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Expert Panel Endorses Protocol for COVID-19 Herbal Medicine Clinical Trials in Africa

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The Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 formed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs has endorsed a protocol for phase III clinical trials of herbal medicine for COVID-19 as well as a charter and terms of reference for the establishment of a data and safety monitoring board for herbal medicine clinical trials.

“Just like other areas of medicine, sound science is the sole basis for safe and effective traditional medicine therapies,” said Dr Prosper Tumusiime, Director of Universal Health Coverage and Life Course Cluster at WHO Regional Office for Africa.

“The onset of COVID-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has highlighted the need for strengthened health systems and accelerated research and development programmes, including on traditional medicines,” said Dr Tumusiime.

The endorsed technical documents are aimed at empowering and developing a critical mass of technical capacity of scientists in Africa to conduct proper clinical trials to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of traditional medicines in line with international standards. Phase III clinical trials are pivotal in fully assessing the safety and efficacy of a new medical product. The data safety and monitoring board will ensure that the accumulated studies data are reviewed periodically against participants’ safety. It will also make recommendations on the continuation, modification or termination of a trial based on evaluation of data at predetermined periods during the study.

If a traditional medicine product is found to be safe, efficacious and quality-assured, WHO will recommend for a fast-tracked, large-scale local manufacturing, Dr Tumusiime explained, noting that through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum, there is now a benchmark upon which clinical trials of medicines and vaccines in the region can be assessed and approved in fewer than 60 days.

“The adoption of the technical documents will ensure that universally acceptable clinical evidence of the efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 are generated without compromising the safety of participants,” said Professor Motlalepula Gilbert Matsabisa, the Expert Committee Chairman. He voiced hope that that the generic clinical trial protocol will be immediately used by scientists in the region to ensure that people can benefit from the potential of traditional medicine in dealing with the ongoing pandemic.

The 25-members of the Regional Expert Advisory Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 are tasked with supporting countries to enhance research and development of traditional medicine-based therapies against the virus and provide guidance on the implementation of the approved protocols to generate scientific evidence on the quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines for COVID-19.

The Committee members are from research institutions, national regulatory authorities, traditional medicine programmes, public health departments, academia, medical and pharmacy professions and civil society organizations of Member States.

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

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Chidi Nwaogu Nominated As Techpreneur Of The Year At 2021 FOYA Awards

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Chidi Nwaogu, serial tech entrepreneur and co-founder at Publiseer and Savvy, has been nominated as Techpreneur Of The Year at the 2021 FOYA Awards, an annual awards ceremony since 2016, which was conceived to serve the strategic objective to retain, reward, and recognize high-quality entrepreneurs and SMEs in Africa.
Chidi Nwaogu is the co-founder and CEO at Publiseer, a digital content distribution company that has helped over 6,000 underserved African creatives living in low-income and disadvantaged communities to earn a living from the sales of their creative works, and has been described by Konbini as “one of the largest digital publishers in Africa” and identified by IFC as one of the startups “that could speed up innovation in Africa”.
He is also the co-founder and Head of Program at Savvy, a global fellowship program that has equipped over 3,900 passionate and brilliant young individuals from 136 countries, with the necessary knowledge, skills, resources, tools, and support community that they need to start their own impact-driven business in a post-COVID era and succeed as social entrepreneurs.
For his works at Publiseer, Nwaogu won the 2020 Migration Entrepreneurship Prize by the Swiss Government, the 2019 Africa 35.35 Award for Entrepreneurship, the 2019 Young Leaders Award for Media and Entertainment, and the 2019 Bizz Business Excellence Award. He is a 2020 Acumen Fellow (West Africa), 2020 Alibaba eFounders Fellow (China), 2019 Westerwelle Fellow (Germany), 2019 African Presidential Leadership Fellow (Cairo), and 2019 Yunus&Youth Fellow (New York).
FOYA Awards is designed to recognize and appreciate young founders contributing to the African continent’s economic growth while creating employment and other income-generating opportunities through entrepreneurship, thereby inspiring others to be founders in their own right. The platform has developed into a convening agent for actors in the youthful entrepreneurship ecosystem attracting and stewarding access to relevant investors, not-for-profit leaders, influential personalities, and government officials to address everyday challenges and devise impactful, lasting solutions.

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U.S. Facilitates $28M Scholarship For Nigerian Students in 1 year – U.S. Ambassador

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Mary Beth Leonard US Ambassador to Nigeria- Investors King

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, says her country has facilitated 28 million dollars scholarships for Nigerian students to study in U.S institutions in the last one year.

Leonard said this on Thursday at the commemoration of the Student Visa Day organised by the U.S Mission in Abuja.

She said that the scholarship process was facilitated by the Education U.S.A programme of the embassy which was keen on enabling Nigerian students to pursue their academics and a future in the U.S.

“We are proud to prioritize Nigeria’s scholars in our consular process, as we recognise the value their success holds for the country’s future. With over 13,700 students fulfilling their American education dreams, the United States welcomes more Nigerian students enrolled than ever before. Americans view university study as an investment in a professional future.

