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Matt Hancock appointed UN special envoy to help Covid recovery in Africa

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock appointed UN special envoy to help Covid recovery in Africa

Matt Hancock has announced he has been appointed a special representative to the United Nations. The former health secretary will focus on helping African countries recover from Covid-19.

Hancock said he was “honoured” to have been given the role, adding on Twitter: “I’ll be working with the UN, the UN Economic Commission for Africa to help African economic recovery from the pandemic and promote sustainable development.”

It comes four months after he resigned from his Cabinet role for breaking social distancing rules by kissing and embracing an aide in his office.

According to the UN, African countries face paying more than £300bn to recover from the pandemic.

The UN under secretary general, Vera Songwe, said Hancock’s “success” in handling the UK’s pandemic response was a testament to the strengths he would bring to the role.

In a letter, which Hancock posted on Twitter, Songwe said: “The acceleration of vaccines that has led the UK move faster towards economic recovery is one testament to the strengths that you will bring to this role, together with your fiscal and monetary experience. The role will support Africa’s cause at the global level and ensure the continent builds forward better, leveraging financial innovations and working with major stakeholders like the G20, UK government and Cop26.”

In his acceptance letter, also posted on Twitter, the Conservative MP wrote: “As we recover from the pandemic so we must take this moment to ensure Africa can prosper.”

However, Global Justice Now, which is campaigning for a worldwide jab rollout and has called for vaccine patent waivers, condemned the appointment. Nick Dearden, its director, said: “Matt Hancock helped to block international efforts to allow low and middle-income countries to produce their own Covid-19 vaccines, leading to millions of deaths in the global south. The audacity of this man claiming to help African nations and promote sustainable development is sickening.”

Hancock’s appointment, which will be unpaid, comes as a damning report from MPs was published on how errors and delays by the UK government and scientific advisers cost lives during the pandemic.

The study, from the cross-party science and technology committee and the health and social care committee, said the UK’s preparation for a pandemic was far too focused on flu, while ministers waited too long to push through lockdown measures in early 2020. In a wide-ranging report, MPs said the UK’s planning was too “narrowly and inflexibly based on a flu model” that failed to learn the lessons from Sars, Mers and Ebola.

The former chief medical officer Prof Dame Sally Davies told MPs there was “groupthink”, with infectious disease experts not believing that “Sars, or another Sars, would get from Asia to us”.

Hancock resigned as health secretary in June after leaked CCTV footage showed him kissing an aide, in breach of social distancing rules. Speaking at the time, he said: “The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis.”

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Health

12 State Governors Owing Us, Health Workers Cry Out

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria MHWUN, has cried out that governors of 12 states of Nigeria are unfair to their members by owing them several years of salary arrears and also failed to standardise their payments .

The medical body noted that the worst of it all is that these governors have failed to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage that has become a law in the country.

They said the governors have subjected them to harrowing life.

The MHWUN National Vice President , Femi Adebisi stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend during the 2022 international youth day organized by the South West leadership of the union, under the theme , ‘Intergenerational solidarity : creating a world for all ages.’

Adebisi said the welfare of health workers remains the only recipe to the recurrent brain drain crippling the health sector.

He however, did not identify the affected 12 states.

“We have nothing less than 12 states that are owing health workers their entitlements.We are engaging them as a union and we are hoping the governors and everyone concern will do the needful soon”, he stated.

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Health

Pay Hazard Allowance To Health Workers, NLC Urges F.G

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the payment of hazard allowance to health workers in the country.

Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.

At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.

“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.

“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country”, he added.

 

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Health

Cholera Outbreak Kills 10 In Gombe

Gombe state government has declared an outbreak of cholera after ten deaths were recorded across the state.

This was made public by Habu Dahiru, Gombe commissioner for health,  on Thursday.

Dahiru, who was represented by Abdulrahman Shuaibu, executive secretary of the Gombe Primary Health Care Development Agency, said as of September 20, 236 cases of cholera had been recorded in the state.

“This year, from June, we had sporadic cases of cholera in Balanga LGA and because of the preparedness and prompt response; it has been largely subdued without escalation,” he said.

These outbreaks are recorded in eight wards across Balanga, Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Funakaye and Gombe LGA of the state.

“The state ministry of health has promptly initiated public health actions for prevention and control of the disease.

“As of September 20, there was an increase in the number of cases in Gombe state as 236 cases have been listed so far.”

The commissioner said increased downpour of rain and flooding in many parts of the state led to the cholera outbreak.

He said decontamination of wells and boreholes in affected communities would be carried out and distribution of water treatment tablets in all affected communities would be conducted.

 

 

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