Sunday, 12 August 2018

Harpic Partners Lagos To Commemorate World Toilet Day

L-R: Mr. Rahul Murgai, Managing Director, RB West Africa; Dr. Babatunde Adejare, Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment; Mr. Babatunde Hunpe, Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Environment, and Aliza Leferink, Marketing Director, RB West Africa, during 2017 World Toilet Day ceremony sponsored by RB in Lagos.

By Chioma Umeha

Following growing incidence of water-borne diseases, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio, leading toilet cleaning brand, Harpic took a sensitisation programme on the treatment and proper disposal of sewage or wastewater to Ojodu Berger, a Lagos suburb to mark this year’s World Toilet Day (WTD).
Due to lack of safe water, poor sanitation and hygiene, 842,000 people die yearly, some experts   said during the sensitisation programme.
According to them, 1.8 billion people use source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.
The event was organised by Harpic, one of the country’s leading toilet cleaning brand from Reckitt Benckiser in health, hygiene and home care products in partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Environment to mark this year’s WTD.
The experts said that wastewater is roughly composed of  99 per cent water and one per cent suspended, colloidal and dissolved solids.
According to the statistics by World Health Organisation (WHO), today, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste.
The United Nations health body also said that  approximately 315,000 children dies every year through poor sanitation and unsafe water caused by Diarrhoea.
“In addition, a large number of women and children in Nigeria are exposed to the risk of contracting infections due to lack of access to sanitation which impacts on health, dignity, and safety,” it added.
At the sensitisation exercise, Dr. Samuel Babatunde Adejare, the Representative of the Lagos State Governor and Commissioner for the Environment, commissioned the renovated public toilets at Ojodu Berger to the joy of community members, travellers and artisans.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director, RB West Africa, Mr. Rahul Murgai, emphasised the commitment of Harpic towards the World Toilet Day.
“Harpic, one of RB’s power brands has consistently advocated the importance of having access to clean toilets and that waste water, poor sanitation and issues like open defecation can create potential health problems, especially among women and children who are highly susceptible to infections and diarrhoea” he stated.
“Today is World Toilet Day with the theme wastewater and globally, over 80 per cent of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting the environment, and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.
“Due to population growth, accelerated urbanisation and economic development, the quantity of wastewater generated and its overall pollution effects are increasing globally,” Adejare said.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Abiodun Bamgboye, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment, stated; “We educate sewage management authorities on proper disposal and recycling of wastewater as wastewater management is being seriously neglected, and grossly undervalued as a potentially affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.
“It therefore needs to be seen as a resource, rather than a burden to be disposed of. There are many treatment processes and operational systems that will allow us to use wastewater to meet the growing water demand in growing cities, support sustainable agriculture, and enhance energy production and industrial development, therefore contributing to a more sustainable, efficient and equitable water use worldwide.
“Today, Harpic, our regular partner is joining force with us in providing public awareness to the community. The ministry of environment welcomes such corporate support and will like other brands to emulate this as we celebrate the World Toilet Day.”
Mrs. Bamigbaiye-Elatuyi Omotola, the Regional Marketing Manager, RB West Africa also spoke on the opportunities to address potential health issues arising from poor sanitation. The adequate attention to solid waste, waste water and also industrial accumulated waste management can help avoid the chain of infection.
Over the years, Harpic has been providing awareness and education to Nigerians on the importance of better hygiene practices and improved health through prevention of open defecation.
This year’s World Toilet Day with the theme “Waste Water” focused on the link between sanitation and proper disposal of wastewater to draw global attention to the importance of sanitation as a job opportunity.
The goal is to reduce open defecation and promote better hygiene practices in the prevention of diseases such as Diarrhoea and toilet infections, especially in women and children.

