Sunday, 24 June 2018

Nestle Affirms Commitment To Youths Development


By Independent
Nestle Nigeria has reiterated its pledged to support young people by boosting youth entrepreneurship and inspiring the talented ones through providing training and job opportunities.
The pledge was contained in a statement signed by Victoria Uwadoka, company’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, in Lagos, which was released  affirm the organisation’s ideals as it celebrated this year’s International Youth Day.
Uwadoka said that the move was to ensure they gained the skills that would enable them to contribute positively toward building peace in the society.
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager said, “This is in line with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable development Goal 8, which aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full off productive employment and decent work for all.’’
The youth empowerment initiatives include a training programme to develop and train young technicians for the world of work at its Technical Training Centre in the company’s Agbara Factory Complex in Ogun.
It also provides young people with the skills and expertise they need to run their own micro-enterprises under the platform tagged – “My Own Business (MYOWBU) Street-Vending Programme.”
According to the statement, some young entrepreneurs who were panelists at the event organised by Nestle Nigeria for young people to celebrate the 2017 International Youth Day, underscored the importance of hard work and focus on what one desired to achieve.
They shared their success stories and how they have contributed to the development of society.
The Panellists are Tosin Oshinowo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CDAtellier, (the Architect who designed Maryland Mall – a popular Mall in Lagos) and Chiamaka Obuekwe, CEO of Social Prefect Tours (one of Africa’s Top 100 Women in Tourism).
Others are Oluwaseun Shogbamu, CEO of Nation Career Fair and Elijah Eniola, Digital Marketing Executive and Social Entrpreneur.
In response, the Managing Director and CEO of Nestle Nigeria, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, advised youths to leverage the myriad opportunities available to them today.
Alarcon said that today’s youths were better equipped to make positive impact in the fast-paced world, urging them to maximize the use of technology and get creative to harness the vast potential in themselves to create value for society.
In his statement, the Agbara Factory Manager, Mr. Walid Hbaika stressed the need for the youth to take everything they were learning with utmost seriousness.
Also, Nestlé Nigeria’s Head of Human Resources Mr. Adesola Akinyosoye, urged the youth to embrace the key elements of learning agility to enable them to succeed in today’s highly competitive environment.
“The present-day world is not driven by mere activity, but by results. Every activity that one engages in must therefore be productive,” he said.


