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Judd-Leonard Okafor

Abuja, Nigeria
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About Judd-Leonard
Judd-Leonard Okafor is a seasoned multimedia journalist with a focus on health, development, education, and youth, currently serving at Daily Trust for both their print and online platforms. His reporting has delved into the psychological impact of epidemics in Nigeria, such as Lassa fever and COVID-19, where he has explored the spread of misinformation, underscored the importance of reliable information sources, and examined the role of primary healthcare. Okafor's work is enriched by insights from health specialists and often addresses the challenges of fear and stigma associated with disease outbreaks.

Before his tenure at Daily Trust, Okafor honed his skills in journalism at Confluence TV and Grace FM in Lokoja, where he took on the roles of news reporter, presenter, and editor. His dedication to reporting on critical issues has been recognized with accolades, including the Accountability for Maternal and Child Health (AMHiN) award in 2014. 

Okafor's commitment to his craft and his impact on society have been further acknowledged through several fellowships and scholarships. He was a 2016 scholar for Women Deliver, a 2017 fellow of the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) Early Childhood Development program, and a 2018 fellow to Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) and the Rhodes University Solutions Journalism program. These experiences have not only broadened his expertise but also reinforced his reputation as a journalist dedicated to bringing critical health and development issues to the forefront of public discourse.
Afrikaans English Hausa
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Vox Pop Documentaries
Current Affairs Science & Environment Natural Disasters

Kids in toxic stress

06 Jun 2024  |  express.adobe.com
The article discusses the severe impact of Boko Haram's insurgency on children in northeastern Nigeria, highlighting the toxic stress and mental health issues they face. It details the displacement, trauma, and lack of adequate psychosocial support for these children, emphasizing the need for comprehensive child protection and mental health services. Various organizations, including Plan International Nigeria, UNICEF, and local NGOs, are involved in providing limited support, but the need far exceeds the available resources. The article underscores the importance of supportive adult relationships and structured psychosocial programs to mitigate the long-term effects of toxic stress on these children.

8 tips for choosing your health app

07 Feb 2024  |  Daily Trust
The article provides eight considerations for selecting a health app, emphasizing the importance of careful evaluation before downloading. It encourages readers to share their experiences and engage with the content.

Daniel turns 41 in a bed he’s been in for 20 years

10 Oct 2023  |  Daily Trust
Daniel Emori, bedridden for 20 years following an accident, turns 41. His life has been a series of medical challenges, including severe infections and immobility. Despite numerous surgeries and treatments, financial constraints have hindered his recovery. The COVID-19 lockdown exacerbated his situation, making basic needs like food a priority over medical treatment. His story highlights the inadequacies of the Nigerian healthcare system and the resilience of the human spirit.

Passengers stranded as tricycle riders protest in Minna

02 Oct 2023  |  Daily Trust
Tricycle riders in Minna, Niger State, initiated a warning strike to protest against extortion by police, Federal Road Safety Corps, and Vehicle Inspection Officers. The strike caused significant disruption, stranding passengers and blocking key roads. The drivers demand an end to daily extortion and excessive taxes, threatening to continue the strike if their grievances are not addressed. Efforts to get comments from relevant authorities were unsuccessful.

Clampdown and vanguards — how Nasarawa is pushing up immunisation coverage

02 Oct 2023  |  Daily Trust
Nasarawa has achieved significant progress in immunisation coverage, leading the north central region in COVID-19 vaccination and showing improvements in routine immunisation. The state employs various strategies, including mobilising community health workers, leveraging traditional and religious leaders, and implementing daily immunisation services to increase coverage. Challenges such as cultural beliefs, ignorance, and logistical issues are addressed through community engagement and policy adjustments. The efforts are supported by local leaders and health officials, ensuring that immunisation services are accessible and effective.

Can Nigeria deal with its burden of neglected tropical diseases?

