Monday, 15 October 2018

Reproductive Health: BMGF Awards $20.5m To TCI For Urban Youth Programmes

Chioma Umeha

The Challenge Initiative (TCI) a global programme with focus on the reproductive health needs of people living in poor urban communities has received $20.5 million supplemental grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The  award will enable TCI to focus more on adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health issues. The grant from the Gates Foundation includes funds from Gates Philanthropy Partners.
The Initiative, led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute on Population and Reproductive Health within the Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is now actively implementing its evidence-based urban reproductive health interventions in 52 cities across four regions: East Africa, Francophone West Africa, Nigeria and India.
The supplemental award will also allow the Initiative to address the needs of youth, ages 15 to 24 years, with best-practice programming, in addition to its programs already being implemented for women and men living in poor urban communities.
“Globally, many adolescents don’t have access to the sexual and reproductive health information they need to make informed choices and this can keep communities trapped in a cycle of poverty,” says Jose “Oying” Rimon, the Initiative’s Director and Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health Senior Scientist at the Bloomberg School.
“We are so grateful that the Gates Foundation has made it possible for The Challenge Initiative to use our ‘business unusual’ approach to really make a difference in the lives of youth.”
The Initiative will now layer adolescent and youth programming onto its already existing portfolio in the cities where it is currently working. Thirty-five of those cities have already formally expressed interest in this new area of focus.
In addition to adolescent and youth programming, the new award provides funding to enhance the Initiative’s monitoring and evaluation efforts, as well as implement a robust new learning agenda.
With this award, the Initiative is now a $59.5-million, five-year (2016 – 2021) program. This investment has also attracted investments from other donors.
A private philanthropist and London-based Comic Relief previously contributed $8 million to the original investment. It has also received $6 million from USAID in India and nearly $30 million in cash contributions from 52 cities and local governments worldwide.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this new investment in this important sector,” says Cynthia Minkovitz, MD, chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Population, Family, & Reproductive Health and William H. Gates Sr. Professor.
“We are confident that its model for scaling up and sustaining family planning programmes will succeed.”
Minkovitz cited the Initiative’s model that allows cities to lead and implement their own programme, while allocating their own funds.
Implementers also have access to evidence-based toolkits and best practices that they can adapt at scale for their own local context.
City implementers can also use the Initiative’s digital-based “university without walls” to learn from proven approaches and, in turn, enrich those leanings from their own experienc

