Monday, 9 July 2018

PSN Moves To Promote Research, Development, Establish Foundation


By CHIOMA UMEHA

The Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria (PSN) recently launched the PSN Foundation and inaugurated its Board of Trustees in Abuja, to support research, development and tackle growing challenges in the country’s healthcare delivery system.
Speaking at the inauguration, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, said that such new partnership like PSN Foundation will help in achieving optimum health, especially for the vulnerable ones within the society.
Adewole,who bemoaned the disease burden in the country, identified maternal and infant mortality, low uptake of contraceptive, Tuberculosis diagnosis, immunisation as some of the challenges in the health sector.
The Minister explained that without collaboration with non-governmental organisation (NGOs) among other stakeholders, no government can solely address all existing disease burden.
“One of the purposes of setting up this foundation that strike me most is to support and collaborate with other organisations in the field of human health development.
“Nothing has dramatically changed in the past five years but to provide the needed change and create changes we need new partnership, we need to do things differently and diverse ways which is one of the surest ways.
“To drastically reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria we need new partnership, we must do things differently.
“To really increase our ability to diagnose TB where we can really diagnose one in every six cases we need partnership, to increase contraceptive uptake we need partnership.
“We need partnership to prevent our young ones from dying,” the minister said.
Adewole, who described the PSN Foundation as first of its kind, commended Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, its President, for the laudable initiative.
On his part, Ahmed Yakasai, President PSN, at the event said the PSN Foundation will promote research and development, promote education in the expansive field of pharmacy practice in Nigeria, it will also carter for the welfare of pharmacists and Nigerians at large and provide scholarships to deserving pharmacists and their children, and promote national development.
Yakasai said the PSN Foundation will have the mandate to impact on the welfare and well-being of all Nigerians. He said the impact on the general public shall be delivered through well articulated public health campaigns and programmes, fight against fake, substandard and falsified drugs, drug abuse, emergency response (humanitarian assistance), advocacy for childhood and family health diseases, like nutrition, pneumonia and diarrhoea, routine immunisation, Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), malaria prevention and treatment, non communicable diseases and maternal and child health.
Yakasai said the Board of Trustees shall be chaired by the former President of PSN, Mohammed Yaro Budah; while Lere Baale (Vice Chairman), Remi Adeseun (Secretary), Ike John Igwu (Treasurer) and Margaret Ebigwelu-Ibru (Public Relations Officer). Other members of the Board of Trustees include Ibrahim Umar Babangida, Clare Omatseye, Joke Bakare, as well as the National Treasurer of PSN and the President of PSN.
Also, Yakasai, at a press conference ahead of the Society’s 90th Annual National Conference schedule to hold Umuahia, Abia State, from November 6 to 11, 2017, said the event is an opportunity to showcase the organisational capacity of the PSN widely perceived as one of the oldest and best organised professional bodies in Nigeria.
The theme of the conference is “Medicines Availability and National Security.”
The PSN President said to enrich the plenary session, Prof. Isa Hussain Marte, of University of Maiduguri and Professor of Cancer Pharmacology will talk on “Nigerian Medicinal Plants: Sources of Anticancer Agents.”
Yakasai said the PSN shall also continue to promote its relationship with the distinguished Fourt Estate of the realm through the Ben Ukwuoma Memorial Award instituted two years ago.


Father Makes SOS Appeal , Says Son Urgently Needs N400,000 For Hydrocephalus Treatment,


