Tuesday, 3 November 2015

PSN 88th conference to focus on progress in curbing childhood killer diseases

In four days time, precisely November 2, all roads will lead to Abuja, where pharmacists from all over the country will converge for the 88th annual national conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) – “Unity 2015.”

According to the Executives of PSN Planning Committee this year’s event which will attract international participants as usual will come with a difference.

Addressing the journalists at the PSN National Secretariat, Anthony Village, Lagos, Olumide Akintayo, the National President, PSN, who is also a member of the planning committee stressed that this year’s conference is special as it will address childhood killer diseases under the platform of PSN-PACFaH project.

Specifically, PSN and Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH) in Nigeria will make a presentation on progress in tackling childhood killer disease in the country at the conference and point the way forward.

According to Akintayo, the vision of PSN- PACFaH is to see its advocacy work contribute to getting government and relevant stakeholders work in concert to stop deaths caused by treatable childhood killer diseases (pneumonia and diarrhoea) which account for the death of over 400,000 children (per annum) under the age of five years in the country.

L-r: Remi Adeseun, Director of Project, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria -
Partnership for Advocacy in child and Family Health (PSN-PACFaH); 
Olumide Akintayo, National President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN)
 and Tony Oyawole, Chairman Strategy, PSN, during the media briefing at the 
PSN National Secretariat, Anthony Village, Lagos, on Monday.
The PSN boss also noted that policy dialogue meetings to inform and obtain the support of key Policy Makers on the revised guidelines in the management of childhood killer diseases have been successfully conducted in two of our three focal States (Kaduna & Kano).

“In Kaduna State (which have included Amoxicillin DT & the other Life-saving Commodities in their Essential Medicines List), after the program the Ministry of Health through the Department of Pharmaceutical Services made a requisition for the first timeof four thousand (4000) units of Amoxicillin DT,” he said.

Akintayo further said: ‘Commitment was also obtained from key policy makers during the Kano Policy dialogue meeting to include Amoxicillin DT in the State Essential Medicines List that is currently been reviewed.

A National Policy Dialogue is being organised, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, to hold on November 12 (World Pneumonia Day).

The PSN President added: “To increase the capacity of indigenous civil society (community & faith-based) organisations in engaging with key policy makers, PSN-PACFaH has identified and is building a high performing team of 80 CSOs in four locations ( 20 at each location-Kano, Kaduna, Lagos and Abuja).

The teams are being equipped with relevant skills, knowledge and strategies to engage with the key project advocacy targets.”

PACFaH is an innovative three-year programme on child and family health, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and coordinated by a leading Nigerian Consultancy Firm, development Research and Project Center (dRPC).

The PACFaH programme is implemented through a coalition of seven indigenous CSOs (PSN, AAFP, CHRI, CS-SUNN, CISLAC, FOMWAN and HERFON).

PACFaH has four program areas including; Treatment of childhood; Pneumonia and Diarrhoea; Family Planning, routine immunization and Nutrition.

Akintayo said: “The PSN-PACFaH goals are to advocate for the revision of the National Treatment Guidelines/Essential Medicines List to include Amoxicillin dispersible tablet (Amoxicillin DT) adopted as First Line Treatment for Childhood Pneumonia by 2016.”

Others are to: “Increase buy-in/support for Zinc- Lo ORS as Treatment for Childhood Diarrhoea by 2016; Increase capacity of indigenous civil society (community & faith-based) organisations to conduct advocacy and track budgetary allocation for the procurement of child health commodities.”

The Director of Project, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria -Partnership for Advocacy in child and Family Health (PSN-PACFaH), Remi Adeseun, a pharmacist, who spoke during the media briefing said that pneumonia and diarrhea are child killer diseases yet to receive the necessary attention, adding that this has led to high child mortality rate.

