3 cups of tea, coffee per day good for heart: Study

Cup of coffee
Cup of coffee

Drinking up to three cups of tea or coffee per day could protect people from developing irregular heartbeats or arrhythmia, a new study revealed on Tuesday.

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world and the most common form of cognitive enhancement.

However, more than 80 per cent of clinicians in the United States recommend patients with palpitations or arrhythmia to abstain or reduce caffeine.

But the new study which involved researchers in the University of Melbourne’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute along with partners in the United States consistently demonstrated a reduction in atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeats) with increasing levels of caffeine ingestion.

The research analysed multiple population-based studies which involved 228,465 participants to find the frequency of atrial fibrillation decreased by 6 per cent in regular coffee drinkers, while a further analysis of 115,993 patients showed a risk reduction of 13 per cent.

“There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,’’ lead author Peter Kistler from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute said.

“Our extensive review of the medical literature suggests this is not the case.’’

“Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea may have long term anti-arrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine,’’ Kistler concluded.

“In numerous population-based studies, patients who regularly consume coffee and tea at moderate levels have a lower lifetime risk of developing heart rhythm problems and possibly improved survival.’’

However, due to significantly higher concentrations of caffeine, researchers advised that energy drinks should be avoided for people with pre-existing structural heart disease. (Xinhua/NAN)


NOUN Nursing programme fully accredited by NUC, NMCN—VC

From left to right, Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, NOUN’s V-C Prof. Abdalla Adamu and Dr Ibrahim kana, Guest Lecturer, at the First Faculty of Health Sciences Public Lecture

The Vice-Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Prof. Abdalla Adamu, says the institution’s Nursing programme has been fully accredited by the National Universities Commission(NUC) and Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria(NMCN).

Abdalla made the disclosure in his remark at the First Faculty of Health Sciences Public Lecture held at NOUN’s headquarters  on Monday in Abuja.

The topic of lecture is “ Achieving Universal Health Coverage through Primary Health Care: Lessons from Nigeria’s Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results.’’

He said that with BNSc. Nursing, B.Sc. Public Health and B.Sc. Environmental Health-fully accredited and B.Sc. Environmental Health resource verified and approved by NUC, the institution needed partnership the Federal Ministry of Health.

“NOUN B.Sc Nursing has been fully accredited by NUC and fully accredited Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria(NMCN).

“ We are very proud of this achievement and we congratulate the faculty of Health Sciences.

“ This event is important for because it provides a window of interactivity with the Federal Ministry of Health; we want to see more facilitators and supervisors from the ministry,’’ he said.

In his speech, Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of State for Health, said that the topic of the lecture was apt given that the Universal Health Coverage(UHC), a priority programme of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, was the news recently.

He said that UHC was the result of World Health Assembly Resolution 58.33 of 2005, which urged countries to develop strategies that ensure people had access to needed healthcare services without risk of financial ruin.

Ehanire said that UHC was envisaged to provide accessible, affordable and equitable quality healthcare to all citizens, including rural dwellers and the urban poor to enjoy healthier, more productive and fulfilling lives which supports economic growth and social harmony.

According to the minister, UHC has regained new global momentum with the World Health Assembly and UN General Assembly calling on member states including Nigeria to scale up effort to reduce poor health indices towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

He said that it was regrettable that over 70 percent of Nigerians paid for healthcare out of pocket because public funding was sparse, due in part to prevailing economic conditions and low budgetary provision.

“A significant flaw in the past was the investment of huge sums in health care without commensurate results.

“Looking back, the focus was arguably on input, rather than outcomes, the approach had to change and it did with the `Performance for Result’’(PforR) strategy , introduced to power the `Save One Million Lives’ programmes as a government flagship intervention to improve Maternal and Child Health, through results-oriented partnership with states.

“The SOML PforR is based on restructuring flow of resources to pay for results, outcomes, and impacts, rather than simply for processes, or reimbursement of activity costs.

“It seeks to deliver high impact, evidence-based, cost effective health interventions based on six pillars and two enablers.’’

“SOML PforR) is a great opportunity to tackle Nigeria’s poor maternal and child health indices; so far, states have been accessing the funds for implementation of their work plans,’’ he said.