Lagos State Man Of The Year Award


.......Fertility Champions Make Case For Dr Ajayi

By Chioma Umeha
In many African societies, children are the most important thing in life, so not to be able to have that can be devastating.
To this effect, childless couples are susceptible to depression, suicidal thoughts, among other problems because of difficulties in conceiving.
To make matters worse, fertility problems are something that the affected people don’t always want to talk about. And so the sense of isolation can be overwhelming.
Thanks to Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, CEO Nordica Fertility Centre with clinics in Lagos, Asaba and Asokoro Abuja, who many Nigerians that have benefitted from his services said have demystified fertility problems in Nigeria.
It is not surprising that he was nominated by the Centre for Policy Development & Political Studies for the ‘Lagos State Man of the Year 2017 Award,’ along with nine other very formidable great achievers.
Dr Ajayi has been a medical doctor for over 33 years, 28 of which has been devoted to reproductive health and the last 15 years to helping families challenged with infertility to achieve their dream through assisted conception.
In line with the requirements of the Centre for Policy Development & Political Studies, the Fertility Expert who is also a Gynaecologist has been in the forefront of research in male infertility and use of Genetics in IVF, so it is not surprising that he emerged as one of the nominees.
The indisputable role of Dr Ajayi in ameliorating the challenges of infertility received endorsement during the ‘Endo March Worldwide’ when he was awarded ‘Endo Hero of the Year.’
Worthy of mention is the Nordica’s participation as technical partners in the FTSF/Alibaba January 1, Concert which recently organised free fertility treatments for indigent Nigerians to name a few.
In a telephone interview with our Reporter, Amos Evborokhai , Fertility Awareness Advocate Initiative (FAAI ) President said: “I don’t know the criteria, if those that are pitching the criteria included excellence in medical field, the Dr. Abayomi Ajayi is qualified for the award.
“He deserves the award from the perspective of the field of medicine by help people who have trying for years without success to achieve pregnancy. I am therefore calling on all those who have benefitted from his expertise to vote for him.”
Also, Frances Onwudinjo, Nordica first baby mum urged Lagos residents to vote for Dr. Ajayi. In a telephone interview, Onwudinjo said; “Dr Ajayi deserves the Lagos State Man of the Year 2017 Award because of his positive impact on couples. He has allowed God to use him to put smiles in the faces of many couples and their families.
“In fact, Dr Abayomi to is God’s sent to so many women and he deserves more than becoming the Lagos State Man of the Year 2017 Award, the country at large. I am calling on people – mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles, both the young and old in Lagos state, not just the people he helped to touch their lives to vote for him.”
Similarly, Oghienenors, one of the winners of Fertility Treatment Support Foundation (FTSF), said: “I think Dr Abayomi Ajayi deserves the award, he’s patient, and a professional to the core. He takes his time to encourage couple with challenge of infertility by educating them, hence removing fears and make them understand that they have hope.”
Responding, Dr Ajayi said; “I am deeply humbled by this nomination and consider it a great honour to be among such great achievers and notable captains of industry, renowned for their excellence, innovation and advocacy in their chosen field of endeavour.
He also solicited for support from every Nigerian to enable him to become successful.
“This award event has a nationwide appeal and winning it will inspire and galvanise my effort to touch more lives with the message of hope in fertility.
“How to vote? Just Text, Award Dr Abayomi Ajayi to 0708 585 0077. Kindly cast your vote and tell your friends to also support my nomination by casting their votes on or before Sunday, August 20, 2017 when voting ends,” Dr Ajayi added


Early Registration For Antenatal Curbs Malaria In Pregnancy – Stakeholders


Malaria is highly endemic in Nigeria and poses a major challenge to human development.
Pregnant women, especially ‘primigravidas’ that is a woman who is pregnant for the first time are particularly at risk.
The disease may not only account for up to 15 per cent of anemia in pregnancy, it causes miscarriages, premature births and low birthweights in newborn babies.
In view of this, researchers and stakeholders have restated the need for early commencement of antenatal care by pregnant women.
According to them, this aids early diagnosis and prompt treatment of malaria in pregnant women as well as uptake of Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy (IPTp).