By CHIOMA UMEHA

The birth of Kehinde Yusuf, an eight-year-old boy with hydrocephalus ailment to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Isiaka Yusuf on September 19, 2009 was celebrated with pomp and pageantry.
He was born a normal child like his twin brother, but a sickness that took Kehinde Yusuf to the hospital where he was infused with drips via his head, saw him coming down with a swollen head.
Visibly distressed, his father has been moving from one hospital to the other seeking for his son’s full recovery sent a SOS message through INDEPENDENT to Nigerians for financial assistance.
He narrates his ordeal: “I am Isiaka Yusuf, 52, a recharge card seller while my wife is an auxiliary nurse. My eight-year-old child, Kehinde Abdul-Raheem Yusuf has been receiving treatment at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan since June 2011 for hydrocephalus ailment.
“He and his twin brother, Taiwo, were born normal but six months after being born on September 19, 2009 at Iseyin General Hospital, Iseyin, Oyo State.
Kehinde had repeated high temperature prompting me and my wife to take him to Ado-Awaye General Hospital, Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State where the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital who also doubled as the owner of Holy Land Hospital, Peller Road, Iseyin, in Iseyin Local Council passed a drip via his head. Two weeks later my child’s head started growing more than his entire body and he could not sit neither could he walk nor control his head since then.
“He had undergone two surgeries, one at the University College Hospital and the other at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, and currently undergoing physiotherapy at the University College Hospital (UCH).
“Meanwhile, his doctor says he has to undergo a minor surgery on his legs and some other treatment estimated to cost N400,000 or more, even as we are yet to see any change in my child after spending fortunes on him since March 2010 as a result of which I have sold virtually all my properties to see him through. Before going to the University College Hospital (UCH) in 2011, I have taken him to about 10 different private and trado-medical hospitals.
“I am now tired and seeking the assistance of members of the public to help raise this fund to treat him or assist in taking him to any hospital in Western countries for better and less-stressful treatment.
“Please help and I pray God showers his mercy, favour and grace on you abundantly as you help. May you never lack, Amen.”
Isiaka Yusuf can be reached at No. 231 Ire Akari Quarters, Tose, Moniya, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria or call 08022300344, 08059001989. His bank details are Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) Account Number 0151945965, Account Name Kehinde Abdur-Raheem Yusuf or Skye Bank Plc Account No.: 1031284723 Account Name is Kehinde Abdur-Raheem Yusuf. His UCH Ibadan Hospital’s number is 1209980 for verification.


Choose Multiple Cycle IVF Treatment, Experts Tell Expectant Mothers


By Chioma Umeha
“l am blessed with two children, after 19 years of fruitless marriage and  undergoing multiple IVF cycle failures.
At that time my wife was close to 50 before we had our first children – a set of twins, comprising a boy and girl. Actually if you see my son, Seun,  he looks like me. We are like identical brothers. By November, he will be eight.”
These were the words of visibly elated Adejare Akiolu, a Quantity Surveyor, in Lagos, who told INDEPENDENT that he is now enjoying a new lease of marital life after his travails with infertility ended.
Akinolu said; “I got married to my heartthrob, Folake, an Educationist, in 1997. We tried to complete our family for about two years before deciding to seek medical advice. We had no inkling of any challenge in achieving pregnancy like many other newly wedded.  We thought  all was well and believed that conception will normally take place. This was because my wife did not have any history suggestive of pelvic disease.
“But, future events proved us wrong as subsequent tests showed there was a problem and our only option for becoming parents was IVF treatment.
“It was then obvious that there are no logical reasons to infertility. Our life’s focus soon changed toward this one issue.
“After the initial diagnosis, we embarked on a series of private IVF cycles. The first appeared to be successful as 16 eggs where fertilised and Folake tested positive following a pregnancy test two weeks after her implantation. We were highly jubilant.However,  our joy was short-lived,  when my wife began  bleeding and the pregnancy was lost.
“But, we didn’t give up, so we continued through four more cycles none of which were successful, nor even resulted in a pregnancy. Neither did the huge financial cost nor the emotional trauma deter us.
“It was clear to my wife and I that the process is playing an unusual game and each attempt is likely to succeed as the last.
“Suddenly, it became a success story at the sixth IVF attempt.My wife became pregnant with twins and gave birth to two healthy children.”
The determined couple will hardly forget the experience of the last five years as their marriage story changed.
Akinolu and his wife, Folake represent hundreds of thousands of Nigerian couples that benefit from multiple IVF cycle treatment.
Studies have shown that most couples fail to have a child with their first IVF cycle; it is equally true that the chance of having a baby increases the more times they try. However, statistics shows that about 45 percent of couples who fail on the first cycle never try a second or third time.
Research has also shown that though IVF is costly, but it is less expensive when purchased as a multiple-cycle package than a single package.
In the quest to reduce the scourge of infertility, specialists are now providing multiple-cycle packages to maximise couples’ chance for success by giving them more attempts and a lower cost per cycle.
Multiple-cycle IVF packages  also reflects the position of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that women below 35 years need to undergo at least two cycles and those above 35 years should undergo three cycles to improve their chances of success.
According to a report of the United Nations (UN) health  body, “In women without a history suggestive of pelvic disease who have not become pregnant after six appropriately timed insemination cycles, diagnostic laparoscopy should be undertaken to detect asymptomatic  pelvic abnormalities, such as minor degrees of endometriosis or pelvic adhesions. The method appears to be effective only in the first six cycles of insemination,  the UN body said. ”
Couples have been known to have up to 65 per cent success rate after six attempts, after which the chance of a baby increases with subsequent cycles.
For IVF success, persistence is the key. Dr AbayomiAjayi, Medical Director, Nordica Fertility Center, Lagos, Abuja and Asaba, explained that women under the age of 40 should be offered at least three IVF cycles, more so if they have failed to conceive naturally for two or more years.
“The idea is to increase the chances of having a family, so women are counselled to continue with the cycles for successful result.”
Couples are therefore advised to persevere with IVF beyond their first few failed cycles.
Ajayi said: “Over 2000 babies have been delivered through IVF and other Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) methods. We are trying our best to offer satisfactory fertility treatment to our clients.”
Nordica Lagos and its clinics have assisted hundreds of couples challenged with infertility to have their own children through IVF
Corroborating the WHO and Dr Ajayi’s recommendations, a report by Advanced Reproductive Care Fertility, California, USA, said: “Multi-cycle packages maximise your chance for success by giving you more attempts, and offer a lower cost per cycle.”
Similarly, WINFertility, New York, US, reported; “Your chances of succeeding on your first IVF cycle depend on your age and whether you are using your own eggs or using donor eggs from a young woman, the cause of your infertility, what kind of treatment your reproductive endocrinologist prescribes, the fertility centre’s expertise, and luck/fate/divine intervention.
“It’s not completely controllable by any means, or else everyone would get pregnant on their first IVF cycle. But there are indicators that may help you plan, and there are discounted plans to help you manage payment.”
Another study titled: “Number of Embryos Transferred After In Vitro Fertilization and Good Perinatal Outcome,” by a group of researchers underscored the advantage of multiple cycle treatment of infertility.
The researchers are; Dmitry M. Kissin, MD, MPH, Aniket D. Kulkarni, MBBS, MPH, Vitaly A. Kushnir, MD, and Denise J. Jamieson, MD, MPH, for the National ART Surveillance System Group.
Similarly, UK researchers in a study reviewed the statistics of 156,947 UK women who received 257,398 IVF between 2003 and 2010.
From that comprehensive analysis, which included results from both fresh and frozen embryo transfers, researchers found that the average live birth rate for couples participating in six IVF cycles was 65.3 per cent.



How Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Is Treated


By CHIOMA UMEHA
There’s no test to definitively diagnose PCOS. Your doctor is likely to start with a discussion of your medical history, including your menstrual periods and weight changes. A physical exam will include checking for signs of excess hair growth, insulin resistance and acne.
Your doctor might then recommend:
•A pelvic exam. The doctor visually and manually inspects your reproductive organs for masses, growths or other abnormalities.
• Blood tests. Your blood may be analyzed to measure hormone levels. This testing can exclude possible causes of menstrual abnormalities or androgen excess that mimics PCOS. You might have additional blood testing to measure glucose tolerance and fasting cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
• An ultrasound. Your doctor checks the appearance of your ovaries and the thickness of the lining of your uterus. A wandlike device (transducer) is placed in your vagina (transvaginal ultrasound). The transducer emits sound waves that are translated into images on a computer screen.
If you have a diagnosis of PCOS, your doctor might recommend additional tests for complications. Those tests can include:
• Periodic checks of blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels
• Screening for depression and anxiety
• Screening for obstructive sleep apnea
How is it treated?
Lifestyle changes: Your doctor may recommend weight loss through a low-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise activities. Even a modest reduction in your weight  – for example, losing five per cent of your body weight  – might improve your condition. Losing weight may also increase the effectiveness of medications your doctor recommends for PCOS, and can help with infertility.
Regular exercise, healthy foods, and weight control are the key treatments for PCOS. Treatment can reduce unpleasant symptoms and help prevent long-term health problems.
• Try to fit in moderate activity and/or vigorous activity often. Walking is a great exercise that most people can do.
• Eat heart-healthy foods. This includes lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole grains. It limits foods that are high in saturated fat, such as meats, cheeses, and fried foods.
• Most women who have PCOS can benefit from losing weight. Even losing 10 lb (4.5 kg) may help get your hormones in balance and regulate your menstrual cycle.
• If you smoke, consider quitting. Women who smoke have higher androgen levels that may contribute to PCOS symptoms.1
Your doctor also may prescribe birth control pills to reduce symptoms to help you have regular menstrual cycles, or fertility medicines if you are having trouble getting pregnant.


