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COVID-19: Those Who Paid For Others To Stay Alive



COVID-19-Those Who Paid For Others To Stay Alive

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Olushola Okunlade Writes

Africa is generally believed to have a poor health system that any deadly epidemic would easily defeat. It was almost given, when in late 2019 that COVID-19 broke out, that the world had seen a holocaust in Africa.

Though there was great concern that COVID-19 would overwhelm the global health facilities, the prediction for Africa was grim. The forecast did not come to pass; however, Africa is still having the least impact on COVID-19, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), despite not having the required resources and the vaccines.

Like they rose against the Ebola outbreak, medical and other health personnel in the Nigerian health sector have been the heroes who did everything possible for others to stay alive, including paying the supreme price to ensure that the pandemic did not consume everyone. Many Nigerians still remember Stella Ameyo, the doctor who prevented what would have been a catastrophe for Africa’s most populous country.

Adadevoh’s life came to a sudden end−she died on August 19, 2014− making the ultimate sacrifice for the whole country.

After putting Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian Diplomat who entered Nigeria with the deadly Ebola virus, in quarantine, she prevented a large-scale spread of the virus in Nigeria.

Healthcare workers are often at risk of exposure to infections, including COVID-19, as they are the first responders to patients. Although health workers were advised to use full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) before attending to patients, many still do not have access to this equipment. As a result, over 1000 health workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Osagie Ehanire, the Nigerian health minister, said as of June 2, 2020, at least 812 health workers have tested positive for COVID-19. As of July of the same year, over 10 000 health workers in 40 African countries have been infected with the COVID-19 virus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) disclosed.

In Nigeria alone, over 20 Nigerian doctors have died from complications arising from coronavirus in just one week.

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), FCT, chapter Enema Amodu said the deceased health workers include consultants, professors, and some resident doctors. He said the figures keep increasing daily.

“For those of us in the health sector, we have lost quite a number of colleagues. Across the country, we have lost not less than 20 doctors in the last one week,” he said.

The deaths of these health care workers were a great loss to their families and, indeed, a loss to the health systems too.

Africa is still struggling with the lowest ratio of healthcare workers per population. It is estimated that the global shortage of healthcare workers will be most significant in Africa, with a shortage of around 6 million healthcare workers by 2030.

The pandemic also cost us progress on other public health priorities, including HIV/Aids, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria. Experts warn that the pandemic has effectively derailed years of public health progress.

But hope is not lost as the vaccination campaign continues. The goal is to get every eligible adult vaccinated, particularly health workers. The Nigerian Government is targeting 1 million health workers for vaccination in the first phase of its nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations that began in March 2021.

According to the World Health Organisation, only 27% of health workers in Africa have been fully vaccinated, leaving the majority exposed to severe Covid-19 infection. As a result, since March 2020, there have been more than 150 400 Covid-19 infections among healthcare workers alone.

The best way to fight the pandemic is by vaccines. Nigeria is not in short supply of it. To aid the vaccination drive in Africa, in November 2021, Mastercard Foundation, in partnership with Africa CDC, delivered over 3.3 million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines to Nigeria through its Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative.

UNICEF Nigeria received the vaccines and has been responsible for the logistics and delivery to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for cold storage and distribution to vaccination centres.

Launched in June 2021, Saving Lives and Livelihoods is a $1.5 billion partnership that aims to enable vaccination for millions of people, develop a workforce for vaccine manufacturing, and strengthen the Africa CDC’s capacity to oversee a historic vaccination campaign and effectively respond to future outbreaks. The initiative aims to purchase and deliver at least 65 million vaccines to Africa.

According to the President and CEO of Mastercard Foundation, Reeta Roy, timely delivery of these vaccines underscores the effectiveness of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust. Working with the Africa CDC and other organizations, the Foundation will support the rollout of vaccinations to millions across the Continent.

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GoMed, Online Community Pharmacy Marketplace Launches In Lagos



GoMed, Online Community Pharmacy Marketplace Launches in Lagos

….partners community pharmacies across Nigeria with tools to showcase their inventory

Olushola Okunlade Writes

GoMed, an online marketplace for community pharmacies has launched in Lagos to provide on-the-go access to safe medicines, health products, and services for Nigerians, a strategic move to tap into the thriving Nigeria pharma market which is estimated at $2.5 billion.

GoMed partners with community pharmacies across Nigeria, providing them with the tools to showcase their inventory while exposing them to millions of potential customers within their communities.

With GoMed, community pharmacies regardless of size are able to digitise their sales process to reach even more customers, while users can access an array of pharmaceutical products ranging from prescription drugs to personal care and supplements. Users are also able to order medical equipment, speak with pharmacists or even consult a doctor.