NAFDAC Moves To Boost Growth In Cosmetics Production

Chioma Umeha 

The National Agency  for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has designed a set of guidelines aimed at increasing cosmetics production in the country.
The guidelines include: Guidelines for Micro or Kitchen scale Cosmetics producers and the Guidelines for Medium and Large scale Cosmetics producers.
Prof. Christianah Adeyeye, NAFDAC Director-General, while announcing this, explained that the scaled down policies will drive growth in cosmetics Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise sectors in line with ease of doing business.
Speaking  at a stakeholders’ meeting with all chemical marketers, distributors and veterinary products tagged: A Date with the DG, which held in Lagos, Prof. Adeyeye said; “The difference in the two documents is that the Micro is an abridged form of the Medium and Large scale cosmetics guidelines.
“The number of documents, staff strength and room space was scaled down for the micro and likewise, the number of products they can manufacture.
“The boldest move made so far by the Agency is consent for use of personal kitchens to manufacture certain classes of cosmetics products under micro scale. Albeit, may I state clearly that kitchens shared by families will not be allowed neither will individual kitchens that are kept untidy.
“Still in the spirit of ease of doing business, the Agency has put in place processes and procedures for companies with similar products and limited resources to use common facilities provided their products are similar.
“The quality of products circulating within our jurisdiction is more of a focus and we are focusing more on post-marketing surveillance (pms).  We will be increasing our vigilance activities and spot checks to ensure consistent product quality. We have as a result, developed relevant guidelines and documents to enhance post-marketing surveillance activities in the country.
“In line with the Ease of Doing Business, the Agency created the Small Business Support Desk (SBSD) whose function is to facilitate registration processes for micro and small business operators through engagements such as MSME Clinics, Exhibitions, NAFDAC Product Registration Outreach, NaPRO.
“The decentralisation of registration of certain regulated products commenced in April 2018. This was done to make approvals at the zonal levels more effective and the goals of MSMEs more realisable. This has been made possible after the creation of six zonal directorates and the FCT directorate.”
Similarly,  the agency pledged to regulate multiple registrations, imposed on the marketers by sister agencies for producers and distributors of cosmetics, agrochemicals and veterinary products.
The agencies are the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA); Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
Commenting on this, Prof. Adeyeye said, she has commenced discussions with the Director General of related agencies on how to bring an end to the issue of multiple product registrations, which is unpleasant to stakeholders.
The DG who was responding to the request of stakeholders in removing several registrations of a product, explained that this is not in favour of ease of doing business policy in Nigeria, as it is hitting hard on marketers.
She said;”We are working on it right now, as we are already talking with the Director General of SON, CPC, and NESREA. We have to come to an agreement, as it is the stakeholders that are at the losing end, because of many regulations and fees imposed on them. We are also talking about it at the vice presidency level, in terms of ease of doing business, and creating an environment, conducive for businesses”.
The NAFDAC boss further pledged to look into the issue of police harassment on agrochemicals dealers, as the agrochemicals distributors complained bitterly about unnecessary threats and distraction of their members by the Police, as they go about their legal businesses in the society.
Prof. Adeyeye also noted that NAFDAC has scaled down some of her processes for the micro scale cosmetics manufacturers without compromising standards and put in place policies that will drive growth in cosmetics MSME sectors in line with ease of doing business.
She however stressed the decision of the agency to allow micro entrepreneurs in the cosmetics industry to use their personal kitchens to produce certain products, but with a caveat that untidy and shared kitchens will not be permitted for use.
She said; “The boldest move made so far by the Agency is consent for use of personal kitchens to manufacture certain classes of cosmetics products under micro scale. Albeit, may I state clearly that kitchens shared by families will not be allowed neither will individual kitchens that are kept untidy”.
While appealing to the stakeholders to adhere to the rules and regulations of NAFDAC during product registration, she highlighted the generally observed lapses to include: untimely renewals of listing certificates, incomplete documentations , for example, inadequate stock cards & utilization records, safety data sheets without chemical compositions, illegible attachments to the portal, noncompliance to good warehousing practice, etc.
On minimisation of pesticides residues on exported agricultural produce, she said the agency is setting up policies in terms of exportation of agro products, which will ensure that exporters bring their products to NAFDAC first for testing, in order to save the nation from further national embarrassment due to products containing high pesticides residues.
Mr. Mamud Talid, representative of Pest Control Association of Nigeria, iurged the NAFDAC DG to look into the formation of Pesticide Bill as it is done in other climes, as well as pleaded with the agency to make the intended increase in tariff reasonable enough to their level.
Mr. John Nwabueze, who spoke on behalf of Cosmetics Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, identified the need for NAFDAC to reduce faking of cosmetics in the country, as well as scale up penalty for fakers.

World Contraception Day: Invest In Youths, Pathfinder International Tasks Nigeria

