General’s message was translated into Yoruba Language and shared with radio Audience on Faaji FM by the National Information Officer. Faaji FM broadcasts primarily in Yoruba Language spoken in six States in Nigeria and part of Republic of Benin.

World Leaders Commit to Intensify Efforts to Realize Women’s Health, Rights, Equality

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 22 September 2014 — More than 140 presidents, heads of government, ministers and high officials from around the world today reaffirmed their countries’ strong political support to the historic International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

During the ICPD, held in Cairo in 1994, 179 governments agreed on a 20-year Programme of Action that included a bold new vision of the relationships between population, development and individual well-being. It recognized that population was not about numbers, but about people, and that social, economic and political equality, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, was the basis for individual well-being, slower population growth and sustainable development.

Addressing today’s United Nations General Assembly special session on the follow-up to the ICPD beyond 2014, world leaders agreed that the ICPD was as relevant today as in 1994. They also noted the considerable progress in achieving its goal over the past two decades, particularly in reducing poverty, improving maternal health and enforcing girls’ education. However, they added, much must still be done to improve the quality of life of all people.

The Cairo conference was “a global turning point,” said Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, in his opening statement of the special session. “Its Programme of Action was built on fundamental principles affirming that development should centre on people. It also emphasized the value of investing in women and girls. And it affirmed the importance of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.”

“The world agreed in Cairo that when women and girls get the education they deserve, societies are more productive,” added Mr. Ban. “When their rights are protected, societies are more just. And when they are empowered to determine their own future, societies become stronger.”
The UN Secretary-General also applauded UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, “for leading our global push to translate the Cairo Programme of Action into a meaningful change for so many people.”

The Cairo mandate defined the principle of people-centred development in real terms, and “forever changed how we perceive population and development,” said UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. “It shifted the focus from human numbers to human lives, human well-being and human rights. Cairo ensured that a bedrock principle of development would be to realize dignity and human rights for all people as a means of achieving our collective goals.”

Over the past 20 years, said Dr. Osotimehin, “we have seen the rise of hundreds of millions out of poverty, gender parity in primary education, fewer women dying giving life and more women in the workforce. These advances show how powerful development founded on dignity and human rights can be.” However, he added, “we still have a long way to go. Our world is growing increasingly unequal, and, all too often, women and girls get the short end of the stick.”
“We cannot talk about sustainable development without ensuring that young people’s needs are met, that we give voice to their aspirations, that we include them in decision-making,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “We cannot talk about sustainable development without addressing women’s empowerment, gender inequality, and discrimination and violence. We cannot talk about sustainable development without ensuring that the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all are met.”

These issues, added Dr. Osotimehin, “must be at the heart of the post-2015 agenda to ensure that current and future generations are made up of resilient, adaptive, innovative, creative people capable of building resilient societies. If we can do that, we will be able to address any challenge that our world faces, today and tomorrow.”

The special session was held to renew political support for the Cairo mandate. It also highlighted achievements and gaps in implementing the ICPD Programme of Action, as well priorities for future action, based on a recent global review of the agenda.

Study warns swift action needed to curb exponential climb in Ebola outbreak

Investigation of new data expands information on spread of outbreak and case fatality rate

GENEVA ¦ 22 September 2014 — Unless Ebola control measures in West Africa are enhanced quickly, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Imperial College, London, predict numbers will continue to climb exponentially , and more than 20,000 people will have been infected by early November, according to a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine released six months after WHO was first notified of the outbreak in West Africa.

In the article, public health epidemiologists and statisticians reviewed data since the beginning of the outbreak in December 2013 to determine the scale of the epidemic, better understand the spread of the disease, and what it will take to reverse the trend of infections.

Scale of epidemic

Although WHO was first notified of the outbreak on 23 March 2014, investigations retroactively revealed the outbreak started in December 2013. Between 30 December 2013 and 14 September 2014, a total of 4507 cases were reported to WHO.

The data in the study help clarify some details of who is most affected by this outbreak. For example, there have been mixed reports on whether women might be harder hit because they are more likely to care for sick, or whether it would be men who might be more likely to bury the highly-infectious dead bodies.

“This study gave us some real insight into how this outbreak was working, for example, we learned there is no significant difference among the different countries in the total numbers of male and female case patients,” says Dr Christopher Dye, Director of Strategy for WHO, and co-author of the study. “There may be differences in some communities, but when we actually looked at all the data combined, we saw it was really almost split 50-50.”

The extensive review of data also allowed for a closer look at case fatality rate.

“Assessing the case fatality rate during this epidemic is complicated by incomplete information on the clinical outcomes of many cases, both detected and undetected,” says Dye. “This analysis shows that by 14 September, a total of 70.8% of patients with definitive outcomes have died. This rate was consistent among Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.”

But the case fatality rate was lower when only hospitalized patients were considered, supporting evidence that getting patients to good, supportive health care quickly makes a difference.

Spread of infection

The examination of the data also showed the spread more clearly. In late December, the first cases were reported in the forest areas of Guinea. By March, when the government sounded the alarm to WHO, cases had already spread from the forest area to the capital of Conakry. In May, the focus of the outbreak in Guinea expanded strongly to Sierra Leone and in June it really took hold in Liberia. From July onward, there were sharp increases in case numbers in all three countries.


Although the current epidemic in West Africa is unprecedented in scale, the clinical course of infection and the transmissibility of the virus are similar to those in previous Ebola outbreaks.

“We infer that the present epidemic is exceptionally large, not primarily because of biologic characteristics of the virus, but in part because of the attributes of the affected populations, the condition of the health systems, and because control efforts have been insufficient to halt the spread of infection,” says Dye.

There are challenges in this region that exacerbate the struggles to contain the virus quickly. Most importantly the health systems in all three countries were shattered after years of conflict and there was a significant shortage of health workers, leaving the system weaker than in other countries with Ebola outbreaks. In addition, certain characteristics of the population may have led to the rapid spread of the disease, for example, the populations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are highly interconnected, with extensive cross-border traffic at the epicentre and relatively easy connections by road between rural towns and villages and the densely populated capital cities.

“The large intermixing population has facilitated the spread of infection, but a large outbreak was not inevitable,” says Professor Christl Donnelly, Professor of Statistical Epidemiology, Imperial College and the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling. “In Nigeria, for example, where health systems are stronger, the number of cases has so far been limited, despite the introduction of infection into the large cities of Lagos and Port Harcourt.“

The critical determinant of outbreak size appears to be the speed of implementation of rigorous control measures.

“Forward projections suggest that unless control measures – including improvements in contract tracing, adequate case isolation, increased quality of care and capacity for clinical management, greater community engagement, and support from international partners – improve quickly, these three countries will soon be reporting thousands of cases and deaths each week,” says Dye.

Experimental therapeutics and vaccines offer promise for the future, but are unlikely to be available in the quantities needed to make a substantial difference in control efforts for many months, even if they are proved to be safe and effective.

The risk of continued expansion of the Ebola outbreak is real. This study provides the evidence needed for an urgent wakeup call requiring intensive scaling up of control measures while working towards rapid development and deployment of new medicines and vaccines.

Media contact:

Fadela Chaib, WHO spokesperson, chaibf@who.int, +41.22.791.2222