Tuesday, 25 September 2018

PSN Urges Senate To Amend NDLEA Act


•Says It Should Accommodate Consumer Protection Directorate, Headed By Registered Pharmacist
ByChioma Umeha
From left: Idris Pada, member, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), National Executive Council (NEC); Olumide Akintayo immediate past president (IPP); Senator (Pharm) Matthew Uroghide, Chairman Senate Public Accounts committee and Ahmed Yakasai, President, PSN at Senate Public Hearing on the need to check the rising menace of drug abuse in Nigeria at the conference hall,Senate Building National Assembly (NASS), Abuja, recently.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has advocated an amendment of the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act to accommodate a new Directorate of Consumer Protection to be headed by a Registered Pharmacist.
This is part of the recommendations of the PSN to the Senate Joint Committee On Drugs and Narcotics And Health at its one-day public hearing on “The need to check the rising menace of drug abuse among youths in Nigeria.”
The PSN said the recurring menace of drug misuse and abuse is now taking unprecedented toll on the health consuming public in Nigeria.
Consequently, it said the proposed Directorate of Consumer Protection should be empowered to coordinate health advocacy and monitoring/control of narcotics and other medicines with abuse and misuse potentials in Nigeria.
National Rehabilitation Centres
The PSN also said it was important that the amended NDLEA Act provides for the establishment of National Rehabilitation Centres for victims of drug abuse in the six geo-political zones of the country while the rehabilitation centres should be under the supervision of the Directorate of Health Advocacy and Monitoring/Control.
Governing council and boards of agencies
“We strongly urge the National Assembly to ensure that the Executive arm constitutes the governing council and boards of the plethora of agencies involved in drug distribution. This is particularly germane to an effective execution of the statutory mandate of the three principal agencies of the Federal Government involved in drug distribution endeavours in Nigeria. For the records, these are PCN, NAFDAC, NDLEA,” it said.
Drug Abuse, Misuse
On drug abuse and misuse, the PSN noted that prescription drugs were intended to help us, but can end up hurting us when misused or abused.
“What truly is the difference between drug abuse vs. misuse as witnessed in our clime? When a person misuses or abuses a prescription drug, there is no medical oversight of the risks. For example, a person who misuses or abuses opioids such as Codeine based drugs can die from respiratory failure. Prescription sedatives like benzodiazepines such as Diazepam cause withdrawal seizures. The risks from these drugs are worse when they are combined with other drugs or alcohol.
“Additionally, when a person misuses a prescription drug, even on a single occasion, that individual might enjoy the experience so much that they begin to seek out the drug more often. Thus, drug abuse and drug dependence are serious risks of misusing prescription drugs,” it explained.
The PSN also explained drug misuse. “To misuse a drug is to use a drug for purposes it is not intended for. Using Codeine based Cough Suppressant for a headache, diazepam for nausea, or any other example of people believing a drug can make them ‘feel better.’ Misuse involves not following medical instructions, but the person may not necessarily be looking to ‘get high’ from their use. If a person isn’t able to fall asleep after taking a single sleeping pill, he or she may take another pill an hour later, thinking, that might induce sleep.
“Though many drugs claim to cover a wide variety of symptoms, there is no panacea out there that can cure everything. It is important to note that all drugs can produce adverse events (side effects), but the risks associated with prescription drugs are managed by a health care professional. Thus, the benefits outweigh the risks when the drug is taken as directed and dispensed by a pharmacist.”
It gave features of drug misuse as taking a dose at the wrong time, forgetting to take a dose, stopping a medication too soon, accepting prescription medication from a friend, taking drugs for reasons other than what they were prescribed for.
It said, “Drug misuse is defined as the use of a substance for a purpose not consistent with legal or medical guidelines (WHO, 2006). It has a negative impact on health or functioning and may take the form of drug dependence, or be part of a wider spectrum of problematic or harmful behaviour. Drug misuse is a condition that may cause an individual to experience social, psychological, physical or legal problems related to intoxication and/or regular excessive consumption, and/or dependence.
“Dependence is defined as a strong desire or sense of compulsion to take a substance, a difficulty in controlling its use, the presence of a physiological withdrawal state, tolerance of the use of the drug, neglect of alternative pleasures and interests and persistent use of the drug, despite harm to oneself and others (WHO, 2006).”    
The PSN explained that people who abuse drugs typically do not have a prescription for what they are taking.
“Not only do they use it in a way other than it is prescribed, but they also use it to experience the feelings associated with the drug. Euphoria, relaxation, the general feeling of ‘getting high’ is always associated with drug abuse.
“The abuse of drugs in the opiate and benzodiazepine families frequently leads to unavoidable side effects, including dependency and addiction. For example, someone taking Codeine based medicines frequently with no prescription, no symptoms and believing they ‘need’ it in order to feel better is an example of drug abuse.”
It said features of Drug Abuse are using a drug to ‘get high’; using without a prescription; exceeding a recommended dose; chronic or repeated abuse; and developed tolerance.
“The key difference between drug abuse and drug misuse is the individual’s intentions when taking the drug. The PSN stresses that both misuse and abuse of prescription drugs can be harmful and even life threatening to the individual. This is because taking a drug other than the way it is prescribed can lead to dangerous outcomes that the person may not anticipate,” it said.
Drugs and Exclusive Legislative List
The PSN also urged the Senate specially to ensure that the proposed constitutional amendments and reforms championed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not remove drug matters currently listed on the Exclusive Legislative List as item 21 of part I in the second schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
It said most responsible and responsive countries place drug matters under federal or central control because of the need to place premium on safety and well being of consumers of health.
“A country with a history of poor regulatory control in the pharmaceutical sector which continues to encourage a fake drug syndrome and challenges of drug abuse/misuse cannot afford multiple regulatory agencies to control and regulate narcotics, registration of food and drug products as well as licensure of drug premises.
“Placing drug matters on the Concurrent List would imply having a minimum of 37 licencing authorities to carry out the present responsibilities of the NDLEA, NAFDAC and PCN with dire consequences to the health and security of our nation,” it said.
Pharmacy Council of Nigeria Bill
The PSN however appreciated the National Assembly for heeding the clarion call which led to the passage of the amended Pharmacy Council of Nigeria Bill.
“We strongly urge the National Assembly to ensure a speedy Presidential assent to enable the new Act of Parliament reshape the course of monitoring and control procedures in Nigeria.”
It said the envisaged Pharmacy Council of Nigeria Bill is well grounded in law to boost the inspectorate activities of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) which has statutory powers to regulate and control all pharmaceutical premises in both public and private sectors.
“This mandate also gives PCN latitude to modulate the activities of any stakeholder in the drug distribution channels in Nigeria.
“The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria appeals to the National Assembly to consider dispensing meaningful budgets for the inspectorate activities of the PCN. In similar spirit, these enhanced budgets must be extended to NAFDAC and NDLEA,” it said.