Making the recommendations during a recent media chat on “Malaria In Pregnancy,” they stressed that regular and appropriate use of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) help to prevent malaria in pregnant women.
The event was jointly organised by the National Media Elimination Programme (NMEP) and the Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) at the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in Lagos.
The health experts drawn from World Health Organisation (WHO), NMEP and NIMR gave detailed presentations on management and effective control of malaria during pregnancy.
Speaking at the media parley, Dr Tolu Arowolo of the WHO emphasised the importance of early Antenatal Care (ANC), and insisted that booking and administering of IPTp are critical in preventing malaria during pregnancy.
“IPTp is based on the assumption that every pregnant woman living in an area of high malaria transmission has malaria in her blood stream or placenta, whether or not she has symptoms of malaria.
“A pregnant woman is supposed to receive a minimum of three doses of SP before delivery.
“They should also sleep under LLINs because it is also an intervention against malaria,” she said.
Arowolo said that good nutrition was also critical during pregnancy as it helped to nourish the mother and foetus, as well as boost the immune system.
Also, Itohowo Uko, the Head of Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation in NMEP, also enjoined women to report for ANC immediately they realised they are pregnant.
Uko also said that following uptake of IPTp, 37 per cent of pregnant women took two doses of Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine (SP) according to 2015 Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey (NMIS).
Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine is a recommended medicine for malaria prevention for pregnant women in Nigeria.
This should be taken at least once during an ANC visit.
Noting that the uptake of SP is significantly low based on NMIS 2015, she charged women to exercise their right of demanding for at least for three doses of SP during pregnancy based on recommendation.
She further clarified that each dose should be taken one month apart.
Dr. Bartholomew Odio, a gynaecologist, urged people, especially pregnant women to always request for testing before the treatment of malaria fever.
Odio, who is the Malaria Technical Advisor with Jhpiego Nigeria, an affiliate organisation to John Hopkins University, U.S, advised them to always demand to know the drugs that were given to them.
Participants at the training were worried that despite the effectiveness of LLINs in preventing malaria and widespread accessibility to it, there are many cases of low and incorrect usage of LLINs in Nigeria, thereby reducing its ability to protect pregnant women against malaria.
They advised all pregnant women to sleep inside LLIN every night.
Earlier, the Dr Audu Mohammed, National Coordinator of NMEP, urged the media to collaborate with it on malaria control, care and prevention in Nigeria.
According to the organisation, collaboration with HEWAN would help to achieve the programme’s strategic plan of ensuring total elimination of malaria in Nigeria by 2020.
Mohammed, represented by Dr Joel Akilah, Head of Integrated Vector Management in NMEP, said that the importance of the meeting could not be over emphasised because malaria was a major public health concern in Nigeria
“This is especially when considered against the backdrop of the negative effects of malaria attacks on our social and economic development as a result of absenteeism from schools, offices and farms.
“Over 90 per cent of Nigerians are at risk of malaria while children under-five and pregnant women are seen to be more vulnerable to this disease, hence the focus of this discussion,” he stressed.
Mr. Timothy Obot, representing the Head, Monitoring and Evaluation in NMEP, urged the media to take the lead in providing investigated and researched evidence of the efficacy of recommended malaria prevention strategies.
Responding, Mrs. Chioma Obinna, President, HEWAN, commended the NMEP for its strategic policies and activities toward the elimination of malaria in the country.
“It is important that NMEP is collaborating with the media in the fight to eliminate malaria because the media had the power to reach out to the masses,” she said.
Also, Mr. Sola Ogundipe, a seasoned health journalist applauded NMEP for the initiative.
He said that eliminating malaria in Nigeria, especially in pregnancy was achievable through commitment and collaboration with all stakeholders, as well as Nigerians themselves.
“Deaths from malaria as well as deaths as a result of Malaria in Pregnancy can be reduced to the barest minimum and HEWAN will join in this cause,’’ Ogundipe said.