Chioma Umeha

With a contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods of 10 per cent, there is big concern among experts that Nigeria is among those with poor contraceptive indices despite the significant investments made over the last decade.
Expressing worry, Dr. Farouk Jega, Country Director, Pathfinder International in a statement to mark this year’s World Contraception Day said, Nigeria’s teeming population provides great potential of developing industrious youths that would guarantee the country’s development.
However, Dr. Jega stressed that this depends on largely on increasing investment in youths’ education, skill empowerment, health, especially in the area of reproductive health, among others.
The Pathfinder International boss said, “With a population nearing 200 million, about a quarter of who are young people, Nigeria has a good opportunity of harnessing the so-called demographic dividend by turning the ‘youth bulge’ into a productive segment contributing meaningfully to economic growth and development.
“But this demographic dividend can only be achieved if the necessary investments are made in the young population – investments in their education, skills development and health care, including access to full and voluntary family planning.
“Despite the significant investments made in the last decade or so, Nigeria’s contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods is still a lowly 10 per cent.”
Bemoaning the situation, the Pathfinder International CEO said, Nigeria recently committed to significantly increase funding for contraceptive commodities at the London FP2020 Summit.
Despite this commitment, he decried the existence of funding gaps, noting that most states in the country have yet to prioritise family planning, and few have made budgetary provisions for this important service.
“Stock outs of key commodities are beginning to resurface in many health centers, further compounding an unmet need of women for contraceptive services, which is currently at 21 per cent.
It would be recalled that the latest edition of Goalkeepers, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation annual publication on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) stressed on the need to track progress towards achieving SDGs.
The publication drew attention to the stark reality that unless something is done urgently, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo will be house to 40 per cent of the world’s poorest people by 2050.
Dr. Jega further noted that the National Youth Policy is long overdue for revision to address the reproductive health needs of adolescents and young people in the country.
He said, “Empowering our youthful population is an urgent necessity; failure to make the necessary investments in this restless segment of the population portends serious consequences, some of which may have already started manifesting in increased levels of insecurity and violent crimes across the country.
“Improving access to, and quality of family planning services has long been recognised as one of the most cost-effective interventions to address both maternal and child mortality.”
However, he identified recent positive developments, including, the task sharing policy of 2014 has enabled the training of many health care workers at the primary health care level to provide key services they were not hitherto providing, including contraceptive services.
Many State Ministries of Health have developed costed implementation plans for family planning, and a few have identified funding for implementation of such plans, he said.
But, the Country Director stressed that obstacles to access still exist, adding; “Apart from stock out of commodities, provider bias is another reason why women (especially young women) don’t have access to a full range of family planning options.
“Many providers erroneously believe that certain contraceptive methods are not suited for young people.”
He recommended that such erroneous belief should be addressed through constant retraining of health workers.
But, Dr. Jega lamented that the demographic window of opportunity is, unfortunately, not going to last forever, insisting; “Now is the time to start making those strategic investments in young people.
“As we enter into another election season, it is imperative that we make the connection between our burgeoning population that largely lacks access to opportunities, and the increased level of poverty and insecurity bedeviling our country.
“Making the necessary investments in human capital, especially in the youthful segment of the population, should be given the desired attention.”
The World Contraception Day takes place on September 26 every year.
Since 1957, Pathfinder has partnered with local governments, communities, and health systems to remove barriers to critical sexual and reproductive health services. Across 19 countries, we expand access to contraception, promote healthy pregnancies, save women’s lives, and stop the spread of new HIV infections, wherever the need is most urgent.
Their work ensures millions of women, men, and young people are able to choose their own paths forward.

Yakasai Condemns Rivalry In Healthcare, Seeks Collaboration

Chioma Umeha
Pharmacists under the auspices of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have condemned disharmony and rivalry in the Nigerian healthcare sector, linking the development with the demand for the establishment of the office of Chief Medical Adviser “Surgeon General” to the president and creation of a national healthcare commission.
Pharm. Ahmed  Yakasai, President, PSN who spoke for the body enumerated other reasons which  causes rivalry, including, Matters arising from Teaching Hospital Act and opposition to appointment of other health professionals as directors in Federal Health Institutions.
The rest, he said are, establishment of postgraduate colleges for other health professionals, and the obvious bias against health professionals other than doctors especially in the reflected areas.
Pharm. Yakasai, who presented a paper  recently, at the annual scientific conference and exposition of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA)  titled: “Synergy among Healthcare Practitioners: Advocacy to Respective Agencies for Collaborative Practice in Nigeria”,  stressed on synergy in a successful healthcare  delivery system.
Insisting on the need for collaboration at the event which held weekend, Pharm Yakasai said; “Synergy among healthcare practitioners is a must and not an option in achieving optimum safe quality care for the patients.
When healthcare practitioners with different complimentary skills cooperate, come together and work hand in hand in the interest of the patients they always achieve better results for the patients, he added.
“The outcomes achieved due to synergy among the healthcare practitioners are far better than when each healthcare practitioner works in isolation. That is synergy. Even drugs work better when they work synergistically which one drug increases the other’s effectiveness.
“For example; Effect on the same cellular system by two different antibiotics like the Penicillin damages the cell wall of gram positive bacteria and improves the penetrations of aminoglycosides.”
Comparing recent development in the healthcare industry to what obtains in the past, the PSN boss said there is an obvious change in healthcare delivery nowadays due to influx of knowledge on the parts of patients and practitioners, which keeps the scope of healthcare expanding by the day.
“In the past, as it relates to the care process, healthcare practitioners were primarily nurses, pharmacists and doctors. Now the term healthcare practitioner encompasses a wide range of other people including other professionals.
“Not only has the number of medical subspecialties significantly increased over the last century (from 14 in 1927 to 103 in 2000), but the number of non-medical care practitioners has also increased. Patients too have to a certain extent become ‘practitioners’ in their own healthcare.
“Moreover, not only do current practitioners role need to be specified relative to the new care processes and operating systems, but entirely new roles – perhaps system architecture for example , need to be developed and reimbursed,” he stated.
The PSN President also noted that collaboration among healthcare practitioners would promote patient-centred care, enhancement of better communication, comprehensive patient care, better coordination of patient treatment plans, and it empowers team members.
A major high point of the annual scientific conference and exposition was the decoration of Pharm. Yakasai with the NAPPSA Distinguished Service Award, at Embassy Suites-Concord Hotel, Concord, North Carolina, USA.
He was recognised for his advocacy and tenacity for Pharmacy Practice in Nigeria.

