Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Experts Move To End Acrimony In Health Sector

By Chioma Umeha

Following an initiative which seeks the rebirth of harmony among the different professionals in the health sector, experts drawn from each of the major health disciplines will brainstorm at a symposium holding at the University of Lagos on May 11.
The symposium is being jointly organised by the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy in partnership with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and will feature practitioners drawn from medicine, pharmacy, nursing and midwifery, medical laboratory sciences, physiotherapy and other medical professions.
Former Minister of Health, Professor Eyitayo Lambo will deliver the keynote presentation.
According to Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, President of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy and also a former Minister of Health, “the dire state of healthcare in Nigeria today despite continuing efforts, requires that all professionals in the sector work in harmony to tackle the issues for the good of the country.”
Unfortunately, he lamented, “The poor state of affairs is made even worse by the animosity, distrust and consequently, disharmony among the different professionals in the health sector.”
The most vital resource in the health sector, said Adelusi-Adeluyi, is not the annual budgetary allocation from government, but rather, the sector’s huge human resource endowment.
It is only by building on its strengths which include its diversity, that the health sector can become truly primed to deliver optimal value to Nigeria, he added.
“Here is a sector brimming with enthusiastic and well-trained doctors, pharmacists, nurses, medical scientists, optometrists and other cadres of professionals. If professionals in this sector would cooperate with each other and work as one united team, it would be a big plus for healthcare delivery in our country.”
Adelusi-Adeluyi acknowledged that the mutual animosity among health professionals is not unfounded. “Developments over the years”, he said, had unfortunately helped to pitch the different groups of professionals against each other by perpetuating negative perceptions of each other.
Such negative perceptions had fed fat on anger and divisive statements by the various cadres of professionals, to the detriment of Nigerians who ought to benefit from an optimally functional healthcare industry.
The forthcoming symposium he stated, is only one in a series of activities which the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy is putting together to eradicate or curtail to the barest minimum, the animosity in the health sector and fast-track the emergence of a culture of mutual trust and collaboration among the various professionals.
Incidentally, he says, the project which is a pioneering effort by health experts themselves, has been enthusiastically welcomed by different health professionals, all of whom are uncomfortable with the current state of affairs among the various professionals.
The Nigerian Medical Association, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives among others have all indicated a willingness to be part of the programme.
Other speakers lined up for the Symposium include Dr. Ebun Sonaiya, a medical doctor and former president of the Guild of Medical Directors, Mr. Jimi Agbaje a pharmacist and frontline politician, Mrs. Sade Modupe Jokotola a veteran nurse as well as Prof. Agbonlahor a leading light of the medical laboratory scientist profession.
Founded in 2014, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy is one of six specialist academies in Nigeria, the others being the academies of Letters, Arts, Science, Engineering and Education respectively.

U.S. Committed To End Malaria In Nigeria – Envoy

Chioma Umeha

 The Deputy Head of Mission, U.S. Embassy, David Young, on Monday said that his country was committed to ending the scourge of malaria in Nigeria.
Young, who stated this in Abuja at the commemoration of 2017 World Malaria Day organised by the U.S. Embassy, said prevention and control remained a major U.S. foreign assistance objective.
“The U.S. Government, through Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is committed to raising awareness about the proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this disease,” he said.
According to him, the U.S. Government supports local partners to design and implement programmes to improve public and private sector adherence to diagnosis and treatment guidelines.
He disclosed that the U.S. invested over 420 million dollars in the fight against malaria in Nigeria since 2010, and 75 million dollars in 2016 alone.
He said that the U.S PMI strategy goal was to work with PMI-supported countries and partners to further reduce malaria deaths and substantially decrease malaria morbidity towards the long-term goal of elimination.
PMI, Young said, delivered nearly 7.5 million Rapid Diagnostic Tests and 12 million Artemisinin based Combination Therapy (ACT) treatment doses in support to 3,000 health facilities across 11 states in Nigeria.
To end malaria for good, Young called on Nigerians to commit to sleeping in a treated bed net every night and remember that not every fever is malaria.
He stressed the need to demand a “test before treatment”, before beginning a full regimen of ACT.
According to him, ending malaria will prevent more than 80 million illnesses and more than 300,000 related deaths from malaria annually.
“Ending malaria will increase school attendance, boost workers’ productivity and significantly lower out-of-pocket cost for treatment.
“This is why malaria prevention and control remain a major U.S. foreign assistance objective.
“Each year in Nigeria, more than 80 million people fall ill and 300,000 die from malaria,” he said.
According to him, early and accurate diagnosis is essential for rapid and effective disease management and surveillance.
He said that Malaria diagnosis was vital as misdiagnosis allows disease progression from uncomplicated to severe forms, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality.
Young said that Nigeria had in 2015 adopted the T3 (test, treat and track) strategy for malaria case management.
He said that the strategy helped to improve overall management of patients with febrile illnesses and reduced the emergence and spread of drug resistance to anti-malarial medications.