“And I’m pleased that our Education USA team has helped Nigerian students apply for and receive more than 28 million dollars in scholarships and other educational funding to pursue their future. We know from us over 8,000 education and exchange programme alumni in Nigeria, the tremendous community impact that results when these ambitious students return to apply their knowledge and skills.

“Here at the U.S. Embassy, we are proud of the diversity in American educational institutions. There are more than 8,000 Students and Exchange Visitor Programme-certified educational institutions in the United States,” Leonard said.

The envoy also noted that beyond studying in the U.S, the programme provides the opportunity for Nigerian students to meet with U.S citizens and other nationals which will help in strengthening bilateral ties.

She said that with more than one million students from 220 countries and territories, the United States hosts more international students than any other country in the world.

She revealed that Nigeria sent more students to the United States than any other country in Africa.

“Students at our universities exchange ideas not only with American students but with students from across the globe. The educational enrichment that these types of discussions provide is priceless.

“As students, you will hear ideas and personal stories from your classmates and professors that will challenge your views. And also expand your understanding of the world; your ideas and stories will do the same for those around you.,” she said.

According to her, by studying together in the same schools, Nigerians, Americans, and students from all other nationalities will not only understand each other better but also see how many common challenges we all face.

“Students can work together to creatively solve problems and build long-term professional collaborations, increasing our countries’ economic ties”, Leonard added.

She, therefore, congratulated the beneficiaries, who were present as she urged them to stay focused on their studies in other to make a meaningful impact in the country when they return.

Ms Malate Atajiri, an Education USA Adviser said the opportunities fund programme seeks to identify and support high achieving low-income students who otherwise will not have been able to navigate or finance the process.

Atajiri said that the programme helps to support aspiring students towards securing full scholarships from top colleges in the U.S.

“The programme finances the process right from the testing stage, their application fees and even paying for their flight tickets after they have secured the funding. This year, the opportunity funds programme in Abuja supported 50 students to secure 4 million dollars in scholarships at some of the most competitive colleges and institutions in North America.

“Since the programme started, we have placed over 320 students with full funding in the U.S the programme also has a strong ethos of giving back. Although we have many students who have done and continue to do great things, Education USA is committed to helping young Nigerians who are interested in studying in the U.S.

“We help students to navigate that process and help them realize their dreams of a U.S education,” Atajiri said.

Atajiri added that the Education USA had six centers in Nigeria; Abuja, Lagos, Jos, Calabar and Ibadan where aspiring students could visit to learn more and get more information on the programmes and processes. (NAN)

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Npower Batch C: 550,000 Applicants Shortlisted For Final Selection

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A total of 550,000 applicants have been shortlisted by the National Social Investment Management System (NASIMS), for stream 1 of the Batch C N-Power programme.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq announced this at a media briefing in Abuja.

The Minister stated that the 550,000 short-listed applicants are being individually contacted through the e-mail addresses provided by them.

”By the 3rd week of May 2021, over 1.8 million Nigerians successfully updated their records and took the compulsory online test.

“Further screening was undertaken and a short-list of 550,000 applicants qualified for the final selection. 500,000 will be finally selected nationwide to serve as the first stream of the N-Power Batch C programme. This is the Batch C1. The second batch of another 500,000 will subsequently be made in line with Mr President’s directive to engage 1,000,000 beneficiaries under the Batch C,” the Minister said.

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development launched the National Social Investment Management System (NASIMS) on March 11, 2021, for the Batch C applicants who were requested to urgently update their personal information and subsequently take an online test through the NASIMS Portal.

Home-Grown school feeding programme

In a related development, the Minister also announced the resumption of the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme where a total of 9,196,823 pupils in classes 1 to 3 in public primary schools will receive one nutritious meal daily in all 54,619 schools nationwide.

The programme, according to the Minister is being expanded to accommodate an additional five million children in line with the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The outcome of this programme includes an increase in school enrolment, improved nutrition for benefiting pupils, boosting of local economies and facilitating job creation through the activities of 103,028 cooks, 100,000 smallholder farmers and numerous aggregators and commodity transporters engaged nationwide”.

Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq also revealed plans to onboard the second Batch of beneficiaries under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) which is nearing completion and will be made public soon.

She also reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to the continued implementation of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP), in line with Mr President’s policy to unfailingly lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, through innovative Youth Empowerment and Gainful Employment.

“As part of the NSIP, the Rapid Response Register (RRR) has been put in place by the Ministry as a shock responsive intervention register specifically targeted at the Urban Informal workers impacted by the Covid 19 Pandemic. One million beneficiaries will receive monthly cash transfers of N5,000 for 6 months. A pilot commenced earlier this year with 3,115 beneficiaries in Lagos and Abuja. It will be upscaled nationwide and beneficiaries will start receiving their stipends soon,” Umar Farouq said.

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