27 Apr 2023  |  dailytrust.com
Nigeria has launched a four-year masterplan to address its significant burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which includes diseases like snail fever and river blindness. Despite the plan, which is in effect until 2027, Nigeria remains highly affected by NTDs. Dr. Chinwe Chukwudi, a researcher in antimicrobial resistance and NTDs, discusses the challenges of raising awareness and the importance of molecular research in combating these diseases. The article also touches on the global efforts to address NTDs, including the World Health Organization's roadmaps and the Kigali Declaration. Dr. Chukwudi emphasizes the need for Nigeria to match its commitments with action to achieve the goals of the NTD Masterplan by 2027.

How ‘cheap plastic’ is helping to deal with Nigeria’s open defecation problem

22 Mar 2023  |  dailytrust.com
Nigeria is combating open defecation through the introduction of affordable plastic toilets known as 'satopans' by SATO. These toilets require less water to flush and have a self-closing trap door to minimize odors. President Muhammadu Buhari's declaration of a state of emergency in the WASH sector and the 'Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet' campaign aim to make Nigeria open defecation free by 2025. Organizations like UNICEF and WaterAid have supported the initiative, with UNICEF donating 50,000 satopans. Kwali area council is making significant progress, with 66 communities claiming to be open defecation free. The plastic toilets are more affordable than traditional ones, and their use has been linked to a decrease in WASH-related diseases. However, the lack of legislation criminalizing open defecation and the absence of toilets in new buildings remain challenges.

Nigeria: A Beep in Time Could Save a Life

06 Sep 2022  |  allAfrica.com
Viedial, a health management app, is helping patients like Enoh Richard manage conditions such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension by providing personalized care plans. The app was created in response to personal losses suffered by its founders during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is currently in beta testing with about 170 users and aims to help up to 10,000 people within three years. The app faces challenges such as the lack of anonymous use and potential difficulties integrating with hospital systems due to low use of electronic medical records. Despite the crowded wellness space, the developers are optimistic about Viedial's future impact.

Lessons Lassa fever could teach Nigeria

23 Sep 2021  |  dailytrust.com
Lassa fever outbreaks have been a recurring issue in Nigeria since 1969, with the country still facing outbreaks 52 years later. In 2021, 369 confirmed cases have been reported, affecting over 14 states. The disease is transmitted through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected mastomys rats. In Abuja, communities like Kpanyi Kpanyi adapt their farming practices to mitigate the risk, but challenges such as inadequate storage and drying facilities persist. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control monitors the disease, but the 2021 Federal Government budget lacks specific plans for farmer engagement. The National Orientation Agency and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are working on public communication and farmer education to prevent the disease. Sustainable funding and proper orientation are crucial for preventing future outbreaks.

Back in the red: Nigeria not ready for another epidemic

11 Sep 2021  |  dailytrust.com
Nigeria, having faced its largest monkeypox outbreak between 2017 and 2019, remains underprepared for future epidemics, with a preparedness ranking of 39%. Despite lessons from the Ebola outbreak and investments following COVID-19, the country falls short in areas such as national legislation, policy, and financing for health security. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been pivotal in preventing epidemics but requires sustainable funding. The National Action Plan on Health Security, with a significant funding gap, and outdated public health legislation highlight the challenges. Advocates call for increased engagement with lawmakers and political will to prioritize health security and improve Nigeria's capacity to comply with International Health Regulations.

The Brief: Jumping judges, digital naira, new militants

31 Aug 2021  |  dailytrust.com
The Chief Justice of Nigeria summoned six judges after conflicting orders from six states favored different political parties, causing national embarrassment. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is on track to roll out the digital currency e-naira on October 1, with Bitt as its technical partner. Nigeria faces challenges from various groups including Darul Salam, Boko Haram, IPOB, MEND, and a new militant group called 'Biafran Motherland Warrior' in the South East, reportedly more dangerous than IPOB's Eastern Security Network.

