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Panic as Lassa Fever death toll in Nigeria hits 171; still counting

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The Nigeria Centers for Disease Control (NCDC), has raised the alarm as death toll from Lassa Fever in the country has risen to 171, while thousands have been hospitalized in different parts of the country.

In its latest report on the Lassa Fever situation the West African country released on Tuesday, the NCDC says there have been a total of 917 confirmed cases, with 6,660 suspected cases recorded since January 1, this coming despite measures by the governments at various levels to reduce infections across the country.

Giving a breakdown, the agency said eight new cases were confirmed in the week from September 5 to 11 alone, with one death recorded.

“The death toll has risen to 171. The fatality rate at the moment is 18.6 percent, though lower than that for the same period last year, which was 23.3 percent.

“So far, 25 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 102 out of the 774 local government areas as at September 18,” the NCDC, public health agency which monitors the outbreak and spread of diseases in the country, said in the report.

Lassa Fever, according to the World Health Organization, is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus which is a member of the arenavirus family of viruses.

The diseases is often spread to humans by rodents, through exposure to food items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected mastomys rats.

Lassa Fever has similar symptoms to malaria and appears between one and three weeks after exposure to the virus.

Some of the symptoms include fever, fatigue, weakness, and headache.

Metro

President Hichilema warns Zambian procurement officials against corruption in handling govt contracts

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Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has warned procurement officers handling government contracts against engaging in corrupt practices while carrying out their duties.

Hichilema, who gave the stern warning in Lusaka on Saturday during the commemoration of the 2023 International Anti-Corruption Day, declared that he had given security operatives the go ahead to bring any corrupt official to book and ensure that adequate punitive action was taken against them.

Hichilema, who was represented at the event by the Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister, Jack Mwiimbu, added that his government’s fight against corruption had been “methodical and professional, making corruption an unattractive endeavour for those who may wish to engage in it.”

“We are resolute in eradicating corruption from the civil service, public procurement system, government contract awards, and all sectors of our economy to ensure Zambia’s prosperity,” he said.

The president also urged citizens not to be afraid to report suspected misconduct in the management and distribution of resources to law enforcement agencies.

He further noted that his administration had taken a proactive stance on reviewing the National Anti-Corruption Policy that would offer national guidance on strategies and programmes to combat corruption effectively.

“We are working diligently to involve various sectors of society, ensuring that the fight against corruption is inclusive, with all citizens informed of their role and empowered to contribute to the struggle,” Hichilema said.

He added that the government had granted the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) the authority to expand its operational presence in Zambia, and that the commission had spread its operations to 12 additional districts in Zambia.

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Nigeria’s VP Shettima admits hardship, poverty, pleads for patience

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Vice President Kashim Shettima of Nigeria has become the first official in the President Bola Tinubu’s administration to admit that majority of Nigerians are angry with government officials as a result of the rising cost of living and its attendant hardship and poverty.

Shettima, who made the admission in Abuja on Saturday at the graduation ceremony of the Executive Intelligence Management Course 16, however, pleaded with Nigerians to be patient and support Tinubu so that he could work to solve the problems.

In his keynote address at the occasion, Shettima said the Tinubu-led administration was aware that Nigerians were going through harrowing times, and was doing everything possible to ameliorate the pains as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant inflation.

“All of us here belong to a tiny segment of the Nigerian population. And you don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that the poor are angry with us,” the VP said.

“The poor are the most neglected segment of our society. You can hardly differentiate between them and their animals. Even the animals they rear belong to those in the city. So, there have to be kinetic and non-kinetic solutions to all the problems.

“We have to improve the quality of governance. And what we have is a tiny window of not more than 10 to 20 years. Let’s improve the quality of governance.

“I want to ask you to give the President the benefit of the doubt. Let us be patient. Let us support him.

“Let us rally round him and be reassured that he is determined to redefine the meaning and concept of modern leadership, and is ever ready to reposition the Nigerian nation. But without the support of you and I, he can’t do much”, he just added.

Shettima also suggested that creating jobs and giving hope to the populace would go a long way in curbing insecurity in the country.

“Let’s create jobs; let’s give hope to the populace. And once we create jobs, all this madness of insecurity will disappear.

“There won’t be Boko Haram and banditry if this is done, especially for us from the North. We can blame the bandits, but we in leadership positions owe it to posterity to address this”, he said.

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