FG Commissions Ultra-Modern Medical Warehouse In Abuja


By
Chioma Umeha
The Federal Government has commissioned an ultra-modern medical warehouse in Abuja  for storage of drugs and other medical commodities that it procured or those donated by partners before final distribution to the end users.
Commissioning the facility on Monday, Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, said that the facility, named ‘Premier Medical Warehouse’ was a product of joint effort between the Federal Government and partners.
“I want to declare publically that within this country, I am yet to see facility like this, so I truly agree that this is the work of our partnership”.
Adewole explained that there are three things that constitute good health system, Human Resources, Drugs/ Commodities available in the facility and Data emanating from the facility.
The three things are complementing one another and it is only when the three are put to gather that a strong health system would have been built.
“A facility that have human resources and there are no commodities, people will go there only once, they are not likely to come back, if there is no data you cannot really fine tune what is going on, you cannot determine progress and so to me what we are doing is actually to put in place a strong system that will deliver commodity in good qualities or in good shape to our people”.
The Minister thanked the US Government and Globalfund for supporting the project. He assured that the Ministry will work with private stakeholders in the management of the facility. He said that the facility in Abuja will take care of the northern part of the country while the other one in Lagos would services the entire southern part of the Nigeria.
Adewole said “for us in the Ministry we would ensure that we put all that is necessary to ensure that this facility is put to use, we would advertise it, we would let people know and we would provide oversight for the management”.
The Minister said that facility would also provide opportunity for building capacity so that overtime, the Ministry would be able to replicate it in other part of the country.
In his remark the US Mission Director in Nigeria, Mr. Stephen Haykins said that the Premier Warehouse in Abuja and Lagos would overcome the challenges of  warehousing and distribution of drugs in Nigeria.