Pay Attention To Demands Of Health Workers – PSN President Tells FG



Ahmed Yakasai, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) is a veteran practitioner with over three decades of experience. Yakasai who is a former Chairman of PSN Kano State Branch, first National Deputy President of PSN and a two-time past Commissioner in Kano State, in this interview with CHIOMA UMEHA, shares perspectives on pharmacy and health management issues. Excerpts:

Nigeria has celebrated 57th years anniversary of independence. What are the challenges of the health sector? What is the way forward?
Nigeria continues to contend with a plethora of challenges not necessarily caused by this incumbent administration. Among numerous challenges, the following stand out: poor funding, delayed and unlawful appointments in regulatory agencies, poor composition structures in the health sector including, lopsided appointments in Federal Health Institutions (FHIs) as well as poor attitude to research and development.
If we restrict ourselves to the highlighted, you will agree that the inherent tendency of health tourism is predicated on poor funding.
Currently, over 95 per cent of the health workforce is on an avoidable strike as a result of challenges in funding. Low wages and obsolete equipment combine to make our health system largely unproductive.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is impossible because of deficiently administered social health insurance agenda.
Delays in appointments that are also sometimes unlawful in sensitive regulatory agencies like NAFDAC, PCN and others ultimately take a toll on the quality of care consumers of health receive from caregivers.
An agency like NAFDAC, which normally should enhance a high safety margin in the range of available regulated products, cannot dwell on ad-hoc structures in perpetuity. It can be even more tragic when government conducts unlawful appointments like those we have witnessed in previous dispensations at NAFDAC, PCN, Nursing and Midwifery Council and Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN).
You are familiar with the position of stakeholders in health with reference to the composition of the board of management of FHIs that is unduly skewed against majority of stakeholders. The way forward is to redress the highlighted challenges.
The pharmaceutical sector is an often neglected goldmine, because we have the requisite expertise to share. We can meet over 90 per cent  of local needs and export to other African countries    become African hub for pharmaceuticals. It will be my joy to see this actualised in my lifetime for the good of Nigeria.
Pharmacists recently celebrated World Pharmacists Day. What is it all about?
Every September 25 marks the annual World Pharmacists Day(WPD). Many years ago, the FIP Congress in Istanbul encouraged the world’s pharmacists to celebrate the day and use it to organise activities that promote the role of the pharmacists in improving health globally.
The theme of this year’s celebration was, “ From Research To Health Care: Your Pharmacist is at Your Service.” The theme was chosen to reflect the numerous contributions which the pharmacist makes to health, from research and development of medicines to educating future practitioners as well as pharmaceutical scientists, and providing direct care. Our goal is to serve patients and the community. However, providing care does not begin in community or hospital pharmacies. Patients’ care starts with recognising the health issues of populations and developing medicines, policies and education to tackle them.
WPD highlights the pivotal role of pharmacists in healthcare delivery from research to care giving.
Where does the PSN stand in the quest to improve the welfare of health workers in Nigeria, especially against the backdrop of incessant strikes in federal health institutions (FHIs)?
We wish to appeal to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to give immediate attention to the clamours of health workers, including pharmacists to redress some pressing welfare demands. The demands include immediate release of the circular on adjustment of the CONHESS scale by the Salaries and Wages Commission. Second is the full payment of balance of arrears of the skipping of CONHESS 10 which remains outstanding in some FHIs since 2010.
Next is proper implementation of the circular which prescribes sanctions on defaulting Federal Health Institution Managements which frustrate the promotion of health workers from CONHESS 14 to 15 as directors.
The fourth is issuance of enabling circular authorising consultancy cadre for health professionals who have adhered to due process by scaling the hurdles of approval of the National Council on Establishment.
Fifth is sponsoring an amendment bill to finally correct the litany of contentious provisions in the enabling statute that establishes teaching hospitals in Nigeria (cap 415 463 LFN 2004).
PSN is appealing to the Federal Government to sustain the lofty ideals of the intervention championed by the late Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Barrister James Ocholi, who calmed frayed nerves within the ranks of the various Health Sector Unions and Health Professional Associations that had threatened to go on strike in February, last year.