Wealthy Nigerians Urged To Emulate Dangote In Funding Programme Immunisation


By Chioma Umeha
An NGO, Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR), has appealed to rich Nigerians to emulate Alhaji Aliko Dangote by committing their resources toward the development of child health and primary healthcare in the country.
The organisation made the appeal in a statement issued by its Knowledge Management Officer, Mr. Muhammad Auwal on Tuesday in Abuja.
The organisation commended Mr Bill Gates and Dangote for supporting six Northern states on sustainable funding for Routine Immunization (RI) and child health.
Auwal recalled that on March 21, Gates, Dangote and the governors of Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Sokoto and Bauchi states renewed agreement on strengthening funding for routine immunization.
The renewed commitment, he said was aimed at ending vaccine-preventable child deaths in Nigeria.
Auwal quoted CHR’s Director, Salisu Muhammad as saying that Gates and Dangote had actively supported efforts targeted at achieving sustainable funding for routine immunisation and eradication of polio virus in Nigeria, since 2013.
“We particularly wish to commend the personal commitment they have shown to improving child healthcare in Nigeria.
“We believe the commitment the duo has demonstrated improved immunisation services in the country is but second to none.
“We are also calling on other rich Nigerians, particularly those from the Northern region to emulate Dangote by committing their resources to the development of child and primary healthcare in the region,’’ he said.
According to him, the Northern region has the poorest child health indices in the country.
Auwal said CHR believed that the likes of Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Sarina (owner of Azman Air); Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu and others could contribute to end maternal mortality in the region.
“We are of the opinion that by also committing their resources to this initiative, they will not only be saving lives but also discharging their corporate social responsibility to Nigerians,’’ he said.



Flying Doctors Want Air Ambulance Services Incorporated In Health Sector

L-R: Mr Fortune Idu, Nigeria Aviation Awards (NIGAV) Chairman; Dr Ola Brown, Flying Doctors Nigeria Founder and Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury, Finland’s Ambassador to Nigeria, after Brown received ‘2017 Aviation Most Remarkable Medical Personality Award’ from NIGAV in Lagos, recently.