On his part, the Guest Lecturer, Dr Ibrahim Kana, National Programme Manager, SOML PforR, challenged the academia to step up research on primary health care, adding that the programme was already in partnership with the University of Ibadan.

He said that was need for the academia to triangulate government policies- to pick interest in better understanding of Government Policies and relate with realities as well as teaching students about current government policies.

Kana urged each department of public health to adopt one primary health care centre per Senatorial District; conduct regular operational research in those facilities; set standard for other facilities to follow and use the centres as laboratories to test new approaches and techniques.

2019 elections: statistician predicts high inflation


By Cecilia Ologunagba

A statistician, Dr Olatunji Arowolo, says the country may experience high inflation rate due to demand and spending pattern as it prepares for the 2019 elections.

Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices of goods and services is rising, and consequently the rate at which the purchasing power of currency is falling.

Arowolo, a lecturer at the Statistics Department, Lagos State Polytechnic, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, that demand pattern would likely cause changes in prices of goods and services.

He said people would envisage scarcity of some goods, and thereby, tend to produce in large quantities ahead of the elections and hoard them.

“This causes artificial scarcity and demand will be higher than supply, thereby causing general rise in the prices of these goods in particular and other goods and services in general.

“’Example is petrol. If there is hike in the price of petrol, it can lead to rise in other goods and services.’’

Arowolo, also a National Secretary of the Nigerian Statistical Association, said that the situation would cause chain effects as well.

He said farmers would spend more to transport the goods to the market which would cause the market women to add more money to the prices of goods.

“This is because market women pay for education service for their children and teachers in turn would demand higher pay and the cycle continues.’’

In addition, he said people tend to buy more and store them to reduce the risk of going to the market during election period, saying “this mentality is common to many, thereby, making goods to be scarce at that point.’’

Arowolo, however, said that the present inflation figures did not reflect a better standard of living for Nigerians.

Nigeria’s inflation rate measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) dropped from 14.33 in February to 13.34 per cent in March year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The bureau stated that the figure showed 14 consecutive reductions in inflation rate since January 2017.

According to the bureau, the figure is 0.99 per cent points less than the 14. 33 per cent recorded in February.

Arowolo said the figure did not reflect a better standard of living because the prices of goods and services in reality did not decrease as reported by the CPI.

“CPI of 13.34 per cent year-on-year means that there is general rise in the prices of goods and services by 13.34 per cent from one year to another from the period under review.

“This means that on the average, the prices of goods and services reduced 0.99 per cent on monthly basis from January 2017 to February 2018,’’ he said. (NAN)

20 states, 14 African countries join Soyinka in Ogun festival

Festival: Wole Soyinka to lead conference

By Olawale Jokotoye

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and other literary icons will feature in the 2018 African Drums Festival that will be attended by 20 states and 14 African countries.

The conference that will feature the drums festival is scheduled to hold in Abeokuta from April 19 to 22.

Ogun state Governor Ibikunle Amosun said that Soyinka had been scheduled to coordinate a conference on April 20 at the Olumo Rock Tourist Centre, with the theme, “Drums For Advancement”.

During conference, experts would speak on the importance of drums.

He said that an Art exhibition would also hold at the same venue while a “Walk For Drum’’, will also hold from the Cultural Centre at Kuto to the Olumo Rock at Itoku area in Abeokuta.

Amosun said that Africa had a rich culture which predated the Western civilisation, saying that the festival was organised “to re-awake and revive our dying culture’’.

“We have noted that our culture is dying and need to be revived.

“Drums and Drumming are important features of the African culture that cut across the strata of the continent.

“There is nowhere that you don’t have one type of drum or the other and if we are to revive our ideals and ideas as a continent, we must start with a culture that cuts across, which is drumming, ’’ the governor said.

He said that about 70 private cultural groups as well as other countries like Haiti, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, would also participate in the festival.

The governor said that the state government was determined to nurture the festival to maturity, so that subsequent governments would also preserve the legacies of the festival.

“Thereby making it (Drums Festival) a flagship for cultural activities in the state and the country at large,’’ Amosun said.