PSN strongly urges JOHESU/AHPA to continue using dialogue as a tool of engaging government in public interest to resolve the ongoing strike.
The PSN believes that now is the time to give all care-providers unlimited latitudes to showcase their potentials, skills and enhance their performance in various areas of specialisation. We must continue to align with the global objectives and targets of health care which places huge premium on all health workers in the value chain.
We call on the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Head of Service of the Federation, Budget Office, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and all others involved in negotiations with JOHESU/AHPA to do everything possible to facilitate urgent end to the ongoing strike of health workers which paralyses the economy and causes untold sufferings on the masses.
What plans are in place to ensure commencement of the amended National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG)?
Stakeholders are collaborating to ensure that the proposed Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs) takes off effectively.
Among the collaborators are Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Federal Ministry of Health and pharmacy stakeholders. These include Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NIROPHARM), AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN), Association Of Community Pharmacists Of Nigeria(ACPN) and representative of non-pharmacist wholesalers. The CWCs are already constructed in some parts of the country. You will agree with me this is very strategic to our overall success.
It is my belief that when PCN and NAFDAC structure are fully established, we shall mobilise to consolidate our present level of commitment and gains. The PSN remains committed to effective drug distribution channels and I assure the consuming public we shall not fail in this regard.
The Federal Government has now given the CWCs a new deadline of December 2018 and I must say all stakeholders must ensure a no-going back posture on the deadline.
We have had appointments in most parastatals including some in the health sector, when and what do you expect with notable appointments in the pharmaceutical sector?
It is the prerogative of the Federal Government to carry out these appointments whether at PCN, NAFDAC or National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) which I believe you are referring to. I however presume that your interest is predicated in public interest, especially in the value such appointments can bring to bear on public health endeavours.
Our first priority is to ensure lawful appointments on all pharmaceutical platforms because we certainly do not envisage or pray for the disruption in equilibrium we experienced at PCN when representatives of PSN was compromised due to a distasteful manipulation by an interested party.
We once had the same scenario at NAFDAC which degenerated to a court action in another dispensation.
To avoid an unpalatable discourse, the PSN has since recommended its representatives to the Minister of Health as provided for in Section 3 (1) F of the PCN Act. The Federal Government is also familiar with the required criteria for the appointments of substantive DG/CEO for NAFDAC.
We shall continue to believe that an administration that abhors corruption as the incumbent government has demonstrated would be seriously mindful of not appointing elements who have antecedents that are tainted with corruption. The protracted delay in the appointment of the DG NAFDAC in particular has encouraged rumour mongering which generates entropy in the pharmaceutical space.
Our profession is at a critical junction because the delayed appointments in the regulatory agencies make us unduly vulnerable to the whims and caprices of merchants of death and other violators of the law.
It is instructive to put on record too that to appoint regulators especially, in our sector should be premised or built around persons who are conversant with the terrain to be regulated. I therefore appeal to the Federal Government to give us lawful and befitting appointments in the pharmaceutical sector in the days and months ahead.
The 90th annual national conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria holds in  November  this year at  Umuahia. What do we expect?
This conference has as its theme, “Medicines Availability and National Security.” The Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, is expected to declare it open as a special guest of honour, while the Governor of Abia State is chief host. The Minister of Health will be the guest of honour and the occasion would be chaired by Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State.
Our nation needs to develop an efficient manpower base in the quest for self-sufficiency and economic growth. We shall strategise on improving local drug manufacturing, while ensuring all other drugs that will assist in wellness and eradicating life-threatening situations would be available in our health system.
This unique conference will therefore exploit avenues for this much sought after maxims as it concerns the pharmaceutical sector of the economy. It is a peculiar gathering of pharmacists and other scientists nationwide as well as the Diaspora, so you can only expect new positive force to emerge, pharmaceutically speaking after November 11, 2017.


