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NAFDAC cautions against consumption of non-iodised salt




The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned that consumption of sodium (non-iodised salt) could lead to health complications.

The Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the advice on Thursday, at the University of Abuja, at a stakeholders meeting on ‘Evaluation Implementation and Scale-up of Nigeria’s National Sodium Reduction Activities.’

According to her, the objectives of the meeting are to present the preliminary findings of the first phase of the project which involves surveys carried out in FCT, Ogun and Kano and to discuss strategies to scale up reduction of sodium (salt) consumption in the country.

The meeting was jointly hosted by NAFDAC and University of Abuja to lead in the implementation of sodium reduction in the country.

“The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration in collaboration with state, and non-state actors using the scale-up of a national sodium reduction program in WHO’s SHAKE package.

“Purpose of this meeting is to increase awareness of the positive impact of sodium salt reduction on health in the food industry, amongst the policymakers, consumers and other stakeholders on the risk associated with high salt intake.

“Sodium is mainly consumed as salt (sodium chloride) which in the diet can come from processed foods, either because they contain large amounts of salt as ready meals, processed meats like bacon, Corn beef, and cheese.

“There are many mechanisms put in place by NAFDAC to promote and protect the health of our people and one of such is sensitization, well informed, and educated citizenry is the bedrock of effective regulation,” Mrs Adeyeye said.

Professor Abdulrasheed Na’allah, the Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, on his part called on all Nigerians to cooperate with NAFDAC and reduce the consumption of sodium to prevent health hazards.

Mr Na’allah said habitual consumption of excess salt may seem harmless, but is linked to several non-communicable diseases which are prevalent in Nigeria, saying that reduction is necessary.

He said that a meaningful strategy to reduce salt consumption across the populations must contain all elements of the SHAKE salt reduction package developed by WHO.


COVID-19: Botswana confirms 19 Omicron cases



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Botswana Health Minister, Edwin Dikoloti, has confirmed 19 cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“Such detection should not be confused with Botswana being the country of origin of the strain,” the Botswana health minister said.

Mr Dikoloti disclosed this at a briefing that additional assessments and analyses of other positive COVID-19 samples had revealed 15 more cases of the Omicron variant on Sunday after four foreigners were declared infected.

“We will continue to expand our conduct tracing to ensure that no potential cases go undetected,” Mr Dikoloti stressed.

He further stated that the initial cases of the Omicron variant in Botswana were detected after four foreign nationals, who had briefly visited Botswana, tested positive for COVID-19 on November 11. 

The variant was confirmed as the Omicron variant on November 24.


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Omicron: Philippines launches ambitious vaccination drive



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The Philippines on Monday launched an ambitious three-day vaccination drive to give COVID-19 shots to up to nine million Filipinos amid the threat of the highly mutated Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Thousands of security forces and volunteers were deployed nationwide to implement the campaign, which was being held as the country again imposed international travel restrictions.

“The national vaccination day is very timely and truly a milestone in our COVID-19 pandemic response and mitigation efforts,” Carlito Galvez, the country’s vaccination chief, said. “Inoculating nine million individuals in three days is our most ambitious target so far.”

According to the Department of Health, three million people would be vaccinated a day or nearly four times the average of 813,734 daily doses in the past week.

The department said before Monday, more than 35.78 million Filipinos had been fully vaccinated, or over 32 per cent of the country’s total population of 110 million.

The government aims to vaccinate 54 million people by the end of 2021 and 77 million by next March.

Mr Galvez said with the country’s increasing supply of vaccines, the key was now to “accelerate and expand the capacity” of local government units, especially those outside the capital region of Metro Manila.

The Philippines banned flights from 14 countries, including seven European nations, due to rising COVID-19 cases and the detection of the Omicron variant.

The government also indefinitely delayed a previous decision to start accepting some foreign tourists again from December 1. 


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NiMet warns of dusty haze, thunderstorms across Nigeria



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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted three days of dusty haze and thunderstorms across Nigeria from Monday to Wednesday.

NiMet`s weather outlook for the three days released in Abuja predicted sunny and hazy conditions over the northern region during the forecast period.

It predicted that Kebbi, Gombe, Kano, Katsina, Dutse, Borno and Yobe would experience slight dusty, hazy conditions.

According to the agency, sunny skies with patches of cloud should prevail over the north-central states on Monday.

“Cloudy skies with intervals of sunshine should prevail over inland and coastal cities of the south. There are prospects of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Cross River, Edo, Delta and Akwa Ibom during the morning hours,” stated NiMet. “Later in the day, isolated thunderstorms are expected over parts of Imo, Ebonyi, Ogun, Bayelsa, Lagos and Akwa Ibom during the afternoon and evening hours.”

Nimet explained that a slight dusty haze was anticipated over the northern region on Tuesday, forecasting sunny skies with patches of cloud over the North-Central states during the forecast period.

The agency predicted that the South’s inland and the coastal cities would be cloudy skies with sunshine intervals during the morning hours.

It stated that there were chances of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Edo and Delta. It predicted isolated thunderstorms over parts of Ondo, Enugu, Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Lagos and Cross River.

It also stated that slight dusty haze was expected over the northern region during the morning hours on Wednesday. It added that there were chances of moderate dusty haze in the region with localised visibility of less than or equal to 3,000 metres later in the day.

The agency predicted partly cloudy to sunny skies over the north-central region in the morning hours with a hazy atmosphere during the afternoon and evening hours.

It envisaged inland and coastal cities of the south to be cloudy with sunshine intervals during morning hours.

NiMet added that there were chances of isolated thunderstorms over Imo, Abia, Lagos, Cross River and Rivers during afternoon and evening hours. 


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