•Win Aviation Award
By Chioma Umeha
Flying Doctors Nigeria has called on Nigeria and other African countries to incorporate air ambulance services into their health sector.
Making the call in Lagos at weekend, Flying Doctors Nigeria Founder, Dr Ola Brown, stated that Nigeria, along with other African countries, needs air ambulance services more than developed countries, because of the various challenges bedeviling their health sector.
Dr Brown said this  after receiving 2017 Aviation Most Remarkable Medical Personality Award from the Nigeria Aviation Awards (NIGAV) in Lagos.
NIGAV is a prestigious annual award conferred on outstanding individuals and corporate bodies who have distinguished themselves in the Nigerian aviation sector.
The 2017 award, which was bestowed on Brown by NIGAV this year, is a recognition of Flying Doctors Nigeria’s role in saving lives during critical and emergency situations in sub-Sahara Africa.
Receiving the award, Brown stated that she is grateful for the recognition, adding that the award will propel her to use Flying Doctors Nigeria as a platform to rescuing more lives during critical times.
Brown said: “I am highly elated by this award. As physicians, we at Flying Doctors Nigeria are using a combination of medicine and aviation to get patients who live in West African sub-region to the right medical facilities at the right timeframe.
“This award further shows that our activities are not unnoticed by aviation watchers. It is a clarion call for us at Flying Doctors Nigeria to do more.”
She explained that it is a misconception to think that air ambulance services are meant for only people in the developed world.
Brown said: “I think a lot of people have this misconception that air ambulance services are just for developed countries. My vision in bringing this concept of air ambulance services to Africa is because it is even more important for West Africa than it is for the developed world.
“One of the reasons is due to our lack of infrastructure; we have poor seasonal roads in many parts of African. So, it makes it even more important for us to circumvent that challenge by air when getting patients to hospitals from hard-to- reach locations.
“The second reason is due to the fact that the distance between patients and hospitals is a lot farther than it is in the developed countries. The third reason is attributed to the number of inadequate doctors we have in West Africa.”
Brown noted that there is a need to render prompt medical services to people in need to save the lives of over one billion people who lose their lives globally due to lack of timely medical interventions.

NAFDAC Governing Council Pledges To Upgrade Facilities


By Chioma Umeha
To meet international requirements as well as serve Nigerians better, Hon. Inuwa Abdulkadir, the Chairman, newly inaugurated Governing Council of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has announced plans to expand and upgrade the laboratory facilities of the agency.
Addressing journalists  after a tour of NAFDAC facilities in Lagos, Abdulkadir, also pledged to prioritise staff welfare and motivate the workforce to give their best to the  agency in safeguards the health of the Nigerians.
Abdulkadir, assured staff of NAFDAC that the Governing Council would ensure the agency got necessary support in order to discharge its regulatory functions effectively.
“Our passion is to motivate our staff and provide them with working tools. We are so concerned and passionate about the welfare of the workforce because without motivating the staff, we cannot achieve anything”, he said.
“We have seen the facilities and we cannot say all is well, the facilities we have are not really adequate not just in Lagos, but other part of the country.
“Some of our African brothers, especially in West Africa, very much depended on this country on so many things from food, drugs and essential commodites, so our laboratories need expansion and upgrading in terms of new technology.
“It is very important we embark on expansion of our laboratories and upgrading of the facilities. We have to give kudos to our staff for sustaining the fight, despite the inadequacy.”
Speaking further, Abdulkadir expressed concern over the rising cases of Tramadol abuse in the country especially among youths, pledging the Council’s support to the management of the Agency in tackling the menace.
He expressed fears that political thugs may have a field  day as election campaigns are drawing close if they have such drugs available, he therefore made a clarion call to all authorities to ensure such activities are checked.
“The agency would do all it can to prosecute those arrested, no matter who they are and what they are in the society because we are saving generation by doing so. The Council resolved in its meeting to ensure it sensitizes the public at the community level.”
Speaking, Prof. Christianah Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, also announced plans by her agency to launch a national sensitisation programme aimed at educating young people on the dangers inherent in abusing Tramadol.
 
L-R: Alhaji Inuwa Abdul- Kabir, Chairman, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Council Board; Prof. Moji C. Adeyeye, Director General, NAFDAC and Alhaji Tujur Fada Tambuwal, member of the board, during the press briefing on the way forward by the NAFDAC council board, recently.
The programme, she said, would be launched in Kano within a month and later be expanded to cover the six geographical zones of the country and would reach 54,000 people at the initial stage.
Adeyeye noted that the awareness programme to tackle the abuse of tramadol would later be expanded to reach six states and three senatorial districts.
“This pilot programme will reach about 54,000 people. In terms of the epidemic of Tramadol, I am a big believer in doing grassroots sensitisation. We have just approved a National Sensitisation Programme, to be launched in Kano in about a month and the pilot programme will cover the six geographical zones, six states and three senatorial districts”, she said