ECOWAS Approves Strategic Framework To Protect Children From Violence


By CHIOMA UMEHA
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday adopted a Strategic Framework for Strengthening National Child Protection Systems to prevent and respond to violence, abuse and exploitation against children in West Africa.
A statement signed by Geoffrey Njoku, Communication Specialist, United Nations For Children Fund (UNICEF) which was made available to INDEPENDENT said that  the decision  which will have positive implications for millions of children in West Africa was taken at the ECOWAS First Ladies’ Forum in Niamey, from October 2 to 5 2017.
Based on the new framework Ministers responsible for the care and protection of children across the 15 Member States of ECOWAS agreed to take concrete measures to protect children from every form of violence, abuse and exploitation on a wide range of issues.
In doing so they are committing to concrete measures to protect children from the most damaging forms of abuse, by focusing on five priority areas: sexual, physical and emotional violence against children, including female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C); child marriage; child labour; civil registration and vital statistics; and children on the move.
The statement said: “Almost nine out of 10 children in West Africa experience violent discipline. While child marriage exists throughout the continent, it is especially prevalent in West Africa, which hosts six out of the ten countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world: about four in ten young women in West Africa were married off as children.
“Less than one in two children in West Africa have a birth certificate, which is their basic right to an identity. In addition, the region is the theatre of complex migration routes where children are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.”
Led by the ECOWAS Commission, the Strategic Framework was developed in collaboration with a Regional Child Protection Working Group comprised of United Nations(UN) agencies and international non-governmental organisations and networks.
“The Ministerial adoption marks a major step forward for the protection of children in our region”, said ECOWAS’ Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow, whose organisation convened the gathering of experts and ministers from the 15 Member States.
“We stand together more strongly than ever to ensure children are safe and protected. With the right framework, the right actions, the right resources and the right positive changes in attitudes and practices, we can ensure they have an opportunity to fully contribute to our societies.”
The statement noted, “Strong child protection systems can ensure that no child falls between the cracks.
” They provide the surest safeguards against child abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence through a concerted effort between formal and informal actors. The adoption of the Child Protection Framework provides a joint platform for action on the protection priorities for children.
“As programmes for children are strengthened at national and community level, Ministerial commitments made during this week’s meeting will be submitted for approval at the next ECOWAS Heads of State meeting in December 2017,” it added.
“In West Africa, urgent action is needed to address the acute vulnerabilities of children”, said Andy Brooks, the Chair of the Regional Child Protection Working Group.
“We count on the commitment shown by the Ministers being echoed and supported by the Heads of States and the First Ladies’ network in West Africa. We will continue to support States to strengthen services on the ground and the ECOWAS Commission in tracking accountability to commitments made here today,”Brooks added.



Pharmacists Urge FG To Increase Funding For R&D



L-R: Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy and Calixthus Okoruwa, Chief Executive Officer, XLR8, at the investiture of new fellows of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy which held at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel, Lagos.