Kebbi Partners Wamco, Explores Improved Livestock BreedingSenator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu

Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu
By Chioma Umeha
Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi State Governor has paid a visit to dairy giant FrieslandCampina WAMCO, makers of Peak and Three Crowns milk, to explore the potential for livestock breeding, local milk sourcing and development.
The exploratory visit, during the week, was aimed at boosting the state’s revenue drive and the livelihood of farmers in Kebbi State.
During the visit, governor Bagudu received insight into the company’s operations through a tour of factory facilities and dairy development sites in Oyo State.
He was also briefed on the company’s key dairy development activities including artificial insemination, cattle feeding and breeding for high yield milk quantities.
Bagudu also praised FrieslandCampina WAMCO for her commitment in leading dairy development in Nigeria.
He said: “We are seeking to modernise the agricultural sector as this will help to solve many national issues. We need WAMCO’s intervention to demonstrate what can work for our farmers in Kebbi.
“That is why we are here. The Federal Government has actually spearheaded a number of programmes in the country to boost agriculture, so that as a nation, we produce what we eat and eat what we produce.”
Mr. Ben Langat, the Managing Director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, who welcomed the governor, said the governor’s visit underscored the company’s objective of ensuring best dairy farming practices that guarantee the flow of good quality milk from grass to glass.
“FrieslandCampina WAMCO is honoured to share and support Kebbi State to replicate our tried and tested Dairy Development Programme (DDP) model that enables small scale dairy farmers to improve the quality and yield of their milk production and earn reasonable income.
“Partnerships such as this with Kebbi State will go a long way to strengthen dairy development in Nigeria” Langat said.

Nutritionists Advocate Counselling To Tackle Infant Mortality

L-R: Prof. Chinyere Ezeaka, National President, Nigerian Society of Neonatal Medicine (NSONM); Prof. James Rener, Chairman, Nestle Nutrition Institute, Africa; Dr. Rizwan Yusuf, Category Manager, Maternal &Nutrition, Nestle, Nigeria; Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, Managing Director/CEO and Mrs. Onabajo Simidele, Representative of Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), at post-graduate programme in Pediatrics Nutrition in Lagos, recently.

To tackle neonatal and infant mortality among other poor health indices, some experts say that emphasis should be placed on optimal nutrition education and counseling. They said that this must start with exclusive breastfeeding.
According to them, a lot of issues around nutrition will be resolved if nutrition education and counseling begins with exclusive breastfeeding to address the needs of children from birth to 28 days and subsequently as infant.
The experts spoke recently, during  a “Symposium and Convocation of Post Graduate Programme in Pediatric Nutrition,” an educational initiative supported by Nestle Nutrition Institute, in association with Boston University School of Medicine and Medinscribe, in Lagos.
Dr Chinyere Ezeaka, a Professor of Paediatrics, University of Lagos,said, “Nutrition education  is often a part of nutrition counseling session.”
Prof. Ezeaka said; “If everybody embarks on optimal nutrition counseling and education, we would not be having a lot of issues around nutrition. Nutrition counseling and education should start with exclusive breastfeeding.”
She maintained that there is need to change food practices and behaviours, as well as incorporate nutrition counseling and education in health delivery services.
“Nutrition education is any “combination of educational strategies, accompanied by environmental supports, designed to facilitate voluntary adoption of food choices and other food and nutrition related behaviours conducive to health and well-being.
“Nutrition and counseling education are used to provide guidance to individuals on how to develop or change food practices and behaviours to meet their nutritional requirements and improve their health,” the Professor of Paediatrics said.
She lamented, “In spite of the benefits of nutritional counseling, many physicians lack the requisite education and training in medical nutrition therapy to counsel their patients and to ensure continuity of nutrition care across healthcare providers.
“Therefore providing healthcare providers guidance on nutrition counseling and education is of paramount importance.
“This is also where motivational interviewing comes in.
“Motivational interviewing is a patient-centred counseling style that seeks to elicit internal motivation to change their behaviour and encourage them to understand and resolve their ambivalence about behavioural change.
“Motivational interviewing is regarded as a promising approach to nutrition counseling,’’ Ezeaka said.
Presenting  a paper on  “Establishing Healthy Food Habits in Children,”  Dr Clifford Lo, Adjunct Professor of Nutrition, Children’s Hospital Harvard Medical School, U.S, said it was  important to establish healthy food habits  early in life.
Lo, who represented the Boston School of Medicine , said, “The early years of life are characterised by rapid developmental changes in eating habits.
“Infants begin to develop flavour preferences in the utero, through the amniotic fluid, long before they taste solid food.
“Postnatally, flavour learning continues through breast milk, with the introduction of complementary foods, infants further develop food and flavour preferences.
“The dietary patterns learned during the early years of life track into later childhood and adulthood and form the basis for future eating patterns.
“Consequently, it is important to establish healthy food habits and dietary habits early in life,” the Adjunct Professor of Nutrition added.
According to him, healthy eating is essential to obtaining adequate amounts of nutrients required for good health, growth and development, as well as achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
Lo also said it was also essential to reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases and premature mortality.
Responding, Chioma Emma-Nwachukwu, Manager, Anglophone Speaking Countries, Central and West Africa, Nestle Nutrition Institute Africa, said the programme would help equip healthcare providers with needed knowledge on nutrition and associated issues.
“The healthcare professionals don’t have enough nutrition training during their medical training, so, this programme is aimed at closing the gap.
“It is aimed at ensuring that every healthcare professional gets the right nutrition knowledge and is well equipped to make the right decisions.”
Emma-Nwachukwu further said; “In Nigeria, there is still opportunity to change the landscape on nutrition because there is a lot of malnutrition and micronutrients deficiency.
“So, they need to equip our healthcare professionals in the area of nutrition arise; this is also because investment made in the first 1000 years has a multiplier effect in later life.”
She added, “In Nigeria alone, for this session, we have trained over 300 healthcare professionals and the graduation is taking place in Lagos and Abuja.
“We started the programme last year and more participants have joined based on the good reports from the programme as a result of the quality, modulus and relevance to their clinical practice.
“Since its inception, we have reached over 500 healthcare professionals and they in turn have reached over 6000 through their step down activities,” Emma-Nwachukwu said.
Dr Osinowo  Opeyemi, one of the participants, praised the organisers of the training.
According to her, malnutrition is a major problem in this part of the world and it is better to start addressing it early from childhood.
Dr  Opeyemi said she had learnt a lot and was well-equipped to provide advice on nutrition matters.

