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Ambode Advises Public Servants to be IT Compliant



  • Ambode Advises Public Servants to be IT Compliant

Public servants in Lagos must be fully compliant with information technology (IT) as the country journeys on in the 21st Century, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has said.

Represented by the Commissioner, Ministry of Establishments, Training, and Pensions, Dr. Akintola Benson, at the ongoing workshop for public servants, he said the workers must begin and complete their work on computers and the internet to get the benefits of speed, scalability, and inter-operability of systems.

At the workshop tagged, “Strategic management and transformational leadership in the 21st Century-Agile Management Model”, he stated that this has become necessary as the state government and its institutions position to be adaptable to the changes of the unique challenges of the century.

He said the workshop was designed to further the commitment of the government to the fundamental transformation of the state public service.

Ambode added that the government has demonstrated that it will not be deterred in its determination to ensure the realisation of this vision.

He said from a citizen and governmental perspective, the key expectations from a 21st century public service are the ability to transplant private sector-tested management theories into the public service, realistic and practically-grounded policy formulation and execution. Others are the deepening of technical knowledge and utilisation of modern tools, the appreciation of the need to focus on details and, importantly, the prioritisation of productivity on individual levels in terms of time utilisation and work modalities.

He said: “I am confident that this training will address the practical steps to realise these expectations and many more that will be identified in the course of this training. It is gratifying to note that in Lagos State, we have a government that has boldly embraced this challenge of modernising governance and innovatively approaching the task of public administration. We are poised to examine those areas, processes and institutions and practices that need to be overhauled or remodeled in order to achieve this end.

“And as we journey on in the 21st Century and as the Lagos State government and her institutions position to be adaptable to the changes necessitated by the unique challenges of the century, the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions recommended, and I have approved, that selected officers of the state public service be made to pioneer the service-wide adoption of a 21st century-compliant agile management model in the public service.

“Amongst others, this model has been shown to empower people, build accountability, encourage diversity of ideas, allow for the early release of benefits, and promote continuous improvement.

“It allows decisions to be tested and rejected early with feedback loops providing benefits that are not as evident in other scenarios. In addition, it helps deliver change when requirements are uncertain, helps build engagement with stakeholders on what is most beneficial, and ensures that changes are incremental improvements which can help navigate the shock of cultural change.”

“In order to deliver on its promises, the agile management model calls for public service institutions such as the Lagos State Public Service to be ready and open to integrating contemporary leadership principles and management theories into its modus operandi.

“In a review of the most recent developments in the field of business leadership, the number of business leadership styles and trends has been noted.”

He stressed that officers of the public service must deepen their technical skills and knowledge if they must be an integral and functional part of the 21st century-compliant agile management model.

He posited that many projects required the buy-in of members of the public many of whom are savvy enough to demand to see charts, diagrams, models, graphs and other tools before accepting the proposals or acknowledging the competence of those charged with the execution of the project.

“It is now the age of information technology and public servants have to begin and complete their work exclusively on computers and the Internet in order to claim the benefits of speed, scalability, and inter-operability of systems that the agile management model calls for. Agile management in the State Public Service also calls for officers to develop a penchant for laser-like focus on the minute details of projects and policies in their formation and execution. Policy makers can no longer afford to take their eyes off the ball of details.

Amongst others, there is now unprecedented and unrelenting attention by the public on the activities of policy makers.

“Added to this is the fact that these members of the public are savvy enough to evaluate policy proposals and to appreciate the ramifications of unattended details. Additionally, almost all policy proposals now have a thousand moving parts where every part has the potential, not only to affect the other parts, but also to have ramifications for other tangential policies and projects. Focus on details and attention to details is therefore of crucial importance for officers of the Lagos State Public Service in the context of agile management on the 21st century”, he said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


Biotech Firm Launches Lassa Vaccine Trial in West Africa



Lassa Fever

Biotech Firm Launches Lassa Vaccine Trial in West Africa

A biotechnology company, INOVIO, says the first participant in Lassa vaccine trial has been dosed in a Phase 1B clinical trial for INO-4500, its DNA vaccine candidate for Lassa fever.