Over 30,000 Indigenes Benefit From ‘Araya’ Scheme In Ogun

Chioma Umeha 

The Ogun State government says over 30,000 indigenes have benefitted from the Community Based Health Insurance Scheme, tagged, ‘’Araya’’, as part of government’s effort at providing efficient and free health care service delivery to the residents of the state.
The wife of the Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Olufunso Amosun, through the Press Officer, Ministry of Health. Miss. Omolola Awolana unveiled this assertions at Araya Scale Up, held at Totoro Comprehensive Health Centre, Abeokuta, said the Scheme was created to deliver free healthcare services for pregnant women and children under the age of five, urging members of the community to register, so as to benefit from the programme.
“I would like to reiterate that the health care services here would be free for pregnant women and children under five. It is essential for you to have an Araya so as to be able to get free health care service. Yes, it is free and open to all members of the community, however you have to register under the Araya programme’’, Mrs. Amosun said.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, stated that, additional 500 families would be registered during the Scale Up, adding that the number of facilities providing Araya services across the State is now 85.
He added that government would make health care service delivery possible for the people of the state, so as to reduce maternal and child mortality rate in the state, saying that nobody would have cause to say that no health facilities in his/her area.
The Commissioner therefore encouraged members of Totoro community to patronize the Health Centre, noting that the facility was put in place for the generality of the people but not for a selected class, even as it is being managed by a private body to ensure effective and efficient health care delivery to the citizenry.
Fifehan Ogunronbi and Soremekun Azeezat, on behalf of other beneficiaries, appreciated government’s effort on the free health services and the provision in their area, noting that they have been aspiring for the kind gesture in their area.
They promised the state government of making use of health facilities as it was nearness to  their area, noted that instead of going so far to access their health conditions‎, they would just walk down the street and know their health conditions.

Academy Of Pharmacy Advocates Safe, Affordable Medicines

Chioma Umeha

The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy has  called for better, safer, more convenient and affordable medicines as well as treatment regimens for diseases that afflict humans, especially those that are endemic to African region.
Making the call during the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy annual Investiture ceremony in Lagos was  Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, who stressed that the academy is committed to cheap innovative and effective medicines and treatment.
Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi said, “The Academy of Pharmacy owes society a duty to help unravel better, safer, more convenient and more affordable medicines and treatment regimens for diseases that afflict mankind, especially those that are endemic to our region of the world.”
A major high point of occasion was the presentation of a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ to Chief Oludolapo Ibukun Akinkugbe for his huge contribution to the growth of pharmaceutical sector in Nigeria while General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma received an Honorary Fellowship of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy.
Commenting, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi told DAILY INDEPENDENT, “The bestowal of the award on Chief Oludolapo Ibukun Akinkugbe is a token of our appreciation of his enormous strides not only in the Pharmacy profession but indeed in all other aspects of human endeavor.
“As he turns 90 in December, it is only fitting and proper that his number one constituency, Pharmacy, kicks off the celebration of an illustrious role model whose legacy of love, sacrifice and service would be forever etched in our hearts and minds.”
“It is in the same vein that we induct General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma’s investiture as only the second ever Honorary Fellow of the Academy. He remains one of the most passionate supporters of the Pharmacy profession and a most generous benefactor of scientific research,” he added.
The climax of this year’s ceremony was the announcement of the Academy’s Research and Innovation Center which is named after Chief Oludolapo Akinkugbe.
According to the academy’s President, the centre was created to give enduring impact to research and development in Nigeria’s Pharmaceutical space.
He said, “It is for this reason that research is central to our operations, one of the major reasons, indeed, that the Academy came to being.We want to complement local and international efforts that support scientific research and research activities.