TCI Partners Five States On Reproductive Health

Chioma Umeha

Five states have signed a Letter of Commitment with The Challenge Initiative (TCI)  to implement The Challenge Fund Catalytic Grant after a demand-driven self-selection process for the urban poor.
The States that signed the  letter of commitment are Ogun, Kano, Delta, Bauchi and Niger.
A statement made available to INDEPENDENT by Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), said the grant is aimed at providing technical and financial assistance to the states in implementing successful high impact NURHI family planning proven interventions.
TCI said it will work with the state government through the State Ministry of Health, State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (SPHDA) and other relevant departments as well as agencies of the states to implement the grant with the states in the driver’s seat at the forefront of executing the grant while TCI provides light touch technical support.
For States to achieve the National 36 per cent Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) 2018 target, they need robust plan to improve access to voluntary family planning and child birth spacing, Dashe Kaseina, TCI Nigeria’s Communications and Knowledge Management Officer said.
The two elements are key  components of reproductive health that has proven to have transformative impacts on communities and countries to promote health and prosperity.
On family planning information and services, Kaseina stated that family planning has reduce maternal mortality by 30 per cent, as well as giving women, men and young people the opportunity to choose whether and when to have a child.
It also  critical to births spacing  and prevention of unintended pregnancy, unlocking  future opportunities and improving  overall quality of life for men, women  among others.
She observed that Nigeria has demonstrated commitment to family planning with the National Blueprint for Family Planning(FP) in 2014.
The aims are to achieve a National CPR of 36 per cent by 2018 and to reposition the family planning, child birth spacing programme on its investment agenda.
It to will also ensure that all women of reproductive age15 to 49 years of age have unhindered access to modern family planning  andchild birth spacing methods of their choice, Kaseina said.
She lamented  that these states are set to ensure the necessary shift in family planning/child birth spacing programming at the structural, service and community levels with the challenge of funds.
Kaseina recalled that the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole during the November 2016 national family planning conference in Abuja made a bold commitment to family planning.
“Adewole said, our commitment is that in spite of the downturn in the economy we would continue to meet all our obligations to put three Million Dollar per year and for 2017 we will increase it to four million US Dollar.”
Dr. Victor Igharo, Programme Manager of TCI Nigeria said, the initiative is built on the success of NURHI which contributed to increased Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) which is averagely 11.5 percentage points in six cities, FCT, Ibadan, Ilorin, Kaduna, Benin, and Zaria.
Igharo said TCI is encouraging states to invest their resources in family as well as implement proven strategies and model such as NURHI to contribute to the achievement of the national family planning goal of 36 percent CPR by 2018.
He said that this set of grantees will be able to meet the growing demand for voluntary family planning, particularly among the urban poor, and break the cycle of poverty, adding that family planning and reproductive health gives women, families, as well as communities a brighter future.
Igharo however added that TCI Nigeria will continue to provide  self-selected states with NURHI model or any slice of the model for change.
Also, Mojisola Odeku, the Portfolio Director of Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programs, (JHUCCP) Nigeria country projects, said “the Challenge Initiative offers a unique approach because interested Nigerian cities self-select to participate in the Initiative and bring their resources to the table in order to leverage significant resources and be able to provide high quality family planning and reproductive health services to those in need.”