German Medical University Partners Nigeria On Hospital Project


By Chioma Umeha
One of the world’s leading medical faculties and university clinics, Hamburg-based Universitätskrankenhaus Eppendorf (UKE) has concluded plans to be the major partner in executing the proposed Thompson & Grace Medical University and Hospitals in Nigeria.
To this effect, Thompson & Grace Group, proprietors of Thompson & Grace Medical City (TGMC) and Thompson & Grace Medical University (TGMU), Nigeria will hold a one-week meeting with a team of high ranking medical experts from Germany.
The purpose of the visit is to get a perspective on how Education, Health, and Medicine can be transformed to benefit Nigeria and Africa.
The highpoint of the meeting is the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Thompson & Grace Investments Limited (T&GIL) and the University Clinic of Hamburg (UKE), Germany on tomorrow, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The agreement shall set the frame for a close collaboration between the two signing entities in the planning, building and managing of both the Thompson & Grace Medical University and the Thompson & Grace Hospital.
The delegation coming from Germany consists of Prof. Uwe Koch-Gromus, Dean of the Medical Faculty of the University of Hamburg; Prof. Ansgar Lohse, Vice-Dean and Director of the University Clinic of Hamburg (UKE); and Prof. Frank Riedel, one of Europe’s most acknowledged pediatricians and for more than two decades, Medical Director of Hamburg’s University Clinic’s Children’s Hospital.
The three experts would be joined by project consultants from Germany and the U.S.
Dr. Isaac Thompson Amos will lead the Thompson & Grace Group team to sign the MOU.
On arrival to Nigeria, the team will be welcomed by the Ambassador Bernhard Schlagheck, Ambassador of Germany in Abuja, Nigeria who will also hold a briefing session on both the project of Thompson & Grace Medical City and the bilateral collaboration.
The German Government represented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Collaboration is supporting the project through technical and organisational advice.
In Abuja, Uyo and other region of Akwa Ibom, the delegation will visit several hospitals to witness how healthcare is set up and delivered in the country and to understand issues affecting the advancement of Nigerian healthcare.
Furthermore, during a one-day workshop, the German experts will discuss their assessment with members of the Nigerian and West-African Healthcare Community, local and multinational corporate representatives, and community leaders.
This conference will be held at Le Méridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resorts, Uyo in Akwa Ibom State.
The delegation will round-up its assignments with courtesy calls on the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.
 


Cost Of Doing Little About Malnutrition


By Chioma Umeha
Worried by the growing burden of malnutrition among children under five years, stakeholders have been urged to prioritise tracking of resources allocated to nutrition in various tiers of government.
The goal is to ensure appropriate implementation to curb the ugly trend of malnutrition.
According to the World Bank, Nigeria loses over $1.5 billion in GDP annually to vitamin and mineral deficiencies alone.
According to experts, Nigeria needs N2.87 trillion, an equivalent of $912 million to tackle the scourge of child malnutrition which is presently ravaging the country.
Dr Chris Osa Isokpunwu, Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) disclosed this recently at a meeting which was organised by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
He added that about N2.8 billion is required within the next five years to tackle the menace of child malnutrition in the country.
He noted that this investment would help avert 890,000 stunting in five years and save about 123,000 lives annually.
Isokpunwu noted that the budget for child nutrition was created for the first time in Nigeria in 2014, describing child malnutrition as “a silent killer which has to be stopped” in view of its devastating consequences.
He observed that the national budget provided only N2.4 million for child nutrition in 2016, while nothing was provided in the 2015 budget and N30 million was provided in 2014, but was not released.
Isokpunwu who stressed the need for adequate funding for child nutrition, observed that if government fails to address the issue of malnutrition in children under the age of five, all efforts at reducing death among children under the age bracket would be counter-productive.
He explained that the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (NSPAN) 2014-2019 was designed to improve the nutritional status throughout the lifecycle of Nigerian people, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups including women of reproductive age and children under five years of age.
According to him, the NSPAN has the targets of reducing the number of under-five children who are stunted by 20 per cent by 2019; reducing low birth weight by 15 per cent by 2019; ensuring no increase in childhood overweight by 2019.
Others are reducing and maintaining childhood wasting to less than 10 per cent by 2019; reducing anaemia in women of reproductive age by 50 per cent by 2019 and increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates in the first six months to at least 50 per cent by 2019.
Isokpunwu, therefore, stressed the need to develop a specific and fully funded budget line for nutrition in the annual state budget, increase public sector budget for nutrition.
He further canvassed for specific interventions to be progressively increased and strengthened health systems.
The Head Nutrition also stressed on the need to ensure that nutrition is integrated in all related policy areas – Agriculture, Gender, Wash and Planning.
A Nutrition Specialist at the Port Harcourt office of UNICEF, Ngozi Onuora, in a paper entitled “Child Nutrition Situation in South-East and South-South Zones of Nigeria,” lamented that every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five-year-olds and 145 women of childbearing age as a result of malnutrition.
This, she said, dents the country’s image as the second largest contributor to the under-five and maternal mortality rate in the world.
Onuorah outlined the challenges of combating the scourge to include, inadequate government commitment and funding for nutrition programmes, capacity gap in the implementing partners programme officers and poorly motivated workforce.
Others are poor attitude of health workers and poor coordination of Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) in the States among others as challenges.
She observed that in order to address the alarming rate of under-nutrition in the country, there must be an increased Government and private investment in nutrition.
This she said could be achieved either as co-financing or direct funding of nutrition specific and sensitive interventions to increase access of all needy children to nutrition services.
She called for adequate funding of MNCH to ensure that all needy children have access to nutrition services as part of the child survival programme.
Ken Ozoemena, a Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF Enugu, speaking on Children Friendly Budgeting: Addressing Child Malnutrition, observed that effects of malnutrition are often irreversible if nutrition is not optimised within the first 1000 days of a child.
Ozoemena, however, noted that government is not meeting its commitments to children supposedly due to budget constraints adding that the realisation of the rights of children as enshrined in UNCRC demands adequate budgetary allocation to sectors that directly impact survival and development of children.
He said that placing children at the centre of the development planning would allow for sustainable socio-economic development for all people.