“Much of the work we have done in this regard has been in the area of advocacy, in engaging government and policy makers on the essence of scientific research and why it is critical to provide better funding and other moral support to scientific research focused institutions as well as individual researchers.”
Professor Ernest Benson Izevbigie, a distinguished scientist and former Vice Chancellor, Benson Idahosa University, in his keynote lecture at the event titled, From Plant to Patient: Driving Research and Innovation for Industry called for the translation of research findings into societal values.
Prof. Izevbigie whose ground-breaking work on the use of bitter leaf, Vernonia Amygdalina in cancer and diabetes management has commanded critical acclaim globally provided critical research insights into how he has used bitter leaf in the management of breast cancer, prostate cancer and cervical cancer with results better than western drugs.
General Danjuma who is also the Chairman of May and Baker Nigeria Plc, donated N10 million to the Olu Akinkugbe Research and Innovation Centre to support the advancement of research and development in the country.
The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy is a specialised academy that among others, seeks to promote scientific research and professional development, especially in the health, pharmaceutical and related sectors.
The goal is to help Nigerians overcome challenges posed by pain and disease as well as fast-track social and economic development in country and beyond.
The event had eminent personalities that included, Senator Daisy Danjuma, Dr. Obi Peter Adigwe, the newly appointed Director General,  National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD),  Chief Oba Otudeko, former chairman of First Bank Plc, Pharm. Jimi Agbaje, Managing Director, JayKay Pharmacy among others.