He said that the festival would continue to hold in Ogun annually on every third week of April. (NAN)

Nigerian story yet to be told to the world: Ambassador Bande

Obilo, Ambassador Bande and Mrs Obilo and Ambassador Samson Itegboje at the New Jersey dinner

Prudence Arobani/New York

Prof. Mohammed Bande, Nigeria’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN, said if Nigeria should tell her story, other countries would keep quiet.

Bande, who stated this in New Jersey at a dinner organised by a U.S.-based Nigerian medical doctor and President Nigerian Healthcare Foundation, Dr. Iwuozo Obilo and family, said Nigeria has remained a great country.

According to the Nigerian envoy, however, Nigeria has not been able to properly tell its story for the world to appreciate its accomplishments and sacrifices.

“All countries tell the best stories about themselves outside but some do it better than other. If Nigeria can say what it has done, many countries will keep quiet.

“But we have not been able to say all what we have done but we will continue to say it,” Bande said.

The Nigerian envoy commended the great Nigeria men and women who are doing the country proud in the U.S. and all over the world, saying Nigerians are excelling everywhere.

“Nigeria and Nigerians are always happy when our sons and daughters excel all over the world. Millions of Nigerians are doing Nigeria proud all over the world,” he said.

According to him, the Federal Government has posted eminently qualified Nigerian envoys to the U.S. and the UN to project Nigeria’s image of the country to the outside world.

“There is no place as vibrant as Nigeria; that is who we are,” the Nigerian envoy stressed.

Bande pointed out that other countries also had their own challenges, saying no country is immuned from problems.

He said Nigerians in the disapora were very united, explaining that there is neither Hausa, Ibo or Yoruba sentiment among Nigerians once they left the shores of country.

He also said efforts were ongoing to deal with the issues of corruption, disintegration, and insecurity, among others.

The Nigerian envoy commended Obilo and family, saying: “I am happy a Nigerian is inviting Nigerian officials to his house to appreciate them.

Nigeria’s Acting Consul-General in New York, Mr Tanko Suleiman, said Nigerians could fight when they were in the country.

“But when we get outside the country, we fight as one Nigeria. Let us bring that thing that we practise outside back home,” Suleiman said.

Obilo, in his remarks, said it was his tradition to host Nigerians and Nigerian officials, commending them for representing Nigeria well in the U.S. and for the reforms at Nigerian missions.

“We Nigerians in the diaspora love our country. At the same time, we love our countries of residence. U.S. showed me who I can be and trained my children without any problems.”

He, however, bemoaned some of the challenges confronting the country but pledged to continue to contribute his quota for the upliftment of his fatherland.

The Nigerian philanthropist, who sponsors medical outreaches to Nigeria annually with his American partners, said: “Nigeria is blessed with many things but we also have challenges – the leadership is poor.

“We Nigerians want to come home to contribute because my partners, who are Americans, have taught me so much”.

Obilo’s American partners, commended him for going back to Nigeria every year to contribute to the country’s health sector, saying it is a pleasure to work with the Nigerian over the years, .

The event was attended by Nigeria’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Samson Itegboje; Head, Economic and Trade at the New York Consulate, Nicholas Ella; Spokesperson of the Permanent Mission, Bolaji Akinremi, and others Nigerians and partners.

How to end herdsmen-farmers clashes: Gusau Institute

Gusau Institute suggests ways to end herdsmen-farmers conflicts

By Harrison Arubu

The Gusau Institute (GI), a Nigerian think tank, has suggested ways to address the lingering herder-farmer conflicts and irregular migration, two major challenges the nation is currently facing.

The recommendations are products of the first two sessions of the GI Roundtable Series whose reports were made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

The suggestions  came amid warning by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, that the crisis could escalate in 2019 if efforts are not intensified to create cattle ranches or provide better security against rustling.

In the reports signed by its Director, Mrs M. Maritz, the think tank called for a review of Nigeria’s national security policy and strategy to address the pastoralist-farmer conflicts “more directly and comprehensively”.

The non-governmental organisation said policy guidelines on grazing activities should be retooled to mitigate the challenges of such conflicts.

