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Matt Hancock will hope new job can help restore career and public image

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock will hope new job can help restore career and public image

Matt Hancock ’s turbulent time working at the heart of the UK’s biggest public health crisis in living memory cost him many allies in the party and his affair caught on camera cost him his dignity and public image.

But his new job as a UN special representative focused on economic development in Africa could be the start of his attempts to rebuild his career. The grand announcement, which included the tweet of his invitation to take up the role, suggests he is keen to turn attention to his new direction.

One senior diplomat with experience of the UN suggested, with raised eyebrows, that the announcement of Hancock’s UN job had evoked rather grander headlines than it deserved. They pointed to others, such as Gordon Brown and the former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who have “special envoy” roles appointed by the secretary general. Hancock will report to a UN agency, the Economic Commission for Africa.

No 10 and the Cabinet Office said the government did not nominate Hancock for the role but that permission had been sought from the ministerial watchdog.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said it was poor timing to announce the appointment on the day of a damning report by the health and science select committee into the pandemic. “Apparently, the one British export the Tories are successfully promoting is their own disgraced former cabinet ministers,” she said. “Right now, the only role that Matt Hancock should have is answering questions to the ongoing ICO investigation into his own conduct, and the promised public inquiry which the government continues to delay.”

The former health secretary’s stock was very low by the time of his departure, especially with MPs on the right of the party, because of discontent with lockdown rules, of which he was seen as the main proponent.

Some critics in the party attempted to spread mischievous rumours about a return at the last reshuffle, but Hancock looks likely to remain a backbencher for some time.

Allies of the former health secretary have said since his departure that he will remain deeply loyal to Boris Johnson in hope of a comeback, and feels he has much more to give in government. “I don’t think his career is over,” one former cabinet colleague said. “His delivery skills are extraordinary.”

He still has high-profile friends in government and outside. The Guardian understands it was the campaigner Nimco Ali who introduced Hancock to Dr Vera Songwe, the UN undersecretary general, who made the appointment. Ali, a leading anti-FGM and women’s rights activist, is a Home Office adviser on violence against women and a close personal friend of Carrie Johnson, the prime minister’s wife.

Cabinet ministers and senior MPs were quick to show public support, with tweets from Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Damian Green congratulating Hancock on the move.

Hancock had told allies he was interested in taking up an international role and indicated his interest at a fringe event at the Conservative conference – the only one he attended. He told the audience at the panel on Africa investment, which included Ali and the Kenyan ambassador, that he wanted to turn his focus to bringing private investment to Africa.

The job description will have little to do with Hancock’s expertise in health. He will work to develop policy on new financial markets on the continent and develop green investment facilities. Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice Now, said the appointment was “sickening” because of the UK’s poor record on vaccine access in developing countries.

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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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