This 15-Year-Old Boy Needs N4m Heart Surgery To Live

By Our Correspondents 

LAGOS – Fifteen-year-old boy, Kehinde Emmanuel Mutairu was seen lying critically ill and helplessly at the Department of Paediatrics and child health, Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). His condition appears life-threatening and requires immediate attention. He was said to be having a history of dyspnoea, an abnormal beating of the heart and bilateral swollen leg, mild excretion, cough and is easily fatigued.
Mr. Hakeem Osho Mutairu and Mrs. Abiodun Mutairu, his parents, said their son has suffered greatly with the ailment for more than five years without any obvious improvement.  Following the boy’s debility, attempts at self-medication and his parents’ inability to decipher what was actually wrong with him, they decided to seek help. They took a decision to meet with a specialist in the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
There it was later discovered that the child has a hole in the heart which is the obvious cause of his weakness and tiredness. According to the Paediatrician/ Paediatric Cardialogist,  Dr. B. A. Animasahun, Department of Paediatrics and child health, LASUTH,  Kehinde had a displaced apex beat and a grade four pansystolic murmur loudest at the mitral area.
Kehinde was managed for congestive cardiac failure secondary to rheumatic heart disease and he is currently on anti-failure medications and would benefit from a corrective heart surgery. The only remedy therefore for Kehinde is to undergo a heart surgery without further delay, Paediatric Cardialogist said in a letter signed by him and made available to DAILY INDEPENDENT.
His grief-stricken mother said that Kehinde had since stopped attending classes due to the ailment.
“My son stopped attending classes since we noticed his inability to work well, this has really brought sadness to us and to kehinde as well,” she lamented.
Kehinde’s dream has always been to become a well-known engineer and has been practising at home.
“He repairs spoilt electronic gadgets in the house and helps us to fix the fixable things even without the supervision of any engineering specialist,” his grieving mother told DAILY INDEPENDENT during a visit to LASUTH.
It was so shocking to find such a talented young boy in such a terrible situation, despite all the money that had been spent on him to get better.
All his parents are asking for now is assistance from kind-hearted Nigerians to save the young boy’s life, having spent all that their savings on the ailment.
“My son has been going through severe pain. We arrived at LASUTH few hours ago for a medical check-up. My husband and I are really scared because he becomes weaker day by day. We thought he would be admitted because of his present state, but he was given extra drugs to add to his other medications,” her anguished mother said.
Kehinde’s father, on his part, explained how painful it was to see his son passing through excruciating agony and the struggled to raise huge money for his treatment, but all to no avail.
“So much money has been spent on kehinde for his medications and injections, but he is still in this state. He cannot do anything for himself, even to eat is usually a problem; this is just a terrible moment for us,” he said in anguish.
He added that he has been using his little income from fashion designing to support his son’s health bills, but unfortunately, his meager income cannot cover the cost of such a major surgery.
He further lamented that the specialist on Kehinde’s case, said that if the surgery was not done as soon as possible, he would be encountering more difficulties like the swollen leg.
“The swollen leg he has is because the surgery has not been done; the doctor has given us a severe warning that if it is not done on time the leg would swell more with unbearable stomach pain. If ordinary drugs and injections could have saved him, I think Kehinde would have been better because despite the fact that he spent more than a month in the hospital receiving drips and injection he is still in this terrible situation,” Mr. Mutairu lamented.
On her part, Kehinde’s mother spoke bitterly with tears as she explained to DAILY INDEPENDENT on how she lost her twins few years back due to an ailment also.
“Surgery is the only remedy for his ailment and I do not want to lose him just as we lost his twin. As a mother I can feel his pain and I know how unbearable this has been for him,” she cried out.
The devastated mother told DAILY INDEPENDENT that the surgery could only be conducted if the sum of N4 million could be deposited in the hospital.
“We were told to bring the sum of N4 million before the surgery could be conducted. So much money has been spent on this ailment. We plead to every member of the society to render an assistance to save my son’s life.”
“Our little boy needs immediate help, mothers can understand what it feels like to see their child in an unbearable pain, please come to our aid,” Mrs. Mutairu said weeping and pleading.
If you are touched, please contact Kehinde’s parents on 08185139503 or send your donations to Mrs. Abiodun Iyabode Mutairu, GT Bank 0224624700.

Revitalise Primary Health Centres To Achieve Universal Health Coverage – CISLAC

Chioma Umeha

To address shortage of infrastructure, health personnel and equipment  at the Nigerian primary health care system (PHC) a not for profit organisation, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre  (CISLAC) has said that revitalisation of primary health facilities should be made priority by state governments in order to achieve universal health coverage.
Canvassing for this in Lagos, Mallam Auwal Ibrahim Musa, the Executive Director of CISLAC, said “the situation of primary health care in Nigeria worsens, as financial and political commitment from the government is lacking.”
Musa also noted “In cases where there have been financial pronouncements, they have been partially or entirely not implemented.  Inadequate funding and non-commitment of state governors and local government authorities to provide skilled manpower at the primary health care centers impede adequate health intervention.
“Thankfully, health is on the concurrent list of the government. This signifies that if indeed the government wants to pay attention to the prevalent health condition, it can easily be achieved through serious implementation of health policies and redeeming of pledges at all levels.”
The CISLAC boss, who was represented by the programme officer, Mr. Murtala Muhammad, commended the Saving One Million Lives Initiative initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017 was geared towards revitalising over 10,000 primary healthcare centres across the country.
Similarly, Dr. Jibril Mohammad Bashar, from health policy and systems development unit, department of community medicine, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, in his presentation, “Financing for Primary Health Care: Harnessing Domestic Funding Enabling Policies And Legislation,”  called for the 15 per cent of national budget to health
Dr. Bashar explained that in order to attain a meaningful impact in the health sector in Nigeria, government needs to invest a bench mark of 15 per cent of its national budget to health.
He said, though the Lagos state government is one of the best in health investment with N6,617 per person annually, it still has a funding gap of N64.2 billion, especially in its 2018 budget.
In his remarks on health care financing, Dr Bashar said that there should be appropriate financing mechanism that will provide sufficient financial protection so that no individual household is impoverished because of the need to use health care services.
He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that Nigeria’s out of pocket spending for health is 95.7 per cent instead of the recommended benchmark of 20 per cent that means Nigeria is 75.7 per cent away from the acceptable benchmark.
Dr. Bashar said, “Nigeria has to prioritise public spending in health according to its own morbidity, mortality and availability of funds as a great degree of impact can be made in making accessible health intervention at a low cost through sustainable domestic funding.