US-Based Foundation Arrives Nigeria For Third Round Of Kidney Transplant


By 
Chioma Umeha
A team of US-based kidney transplant surgeons and nurses have arrived Nigeria to carry out kidney transplants, which would be the third in the series of the medical exercise which commenced in 2017.
Under the aegis of a charitable organisation known as United Kidneycare Foundation (UKcF), based in the United States of America (USA), the team has been at the forefront in tackling the menace of kidney disease in Nigeria. Its members include: Dr. Obi Ekwenna, Engr. James Ogbuka Umekwe and Dr. Iyore James.
The team arrived in Lagos a few days ago to carry out more kidney transplants in the country.
Early December 2017, the team carried out the first successfully kidney transplant at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, Abia State.
The team was led by transplant surgeon, Dr. Obi Ekwenna, an assistant Professor of Transplantation and Urology  in partnership with the Federal Medical Centre(FMC)  under the leadership of the Medical Director Dr. Abali Chuku, to carry out the exercise.
This feat was a historical one as it was brought hope to a population of more than 25 million people in the South East.
The team also said that it performed two kidney transplants on January 24, this year at the FMC, Umuahia.
Commenting on why the organisation decided to embark on treating kidney disease in the country, the team said: “We want to be a source of relief for the large population of Nigerians living with chronic kidney disease.”
Speaking further, they said it was due to significant rise in death due to kidney disease and lack of kidney transplant centre in many parts of the country.
“We want people to have kidney transplant at an affordable cost. Moreover, we want to reduce medical tourism to overseas for kidney transplants,” the team added.



Lions Club Canvasses Total Eradication Of Measles Among Children


By 
Chioma Umeha
Lions Club International in Nigeria has canvassed for total eradication of one of the most contagious viral diseases in the world, Measles, which can easily be prevented through routine immunisation services especially in schools.
At a press conference on Measles Eradication campaign programme held at the Lions Secretariat, Yaba, the District 404B2, Lion Asiwaju Ayobola said the campaign is aimed at reducing mortality among children because available records show that Measles claims about 246 lives daily most of which are children.
“The significant of this press conference is to underscore our concern for the eradication of the deadly disease and to drive home our belief and involvement in the mass mobilisation for immunisation as a potent weapon to fight and stamp out Measles from our land” she said.
She said for those who survive the attack, nearly 30 per cent suffer complications such as pneumonia, hearing loss, brain damage, blindness and encephalitis.
She said the sensitisation is being sponsored by Lions Club International, to compliment the efforts of government such as  distributing education materials, T-Shirts, biscuits to children to come out for the immunisation adding that the Lions Clubs International Foundation has entered into partnership with various organisations around the world to vaccinate children who need it most.
The District Governor explained that the Club has been working closely with the Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NAPHCDA) and similar agencies to vaccinate millions of Nigerian children against Measles thus preventing needless death or life long disability.
“It is however important to state that the role of Lions Club in Nigeria in this programme has been in the area of social mobilisation and advocacy which we have been doing effectively since 2011 and shall be sustained for the benefit of Nigerian children”, she said.
Ayobola reaffirms that the Club shall continue to advance, promote and champion the course of mass mobilisation for immunisation in all parts of the country to ensure that no child within the age range of nine months to five years is left out of the Measles vaccination activity thus this year’s social mobilisation by Lions Club International District 404 will be happening in nine states namely, Kwara, Edo, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Akwa Ibom.