The clinical trial is being done in Ghana, the firm says, adding that INOVIO is focused on bringing to market precisely-designed DNA medicines to treat and protect people from infectious diseases and cancer.

The Phase 1B clinical trial (LSV-002), ongoing at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra, Ghana, is the first vaccine clinical trial for Lassa Fever to be conducted in West Africa, where the infection is endemic.

The lead clinical Principal Investigator for LSV-002 is Professor Dr. Kwadwo A. Koram, an expert and specialist in tropical medicines and epidemiologist with more than 20 years of research experience, including malaria vaccines.

INO-4500 was also the first vaccine candidate for Lassa fever to enter human trials, PUNCH Healthwise reports.

Already, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has tweeted his commendation.

Said Ihekweazu, “Fantastic news. The urgency of now. A vaccine for Lassa fever. We have worked very hard with WHO, CEPI vaccines, ACEGID, BNITM_de and many others to put this on the global health agenda. We will keep pushing.”

According to a press release by the biotechnology company, INOVIO is advancing INO-4500 with full funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global partnership that leverages funding from public, private, philanthropic and civil society organisations to support research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.

INOVIO previously received a $56m grant from CEPI in 2018, under which the company is developing vaccine candidates for Lassa Fever and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

“INOVIO and CEPI are committed to making a vaccine available as soon as possible for emergency use as a stockpile product post-Phase 2 testing,” the press release stated.

The statement notes that INOVIO’s Phase 1B clinical trial, LSV-002, will enroll approximately 220 adult participants who are 18 – 50 years old, with the primary endpoints of evaluating safety and immunogenicity in an African population.

The dosing regimen involves two vaccinations at zero and 28 days with either 1.0 mg or 2.0 mg dosing levels. In addition to providing valuable insights on the INO-4500 safety and immunogenicity profile, this trial will inform dose selection for subsequent Phase 2 studies in West Africa.

Lassa fever is an animal-borne, acute hemorrhagic viral illness primarily observed in parts of West Africa.

Infection is spread through contact with infected rodents, as well as person-to-person transmission via bodily fluids (primarily in health care settings).

The disease can cause a range of outcomes, including fever, vomiting, and swelling of the face, pain in the chest, back and abdomen, bleeding of various parts of the body including the eyes and nose and death.

Lassa virus infection in West Africa is estimated to affect 100,000 to 300,000 people annually, and is responsible for 10 – 16 percent of hospital admissions in the region. The virus is responsible for approximately 5,000 deaths annually.

Because of difficulties in diagnosing Lassa fever, the lack of standardised surveillance assays, and the remote nature of many of the areas in West Africa where outbreaks typically occur, the numbers of reported cases and deaths are very likely significantly lower than the actual numbers of cases and deaths.

Though the majority (about 80 percent) of Lassa virus-infected persons are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, the infection can be quite serious to fatal in others. The case-fatality among patients hospitalized for Lassa fever is about 15 – 20 percent and, in some epidemics, case-fatality has reached 50 percent in hospitalized patients.

Up until now, there are no licensed vaccines or treatments specifically for Lassa fever.

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Google Says It Will Start Accepting Political Ads in US



A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich

Google Says It Will Start Accepting Political Ads in US

Google has said it will resume accepting all political advertisements in the United States from Feb. 24.

The search giant disclosed in an email to advertisers on Monday.

Google paused all political advertisements in January when Trump’s mobs invaded U.S. Capitol.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Raised $850 Million at $74 Billion Valuation



Elon Musk's SpaceX Raised $850 million at $74 billion valuation

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Raised $850 Million at $74 Billion Valuation

Elon Musk‘s SpaceX completed a $850 million equity funding round last week, according to people familiar with the funding.

According to the sources, SpaceX raised the $850 million at $419.99 per share or just 1 cent below the $420 price that Musk made infamous in 2018 when he announced he had enough funding to take Tesla private at that price.

The new funding round also represents an increase of around 60 percent in the firm’s valuation from its previous round in August, when SpaceX raised almost $2 billion at a $46 billion valuation.

SpaceX raised only a portion of the funding available in the marketplace, with one of the sources familiar with the funding saying, SpaceX received “insane demand” of around $6 billion in bids in three days.


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