APBN President Pays Courtesy visit To PSN Office

Chioma Umeha

Stakeholders have called for collaborations among professional bodies, noting that team spirit among experts is critical to tackling national problems and forms the bedrock of any nation’s development.
The call came when Dr. Omede Idris, President, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), weekend, led top officials of the association to pay a courtesy visit to the leadership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in Anthony, Lagos.
Dr. Idris stressed that the development of any nation completely depends on work interactions among professionals, adding that with all the professionals working together most of the problems facing the nation and the health sector could be solved.
He stated that the APBN established 26 years ago has done well despite the hard times which Nigeria is going through.
However, the APBN boss noted that a lot more can still be done if all professional bodies work together to build the nation.
Dr. Idris who was a past President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and also a former commissioner of health in Kogi State speaking during the visit thanked the PSN for its contribution to APBN over the years, adding that a past president of PSN, Pharm. Ebenezer Ogunlana, who was also a past president of APBN made significant contributions to the association.
Dr. Idris also praised Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, president, PSN, noting that he has personally done a lot for APBN since he became the helmsman of PSN, adding that his visit to the PSN office was basically to thank Pharm. Yakasai and his executives for their support to APBN.
Responding, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai praised Dr. Idris for his style of leadership as APBN president, noting that he has always been interested in working in harmony with all professionals. He congratulated the APBN helmsman for his achievements in office as president.
Pharm. Yakasai stated further that the APBN is evolving as an association, adding that the body needs to be addressing national issues more. The PSN, Yakasai added, is a proud and committed member of APBN, noting that the society has always been supportive of the body because it believed that collectively a lot can be achieved.
“The PSN is committed to collaboration and partnership because we know it is the way to go,” Yakasai said.
Among the dignitaries at the event were, Pharm. Tony Oyawole, APBN desk officer; Dr. John Nwaiwu, MD/CEO, JB Pharmaceuticals; Pharm. (Chief) Yetunde Morohundiya, a fellow of PSN and Prof. Femi-Mbang Oyewo, fellow of PSN.

UK-based Nigerian Neurologist Receives Order Of British Empire

Chioma Umeha

UK-based Nigerian, Dr. Abdullahi Shehu, Consultant Neurologist and Deputy Lord Lieutenant, West Midlands has been awarded the membership of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty, the Queen of United Kingdom.
The award was conferred on him on August 16, 2018. His childhood friend and President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai disclosed this in a congratulatory message.
Dr. Abdullah Shehu MBBS (ABU), FRCP, MBE, DL is a Consultant Neurologist, University Hospital NHS Trust and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands.
Dr. Shehu is from Yakasai, Kano and elder brother of the former President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. M B Shehu.
He left Nigeria for UK in 1986, moved to Coventry in 1993 and became a Consultant Neurologist in 1996. He was a Clinical Director for eight years, then Divisional Medical Director for four years.
His commitment in community work has seen him serving in different capacities  ranging from the Chairman of Muslim Doctors and Dentist Association (UK) – a registered charity for four years as well as Chairman of Health and Medical Committee of MCB for four years.
He is the co-founder and Chairman of Coventry Muslim Forum in 2010 which won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017.
Dr. Shehu is the Chairman Board of Trustees, Nigeria Muslim Forum, UK, Trustee -Africa Health Development Trust UK and Trustee – Medical Life Science Fund for Warwick University, UK
He received the Coventry City Merit Award in 2014 and now conferred with an honour of MBE.
“It is with great pleasure that I write to congratulate my confidant for this accomplishment who has been graciously conferred with an honour of Member of the most excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom in recognition of his services to Healthcare and Voluntary Services to community cohesion in Coventry,” Yakasai said.

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