•Inducts Six New Fellows

By CHIOMA UMEHA
To tackle inadequate funding, lack of constant power supply and non- availability of reagents which have been identified as Fellows2challenges for Research and Development (R&D) in Nigeria, the Federal Government has been tasked to increase its commitment in the area.
Specifically, Professor Isa Marte Hussaini, a world-renowned cancer researcher and professor of pharmacology at the University of Maiduguri has called for greater commitment on the part of the government to the funding of research in the country.
Professor Hussaini said this while delivering his keynote presentation at the investiture of  six professionals as fellows of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, weekend.
The celebrated researcher lamented: “Inadequate funding is still a big challenge for Research and Development in Nigeria, as well as lack of constant power supply and non- availability of reagents which we have to buy from US and UK.
“We need more research grants in our country; it is not about the personnel but the tools to work with. All over the world, there are Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in the field of medicine,” Hussaini stressed.
Prof. Hussaini whose cancer research is exploring the use of local herbs in cancer therapy reminded the audience that “cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, the first being cardiovascular diseases with 8.2 million deaths reported worldwide as at 2012.
“Sadly, a lot of the research grants in Nigeria are focused on deaths arising from preventable diseases like Malaria, TB when we should really be funding ground breaking research on cancer. We have seen fruitful evidence of the use of local herbs in the management of cancer in Nigeria.”
On his part, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, (PSN), Ahmed Yakasai, said the body was committed to making Nigeria the hub of pharmaceutical production and research in Africa.
“Through a well-tailored plan which we have broken down to short, medium and long-term plan, we are looking to promote pharmaceutical manufacturing in Nigeria and examining the possibilities of producing about 70 per cent of what the industry needs especially the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients while importing the remaining 30 per cent.”
Yakassai also announced the establishment of the PSN Foundation which would be launched in Abuja on October 17, while noting that the 90th celebration of the PSN scheduled to hold in Umuahia would be a grand, epoch making occasion for all pharmacists.
Commenting on the newly inducted fellows, President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi noted, “Individuals we are today inducting into our ranks are those with a strong passion for scientific research. These are tested professionals who appreciate the value of research in fast-tracking the social and economic progress of societies.”
He described pharmacy as the bedrock of effective healthcare delivery in the country and the most trusted healthcare provider as well as a driving force behind the discovery of new drugs.
According to Adelusi-Adeluyi, “Pharmacy is the key that unlocks all you need to know about medicine, Pharmacists are with you in sickness and health, counseling the patients and we serve with integrity. The Academy is exploring ways by which we can collectively convert the massive footprint of visitors to hospital pharmacies into real value for the profession and its practitioners.”
The six distinguished professionals which the Academy inducted in Lagos are; Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel, Director-General, Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Prof. Herbert Coker, former deputy provost, University of Lagos(UNILAG); Dr. Ogori Taylor,one-time national pharmaceutical advisor, World Health Organisation; Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, first African woman to bag the fellowship of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) in the US and Professor of Pharmaceutics; Dr. Teresa Pounds, Pharmacy Residency Director, Mercer University College at Atlanta Medical Center and Calixthus Okoruwa, communications management consultant and CEO XLR8.
The Academy, which has been in the fore-front of educating, mentoring and motivating young pharmacists in partnership with the PSN and other health professionals,  recently organised a workshop on inter-professional collaboration in the country’s healthcare sector.
Eminent persons who attended  the event are; Pharm  Elijah Mohammed, the Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria; Senator (Prof. )Olusola Adeyeye, Senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District; Prof. Fola Tayo, General Secretary of the Academy; Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, Vice President; Pharm. Nnamdi Obi, Chairman, Association of Pharmaceutical Importers of Nigeria (APIN); Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, former managing director, Neimeth Pharmaceuticals, among others.

Nigerian Children Risk Under-Development Without National Policy Review – UNICEF


By Independent
With Nigeria in the list of ten countries with the largest number of children at risk of poor development, a report of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched in Abuja Tuesday, has said alerted that the Nigerian child is at risk of under-development.
The UN agency for children further explained that this is because of critical national policies which are not providing adequate foundation for children’s growth.
A statement which was jointly signed by Doune Porter, Chief of Communication and Geoffrey Njoku, Communication Specialist, both from UNICEF Nigeria, said, “Nigeria is putting its children at risk of under-development, both physically and mentally, because critical national policies are not providing adequate foundation for their growth.
“During the first years of a child’s life, the brain grows rapidly; providing good nutrition, loving care and appropriate playing opportunities provide solid foundations for a child’s learning – and eventual contribution to economic and social growth.”
The UNICEF report,  titled – Early Moments Matter for Every Child, outlines three policies that can give parents the time and resources needed to support their young children’s healthy development.
The recommended policies according to the report are: two years of free pre-primary education; six months of paid maternity leave; and four weeks of paid paternity leave.
However, the report noted with regret, “Nigeria currently has just three months of paid maternity leave, only one year of free pre-primary education and no paternity leave at all.
“Only about one in every 10 pre-primary children are enrolled in early education activities.”
According to the medical journal, The Lancet, Nigeria ranks among the ten countries with the largest number of children at risk of poor development.
A 2016 national survey also indicated that 31 per cent of children under the age of five are moderately or severely underweight in Nigeria. Stunting as a result of malnutrition can cause irreversible physical and mental retardation.
Even though exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life has clearly been shown to improve physical and mental development, the same survey revealed that only 24 per cent of Nigerian children are exclusively breastfed for six months.
Recommending paid maternity leave, the report said, it will help to increase the number of children exclusively breastfed.
“What we call Early Childhood Development, which includes physical and cognitive support, has a strategic place in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Mohamed Fall UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.
“Investing in Early Childhood Development including services to support caregivers, quality pre-primary education and good nutrition will help to secure healthy and productive future generations in Nigeria,” he added.
As well as supporting exclusive breastfeeding, having good Early Childhood Development policies in place will help to improve the overall health and nutrition of a child, enable parents and caregivers to be more responsive to children’s needs and provide greater safety and security. It will also provide improved early learning.
With 90 per cent of a child’s brain development occurring before the age of five, early childhood experiences can have a profound impact on a child’s development can ultimately impact a country’s growth.