The Brief: Fake news in Jos crisis; Hisbah double standards; PDP arrangement

30 Aug 2021  |  Daily Trust
Fake news stories, including false reports about buses being burnt in Jos and Imo governor Hope Uzodimma's declarations, have been circulating, exacerbating crises. Hisbah faces criticism for its double standards in enforcing Islamic teachings, particularly in its treatment of the rich versus the poor. The opposition PDP has reached a concession for the 2023 elections, allocating the presidency to the north and the party chairmanship to the south. Hisbah defends its actions by citing Islamic teachings that prohibit public criticism of leaders.

A Week of COVID-19: No vaccine, no church; training pharmacists; your menses

28 Aug 2021  |  Daily Trust
COVID-19 has reached 214 million confirmed cases and 4.4 million deaths globally, with 4.9 billion vaccine doses administered. Nigeria's second vaccination campaign phase raises questions about the necessity of vaccines for those previously infected, especially with the Delta variant. Nigerian doctors are considering leaving the country amid a nationwide strike and recruitment efforts by the Saudi health ministry. States like Ogun and Edo are promoting vaccine acceptance, with Edo enforcing restrictions on unvaccinated individuals in public spaces. COVID-19 has become the 10th leading cause of death in England and has seen a rise in the total number of deaths above average levels.

The Brief: Dumping corpses; loose fence; migrating doctors

26 Aug 2021  |  dailytrust.com
Youths in communities attacked on the Plateau dumped bodies of residents killed in their sleep at the Government House, with 30 bodies counted. A leaked memo confirmed a Daily Trust report about a loose fence at the Nigerian Defence Academy, which bandits allegedly used to gain access. Over 500 Nigerian doctors attended a recruitment event by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health in Abuja, amidst an ongoing strike by resident doctors, indicating a readiness to migrate for work.

17-year-old girl stabs neighbour to death in Kano

22 Aug 2021  |  dailytrust.com
Aisha Kabiru, a 17-year-old girl from Kumbotso Local Government Area in Kano State, has been arrested for the fatal stabbing of her 28-year-old neighbour, Bahijja Abubakar. The incident was confirmed by Police spokesman DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa. The victim was attacked in the back of the neck and later died in the hospital. The police, under the direction of Commissioner Sama’ila Shu’aibu Dikko and DPO Mudassir Ibrahim, apprehended Kabiru at a hideout. Kabiru confessed to the crime, citing a prior argument with the deceased.

The Brief: Doctors checking out; Taliban in Nigeria; Secondus' deadline

16 Aug 2021  |  Daily Trust
The Saudi health ministry is set to interview Nigerian doctors for recruitment, amidst a strike by resident doctors leading to a mass exodus of medical personnel. The article draws parallels between the Taliban's rapid takeover of Afghanistan and the potential threat posed by Boko Haram in Nigeria. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faces internal crisis as its national chairman, Uche Secondus, refuses to step down. Governor Aminu Bello Masari urges media to stop supporting secessionist voices. Additionally, former BBNaija stars Khafi Kareem and Gedoni Ekpata welcome their first child.

The psychology of an epidemic

01 Mar 2020  |  Daily Trust
The article discusses the case of a five-year-old boy, Biodun, and his grandmother who were diagnosed with Lassa fever in Ondo, Nigeria. As the family dealt with this health scare, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) began dominating headlines, causing widespread fear and panic. The article highlights the psychological impact of epidemics, including anxiety, loneliness, and paranoia, as described by Dr. Ada Ikeako, a behavioral health specialist. It also addresses the spread of misinformation and the dangers of unqualified individuals offering false remedies. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has issued advisories to help prevent infection, but fear and stigma are causing reluctance in seeking treatment. The article emphasizes the importance of reliable information sources and the role of primary healthcare in health promotion. It concludes with the news that Biodun tested negative for Lassa fever and his grandmother has been discharged from the hospital.

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