According to him the pilot States for the PSN- PACFaH project are Kano, Kaduna and Lagos. The states were selected on the basis of the following considerations: High Burden (Disease Prevalence) – Kano; Responsiveness (History of working well with development Partners) – Lagos and Saturation (Host to ALL 4 PACFaH Issue Areas) – Kaduna, Adeseun added.

The PSN-PACFaH project has the following specific objectives: Advocate for the review of relevant national regulations to domesticate WHO/UNICEF’s new Treatment Guidelines that recommend Amoxicillin dispersible tablets as First Line Treatment for Childhood Pneumonia and Zn/ORS for Childhood Diarrhoea (Revised Standard Treatment Guidelines, Revised National Standing Orders (for CHOs, CHEWs and JCHEWs), Appropriate Listing in Revised Essential Medicines List & Updated PPMV List), the Director of Project, PSN-PACFaH, said.

Others, he said are to encourage local healthcare providers and private sector actors (Manufacturers, Distributors, and Community Pharmacies) to increase production, distribution and appropriate promotion of the essential Life-Saving Commodities-Amoxicillin dispersible tablets and Zinc/ORS for the effective treatment of childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea.

The rest are: Advocate for adequate and wide-spread training to ensure that Frontline Health Workers are knowledgeable about diagnosing correctly and effectively treating Childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhea using Amoxicillin DT and Zinc/ORS respectively. Build a high performing team of indigenous civil society (community & faith-based) organisations that will engage with key policy makers for the achievement of the project objectives.

He listed the achievements/interventions as: “PSN-PACFAH, building on its advocacy visits to key policy makers in the Government of Nigeria (NPHCDA in particular), pushed for and got admitted into the National Essential Medicines Coordinating Mechanism (NEMCM). NEMCM is a Technical Working Group of the FMoH and its agencies together with other key stakeholders in the Child and Family Health Space.

NEMCM has a mandate to coordinate the implementation of the Essential Childhood Medicine Scale-Up Plan (2012-2015) that entails the inclusion of the child health commodities (Amoxicillin DT & Zn/lo-ORS) into the Essential Medicines List (EML)&National Standard Treatment Guidelines (NSTG).”

Some of the major events that will take place during the opening ceremony of the conference are: Investiture of President Muhammadu Buhari, as Grand Patron of PSN.

Another major high point of the event would be the presentation of the Evergreen Award to one of the legends of pharmacy practice – Pharm. (Prince) Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi and the presentation of award to the ‘Overall Best Graduating Student, 2013/2014 Session,’ to Miss Nkiruka Ozioma Ibeanu – Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Ten pharmacists from the Community and Hospital Pharmacy will also be honoured by Pfizer Specialties Ltd at the closing banquet of the conference.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on October 29, 2015.

Medtronic and renescor sign deal for cardiac services in Nigeria

Medtronic, the world’s largest medical technology, services, and solutions company, and Renescor, Limited Liability Partnership, have signed a partnership deal to bring high quality cardiac care and healthcare managed services to the purpose-built Gbagada Cardiac and Renal Centre (CRC) in Lagos.

Renescor was recently awarded a five-year concession agreement with the Lagos State Government to activate and bring high quality services to the purpose-built Gbagada Cardiac and Renal Centre (CRC). Renescor is partnering with Medtronic to help manage CRC’s Cath-Lab, Operating Room (OR) and ICU.

Chairman of Renescor, Dr Ladi Awosika, explained: “Nigeria is in desperate need for efficient Cath-Labs and operating rooms (OR) to treat more patients locally. Lagos currently has only two operational Cath-Labs to serve a population of 16 million and is in critical need of more.”

Dr. Ladi added “We decided on Medtronic because it is the largest medical technology manufacturer globally with over 65 years of experience and positive track record of delivering value to their customers and partners. Our collaboration will ensure the hospital is run to the highest global standards of care quality, efficiency, patient safety, and optimized capacity to help more patients be treated.”


The agreement, which runs for a term of four years, will see Medtronic Integrated Health Solutions Department partnering with Renescor to help finance, manage, and optimize services in Cath-Labs, OR and ICU.