Ogun Discharges Lassa Fever Survivor


By
Independent
Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, has said the 20-year-old boy diagnosed with Lassa fever has been discharged from the isolation centre at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) at Idi-Aba in Abeokuta, the state capital.
Ipaye, who addressing reporters at the centre in Abeokuta, said the boy was brought into the state hospital at Ijaye and was transferred to the isolation centre at FMC at Idi-Aba.
The commissioner said the boy was taken to the centre with complications, adding that he had 20 per cent chances of survival because he had serious renal complication, which could have led to his death.
He said: “Having being successfully treated and fully recovered from the disease, with results of the last two tests carried out, indicating negative, the boy was free to go home and join his family.”
Ipaye stressed the need for continuous monitoring of the 106 persons currently being quarantined for having contacts with suspected patients.
The commissioner said the state’s Department of Public Health would continue to monitor and guide against any likely infections.
Ipaye appreciated the management of the FMC and the Team Leader who is in charge of the isolation centre for the huge success being recorded in rescuing the index.
He also noted that the centre had been serving the residents of the state in fulfilment of their primary reason the hospital was established by the Federal government.
Similarly, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the centre, Prof. Adewale Musa, confirmed that the index was in critical condition when he was brought to the FMC, Idi-Aba, with many complications including renal injury, but now the boy had been recuperated from Lassa fever and is free to go home.
He urged the residents of the state to make their health a matter of priority.

Diarrhoeal Diseases: UNICEF Tasks Nigeria On Rural Water Supply Investment


By Chioma Umeha

Nigeria can reduce outbreak of diarrhea and other diseases associated with contaminated water by dedicating one per cent of the national budget to rural water supply, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The United Nations(UN) agency for children further  tasked governments across the  Niger Delta states to invest consciously in the provision of safe water supply and sanitation for its rural populace.
The provision of such basic social amenity, according to UNICEF would encourage handwashing and other hygienic practices among school-age children and rural populace.
The international agency stated this at a ‘WASH’ media  meeting by the Federal Ministry of Information in collaboration with UNICEF in Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital on Tuesday, noting that the chemical contaminations resulting from oil and gas exploration in the Niger Delta region has made it necessary for efforts to be made to ensure safe and constantly checked water for human consumption.
Mr. Moustapha Niang, a ‘WASH specialist,’ in his presentation, ‘Water, supply and quality in the Niger Delta’,  emphasized on the need for proper orientation of the rural populace to adopt attitude change and embrace water safe plan, from water source, storage to point of use.
He urged government at all levels to ensure provision of public toilet in public facilities as a means to discourage open defecation and consequences associated with it.
Niang also recommended constant monitoring of water quality to detect contamination, while encouraging the establishment of a water sanitation committee in all communities across the region,.
“Prioritize the potential hazards and mitigate such hazards through the entire water chain to ensure that water reaching the consumer is safe and acceptable. Develop their community plan. Avoid for citing potable water source around nearby latrines and areas fertilized for agricultural purposes,” he said
Martha Hokonya, also a WASH specialist,  in her presentation – ‘Why invest in water supply’  said such investment  in addition to job creation, reduces diseases and mortality rate, improves  productivity and also provides time for women to engage in other activities like child care and others activities which brings women together.
Hokonya said as an area prone to youth restiveness, the essence of bringing the wash programme to the Niger Delta region was to address one of the agitations of the region, reduce conflicts and agitation and promote good hygiene.
While reporting that about 206,954 additional people have been reached with the WASH programme as against the targeted 543,000, she used the occasion to applaud some Niger Delta states which have lived upto their counterpart fundings arrangement, but however appealed to states yet to do so to step up to enable UNICEF do more.
Addressing the meeting, Nse Edem,  the Permanent Secretary, Akwa Ibom State  Ministry of Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, said that  the State is committed to the provision of safe water for the people of the state and is ready  to partner UNICEF.

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