Group Tasks Journalists On Reports To End Violence Against Women

By Chioma Umeha

It is estimated that almost half of all homicides in which women were the victims in 2012 were committed by intimate partners or family members.
Worldwide, more than 700 million women today were married as children (below 18 years) and of this number, more than one in three were married before age.
Similarly, Nigerian women and girls are subjected to violence in their homes, the place expected to provide protection from harm and violence.
The statistics are scary as one in three women has experienced either physical and/ or sexual violence worldwide.
Perhaps more daunting is that over 133 million girls and women have experience one form of female genital mutilation (FGM) in 29 African countries.
Sadly, civil society organisations have discovered that the heinous and dastardly acts are under-reported in the media which ineptly and inadvertently causing their efforts to have little or no change in the society, especially among the perpetuators of these crimes.
The issue formed the focus of discussion during a two-day training for media practitioners in Lagos, recently.
The training was organised by Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP) an innovative nongovernmental initiative which promotes reproductive health, rights and general development for women, young girls and communities.
Addressing the participants, Bose Ironsi, Executive Director, and WRAHP regretted that media have become trumpet blowers without the necessary follow up to make a change in the society. “We are looking at your role, the consideration to give in your report. Sometimes media blow trumpet about violence and there is no follow up. Apart from few newspapers that have dedicated pages to talk about issues of violence others are not.
She said that gender-based violence cuts cross issues affecting the lives of victims to a diversity of issues including, health, economy, culture, psychology, education and politics. Therefore, the objective of the workshop is to provide information on gender-based issues, especially, gender-based violence and stimulate the development of initiatives geared towards eradicating gender-based violence.
She spoke passionately on language use by media in reporting gender-based violence. Ironsi also stressed that gender-based issues are under-reported.
“There is plenty of GBV, but nobody is telling us what they should. How do we mitigate this issue of violence, beyond reporting it how do we do follow-up?
Among the issues treated in the two-day workshop include rights, human rights, sexual and reproductive health rights, meaning of gender and gender-based violence.
The rest are system of law, the overview of Lagos State 2007, role of youths, guidelines for responding to violence against women and Family Support Unit in the Nigerian police which handle issues on family, women and children.
Chibogu Obinwa, a Gender Development Consultant who facilitated the human rights and gender session focused on issues around rights, human rights, gender and sex, thereby disabusing the journalists’ minds on the misconception about gender and sex.
She said that “sex is a fact of human biology, meaning that as human beings we were born to be ‘male’ or ‘female.’
However, Obinwa said gender relates to the socially constructed roles based on what we perceive to be rightly meant for either a ‘male’ or ‘female.’
She dismissed some misconception about sex and gender.
Beyond mere reporting, journalists were charged to assist the victims by letting them know where they should go to get help when they are involved in domestic violence as well as the CSOs that address cases of violence against women.
They can do so through their programmes on radio and television as well as write ups in the print media.
“There are specific units in police such as Family Support Unit/ Juvenile Welfare Centres (JWC) that attends to issues of violence against women including sexual and physical abuse of women and children,” the Gender Development Consultant said.
On the legal perspective, Mrs. Grace Ketefe, a legal practitioner explained the systems of law under the Nigerian context which centre on domestic violence.
Ketefe urged victims to seek justice legally, reiterating that Lagos state has since 2007 passed a law that provides protection against domestic violence, but a lot of people are still ignorant of this.
Inspector Kenneth Okafor, an DFID certified trainer from Police Family Support Unit, spoke from police perspective.
Erroneously, police’s role has been misinterpreted by many as far as the issue of reporting domestic violence is concerned, Okafor said.
He explained their in handling sexual and gender-based and domestic violence, saying that the Police have upgraded their approach of reporting these issues from Juvenile Welfare Centres to Family Support Units after their training.
Inspector Okafor also said that there are seven stations in Lagos in addition to three centers where their JWC centers have been upgraded to internationally accepted Family Support Unit in the State.
“There are seven police stations in Lagos that their JWC section have been upgraded in Lagos police command and they are Ketu, Ikorodu, Badagry, Ajah, Surulere, Ikotun, and Festac in addition to Adeniji Adeleke, Isokoko and Ilupeju which were the three police stations that we started with as a pilot state to test run the training,” Inspector Okafor said.
Speaking from media point view, TVC director of programmes, Morayo Afolabi-Brown, one of the facilitators while speaking said reporters must be equipped with the right knowledge; the right exposures because you can’t give what you don’t have.
“So the information we have gotten from various speakers, how do we make use of it? Afolabi-Brown asked rhetorically.
“We can appeal to people’s emotions through programmes that will change their orientation towards girl child education and the benefits thereof. We can change their orientation by writing stories to expose what they are doing wrong,” Afolabi-Brown said.
Corroborating, Dr. Princess Olufemi Kayode, founder of Mediacom who also spoke on combating gender based violence using media stressed on the gap in reporting issues concerning domestic violence.
She said that media should go beyond mere reporting. “You should always understand the cause of the violence and the issues around it. Media persons should work on the language use and people’s belief system. The media need to know the current terminologies of gender-based violence; be good enough to follow up any report,” she advised.