Clashes between farmers and herdsmen have claimed hundreds of lives, including women and children, across the country in recent times.

Worst hit is the north central state of Benue where deadly attacks blamed on herders have left over a hundred villagers dead in many communities since the night of Dec. 31.

GI noted that a deep understanding by all role players of all the issues involved is critical to reach an agreement on proper, actionable solutions.

“The Federal Government should co-ordinate with state governments to reduce the risk of violence and to define a clear and coherent political approach to resolving the risks of pastoralist related conflicts.

“The state governments should work more closely with traditional institutions and leaders in seeking solutions.

“The engagement and input of traditional community leaders as products of their respective people’s consensus, customs and cultures could help mitigate the friction between pastoralist and agrarian communities.

“A comprehensive study of Fulani culture and pastoralism should be commissioned so as to provide much needed insight into the thought processes that will allow for positive dialogue and negotiation,” the institute said, among other recommendations.

NAN reports that GI is the brainchild of Gen. Aliyu Gusau Mohammed (Rtd.), former Nigerian National Security Adviser and former Minister of Defence.

On irregular migration, it said there was need for the root causes of the problem to be clearly defined and tackled.

To this end, it recommended a media campaign to correct the misconception that there are always are more and better opportunities abroad.

“There is a need to emphasise growing opportunities for freedom and wealth for Nigerians, as well as the fact that entrepreneurship and innovation are in many instances worth more than an educational qualification acquired outside Nigeria.

“Still, economic development remains key,” GI said, urging governments at all levels to strengthen good governance practices, which it noted are critical for productivity and poverty alleviation.

The organisation urged the creation of a broad-based synergy among local stakeholders, security agencies, and government establishments charged with curtailing human trafficking and irregular migration.

“In this regard, reliable and actionable intelligence sharing is crucial if the operations of criminal kingpins and human traffickers are to be disrupted or ended

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the lead government agency on international relations, should become more engaged in migration and mobility issues, including working closely with the international community.

“Regarding the transit route for irregular migrants through Niger, it is suggested that the Minister of Interior should initiate dialogue with the neighbouring Nigerien government on how to address and curb the rising number of migrants transiting Niger.

“The repatriation and re-integration of returnees should be supported in such a manner as to encourage the affected persons to return home and re-start their lives again with dignity,” GI said.

Details of the reports are available in the first two items on the list of publications on the following GI web page: http://gusauinstitute.com/publications/

China warns U.S against cold war mentality

Chinese President Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping warns U.S against cold war mentality

Amidst trade war with U.S President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned against returning to a “Cold War mentality”.

“In today’s world, the trend of peace and cooperation is moving forward and a Cold War mentality and zero-sum game thinking are outdated.”

As the trade war rages, Xi vowed to open sectors from banking to auto manufacturing.

Xi said China would increase imports, lower foreign-ownership limits on manufacturing and expand protection to intellectual property.

Xi cited the measures while saying China was entering a “new phase of opening up” in his keynote address Tuesday to the Boao Forum for Asia, his country’s answer to Davos.

Trump and Xi Jinping
Trump and Xi Jinping: On Taiwan

“Human society is facing a major choice to open or close, to go forward or backward,” Xi told hundreds of investors gathered on the resort island of Hainan.

The long-planned speech – marking 40 years after the first economic reforms transformed China – was being closely watched after Trump’s plan to hit hundreds of Chinese products with duties.

The country faces a credibility gap after years of promises to free up the economy were followed by more centralised control, market-access barriers and state support for local companies.

Those practices are at the center of Trump’s threats to levy some $150 billion of tariffs against China.

The US has asked the country to reduce its trade surplus by $100 billion, cut tariffs on cars and stop forced technology transfers by foreign corporations, among other things.

Since Trump’s election, Xi has presented himself as a champion of the existing global trading system. Last year, he countered Trump’s “America First” campaign promises in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he compared protectionism to “locking yourself in a dark room”.

On Tuesday, Xi’s speech also included a veiled swipe at such policies: “Paying attention only to one’s own community without thinking of others can only lead into a wall. And we can only achieve win-win results by insisting on peaceful development and working together.”

Source: News24