Malnutrition, Burden Of Nigerian Child


By Chioma Umeha

An estimated 2.3 million Nigerian children under five (U5) years die every day.  This not only makes the country one of the highest contributors to the under-five mortality in the world, but also results in massive cost for the nation. More than a half of these deaths are related to malnutrition causes.
Those who survive often become stunted.
Six-year-old Chilotaram Mba appeared skinny and sickly. Her height is a sharp contrast to her age as anyone could easily mistake her for a child half her age.
Her four-year-old sister, Princess Mba, is also in the same condition.
Their aunt, Agatha Mba, who translates on behalf of their mother (because she does not speak English), told Independent that the doctors had diagnosed her two nieces as being malnourished and in need of treatment.
Chilotaram and Princess represent over 11 million Nigerian children who are under five (U5) years afflicted with stunted growth, making Nigeria to rank second only to India in the global list.
The country also accounts for one-tenth of the global burden of severe acute under-five malnutrition (SAM).
According to experts, there are multiple dimensions of child malnutrition that can coexist in individuals, households and populations which could manifest in form of stunting, wasting, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight/obesity.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) reports another sad statistics of 37 per cent of the U5 children who are stunted, while 29 per cent are underweight, just as 18 per cent get wasted.
Stunting is the major indicator used to measure childhood malnutrition.
Stunting compares the height with the age of a child -too short for age due to inadequate intake of the required nutrients over a period of time.
Research has shown that poor physical growth and brain development resulting from poor nutrition in children make them not to thrive and live to their full potential.
About 30 per cent of Nigerian children are underweight (don’t weigh enough for their age), more than double the proportion of underweight Ghanaian children.
The 2015 World Health Organisation (WHO), National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHS) Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transition (SMART) indices showed a gory picture of malnourished Nigerian child.
It stated that 33 per cent of Nigerian children were stunted, while seven per cent suffered wasting, 19 per cent were underweight, even as 25 per cent benefitted from exclusive breastfeeding (EBF).
Lamenting the situation, Dr Chris Osa Isokpunwu, Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) in his presentation at a two-day media dialogue on “Leveraging Resources for Child Malnutrition in Nigeria,” noted that the two immediate causes of malnutrition are inadequate dietary intake and diseases.
During the meeting which was organised by the United Nations Children Fund(UNICEF) in collaboration with the Child Right Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Isokpunwu further observed that malnutrition leads to integrational cycle of growth failure as nutrition affects all stages of the lifecycle.
It also causes child growth failure, low birth weight baby and low weight and height in adolescents, he also said.
According to him, adequate nutrition during the first 1,000 days (from the start of a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday) can avert malnutrition ensuring that children have the best possible opportunity to grow, learn, and rise out of poverty.
Effects of malnutrition are often irreversible after this period, he stressed.
Malnutrition occurs when a person does not receive adequate nutrients from diet. This causes damage to the vital organs and functions of the body, the Head of Nutrition said.
Certain illnesses and infections, such as tuberculosis, measles, and diarrhoea are directly linked to acute malnutrition, he added.
Quoting the 2014 WHO, NNHS and SMART indices, he also said that 21.6 per cent of Nigerian infants between six and 11 months suffered stunting, 13.9 per cent of them wasting, while 22.7 per cent were underweight.
Similarly, Isokpunwu said, in 2015 WHO, NNHS and SMART indices, 35.4 per cent of infants between 12 and 23 months were stunted.
Those who suffered wasting were 12.9 per cent, while 25.7 per cent were under-weight according to nutritional indices by age.
The trend is in contrast with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) 2  is to achieve ‘Zero Hunger.’
It targets to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”
The SDGs 2 further aims at ending all forms of malnutrition by 2030,  including achieving by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under five years of age.
In line with the SDGs, the overall goal of National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition 2014 to 2019 is to improve the nutritional status throughout the lifecycle of Nigerians, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups, especially children under five years of age.
Also, the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition from 2014 to 2019 specifically aims at reducing the number of under-five children who are stunted by 20 per cent by 2019.
 