Pharmacists Marks 2018 World Tuberculosis Day, Calls For TB-Free Nigeria


By Chioma Umeha

Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has called on all stakeholders to double their efforts ensure that by 2030 Tuberculosis would be eradicated throughout the country.
Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, the PSN President, made the call in a release to mark this year’s World Tuberculosis Day.
Yakasai reaffirmed PSN’s commitment to improving the quality of health of all Nigerians and urged the stakeholders to join hands to achieve the daunting task.
The theme of World TB Day 2018, “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world,” focuses on building commitment to end TB, not only at the political level with Heads of State and Ministers of Health, but at all levels from mayors, governors, parliamentarians and community leaders, to people affected with TB, civil society advocates, health workers, doctors, pharmacists, or nurses, NGOs and other partners.
Yakasai explained that the theme is a critical one given the political importance of the forthcoming UN General Assembly high-level meeting on TB this year, which would bring together Heads of State in New York.
“It follows on from a very successful Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in Moscow on 16-17 November, 2017 which resulted in high-level commitments from ministers and other leaders from 120 countries to accelerate progress to end TB,” he said.
He said all could be leaders of efforts to end TB in their own work or terrain.
“Each year we commemorate World TB Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
“The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease,” he said.
However, Yakasai said that despite significant progress over the last decades, TB continued to be the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming over 4 500 lives a day, adding that the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) posed a major health security threat and could risk gains made in the fight against TB.
World TB Day provides the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the disease and mobilise political and social commitment for accelerate progress to end TB.
He explained that Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
Reeling out TB statistics to buttress his point, the PSN President said in 2016, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.7 million died from the disease (including 0.4 million among people with HIV).
“Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Seven countries account for 64% of the total, with India leading the count, followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, and South Africa. In 2016, an estimated 1 million children became ill with TB and 250 000 children died of TB (including children with HIV associated TB),” he stated.
He also informed that TB is a leading killer of HIV-positive people, adding that in 2016, 40% of HIV deaths were due to TB.
Yakasai noted that multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remained a public health crisis and a health security threat.
“WHO estimates that there were 600,000 new cases with resistance to rifampicin – the most effective first-line drug of which 490,000 had MDR-TB.
“Globally, TB incidence is falling at about 2% per year. This needs to accelerate to a 4–5% annual decline to reach the 2020 milestones of the End TB Strategy.
“An estimated 53 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2,000 and 2016,” he stated.
He noted that although 53 million lives had been saved through global efforts since 2000, actions and investments fall far short of those needed to end the TB epidemic.
“Countries need to move much faster to prevent, detect, and treat TB if they are to meet the global targets. This requires multi-sectoral action across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Seventeen SDGs were adopted by the UN Member States in September 2015.
“Ending the TB epidemic is a target under SDG3 – ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.’”

GE Supports Cancer Eradication With $75,000 Donation


By Chioma Umeha
In support of initiatives that are aimed at eradicating cancer in Nigeria, GE (NYSE: GE), the premier digital industrial company, has donated $75,000 to Run For A Cure Africa (RFCA) Nigeria, a non-profit organisation.
The donation which was made as part of GE’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative will help to expand and improve RFAC’s early cancer detection initiatives and reduce cancer mortality rates in Nigeria.
The donation will go towards the opening and equipping of a Women’s Cancer Diagnostic Center that will cater to women living in Nigeria. The center will be equipped with a multipurpose ultrasound imaging system that will be used for cancer screening as well as diagnostic services at the RFCA Women’s Cancer Diagnostic Center.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Executive Director RFCA Nigeria, Mrs. Ebele Mbanugo expressed the organization’s gratitude to GE. She stated that “As a result of this donation, RFCA Nigeria will be able to offer cancer screening and diagnostic services to women through the Women’s Cancer Diagnostic Centre, regardless of their ability to pay. We will be able to conduct several cancer awareness outreaches. This is very important because 75 per cent of breast cancer cases in Nigeria are discovered in the last stage, at which time not much can be done.
However, if potential cancers are detected early, the probability of survival is usually above 90 per cent. This means many lives would be saved with the implementation of these initiatives that are supported by GE,” she added.
According to statistics released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2017, there are over 8.8-million cancer deaths recorded globally every year, and more than 100,000 of these are recorded in Nigeria. The report also shows that most cancer cases end up as fatalities because of late detection and treatment.
“This donation represents GE’s commitment to contributing its quota to the development of Nigeria’s healthcare system, especially in the areas of prevention and treatment of cancer” said President & Chief Executive Officer, GE Nigeria, Dr. Lazarus Angbazo. “We are honored to collaborate with Run For A Cure Africa and look forward to a significant reduction in cancer mortality rates as well as seeing these projects fully implemented to the benefit of Nigerians,” he further added.