Excess Sugar, Not Cause Of Diabetes – Scientists

Dr. Ifedayo Odeniyi, an Endocrinologist and a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Lagos addressing participants during the capacity building workshop on Diabetes in Lagos, recently.

By Chioma Umeha

Common belief that diabetes is  a condition  caused by excessive consumption of sugar or certain types of foods were  dismissed by scientists who spoke at an event to observe the World Diabetes Day (WDD) on Tuesday.
The scientists made the clarifications at a capacity building workshop on Diabetes with the theme “Equipping Present-day Journalists for Effective Reporting of Diabetes.”
They insisted that “it is not sugar or foods that cause diabetes,’’ at the event which was organised  for Health Journalist in Lagos by Sanofi, a global healthcare firm to herald this year’s WDD.
Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as Diabetes Mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.
Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).
One of the scientists,  Dr. Ifedayo Odeniyi, an Endocrinologist and a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, explains that diabetes is a problem with the body’s handling of glucose.
Odeniyi said; “Most people believe that when you have diabetes, it is because you eat too much sugar, this is not correct.
“Diabetes is not as a result of consuming sugar or sugary things, but rather, it is as a result of the body’s inability to handle glucose in the body.
“The glucose comes from all the food we eat whether it is meat, carbohydrate, protein or fat; so, in their normal forms, the body does not recognise them.
“The only thing the body recognises is glucose as a source of energy; when eat `eba’, `fufu’ foods prepared from cassava, rice and others,  the body changes them to glucose,’’ the   Endocrinologist said.
Odeniyi added: “The body needs glucose for energy for us to move around, eyes to see, brain to function and for every part of the body to function well. “However, before the body can make use of this glucose, one hormone is very important and that is insulin.
“After we have eaten and glucose is in the system, the pancreas produces insulin, (which lies on body cells), when the body senses there is glucose in the system.
“When it does that, the channel is opened for the insulin to go into the body cell for them to be broken down into energy, carbon dioxide and water. So, insulin can be likened to be the key that opens the door for the glucose to go in.
“Some people’s body may not be producing insulin at all, as in those that have Type 1 diabetes.’’
The Senior Lecturer  noted that some people might be producing insulin but it is either it was not enough or was not working well enough to allow the glucose to be absorbed into the blood stream.
“This is what happens in those that have Type 2 diabetes, so, it is not the food that is causing diabetes,’’ he explained.
Odeniyi, who is also an Honorary Consultant Endocinologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), also said that it is erroneous to   believe that someone with diabetes must be on a special diet.
“There is no special diet for diabetes and there is nothing like diabetic diet.
“We hear that the diet for people with diabetes should be beans, unripe plantain and wheat.
“Diabetic patients can eat everything; the only thing that should change is the quantity of which must be regulated.
“There are so many diets but none specific for diabetes; in which ever environment one is, use the food that is culturally accepted to the patient to manage the person.
“So, as long you can control the calories, a patient can eat any type of food,’’ Odeniyi said.
Making his remarks, Mr. Oladimeji Agbolade, Head, External Affairs, Sanofi, said that diabetes had become a global pandemic.
As at 2015, it is estimated that 415 million adults have diabetes and it is expected to rise to 642 million by 2040, Agbolade said.
According to him, managing the disease was tedious and time-consuming, but required effective management which would include taking extra care around food and exercise, as well as monitoring of blood levels throughout the day.
Agbolade called on the Federal Government to make a policy that would ensure that Nigerians were compulsorily tested for diabetes anytime they went to a hospital.
The most common types of diabetes Type 1, a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, Type 2, a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose).
Others are Prediabetes in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes and Gestational diabetes, a form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women.
The World Diabetes Day is marked annually on November 14 and the theme for 2017 is “Women and Diabetes  – Our Right to a Healthy Future.’’