Adewole Directs Tertiary Hospitals To Prepare Against Epidemic Outbreak

Chioma Umeha
The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, has directed heads of federal government tertiary hospitals in the country to prepare, equip and be proactive in responding to outbreak of diseases in Nigeria.
Speaking during a meeting with them in Abuja, Adewole urged the federal hospitals to come up with strategies to support the primary and secondary health care centres in the states, while also charging them to adopt secondary and primary health facilities, supervise them and make sure they work well.
He recalled that the country has been dealing with series of outbreaks over the last one year, including Lassa Fever, cholera, measles and now meningitis, advising the public to notify the Federal Ministry of Health on any epidemic outbreak to enable it deploy response team immediately to checkmate the spread of the diseases.
“The outbreak of meningitis in Zamfara actually started late November 2016, but we did not know till February, which was unfortunate.
“If we got to know early, we would have deployed the vaccines available to us, create awareness and take charge of the situation early enough. But since we did not know, we lost valuable time to respond to the outbreak,” he lamented.
The minister said that during emergency, medical personnel in the federal hospitals must support the state, primary and general hospitals, adding: “We cannot pretend that what is happening outside our tertiary health centres do not concern us.
“This is one reason why we must interact with primary and secondary health facilities in the state. Otherwise, we would spend valuable time treating diarrhea and vomiting, instead of looking after the complex cases that we ought to do.”
National Coordinator, Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the Centre had already dispatched response team and presently working with the governments in the affected areas of Sokoto and Zamfara, saying the team is working on early detection and treatment.
Ihekweazu urged the chief executives of the tertiary hospitals to work closely with the leadership of the state governments in managing the outbreak, noting that the agency was working hard to prevent the outbreak of cholera, as the raining season has begun in some parts of the country.

GSK Recalls 600,000 Ventolin Inhalers From U.S.

By Alfred Akuki
Multinational pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced the recall of over 590,000 Salbutamol (Ventolin) inhalers from the US market, saying there could be issues with the delivery technique.
The recall is for three lots of Ventolin HFA 200D inhalers with lot numbers 6ZP0003, 6ZP9944 and 6ZP9848.
The inhalers, according to reports, have been distributed to hospitals, pharmacies, retailers and wholesalers in the United States.
“There is attainable risk that the affected inhalers could potentially not deliver the stated number of actuations,” according to GSK spokesman Juan Carlos Molina. “We continue to investigate the situation in order to identify the root lead to and implement appropriate corrective and preventative actions.”
The recall is not directed at individuals, but those with inhalers from the recalled lots have been advised to contact the company.

‘Malaria No More’ Honours Dangote, Ziemer For Leadership Role Against Diseases

By Alfred Akuki

On World Malaria Day, Malaria No More celebrated its 11th Annual International Honours event by recognising two leaders who have helped make that progress possible, and who remain committed to defeating malaria for good.
“Aliko Dangote and Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer represent the combination of U.S. government support and endemic country leadership that have made malaria one of the great public health success stories of our time,” said Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More.
“One is a military leader who has served the world’s most vulnerable populations across three Administrations; the other is Africa’s most successful businessman and most prominent philanthropist – and they have found common cause in working to end malaria.”
The work is not done. Despite historic progress, malaria remains a daily threat, with half the world’s population still at risk. In 2015, there were 429,000 malaria deaths and 212 million malaria cases. A child still dies from malaria every two minutes. In Sub-Saharan Africa, which, in 2015, contributed 90 percent of malaria cases and 92 percent of malaria deaths, the disease is the leading cause of missed days of school and worker absenteeism.
Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer served as the founding U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator from June 2006 until January of this year. Malaria No More congratulates Admiral Ziemer on his recent appointment to President Donald J. Trump’s National Security Council, where he serves as Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biothreats.
Under Rear Admiral Ziemer’s leadership, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) became recognized as one of the most efficient and effective examples of development assistance, with work spanning 19 African countries and the Greater Mekong Subregion.
Through 2015, PMI procured more than 197 million mosquito nets; protected some 16 million people with spraying; distributed 58 million preventative treatments for pregnant women and procured 376 million anti-malaria treatments and 229 million rapid diagnostic tests.
“The malaria fight is a great example of U.S. leadership across parties and we must continue until the job is done and people around the world are safe from this preventable and treatable disease,” said Rear Admiral Ziemer. “We could not have achieved remarkable progress in the last 16 years without genuine endemic country leadership, or without innovative and entrepreneurial partners like Malaria No More.”
Mr. Dangote is the Founder, President and Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, the largest conglomerate in West Africa. Based in Nigeria, the Group has cement production, sugar refining and flour milling operations in 17 African countries. A leading global philanthropist, Mr. Dangote has created the largest private foundation in sub-Saharan Africa. The Dangote Foundation has an endowment of $1.25 billion.
Mr. Dangote is Nigeria’s Malaria Ambassador and a member of the End Malaria Council, a new global champions group convened by Bill Gates and UN Special Envoy and Malaria No More co-Founder, Ray Chambers. Last year, the Dangote Foundation and the Nigerian government jointly launched a Private Sector Engagement Strategy for malaria control.
“As a businessman, I recognize that malaria sucks the lifeblood out of the African economy; we cannot realize our potential as a nation unless we stop this disease. As a Nigerian, I am personally committed to ending the disease in my home country, which despite our progress still accounts for more than a quarter of global deaths from the disease,” said Mr. Dangote.”