The partnership consists of end-to-end management of these units, which includes operational support, staffing and material management, deployment of the latest Cardiovascular Information System, operational excellence Lean/Six sigma consulting services, continuous performance assessment and benchmarking services, advising on and implementation of growth programs, as well as training and education services for cardiovascular therapies.

The aim is to transform CRC into a leading regional centre that achieves global standards of care in line with international leading institutions.

Khodor Mekkaoui, Head of Medtronic Integrated Health Solutions for Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and Turkey commented: “Our involvement at CRC is a distinctive example of Medtronic’s Integrated Health Solution offerings. We are moving beyond the supply of devices, to deliver healthcare services that would ensure more access to patients in areas where it is currently not readily available. The Integrated Health Solution model helps optimize healthcare delivery and drives greater economic value.”

This is the first undertaking of its kind by Medtronic IHS Department in Africa, and underscores its vision to address universal healthcare needs.

Mekkaoui added: “This important contract presents a unique opportunity for Medtronic to showcase its skills and expand its footprint in Africa, where there is also a great need for investment in healthcare sector, in countries facing a lack of funding and shortage of resources.”

Dr Awosika agreed: “Many issues faced in Nigeria today are similar to those in other African nations. We believe that the Medtronic integrated health solutions can be adapted and customized to other African countries.”

Renescor Limited Liability Partnership is a special purpose vehicle registered for the purpose of providing first class End Stage Renal Disease Services and Cardiology Healthcare Services to Lagos State residents and the broader Nigerian population.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on October 29, 2015.

Salient health, human rights issue

… On Int’l Day of the Girl-Child

Marriage of girls less than 18 years is common worldwide and affects millions of them despite international agreements and national laws. Experts classify child marriage as a health and human rights issue.

According to child advocates, it is a human rights violation that prevents girls from obtaining education, enjoy optimal health, bond with others of their age, mature and ultimately choose their own life partners.

Children activists believe that the practice is driven by poverty and has several effects on girls’ health such as increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer, malaria, death during childbirth and obstetric fistulas. Girls’ offspring are at increased risk for premature birth and death as neonates, infants or children.

Child marriage as a tradition driven by poverty is perpetuated to ensure girls’ financial future and to reinforce social ties. This belief may not be unconnected with the reason for the choice of this year’s event. Studies have also confirmed that one of the most effective methods of reducing child marriage and its health consequences is to mandate that girls stay in school.

Female students at an event
To stop child marriage, policies and programmes must educate communities, raise awareness, engage local and religious leaders, involve parents and empower girls through education and employment.

Activities commemorating this year’s International Day of the Girl Child ended Tuesday with the investiture of Mrs. Aisha Buhari, wife of the Nigerian President as the Grand Patron, High Level Women Advocates for Girls Education in Nigeria, during an advocacy visit of 50 adolescent girls to her.

The wife of the President at the interactive session with the girls promised to advocate publicly for legislation against child marriage. She encouraged parents to keep their daughters in school for at least 12 years. “No single girl will be left behind in my movement to get every girl into school,’ promised.

Based on the theme: “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030,” UNICEF and other partners including the Federal Ministry of Education focused their activities on the transforming power of education to empower adolescent girls to overcome all challenges that affect their lives and inhibit their prospects of advancement.

The 2013 National Demographic Health Survey indicate that there are about 20 million adolescent girls in Nigeria and there is very low education rates among them especially those in the lowest wealth quintiles in the society. In Nigeria, 60 per cent of the 10.5 million children out of school are girls. Data indicate that among other factors, one reason for low enrolment and retention of girls in schools especially in the north is the lack of female teachers in the rural areas.

In response to this, UNICEF, with funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and counterpart funding from five participating states started the Girls’ Education Project. The Girls’ Education Project Phase 3(GEP3) aims to achieve one million enrolments of girls into school by the end of year 2020.