Speaking at the launch in Lagos, Partner, and Co-founder of GoMed Nigeria, Dr. Aaron Grandy said the solution was inspired by the need to provide the tools and resources that pharmacy businesses need to take their services online and scale their operations in the most efficient and profitable manner. 

“Most community pharmacies are so busy running their business that they don’t have spare time and resources to build up an online shop with 5,000 to 10,000+ products, manage branding, marketing, and communications, plus coordinate deliveries all at the same time.

“With all these challenges in mind, we asked pharmacy owners and managers if an online solution that they could tap into, enhance their brand and reach more customers would be of interest to them, and of course, it was a resounding yes!” Grandy said.

GoMed, Online Community Pharmacy Marketplace Launches in Lagos
In 2019, the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions project was commissioned, and the SPDC JV is planning to reduce associated gas flaring further through its Forcados Yokri gas-gathering project, of which large parts are set to be completed in 2022. Despite such efforts to reduce continuous flaring, unfortunately flaring intensity (the amount of gas flared for every tonne of oil and gas produced) at both SPDC- and SNEPCo-operated facilities increased in 2021 owing to short-term operational issues. Flaring from SPDC-operated facilities increased by around 5% in 2021 compared with 2020. The increase was primarily because of the extended outage of the gas compression system in SPDC’s shallow-water operations. The system was restored and became operational from January 2022. Flaring at SNEPCo-operated facilities rose by around 160% in 2021 compared with 2020. This was mainly because of an increase in flaring on the Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Repairs to a flex-joint on the Bonga FPSO’s gas export riser in the second quarter took longer than expected, in part because of weather conditions. While repairs were under way, the FPSO continued to produce oil and therefore flaring was necessary for safety reasons. The repairs were safely concluded in July 2021. Although flaring intensity levels rose in 2021, SPDC and SNEPCo over the last 10 years have almost halved the combined amount of hydrocarbons they flare from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2021. This reduction is the result of a strict flaring reduction management process and both SPDC and SNEPCo will continue to work in close collaboration with joint-venture partners and the government to make progress towards ending routine flaring of associated gas. NIGERIA LNG EXPANSION UNDERWAY Global demand for LNG continues to grow as the world increasingly seeks reliable supplies of lowercarbon energy. Shell’s investment in Nigeria’s gas infrastructure for export is expected to help 6 This is according to a data provided by global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. the country benefit further from revenues. Shell Gas B.V. and its partners took a final investment decision in 2020 on a new LNG processing unit – known as Train 7 -- at NLNG. The expansion is expected to create around 12,000 jobs for Nigerians during construction and stimulate growth of the local oil and gas service sector, with 55% of engineering and procurement of goods and services being sourced in-country. Train 7 is expected to ensure Nigeria’s continued place as a global player in a lower-carbon energy source. Once operational, Train 7 will add around 8 million tonnes per annum of capacity to the Bonny Island LNG facility, taking the total production to around 30 million tonnes per annum. In 2021, NLNG began awarding procurement and construction contracts. Early works started at the site. The first phase of the worker village is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022 and the new material offloading facility ready for use by the end of 2022. NLNG’s Train 7 is expected to come onstream in the middle of the 2020s. KEY LICENCE RENEWED FOR DEEP-WATER SNEPCo has interests in four deep-water blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, two of which it operates. Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production comes from the Bonga and the nonoperated Erha fields.6 Since production began in 2005, Bonga alone has produced more than 950 million barrels of oil with the 2021 average oil production per day at 105,000 barrels. The Bonga FPSO vessel has a total production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 standard cubic feet of gas export per day. In 2021, the availability of the FPSO vessel increased to 80% from 70% in 2020. In addition to Bonga, SNEPCo’s exploration activities have led to several significant discoveries of oil and gas over the last two decades, including the Bolia and Doro fields (Shell interest 55%). Nigeria Briefing Notes Helping to power Nigeria’s economy 13 In the right investment climate, SNEPCo believes that there are opportunities to expand. In 2021 the OML 118 (Bonga) production sharing contract was renewed and the lease extended for 20 years. Bonga North and Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil fields are two such potential opportunities. Bonga North is a proposed tie-back project to the existing Bonga FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 14 wells. BSWA is a development of a new FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 23 wells. SUPPORTING RENEWABLE ENERGY STARTUPS Millions of Nigerians are excluded from the country’s power grid and Shell Companies in Nigeria have established and provided substantial funding for a not-for-profit, impact-investing company called All On. Operating as an independent company, All On works to bring reliable electricity – often from renewable energy sources -- to off-grid urban and rural customers. This support aims to build a solid pipeline of viable businesses that can create the scale required to address Nigeria’s access to energy gap. In December 2019, SPDC and SNEPCo made a significant additional 10-year financing commitment of $160 million in All On, bringing the total commitment to $200 million. By the end of 2021, All On had provided investment capital to over 40 renewable energy start-ups in its portfolio – an increase of more than 30% from 2020. One such company is Infibranches Technologies Limited, to which All On has committed $2 million, which is expected to enable the indigenous technology company to expand sales of solar home systems via its more than 13,000 agent banking partners across Nigeria. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the All On Hub was established in 2020 to provide nonfinancial support and build the capabilities of off-grid energy entrepreneurs. In 2021, the hub supported 81 ventures – nearly double the 41 supported in 2020. Also in 2021, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet launched a $10 million equipment financing facility as part of the DART pilot programme in Nigeria. 7 Hydraulic flying leads support the delivery of hydraulic fluid and/or chemicals between subsea equipment. 8 Subsea trees are an assembly of valves and other components used to monitor and control the production of a subsea well. DART will combine demand pooling, aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, and access to affordable finance to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. DEVELOPING LOCAL CONTENT AND SKILLS Shell Companies in Nigeria contribute to the growth of Nigerian businesses that can provide technical and support services to the industry. This includes the manufacture of tools and technical kits, the operation of helicopter flights in the Niger Delta, and strategic partnerships between foreign and local companies to stimulate technology transfer and capacity development. While there are government-required programmes in some areas, such as the Nigerian and Community Content Strategy embedded in the Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately seek to contract local businesses wherever possible. In 2021, Shell Companies in Nigeria awarded $800 million worth of contracts to Nigerian-registered companies. Of these, 92% were companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership. SNEPCo has awarded major engineering and construction contracts to companies that are indigenous, have local staff, or possess domestic capabilities in the country. At present, the manufacture and rebuild of hydraulic flying leads7 (HFLs) is being carried out in-country by wholly indigenous companies. Pressure Controls Systems Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian company, continues to refurbish old subsea trees.8 Sometimes, a lack of access to capital hinders Nigerian companies from competing for and executing contracts effectively. Shell Companies in Nigeria have provided access to nearly $1.6 billion in loans to 901 Nigerian vendors under the Shell Contractor Support Fund since 2012. These loans help improve their tendering opportunities.