Queens College: Lagos Endorses Resumption Of Academic Activities

By Alfred Akuki
Lagos State Government on Monday, recommended the resumption of students for academic activities having certified the result from analysis of water samples from all water delivery points at the Queens College,Yaba, Lagos.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said this while giving an update on the outbreak of gastroenteritis in the School.
He noted that the school authority in collaboration with the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Old Girls Association and the Federal Ministry of Education has successfully addressed identified areas of lapses by instituting various control measures.
According to him, the control measures include; decommissioning of the multiple contaminated water sources, deployment of a single water source with water treatment, renovation of the dining hall, decontamination of the hostels and overhauling of the sewage system and clearance of the septic tanks.
He added that the periodic testing and retesting of water sources will still go on in line with international best practices.
Idris noted that while he was updating the media few weeks back, he mentioned that water samples from one of the multiple water delivery points in the College posed safety and portability concern. He however disclosed that this has been addressed as new pipes have been laid.
Said he: “I am delighted to inform you that based on the results of the analysis of the latest water samples collected on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, all water delivery points have been certified to conform to official specifications and I hereby recommend to the School Authority resumption of Students of Queens College, Yaba, Lagos,”.
While restating the commitment of the State Government to guarantee good health of the citizenry irrespective of gender, religious or ethnic affiliations, Idris emphasized the need for the School Authority and appropriate Federal Agencies to supervise continuous screening, follow up and monitoring of all students and staff of the school because of the polymicrobial nature of the outbreak.
The Commissioner who also revealed that four out of the 25 infected kitchen staff that were treated and retested still harbor some bacteria recommended that the four kitchen staff be made to undergo further treatment, be prevented from handling food and redeployed from the kitchen area.
He disclosed that since the outbreak of the disease in the school, 40 cases were admitted in various public and private hospitals in the State. He added that 37 cases were discharged after full recovery while the remaining three were unfortunately lost to the disease.

We’ll Soon End Global Malaria Scourge – Dr. Mandara

In 2015, nearly half of the world’s population was at risk of malaria with 91 countries and areas undergoing transmission of the disease which remains life threatening till today. In a chat with select journalists in Abuja recently, Dr Mairo Mandara, Country representative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Nigeria disclosed that the Foundation is already working with researchers towards the elimination of malaria. CHIOMA UMEHA provides the excerpts:

What would you say has been the organisation’s biggest success since the 10 years of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation interventions in Nigeria?
Basically, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was established on the premise that all lives have equal value, because we believe all lives have equal value. We believe that every human being is entitled to live a healthy and dignified life. Everybody who is unable to do that, we believe we should try hard, not just Gates Foundation, we all, as human beings, have the responsibility to ensure that everybody live a productive life. It is in this vein that the Gates Foundation looks at itself and said with monies made from Mr. Gates and also endowment from Warren Buffett, we said, where is it that we have comparative advantage? We can actually leapfrog, we can make impact.
Initially, when the Foundation started, we had fantastic researchers, the best in the world. We still have fantastic researchers, the best in the world. We looked at countries that had the biggest challenges in the world through research. We funded a lot of research; we are still funding a lot of research on how to stop malaria. We want to stop malaria from the earth. Can you imagine an earth where there is no malaria? We believe it is doable. When we talked about a world where there is no polio, people thought Mr Gates was joking. But, now, we have only three countries in the world, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. And, Nigeria is almost there, but for the insurgency of Boko Haram, where we have pocket of cases of children that were not immunized.
We are going to eradicate polio. After we eradicate polio, we are going after malaria. Can you imagine everybody saying forever no malaria? Those are the kinds of big targets we are putting up. In Nigeria, our biggest investment has been in polio eradication. We’ve strengthened routine immunization. Immunization because we believe that no child should die because of preventable diseases for every disease that we have vaccine for, every child should be immunized. No child should die of meningitis; no child should die of whooping cough. These are diseases that in other parts of the world, they’ve been taken care of. So, we are investing heavily on immunization of children.
You have donated so much to various non-governmental organisations and institutions of government in Nigeria for health care services, how have you ensured that your monies are being judiciously spent?
For the grants that we give, we have systems of checks and balances. Actually, some of the people, we use group like KPMG, they are the people that run after NGO that we work with; they audit them and give them reports. If we find any NGO wanting, we ask them to give us our money back straight. If they don’t, we take them to court. We have very stringent systems.
How do you determine the funds that go into countries where you work?
The way we work is this: we don’t wake up and say Nigeria should be given $100 million. No. we do baseline. We look at what the needs are. It is the need that determines what the amounts are. For example, this year, we signed a health MoU with Kano. We are doing primary health care in Kaduna, we are doing a lot of agriculture in Ibadan, with IITA. In Lagos, we are doing financial inclusion. So, we know what we are going to do. Amount of money we are going to put on that will be determined by what is needed.
There is no fixed amount. On the average, for all the works we do, when we started about five years, we spent approximately N35 million per year. But, now, we spend about N250 million per year. Every six months, we give a report of how much we have spent to Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
Every six months, I signed, we deliver to them, and we put it in their system, which is open, which you can access from Budget and National Planning (website) You can see all the dollars, how much they have put in the country. and, it has been captured in the system. I recently signed the last one in January. In June, we are going to do another one.
What are the criteria for selecting the states you work with? It seems most of your interventions in Nigeria occur in the North. Why?
No. May be it is because people see us working on polio. Polio is a northern nuisance. I don’t think anybody wants us to go and work on polio in their states; polio is a menace. Because people see us working on polio, and we are very active with polio, people think we are in the north. How do we select our states? The selection of our states for health, we look at the number of criteria. Three years ago, we were in 25 states and the FCT. We decided that we are all over the place. We don’t have enough money. We need to be focused on a few states and have impacts. While we demonstrate we can make impacts, we can make impacts. Then, we can expand to other states.
So, we went through rigorous analysis. One of the key things that we take care of is that the main thrust of people that we care for are people who live below one or two dollars a day; the poorest of the poor is our constituency. So, what is the highest burden of the poorest of the poor in Nigeria? Where do you have the poorest people? Where do you have the worst health indicator? You can look at your demographic health survey, where do you have the poorest unqualified people? Kano, Lagos, Kaduna, because of the population. We selected those to start with. And, for us, these are the key most populous. If we are able to saturate, we make a big stride in Nigeria.
But, mind you, this is just health. When we look at agriculture, in agriculture, we work along certain value chains. For example, rice; we do a lot of research. We do a lot of work in cassava. A lot of these of these researches are in IITA, Ibadan. It is not true that we only work in northern Nigeria. Once we eradicate polio, then that notion will disappear. Then, we won’t have to focus on polio affected areas.
In what area have you made the greatest investment?
Our greatest investment is stopping children dying unnecessarily because of preventable diseases. Children in America and the UK and in other countries like Ghana and Rwanda don’t die because of meningitis. We invest in the production of those vaccines. We buy those vaccines, we pay for those vaccines to be brought so that these children will be vaccinated and that they don’t die.