The project is currently running in five northern states of Nigeria: that includes Bauchi, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto and Zamfara. Since implementation commenced in 2012, the project has contributed to the enrolment of additional 360,000 girls in primary schools in the five states.

“Adolescent girls should be empowered through deliberate policies to transform their lives and those around them. Young girls who are educated are better placed to improve their own and their children’s health and chances of survival and boost their work prospects”, said Jean Gough UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

Investing in high quality girls’ education prepares girls for life, jobs and leadership. It directly translates into the girls being powerful and positive change agents of development.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on October 24, 2015.

I will advocate publicly for legislation against child marriage – Aisha Buhari

A human rights violation, child marriage directly impacts girls’ education, health, psychologic well-being, and the health of their offspring. It increases the risk for depression, sexually transmitted infection, cervical cancer, malaria, obstetric fistulas, and maternal mortality. Their offspring are at an increased risk for premature birth and, subsequently, neonatal or infant death.

Aisha Buhari
Activities commemorating this year’s International Day of the Girl Child ended today with the investiture of Mrs. Aisha Buhari the wife of the Nigerian President as the Grand Patron, High Level Women Advocates for Girls Education in Nigeria during an advocacy visit of fifty adolescent girls to her.

The wife of the President at the interactive session with the girls promised to advocate publicly for legislation against child marriage. She encouraged parents to keep their daughters in school for at least 12 years. “No single girl will be left behind in my movement to get every girl into school,’ promised.

Based on the theme: “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030,” UNICEF and other partners including the Federal Ministry of Education focused their activities on the transforming power of education to empower adolescent girls to overcome all challenges that affect their lives and inhibit their prospects of advancement.

The 2013 National Demographic Health Survey indicate that there are about 20 million adolescent girls in Nigeria and there is very low education rates among them especially those in the lowest wealth quintiles in the society. In Nigeria 60 per cent of the 10.5million children out of school are girls. Data indicate that among other factors one reason for low enrolment and retention of girls in schools especially in the north is the lack of female teachers in the rural areas.

In response to this UNICEF with funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and counterpart funding from five participating States started the Girls’ Education Project. The Girls’ Education Project Phase 3(GEP3) aims to achieve one million enrolment of girls into school by the end of the year 2020.

The project is currently running in five Northern States of Nigeria: Bauchi, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto and Zamfara. Since implementation commenced in 2012, the project has contributed to the enrolment of additional 360,000 girls in primary schools in the five states.

“Adolescent girls should be empowered through deliberate policies to transform their lives and those around them. Young girls who are educated are better placed to improve their own and their children’s health and chances of survival, and boost their work prospects”, said Jean Gough UNICEF Representative in Nigeria

Investing in high quality girls’ education, prepare girls for life, jobs, and leadership. It directly translates into the girls being powerful and positive change agents of development.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on October 22, 2015.

Ogun, NGOs brainstorm to meet 90,90,90 initiatives on HIV/AIDS by 2020

The Ogun state Government in collaboration with Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria(IHVN), Catholic Cariyas Foundation of Nigeria/Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CCFN/CHAN) and Achieving Health Nigeria Initiative( AHNi) has joined forces to ensure total eradication of HIV/AIDS by 2020 and zero transmission by 2030 in the State through new strategy called 90,90,90 initiative.

Dr. Young Oluokun,     the IHVN, member, which is the leading partnership in the State,   disclosed   this to journalists recently, at a the two-day workshop by the   Ogun State HIV programme, State Implementation Team(SIT) stakeholders’ meeting, held at G.R.A Ibara Housing Estate in Abeokuta.

Dr. Oluokun said that at the World Conference on HIV/AIDS, it was agreed that by year 2020, 90 per cent of people are to be tested, 90 per cent of people tested positive should be placed on Anti-Ritroviral Drugs (ARD) and 90 per cent of people who are on ARD should achieved the stage of viral suppression called the U-NEED 90,90,90, adding that currently patients are usually placed on ARD that makes them live as long as 10 to 20 years.