Yakasai Commends Pharmanews For Commitment To Professionalism


By Chioma Umeha
Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), has commended Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, Managing Director, Pharmanews Limited, and his media team for their commitment and dedication to their duties.
Yakasai made the commendation when he led the PSN executive on a courtesy visit to the corporate headquarters of the Pharmanews Limited, Lagos, recently.
He said that besides the managing director of the media outfit, he was privileged to come across Pharmanews reporters, adding that whether health or pharmaceutical event, they were always there and timely too.
He lauded them for the professionalism they bring to bear in their work saying, “At a point, many people think all your reporters are pharmacists because of their in-depth analyses and active participation at such event.”
Sir Atueyi, who appreciated Pharm. Yakasai for the visit praised him for what he described as his commitment to the cause of pharmacy and pharmacists in the country.
Sir Atueyi said Pharm. Yakasai won his admiration for his concern for the elders of the profession as demonstrated two years ago when he granted free hotel accommodation to elders aged 75 years and above attending the PSN conferences.
He also lauded the PSN president especially for his reconciliatory moves that had made hitherto aggrieved bodies to close ranks and drop litigation cases against the society.
He recalled that Pharm. Yakasai had successfully resolved the longstanding conflict between doctors and other healthcare practitioners by consistently preaching inter-professional collaboration.
Atueyi said he was fortunate to be nominated by Yakasai to chair one of such inter-professional collaboration committees last year adding that he restored peace among warring pharmacists in Anambra chapter of the PSN.
Atueyi also extolled Pharm. Yakasai’s virtues as bridge-builder and non-tribal Nigerian, adding that it does not matter to him if you are Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa.
He noted that Yakasai was the second PSN President to visit Pharmanews Limited, the first being Pharm. Yaro Budah in September 2001.
He said it was a coincidence that the two are the only two Northerners so far to serve as PSN Presidents.
On his part, Yusuff Moshood, Editor of Pharmanews, revealed that many have criticised his editorial judgment on why Yakasai kept making the front page of his publication but that in journalism, personalities make the news.
“The truth remains that Yakasai is somebody that is always making things happen and you cannot ignore such a character,” he said.
Moshood said that since he joined Pharmanews, he had never seen a PSN president who had made so much news like Yakasai.
The highlight of the courtesy visit was the presentation of an award to Yakasai by Lady Joan Atueyi, wife of the publisher of Pharmanews for his unflinching support to the media house.




Neonatal Deaths Constitute Over 50% Of Under-5 Deaths – NBS


By 
Chioma Umeha
A new report by National Bureau of Statistics, (NBS), has said that neonatal mortality constitutes more than half of under-five deaths (50 per cent) in South Western States in Nigeria.
Neonatal is the probability of a child dying within 28 days after birth.
But, the report which was made available to Daily Independent by NBS with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), showed that neonatal mortality rate in Osun, Ekiti and Oyo states are higher than the national average.
The report which is contained in the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS), revealed that in Nigeria, the probability of a child dying within 28 days is 39 per cent, within one year is 31 per cent and within five years is 50 per cent, meanwhile in South-West Nigeria, the probability of a child dying within 28 days is 36 per cent, within one year is 16 per cent and within five years is 15 percent.
The MICS also stated that child mortality, which is the probability of a child dying between the first and the fifth birthday is higher in Ondo and Osun states with 30/1,000 live births and 23/1,000 live births respectively.
In Osun State for instance, the report stated that the probability of a child dying within 28 days is 56 per cent, within one year is 22 percent and within five years is 23 percent.
In Ekiti state, the probability of a child dying within 28 days is 46 per cent, within one year is 23 percent and within five years is 17 per cent. In Oyo state, the probability of a child dying within 28 days is 42 per cent, within one year is 17 per cent and within five years is 14 per cent.
In Ondo state, the probability of a child dying within 28 days is 30 per cent, within one year is seven percent and within five years is 30 percent.
In Ogun state, the probability of a child dying within 28 days is 28 per cent, within one year is 20 percent and within five years is 18 percent while in Lagos state, the probability of a child dying within 28 days is 29 per cent, within one year is 17 percent and within five years is five percent.
The 2018 Measles vaccination campaign for children between age nine months and five years started in Lagos State from Thursday 15th and is to end on Thursday 29th  March, 2018.
According to the State Government and it is geared towards saving the lives of children under the age of five.
Dr. Olufemi Onanuga, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care told Daily Independent, that the state is prepared for the campaign noting that 3,609,538 children are being targeted during the vaccination campaign.
According to Onanuga, “The objective of the campaign is to immunise at least 95 percent of children aged nine months to five years with measles vaccine in all local government areas regardless of their previous immunisation status.”
The Special Adviser revealed that over 4,526 house-to-house mobilizers have been mandated to encourage eligible children that falls within the operational target population to visit the immunisation posts for measles vaccine and the other antigens adding that 4,526 fixed and temporary fixed posts will be set up for the campaign.
While appealing to parent and caregiver to ensure that all the children between nine months and five years are taken to the health posts for the measles vaccination, Onanuga stated the vaccination service is free, the vaccine is safe and effective, and is to be administered to the children irrespective of their previous immunisation status.