Lagos Seals 160 Hospitals Over Medical Negligence

Provides Free Care To 80,576 Patients

By Chioma Umeha
Lagos State government said it has sealed 160 hospitals and illegal pharmacies within the year under review, even as it sacked no fewer than 42 health workers for various offences relating to medical negligence.
Dr Jide Idris, Commissioner for Health, said this at the 2017 Ministerial Press Briefing of the Ministry of Health to commemorate the two years in office of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State at Alausa, Lagos.
Idris said that the issue of negligence by health workers was being taken seriously by the ministry to protect lives of citizens in the state.
”We have established standards to address the issue of negligence, we have also employed civil society organisations who have been going round our health facilities to monitor and detect any form of negligence by our staff.
”In the last one year, the Health Service Commission has sanctioned and sacked about 42 health workers for various offences relating to negligence.
”We welcome criticisms and we will continue to do our best to protect, promote and restore the health of residents as well as ensure unfettered access to quality healthcare, ” he said.
The Lagos Health Ministry boss further said it has provide free health care to 80,576 patients through the ongoing State-wide Eko Medical mission in Ojo, Badagry, Oshodi Isolo, Amuwo odofin , Ajeromi, Apapa, Ikeja, Surulere and Mushin Local Government and Council Development Areas(LGAs/LCDAs).
Giving the breakdown, Idris explained that 52,835 were attended to at the General Out Patients Department; 4,111 were screened at the dental unit, 6,668 were counseled and tested at the HCT Unit and 16,962 had their eyes screened out of which 10,745 were given glasses.
The Commissioner also assured that it will visit all the 20 LGAs, nine LGAs under the Eko Medical mission.
“Eko Club International Free Health Mission was carried out in various LGAs & LCDAs in Lagos State – Isolo, Ikorodu, Lagos Island, Ejirin, Epe, Eredo, Ibeju – Lekki and Iru Victoria. A total of 5,000 people benefitted from the mission,” Idris said.
Idris lamented the over congestion of health facilities in spite of government’s efforts to cater for the health needs of residents.
”We plead with our people to understand our constraints. The reality of our health facilities is that they are over stretched with many people from other states coming to use our facilities, especially when there are outbreaks of diseases in other states.
”This is why we are usually at risks inspite of government’s huge investments on health in the state. We have become a victim of our success.
”We will not relent in our efforts which is why we have started the renovation of our general hospitals and Primary health centres to meet the health need of the people, ” he said.
Idris said that in the last one year, the Ministry recorded a lot of achievements as additional 117 Tuberculosis Treatment Centres were established to bring the total DOT centres in the state to 578 centres.
He also stated that Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode procured 10 new Mobile Intensive Care Ambulances to expand the state’ s ambulance fleet from 23 to 33.
”In the last one year, 126 illegal pharmaceutical outlets were sealed out of the 268 inspected and raided.
”We also registered a total number of 325 traditional birth attendant practitioners in the state, ” he said.
According to him, the Motor Park Health and Safety Programme which was carried out at the Ikeja Motor Park in October, 2016, screened 438 drivers using the breath analyzer test analysis in addition to other screening tests were conducted. 150 drivers were counselled and 191 had their eye tested.
On limb corrective surgery, he said that 60 clients were screened last year, out of which 13 clients benefitted from surgeries in Lagos State Teaching Hospital(LASUTH) while 12 clients benefitted from Orthotic devices and eight clients benefitted from physiotherapy.
He also said that 42 clients were screened for goiter in August, 2016, out of which 18 clients benefitted from surgeries and 19 from anti – thyroid medications.
Meanwhile, the government yesterday disclosed that plans have been concluded to review the Mental Health Law of the state, to conform with current trends.
Idris also said that 93 health care professionals were trained under the mental health training programme at LASUTH early this year.
“A total of 7,394 patients were screened out of which 3,799 were given glasses. A total of 1,103 patients benefited from sight restoring surgeries in collaboration with Indo Eye Foundation in November, 2016. 491 pupils were seen out of which 174 were given glasses. Vision corridor bill boards were installed in 180 public primary schools,” he said.