Health Benefits Of Grapefruit


By Chioma Umeha
Grapefruit has surprising health benefits. The fruit grows in clusters similar to grapes, hence the name. It was first discovered in South America. It is a natural hybrid between orange and pomelo which accounts for its large size and tangy flavour.
Why Grapefruit?
For one thing, grapefruit is filled to the brim with vitamin C. Vitamin C significantly boosts the immune system and helps shorten colds. Cut away the skin, but leave the white pulpy rind as this is packed with helpful nutrients. Here are other benefits of grapefruit.
An incredible lift to the immune system
Copious amounts of vitamin C helps prevent or fight the common cold. There are some indicators that vitamin C may also protect against cancers of the mouth and stomach. Grapefruit also combat free radicals that can wreak havoc in the body. Cancer, stroke, and heart attack may all relate to unchecked free radicals.
Kidney stone prevention
Kidney stones are usually a buildup of calcium, once developed these stones must either pass through the urethra or broken up medically. Anyone who has had a kidney stone can relate an extremely painful condition.


Benefits of Coconut Water


By Chioma Umeha
Coconut water is the ultimate thirst quencher and offers a tasty alternative to water. This pure liquid is packed with nutrients that yield an array of health benefits. Here are 8 Benefits of Coconut Water that explain why it has become so popular:
Aids in weight-loss efforts
The fat content in coconut water is extremely low, so generous quantities can be consumed without the fear of immediately packing on the pounds. It also suppresses the appetite and makes you feel full because of its rich nature.
Helps to achieve perfect skin
For those with acne or other blemishes on the surface of the skin, topical application of coconut water can go a great distance as it has the ability to clear up and subsequently tone the skin. It also moisturizes the skin from within if ingested orally and eliminates large amounts of oil. This explains why products such as facial creams, shampoos, conditioners and lotions that contain traces of coconut extract are more effective.
Hangover remedy
Coconut water to settle will also replace those essential electrolytes that exit the body if you experience bouts of frequent urination and vomiting.
Facilitates digestion
If you constantly encounter difficulty during the digestion process, coconut water may provide a source of relief. Because of its high concentration of fiber, it aids in the prevention of indigestion and reduces the occurrence of acid reflux.
Boosts Hydration
The ingredients in coconut water are way more effective at hydrating the human body than those of sports and energy drinks. During rigorous exercise or extended periods of physical activity, the human body loses mineral-rich fluids. However, coconut water serves as an excellent replacement medium with 294 mg of potassium and 5 mg of natural sugar per glass, unlike your favorite sports drink that only contains half of the potassium content and five times the amount of processed sugar. In addition, the sodium count is only 25 mg, which is relatively low compared to the 41 and 20 mg found in sports drinks and energy drinks respectively.
Reduces Blood Pressure
In many instances, a disproportionate level of electrolytes can result in high blood pressure. Because coconut water contains an adequate supply of each, it can be used as a balancing mechanism. In some instances, it is recommended that coconut water be consumed at the start of each day to foster the balance of these electrolytes.
Rich in nutrients
Unlike any other beverage on the market, coconut water contains five essential electrolytes that are present in the human body. These include: calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. Because of its unique composition, coconut water can be enjoyed by individuals with varying medical conditions.
Compatible with human blood
Since it is isotonic to human plasma, coconut water can be used in extreme emergencies to quickly rehydrate the human body if administered intravenously. It is not uncommon for the drink to be used in poorer, third-world countries to save human lives.
How much should you consume?
Coconut water can be enjoyed as a stand-alone beverage or combined with another liquid product. There is no hard and fast rule regarding the amount that should be consumed on a daily basis, but experts from the Mayo Clinic strongly suggest that you consider maintaining an active lifestyle if consuming large amounts of coconut water since each eight ounce serving is accompanied by 45 to 60 calories.
When searching for the perfect fresh coconut to enjoy, be sure to steer clear of those that have a hard brown shell as this is an indication that it is mature. Instead, look for those that are young and green on the exterior as they usually contain a large supply of the actual coconut water substance. To test it out, simply shake the coconut up and down to gauge how much liquid it contains.