 ‘’ New things that are coming up now that the rest of the wold is talking about is the 90,90,90 initiative agreed upon by the Wold Conference on HIV/AIDS, is that 90 per cent of people should be tested, 90 per cent tested positive be place on Anti-Ritroviral Drugs and 90 per cent place on ARD should achieve the stage of suppression called the U-NEED 90,90,90 and also to attain zero transmission by year 2030, which Nigeria has already key into,’’ Dr. Oluokun said.

While urging the State House of Assembly members to look into passing the stigmatization bill, Dr. Oluokun said another major challenges encountered was the low rate of staff strength across the health facilities in the State, saying that this was a threat that can drastically reduced the output of their mission in Ogun State.

Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Daisi Odeniyi, said the free HIV/AIDS counseling and testing activities conducted in some Local Government Areas of the State shows that Ifo has the highest number of positive patients, saying that with the help of the developmental partners collaborating with the State on issues concerning HIV/AIDS, we believe that the virus would be reduced to the bearest minmum.

The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director, State AIDS/STI Control Programme, Dr. Toyin Adeyemi, said the State has been more proactive with regards to eradicating HIV/AIDS among other diseases with the introduction of ARAYA Health Scheme, calling on well-meaning Nigerian and other developmental partners to join hands with the State Government in the campaign against the virus.

He said the present administration led by Senator Ibikunle Amosun is very much concerned with regards to health issues in the State, adding that the State is ready to partner with both foreign and local NGOs that would take the State to the next level on health related issues.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on October 22, 2015.

Nestlé Nigeria and Chefs Gathering collaborate to promote good nutrition on World Chefs Day

Nestlé Nigeria, a leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company collaborated with Chefs Gathering Nigeria, a professional organisation associated with the World Association of Chefs Societies, to organise a Kids Healthy Cooking Workshop.

The event marked World Chefs Day, which theme this year is Healthy Kids – Healthy Future. This forms part of a global partnership between Nestlé and the World Association of Chefs Societies to promote healthy diet and lifestyle.


The cooking workshop took place at the Ilupeju Primary School, one of the Nestlé Healthy Kids schools in Nigeria. The Nestlé Healthy Kids programme is a global programme that promotes nutrition education and physical activity among school children.



The programme is being implemented in Nigeria since 2011 in partnership with the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Centre for Health Education, Population and Nutrition (CHEPON), a non-governmental organisation. To date it has reached over 62,000 children in 112 schools in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Ondo States.

As part of the day’s event, the President of Chefs Gathering Nigeria, Mark Punshak, shared his professional experience as a Chef with the children and helped them cook vegetable fried rice with mixed vegetable sauce from locally grown and affordable vegetables.

Speaking at the event, Nestlé Nigeria Managing Director and Chief Executive, Chief Dharnesh Gordhon remarked “Nestlé believes that healthy eating habits should begin from childhood and we are committed to empowering children to make healthy dietary decisions through the Healthy Kids programme.

Our mission is to become the family’s nutritional partner, through proactive involvement of family members, professional associations such as Chef Gathering Nigeria, and the community in supporting and reinforcing nutrition education.”

Chef Mark Punshak stated that “Cooking and having the pleasure to cook are important part of nutrition education. Nestlé and Chefs Gathering Nigeria share the same ambition to raise awareness of healthier lifestyles and healthy cooking among school-age children”.

At the end of the lesson, the children sent home recipe cards for their parents encouraging them to ensure a healthy nutrition and diet for them at home and at school.

Nestlé Professional, Nestlé’s business that supplies the food service out-of-home industry, works closely with chefs associations in the hospitality and food industry to promote healthy meal options for consumers.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on October 22, 2015.
 http://www.mynewswatchtimesng.com/nestle-nigeria-and-chefs-gathering-collaborate-to-promote-good-nutrition-on-world-chefs-day/

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