South-West Leads In Exclusive Breast Feeding


•May Attain UN 2025 Target
By Chioma Umeha
If any zone in Nigeria would attain the United Nations global targets to improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition by 2025, the South West States is not far from taking the lead.
This is because the latest report of the Multiple Indicators Cluster (MIC) survey of 2016/2017 showed that there are sharp increase in the number of women breastfeeding their infants exclusively for six months.
The MIC survey is an international household survey on a wide range of indicators on situation of children and women.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) member States had in 2014 endorsed global targets for improving maternal, infant and young child nutrition and are committed to monitoring progress.
According to them the targets are vital for identifying priority areas for action and catalysing global change.
The global nutrition targets 2025 focuses on increasing the rate of exclusive  (EBF) breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50 per cent.
It further aims at reducing the by 40 per cent the number of children under-five who are stunted.
It also targets to reduce by 50 per cent the incidence of anaemia in women of reproductive age.
Other areas targeted include; 30 per cent reduction in low birth weight, zero increase in childhood overweight and reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than five per cent.
Experts say exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is key to achieving these targets. In 2007, the South West could only boast of 17.1 per cent of exclusive breastfeeding rate. But, recent 2016/2017 MICS report showed an increased by  over 200 per cent.
Today, the region has 43.9 per cent exclusive breastfeeding rate by mothers in 2016 and 2017 as against 17.1 per cent in 2007.
In the region, Osun had the highest percentage of exclusive breastfeeding rate with 55.3 per cent in 2017 followed by Lagos State with 51.8 per cent. Edo state increased from 11.9 per cent in 2007  to 27.1 per cent in 2017.
However, Ogun and Ondo States had the lowest percentages of exclusive breast feeding.
The MICS report showed that exclusive breastfeeding rate in Ogun was 23.1 per cent in 2007, 13.6 per cent in 2011 and 20.9 per cent in 2016 and 2017.
Also, Ondo State recorded 14.3 per cent of exclusive breastfeeding rate in 2007, 8.6 per cent in 2011 and 23.5 per cent for 2016 and 2017.
Confirming the reports, the Dr Niyi Olaleye, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),  Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, says the percentage of mothers in South-west and Edo engaging in exclusive breastfeeding for their infants under six months has improved over the years.
In the views of Mrs. Ada Ezeogu, UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Akure Office, breastfeeding is one of the best investments in global health as every $1 invested in it generates $35 in economic returns.
For her, with the right policies and behavioural change of mothers and health workers, exclusive breastfeeding will soar up to 90 per cent in the country.
“The 50 per cent UN target is achievable in Nigeria because if you look at the pattern you will find out that most mothers in Nigeria is breastfeeding but the problem we have is that many of them give water.
“So if we can change their orientation on how to position and attach the baby to breast, provide them with the support they need at home and get them to understand that breast milk itself has over 88 percent water even in Nigeria climate where it can be pretty hot.
“The breast contains enough water for the baby. If we can just drop the water from zero to six months, we will indeed achieve much more than 50 per cent if not almost 90 per cent of EBF. We will then derive the benefit of breast feeding.
“Again, if 90 per cent of mothers exclusively breastfed their infants for the first six months of life, we will derive 13 per cent reduction in infant mortality.
“We need to change the norm of breastfeeding in Nigeria.  EBF has the potential to save more children’s lives than any other preventive intervention.
“Breastfed children have at least six times greater chance of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children. And an exclusively breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child.
Ezeogu also explained that another strategy to achieve the UN target was by enforcing the BreastMilk Code. Lamenting non implementation of the code, she stressed the need for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, charged with enforcement of the Code to go in and enforce the code.
Ezeogu explained that aggressive marketing by infant formula companies, non-enforcement of the Code of Marketing of BMS are currently posing a barrier to the campaign.
The Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes aims to shield breastfeeding from commercial promotion that affects mothers, health workers and health care systems. All forms of product advertising and promotion are prohibited.
Mothers should not be given free product samples and promotional devices such as discounts.
The UNICEF Nutrition Specialist stressed the need to build the skills of health workers who engage women on daily basis to be able to teach them how to breastfeed and why they should not give water until after six months.
“Knowledge is dynamic and they should be retrained. There is also the need to support these mothers. Usually there are a lot of pressures from grandparents who did not do exclusive breastfeeding that is why there is need for social mobilisation of the community to understand benefit of EBF and to encourage community members to do that.”
The UNICEF Nutrition Specialist also called for a holistic budget line for nutrition that would cover all aspect of nutrition because after breastfeeding the child will go to complementary feeding and adequate feeding for all.
On the benefits of breastfeeding, Ezeogu advised mothers to ensure that their newborns are put to breast within an hour of delivery as well as ensure that the baby is fed with the first milk they produces known as Colostrum.  According to her, colostrum serves as the baby’s first immunisation and contains antibodies that can protect against allergy & infection, many white cells – protects against infection, purgative that can clear meconium, helps to prevent jaundice, rich in Vitamin A among others.
Dissuading mothers from artificial feeding, she said it interferes with bonding, causes persistent diarrhoea, frequent respiratory infections, malnutrition; Vitamin A deficiency, milk intolerance, increased risk of some adult on set of  chronic diseases. lower scores on intelligence tests, increases risk of anaemia, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer in mothers.