Immediate benefits of GoMed to pharmacy partners include increased sales via online channels, and brand visibility through showcasing brand specialties and unique selling propositions.

Other benefits include conveniently serving a wider audience without fear of giving away their business, risking their brand or losing their customers to the competition, and unfettered access to digital tools for better visibility and business insights.

Grandy further stated, “GoMed taps directly into the trust and loyalty that Nigerian community pharmacies have built over the years by being the first point of contact with patients,” adding that GoMed’s mission is to “support and lift up these community pharmacies as they are the real heroes in our story”.

About GoMed: GoMed is a Finnish / Nigerian company on a mission to digitise access to safe health products and services for everyone in Nigeria. For more information, visit or email us at

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Sterling Biopharma Launches Fejeron Blood Tonic, Seeks To Inspire Nigerians



Sterling Biopharma Launches Fejeron Blood Tonic, Seeks To Inspire Nigerians

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The pharmaceutical firm, Sterling Biopharma Limited, has introduced a new product called Fejeron Blood Tonic into the Nigerian market to support the country’s about 66.8% economically active population.

Fejeron Blood Tonic contains iron, Vitamin B12, and folic acid, all essential components that help to facilitate adequate blood supply and replenishment to the body with vital vitamins while enabling a strong immune system.

Sterling Biopharma Launches Fejeron Blood Tonic, Seeks To Inspire Nigerians
Left-Right: Product Manager, Sterling BioPharma Limited Olumide Oluremi; Regional Sales Manager, Sterling BioPharma Limited; Olatubosun Tosin; Finance Controller, Segun Olalere; Chief Operating Officer, Bayo Adepoju and Chanel Manager, Olatusi Opeoluwa during the official media launch of Fejeron Blood Tonic in Lagos.

Speaking at the media unveiling in Lagos on Thursday, September 15, the Chief Operating Officer, of Sterling Biopharma Limited, Mr. Adebayo Adepoju, said that the nature of stress and fatigue that Nigerians encounter on a daily basis requires that their physical and mental well-being is well supported to function at it best and this is why Fejeron Blood Tonic is uniquely formulated for everyone regardless of age or gender.

“At Sterling Biopharma, we believe that everyone deserves to be able to buy simple prescription drugs without breaking the bank. This is why from the moment we entered the Nigerian market, and with our wide range of products, we have made our intentions clear and that is to make quality pharmaceutical products affordable for all Nigerians.

“So, Fejeron Blood Tonic is the latest proof of our commitment to this mission. Despite its premium quality, Fejeron, at the moment is one of the most affordable blood tonics you will find in the Nigerian pharma market, and this is deliberate. All Nigerians should be able to take care of themselves,” he said.