Sperm Washing Improves Fertility Chances – Monique

Monique Bonavita Bueno, an embryologist from Spain, attended the physicians’ roundtable recently organised in Lagos, by Endometriosis Support Group (ESG) with the support of Nordica Fertility Centre, Nigeria. In this interview with CHIOMA UMEHA, she speaks on sperm washing and freezing as well as fertility preservation, their implications in fertility treatment.

What is the link between sperm washing and sperm freezing?
Sperm washing is the process in which individual sperms are separated from the semen. Washed sperm is used in artificial insemination using the intrauterine insemination (IUI) technique and in in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Sperm washing involves removing any mucus and non-motile sperm in the semen to improve the chances of fertilization and to extract certain disease-carrying material in the semen. Sperm washing is a standard procedure in infertility treatment. Sperm washing takes place in a laboratory following sperm donation.
Sperm washing is done before sperm freezing. We take the sample of a man’s (patient’s) sperm and wash it before freezing. So we need to wash so will just keep the sperm to freeze.
How durable is the frozen sperm?
There is no limit for the freezing.
Can you explain the term, Preimplantation of genetics diagnosis?
Preimplantation of genetics diagnosis (PGD) is a genetic testing used to determine the embryos that carry a specific gene mutation before the pregnancy occurs. While preimplantation genetics screening (PGS) refers to removing one or more cells from an in vitro fertilization embryo to test for chromosomal normalcy. PGS screens the embryo for normal chromosome number. We can think of PGS as chromosome disorder screening on IVF embryos. So PGS increase the chances for a healthy pregnancy.
What are the constraints?
There are no limitations, we have many good reasons to do the PGD and PGS. Actually the main benefits of PGD are to prevent the transmission of monogenic disorder by restoring the genetic quality of the embryo while the PGS will steady the chromosomical quality of the embryo and screen for equal embryo to be transferred. It would help in reducing the miscarriage rate; it will increase the implantation rate and also the chances of having a baby.
What is the requirement for those who wants to undergo PGD and PGS?
Though anyone can undergo PGD and PGS, I will add that it is common mainly among patients that have advanced in maternal age. Women aged 37 and above: any IVF patient aged 37 or above may benefit from PGS, provided that they produce five or more embryos.
Patients in their mid-thirties are more likely to produce abnormal embryos so they are more likely to do the PGS that will analyse and identify abnormal chromosomal abnormality and identify an equal embryo to transfer to her uterus.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis can benefit any couple at risk for passing on a genetic disease or condition.
The following is a list of the type of individuals who are possible candidates for PGD are: Carriers of sex-linked genetic disorders; carriers of single gene disorders; those with chromosomal disorders; women aged 35 and over. Others are: Women experiencing recurring pregnancy loss and women with more than one failed fertility treatment.
PGD has also been used for the purpose of gender selection.
However, discarding embryos based only on gender considerations is an ethical concern for many people.
What are the advantages of PGD?
The following are considered benefits of PGD: PGD can test for more than 100 different genetic conditions.
The procedure is performed before implantation thus allowing the couple to decide if they wish to continue with the pregnancy.
The procedure enables couples to pursue biological children who might not have done so otherwise.
What are the concerns of PGD?
The following are considered concerns or disadvantages associated with the use of PGD: Many people believe that because life begins at conception, the destruction of an embryo is the destruction of a person.
While PGD helps reduce the chances of conceiving a child with a genetic disorder, it cannot completely eliminate this risk. In some cases, further testing is needed during pregnancy to ascertain if a genetic factor is still possible.
Although genetically present, some diseases only generate symptoms when carriers reach middle age. The probability of disorder development should be a topic of discussion with the healthcare provider.
Keep in mind that preimplantation genetic diagnosis does not replace the recommendation for prenatal testing.
What is egg bank and sperm bank?
Sperm bank or egg bank or cryo bank in general is a facility that store human sperm, human eggs, garment in general from sperm to egg donors to use by human or couple who need donor provider garments and to achieve the pregnancy which they cannot using theirs.
Can you then define what fertility preservation is?
Fertility preservation is the process of saving eggs, sperm or embryo or ovarian tissue before they go into fertility damaging treatment like cancer treatment so the person can still use their garment to achieve pregnancy in the future. So women who want to delay motherhood can also preserve their eggs, so she is able to use her eggs to have her own biological child when she is ready.
A woman’s egg was preserved at 30 and now she is 40. How would you describe the success rate, how viable is it?
And as an experienced embryologist, you should be sure of doing it in a perfect way so the patient can come at 30-years-old, then returns when she is 40. If so, her egg will continue to be exactly the same quality.
How is the preservation done?
Currently we have a technique called cryopreservation, and vitrification. Cryopreservation and vitrification are methods used for preserving human germ cells. Thanks to them, germ cells may be preserved in our cryobank for as long as several decades. The preservation period depends on the agreement with the client.
The difference between cryopreservation and vitrification is in the cell freezing rate.
Cryopreservation is a technique that utilises a special medium to allow preservation in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C.
Vitrification is a modern technique that rapidly freezes reproductive cells to a temperature of -196°C, literally within seconds. A special medium containing cryoprotectants is used during the process to protect the cells against damage.