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

How To Check New Infant HIV Infections


By 
Chioma Umeha
The goals of the national programme for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV include elimination of new infections among children and ensuring safe motherhood by 2020.
Specifically, Nigeria’s target is for 75 per cent of all pregnant women to receive quality HIV testing and counselling as well as their results before target period.
Next, is to ensure that 60 per cent of all HIV positive pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers receives ARVs by 2020.
The comprehensive package of PMTCT interventions include, HIV testing services (HTS), ARV and Cotrimoxazole prophylaxis for mother-infant pairs and use of lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) for women.
A visit to the Heart to Heart Centre (H2H) of the Badagry General Hospital, Lagos State by the Journalists’ Alliance for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Nigeria (JAPIN) underscores why new infant HIV infections and deaths is on the increase.
First, is due to failure of pregnant women in receiving quality HIV testing and counselling as well as their results. Second, is failure of HIV positive pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers in receiving ARVs.
At the H2H Centre, Oge John (not real names) told Independent: “This is not my first pregnancy, I lost the first one. It was during the antenatal that it was discovered that I was not taking ARV drugs. That is during my first pregnancy, I was not on ARV drugs, so the baby died. It was a stillbirth. After that, I started taking the drugs regularly. It was after I came to Heart to Heart Centre, they counseled me and I started taking drugs.”
Emmanuela Segun said: I already had my first child who is negative before I tested positive to HIV in 2010. My first husband died of AIDs and I remarried. When my present husband came and proposed to me, I told him about my status. He said, there is no problem since it’s not a death sentence that I can live normal life while on ARVs. Since then we have been living together. This second pregnancy belongs to my present husband who is negative. I have started taking my Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) drugs before I met him. We met where I am currently working. I don’t miss my drugs so that the child I am expecting will come out negative.
Mrs. Adeyinka Kunle told Independent, I was in my fourth pregnancy, when I came to Heart to Heart Centre in 2011. It supposed to be my fourth child, a baby boy, but I lost him because I refused to take my ARV drugs. I also lost the next pregnancy which was twins. My thought then was whether I use the ARV drugs or not, I will die and this made me stay away from home for three days. I was affected psychologically.
“My husband is negative likewise my first three children. After the mistake of losing my fourth and fifth pregnancy, during the sixth pregnancy, I took my drugs religiously and my boy came out HIV negative. By the grace of God, this is my baby from this seventh pregnancy will also be negative.”
Mrs. Kadiri Oluseyi, Executive Director, Centre for Positive Health Organisation, Lagos State said we are partnering with the Badagry General Hospital in working towards HIV prevention, maternal health, tuberculosis prevention, treatment, care and support at the community level.
Oluseyi added: “Our focus is that information reaches every individual about HIV counseling, testing, and treatment. We also provide access, care and support, especially to those that have tested positive.
Speaking on how to avoid new infant HIV infection, Oluseyi said, “Once a pregnant member of PLWA refuses to be counselled or receive drugs, we do not give up, we open her eyes on the risk involved by her action on herself, her unborn baby and community.”
Mrs. Bukola Salami, Psychosocial Counsellor for Abidjan- Lagos Corridor, (ACO) support group said her duties as a psychosocial are; “we follow -up PLWA, counsel them to accept their result and register for Anti-retroviral drugs. We do not force the PLWA to register for drugs; rather we educate them on the negative impact of not registering and adhering to the prescription.
“The psychosocial is very important because, the nurses cannot be in the hospital and track down a pregnant woman who refuses to come for clinic and ensure drug adherence as some of them miss their appointments.
“The benefits of registering in a support group like ACO are that, some pregnant PLWA do not know how to go about their new way of life, we educate them on the right path and importance of the drug they are taking.
The Psychosocial Counsellor further explained: “The drugs are free, but not all the tests are free. The two most important that are free is Cluster of Differentiation 4, (CD4) and Viral Load tests. We have recorded great success in this project.
“The PLWA pregnant mothers give birth to negative children. 80 per cent of our clients’ babies are negative. The 20 per cent of babies born positive with HIV is due to negligence of the mother. On breastfeeding, this is dependent on the PLWA CD4.”
Salami also said that the support group which started in March 2017 is in partnership with the Badagry General Hospital Ante natal unit. According to her, at the inception of the group, it had seven registered member but currently has over 20.
She further appealed for government’s support through increased funding and access to anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, saying, “It will help to ameliorate the challenges of PLWHA, especially pregnant mothers and help in the elimination of new infant HIV infections.”
For instance, only an estimated 53,677 (30.16 per cent) of 177,993 HIV-infected pregnant women received antiretroviral drugs to reduce the risk of mother- to -child transmission (MTCT) of the disease in 2015.
Also, National Coordinator, National AIDS/STI Control Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Sunday Aboje corroborated that Nigeria was still home to the highest number of children living with HIV/AIDS in the world.
Dr Aboje spoke at the opening of a three-day Communication Strategic review workshop by JAPIN in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, recently.
Dr Aboje stated that currently 380,000 children are HIV positive in the country, adding that Nigeria is committed to the goal of eliminating new HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive by 2020.
The NASCAP coordinator declared: “Nigeria has the second highest global burden of HIV/AIDS and also contributes the largest proportion of new vertically acquired HIV infections among children.
“The country has come a long way in its effort to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly in PMTCT.
“Beginning with the pioneer 11 PMTCT-provider tertiary health facilities in 2002, the country now has 7,265 health facilities providing PMTCT services at all levels of the health care system.”
Dr Aboje, however, stated that Nigeria’s target on eliminating new HIV cases in children among other things for 2018 was to ensure 50 per cent of HIV exposed children have access to HIV prophylaxis treatment and early infant diagnosis services.
Only an estimated 15.44 per cent (27,486) of the 177,993 HIV exposed infants received ARV prophylaxis for the PMTCT within first six weeks of birth as at 2015, according to NASCAP coordinator.
Only an estimated 10.26 per cent (18,263) of the 177,993 HIV exposed infants who started CTX prophylaxis within two months as at 2015, he added.
Similarly, only 8.92 per cent (15,879) of the 177,993 HIV exposed infants whose blood samples were taken for DNA PCR test within two months of birth within the same period.
He, however, declared that funding, inadequate political commitment and funding at state and LGA levels, weak health infrastructure as well as inadequate engagement of the private health sector as some challenges against eliminating new HIV cases in children.


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