Left-Right: Product Manager, Sterling BioPharma Limited, Olumide Oluremi; Finance Controller, Segun Olalere; and Chief Operating Officer, Bayo Adepoju, during the official media launch of Fejeron Blood Tonic by Sterling BioPharma Limited, in Lagos, yesterday.

Since its market introduction, Fejeron has quickly become one of the well-sought-after new brands in the pharmaceutical category, and the Product Manager, Olumide Ogunremi, linked the warm embrace of the product to its quality and appeal to the needs of the Nigerians.

He said: “The quick acceptance of Fejeron Blood Tonic in Nigeria is not a surprise to us. The enthusiasm to try out the product and the return purchases across the biggest pharmaceutical markets in Nigeria validate the quality of the product and timeliness of its emergence.”

On what makes Fejeron Blood Tonic unique, Ogunremi promised that both the young and old will love the taste of Fejeron, adding that extra effort has also been put into ensuring that the product has less chance of causing common side effects like metallic after-taste, staining of the teeth; constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and others.

On the brand’s promise to Nigerians, the C.O.O noted that Fejeron Blood Tonic is driven by the belief that truly, health is wealth and they are out to promote this culture among Nigerians, standing by them on the journey to their individual accomplishments.

“We realise that the average Nigerian is aspirational and that explains why hard work is a way of life, regardless of class. However, every dreamer needs an enhancer, a cheerleader, and a support system, a role we are happy to play.

“That is why our online launch campaign is encouraging Nigerians across all socioeconomic classes to jump on our social media handles @myfejeron on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to tell their stories with emphasis on what drives them to aspire, using the hashtag #myfejeron.

“We want to celebrate the Naija spirit and all we are saying is that Fejeron feels your hustle and we are with you on your journey to greatness. We will constantly remind you to take care of yourself in order to achieve those lofty dreams. Our biggest assets are our customers and we hold you, dear,” he said.

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Hundreds Of Women, Girls Sign Up To Benefits From ‘Girls With Period’ Pad Stash Project In Makoko



Hundreds Of Women, Girls Sign Up To Benefits From 'Girls With Period' Pad Stash Project In Makoko

Olushola Okunlade Writes

‘Girls with Period’ a Not for Profit organization ‘launched its Pad Stash project in Makoko on the 30th of August 2022.

The Pad Stash Project is an initiative to provide sanitary supplies on a monthly basis to people living in rural communities who cannot afford these basic amenities.

The first stop for The Pad Stash Project was the girls and young women of Makoko Community.

Being the first of its kind in Africa, The Pad Stash Project is guaranteed to promote menstrual hygiene and most importantly provide for women and girls in impoverished communities who cannot afford this vital need.

The ‘Girls with Period’ team thereafter registered over 100 beneficiaries for the empowerment scheme. The beneficiaries will be receiving sanitary pad supplies monthly.

Membership cards and membership forms were provided and registration was done according to names, date of birth, and addresses amongst other parameters.

They further educated young women and girls on topics relating to menstrual hygiene, sex education, and health care in general.

“We not only intend to make sanitary products free and at their disposal on a monthly basis, but we also intend to educate them about menstrual hygiene and health care, sex education, and confidence and empower them with skills that will fetch them money in the nearest future. The plan is to help reduce and totally eliminate period poverty from Africa”. Founder, Patricia Vin-Okopi said.

The team visited the Minangan health Center Makoko (House on Lagoon) to see women and girls admitted and also get to know how their healthcare system operates.

The medical practitioner at the health center Dr. Ajoke Hazume stated that they had a poor health system as they do not have enough medicine to treat patients and pregnant women.

‘Health care has deteriorated as they can’t afford necessary medicine for treatment, as most female inhabitants who fall ill or get infections from using dirty wrappers for the period, don’t have access to these vital needs due to lack of funds” Dr. Ajoke Hazume said.

The beneficiaries were handed hygiene packs containing sanitary pads and panty liners and were also shown how to use sanitary items.

“We are grateful for the Pad Stash initiative and are also soliciting funds to enable us to get the necessary medicine and health equipment for treatment and childbirth”. She added.

Chairman of the Board of directors for ‘Girls With Period’, Ifeoma ‘Oma Areh further said.

“We are happy to put smiles on the faces of these young women and girls with The Pad Stash Project and we intend to extend this initiative to other geopolitical zones in Nigeria”.

The Pad Stash project seeks to educate and empower more women and girls in the nearest future and is open to the prospect of collaborating with like minds who are aware of challenges faced by females, especially the not-so-privileged ones.

Hundreds Of Women, Girls Sign Up To Benefits From 'Girls With Period' Pad Stash Project In Makoko
Hundreds Of Women, Girls Sign Up To Benefits From 'Girls With Period' Pad Stash Project In Makoko

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