Natural Painkillers In Your Kitchen

By Chioma Umeha

With a substandard and a sedentary lifestyle, popping medicines has become a part our everyday humdrum. We don’t even think twice before gulping down a Saridon or a Crocin but what we don’t realize is how toxic such dependence can become. ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’, said Hippocrates. So, here we list down foods that act as natural pain killers and the good news is – they do not have side effects.
So drop the pills and try these natural painkillers –
Tart Cherry: We may not know this but tart cherries are very good at relieving pain. They contain antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins which help in suppressing inflammatory compounds and pain.
Dosage: Some handfuls
Turmeric: The ingredient that gives turmeric its yellow colour is spice curcumin. It has anti-inflammatory properties that are comparable to over-the-counter antibiotics medicines available. It is effective in alleviating joint and muscular pain and swelling.
Dosage: In milk or turmeric tea
Ginger: Anti-inflammatory properties of ginger can help alleviate pain from arthritis, stomach ache, chest pain, menstrual pain and even muscle soreness.
Dosage: Apply ginger compress to area of pain
Red Grapes:This, too, is a not-so-popular remedy for pain. It contains an antioxidant compound called resveratrol that gives it its red colour. Resveratrol helps in maintaining cartilage health, preventing joint and back pain.
Dosage: Some handfuls
Peppermint: Peppermint is known for its therapeutic properties as it helps in relieving muscular pain, toothache, headache and pain in nerves. It helps ease digestion and stomach problems. Besides, it also has a soothing impact on your mind and memory.
Dosage: Chew some leaves
Salt: Add 10 to 15 tablespoons (1 cup) of salt in your bathing water. Soak yourself in that water for about 15 minutes. A saline solution helps dehydrate the body cells and thus, reduces inflammation and pain.
Dosage: 1 cup of salt in bathing water
Soy: A study conducted by NCBI concluded that soy protein can help alleviate arthritis pain and relive symptoms of osteoarthritis. Soy contains ‘isoflavones’ which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Dosage: Have soy or soy milk
Plain yogurt: Unlike other dairy products, plain yogurt is known to alleviate symptoms of bloating, inflammation and pain. The healthy bacteria in yogurt eases digestion and helps in relieving from abdominal pain.
Dosage: A bowlful
Hot Peppers: An active ingredient called capsaicin in hot peppers, which is also present in many pain-relieving creams, helps in soothing nerve endings and depletes a chemical that causes pain.
Dosage: Add half a teaspoon in soups or your food.
Coffee: Coffee contains caffeine. Caffeine can reduce your sensitivity to pain, muscles aches and even headaches. In fact, it is also known to magnify the results of other pain relievers. But be cautioned as it may not work if you are a regular coffee consumer.
Dosage: A cup

Poisonous Cassava: NAFDAC To Sensitise Farmers, Food Outlets Operators

Chioma Umeha
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says arrangements are on to sensitise farmers in Kogi and Ondo on how to handle food chain from the farms to consumers’ table.
The NAFDAC Director, Special Duties, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, told journalists in Abuja weekend, that operators of fast food outlets in both states would also be trained.
This is coming on the heels of the death of nine people after consuming “amala’’ meal made from poisonous cassava flour.
The incident occurred in Ogaminana, Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi state in November, 2016.
Jimoh explained that NAFDAC had carried out investigation into the incident with a view to addressing the problem.
He added that some people also consumed poisonous beans in some places.
Jimoh said the agency had taken statistics of farmers and operators of all food outlets in both states that would participate in a workshop to be organised by the agency.
According to him, they will be trained on how to handle critical aspects of food chain from the farms to consumers’ table.
“We shall train farmers on the best practices and the correct way of applying fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals for storage of their harvests.
“We will also teach farmers how to dry their produce because they often spread them on the express way where such are exposed to contamination and it is hazardous to the health of members of the public.
“Though, this is not part of the mandate of NAFDAC as we deal mainly with processed foods, but we cannot close our eyes in a matter that affects peoples’ health,’’ he said.