Scientists Blame High Infant, Maternal Mortality On Myths

L-R: Dr. Esther Ohihoin, wife to the author; Hon. Justice Funmilayo Atilade; Emeritus Prof. Osato Giwa-Osagie;, Dr Aigbe Gregory Ohihoin of NIMR, author; and Hon. Justice Y.O Idowu during the book launch.

...Seek Boost In Antenatal Care To Curb It
By Chioma Umeha
To curb the high rate of infant and maternal mortality in the country, researchers, mainly eminent obstetricians and gynaecologists weekend, canvassed for increased attendance in antenatal care classes by pregnant women.
The call was made by the experts at the formal presentation of the four books written by Aigbe Gregory Ohihoin, a Chief Research Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Yaba, Lagos.
They described the country’s high infant and maternal mortality rate as unacceptable and blamed the ugly trend on myths and misconceptions, saying this prevent women from seeking care during pregnancy, until complications set in.
The experts strongly believe that the presentation of the four books was a timely one and would be helpful in tackling the high infant and maternal mortality rate in the country.
The books are entitled; ‘Step by Step Approach to Obstetrics and Gynaecological Ultrasonography,’ and  ‘Bullet Point Answers to Exam Questions in Obstetrics,’  ‘Bullet Point Answers to Exam Questions in Gynaecology’  and ‘What Mama Didn’t Tell You About Pregnancy- the Myth, the Truth and the Lie.’
Prof. Osato Giwa-Osagie, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos corroborated earlier views.
Giwa-Osagie observed that one of the factors responsible for infants and maternal mortality is old wives tales, which have been passed down to younger women, preventing them from seeking care during pregnancy, until complications set in.
“In as much as we are taking time to address these myths, we want everyone to know that pregnancy is not a disease.
“If only pregnant women will take it serious, attend antenatal care; follow their doctors advices, nearly 95 per cent of pregnancies will be delivered successfully without complications. However, it’s the remaining five per cent nobody knows where they are.
“Unfortunately, most times, when some of these pregnant women who had initially neglected antenatal care are brought to the hospitals, it’s either the baby is dead or the mother is in a serious condition.
“This is why I recommend the book “What Mama didn’t tell you about pregnancy-the myth, the truth and the lie”, for  every woman, who desires to carry her pregnancy to term successfully”, he remarked.
Giwa-Osagie said the book which talked about the step by step application of Ultrasonography would help doctors and women understand the peculiarity of the pregnancy and ensure safe delivery.
“This book will have a very wide application as it will help many educated pregnant women. It will save lives of babies and mothers,” he said.
Also speaking, Prof. Babatunde Salako, Director-General, NIMR said that the books were a veritable source of information for doctors and residents in training as it would facilitate their knowledge ability to handle pregnancies.
“This means that we will produce more knowledgeable obstetricians and gynaecologists who will make correct diagnosis and take appropriate decisions on their patients to enhance delivery of the baby and safety for the mother.
“When our pregnant women attend antenatal these doctors will handle their cases properly and we can also say that this development will reduce the rate of maternal and infant deaths in the country,” he said.
The Book Reviewer, Dr Oliver Ezechi, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at NIMR said that the ‘Old Wife’s Tales’ (Myth) about pregnancy passed down from generation to generation were the greatest challenge in reducing infant and maternal mortality.
Ezechi said that the book debunked the myth that affected pregnancy outcomes negatively.
“Pregnancy is not a disease, it is a normal physiological process and if women take it serious by registering for Antenatal early and take their doctor’s advice; close to 95 per cent of pregnancies will be successful without complications.
“With Antenatal attendance, doctors will identify problems early and prevent them – prevent infant and maternal deaths,” Ezechi said.
Also reviewing the book ‘ What Mama didn’t tell You about Pregnancy – the Myth, the Truth and the Lie’ , Mrs Rabi Adetoro said that the 100 pages book narrated a beautiful story of pregnancy from conception to delivery and post-delivery stages.
“The book explained the time to register for antenatal, diets during pregnancy, signs, and the role of fathers to secure the health of the mother and the baby,” she said.
In his remarks, Ohihoin,  the Author of the books, said that rate of Antenatal care attendance in Nigeria was 51 per cent, saying that such rate was too low and a major contributor to the high rate of infant and maternal mortality.
He said that the main aim of antenatal care was to ensure a healthy mother and infant at the end of the pregnancy to reduces maternal and child mortality rates.
“I wrote this books to emphasise that antenatal care should be seen as a major preventive health measure aimed at preventing the development of any pregnancy disorders or complications.
“Antenatal care should address the psychosocial and medical needs of the woman within the context of the health care delivery system and the culture in which she lives,” he said.







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