Monday, 28 May 2018

More Children Will Suffer Abuse As Impunity Remains High

By Chioma Umeha

Recently, Independent spotted a teenager, at 6:00 pm, with bruises all over her body even as blood dripped from her ears at Cardioso Street, close to popular Olodi-Apapa, Lagos.
Dolapo, as she simply identified herself struggled to respond to interrogation about her injury.
“I live with my Aunty at No. 10, Cardioso Street and she said; ‘I must find the money,’ she became mute in between talks, while trying to fight back tears.
A passerby who claimed to be a neigbour, told Independent that Dolapo assists her ‘Aunty,’ a petty trader to hawk ‘pure water.’’
“Maybe Dolapo misplaced some of the proceeds from the day’s sales. She has become an object of constant beating; this is not the first time. We always hear the woman shouting and beating the girl everyday. We heard her shouting around 4:00pm, ‘you must bring the whole money from the ‘pure water’ you sold,” the passerby added.
House helps are not the only victims of physical violence. Parents often mete out violence against their children in a bid to discipline them.
Still fresh in the memory of Nigerians is the case of Mr. Chris Elvis, computer accessories dealer, who allegedly beat his four-year-old son to death, padlocking his mouth to prevent him from shouting while the beating lasted.
He claimed that Godrich, his son, was an Ogbanje – evil child that dies and reincarnates repeatedly and beat him with an object that inflicted deep cuts all over his body until he died.
Many cases of this magnitude are happening on a daily basis across the country, but have been swept under the carpet, due to several factors. These include ignorance, family pressure, poverty, threats, religion, tradition, lack of laws and others.
For instance, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, recently said the state in the last one year handled 4,035 cases ranging from rape, child abuse, sexual assault, sexual abuse, defilement, divorce, matrimonial issues, child’s custody and maintenance.
Also, within the same period, the Gombe State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare said it handled 66 cases of child abuse in eight months.
Available data also shows that violence against children is on the increase in Nigeria. A survey conducted by the National Population Commission, (NPoPC), with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that millions of Nigerian children suffer violence every year.
The survey stated that approximately six out of every 10 children in the county experience one of these forms of violence before they reach 18.
The NPoPC, in its 2014 national survey on violence against children in Nigeria made available to Independent, stated that the majority of children who experience physical, sexual or emotional violence in childhood do so on multiple occasions.
Presenting the report recently, at a media dialogue on End Violence Against Children (EndVAC) campaign, organised by the UNICEF in Ibadan, Oyo State, Sylvanus Unogu, Deputy Director, planning and research, NPoPC said over half of children first experienced physical violence between the ages of 6 and 11 with approximately one in 10 children having first experience of physical violence under the age of five.
“Girls are significantly more likely to experience both sexual violence and physical violence than other combinations of violence,” he added.
Onogu regretted that children are not speaking out, seeking or receiving services; stressing violence has a serious impact on girls’ and boys’ lives and future.
“Sexual violence is associated with higher risk for symptoms or diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) mental distress and thoughts of suicide among females and with mental distress among males,” he said.
Onogu therefore called for stiffer penalties and measures against those found guilty as violators of children rights.
Similarly, Sharon Oladiji, child protection specialist with the UNICEF, raised an alarm over increasing cases of violence against children in Nigeria.
Oladiji said a survey by the UN body for children matters indicated that the rights of a many Nigerian children were being violated.
She attributed the increasing rate of child abuse to the absence of institutions to check the trend.
According to her, the need to establish a Family Court has become necessary to severely deal with perpetrators of violence against children.
Oladiji, who explained that the court would specifically deal with perpetrators of violence against children, identified violence to include emotional, physical and sexual acts.
She decried the failure of a lot of families affected in such situations to speak out when their children or wards were violated by relations.
She said that a lot of children became prey to perpetrators of violence because of the failure of parents or guardians to allow them have a say in matters affecting their lives.
The child protection specialist said because of the failure of society and the government to punish perpetrators of the acts adequately, they did not see anything wrong in their actions.
According to her, lapses by the government and families have further encouraged perpetrators to continue in their acts.
Oladiji called for early reporting of cases toward reducing the trend.
She said that the N500, 000.00 fine or five years imprisonment for perpetrators of sexual abuse and unlawful sexual intercourse, among others, enshrined in section 34 of the Child’s Rights Act, was mild.
Oladiji appealed for a stiffer penalty, such as death sentence, for offenders to deter prospective violators.
According to her, establishment of the courts, existence of champions that will champion the cause of children whose rights have been violated, among others, will check the excesses of offenders.
“At the moment, the impunity is high; people do it and get away with it.
“There is no court system that specifically deals with all kinds of perpetration or perpetrators and as enshrined in that law.
“What we need is to speak about it and encourage our government to establish it; it may not be as costly as you think.’’
The expert highlighted some provisions of the Child Rights Act to include right to survival, development, protection and participation.
According to her, the protection right is essential for safeguarding children and adolescents from all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
CRA enacted on July 2003, is meant to protect the child from all sorts of violation.

Blog Archive