Scientists Canvass Better Funding For Medical ResearchProfessor Simon Taylor-Robinson, a Professor of Translational Medicine, St. Mary’s Hospital Campus, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom, Daniel Duvaill, representative of Dr Mahesh Swaminathan, US- CDC Country Director, Prof. Babatunde Salako, Director-General of Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof Oni Idigbe, Former Director General NIMR and Alh. Abdulahi Yunusazzazau Director of Administration of the institute during the fourth International Scientific Conference of NIMR in Lagos, recently. Read more Simon Taylor-Robinson, a Professor of Translational Medicine, St. Mary’s Hospital Campus, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom, Daniel Duvaill, representative of Dr Mahesh Swaminathan, US- CDC Country Director, Prof. Babatunde Salako, Director-General of Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof Oni Idigbe, Former Director General NIMR and Alh. Abdulahi Yunusazzazau Director of Administration of the institute during the fourth International Scientific Conference of NIMR in Lagos, recently. Read more

Professor Simon Taylor-Robinson, a Professor of Translational Medicine, St. Mary’s Hospital Campus, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom, Daniel Duvaill, representative of Dr Mahesh Swaminathan, US- CDC Country Director, Prof. Babatunde Salako, Director-General of Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof Oni Idigbe, Former Director General NIMR and Alh. Abdulahi Yunusazzazau Director of Administration of the institute during the fourth International Scientific Conference of NIMR in Lagos, recently.

By Chioma Umeha

To ensure national development and effective response to disease outbreaks, Nigerian scientists and their counterparts from the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) have advocated adequate funding of innovative medical research.
Specifically, the scientists urged the three tiers of government, international and private organisations to provide adequate fund for innovative medical research to promote national development.
The scientists, who spoke at the fourth International Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in Lagos, maintained that research was the greatest engine for human development.
In his remarks at the Conference which had the theme: “Funding Health Research: In A Depressed Economy”, Professor Simon Taylor-Robinson,  a Professor of Translational Medicine, St. Mary’s Hospital Campus, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom,  said that funding medical research was very key and crucial in the healthcare system.
Taylor-Robinson further said that proper funding of health research was a guarantee for effective healthcare delivery in the country.
“Funding health research in Nigerian health institutions will give researchers more ideas on how to detect and investigate surveillance diseases.
“It is time for all levels of government to improve on their support to the institute,” he said
He therefore encouraged Nigeria and other countries to at least devote one per cent of its GDP to medical research as it would improve healthcare delivery, save lives and reduce mortality.
On his part, Prof. Babatunde Salako, Director- General of NIMR, who noted that research was critical in public health as well as every other aspect of medicine, said biomedical research alone was capable of unravelling life mysteries and translating discoveries to sound health and economic prosperity.
He said medical research in developed countries like the US had generated effective drugs for lowering cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, and dissolving artery-clogging blood clots.
Reasoning that research has led to the emergence of new techniques for heart attack prevention, including, lifestyle changes that promote cardiovascular health, the NIMR boss stressed that it would address the challenges facing the country’s health sector.
Salako said: “The global progress of the last few decades in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has shown that research and innovation are the only sure pathway to sustainable development.
“NIMR, as the foremost institute of medical research in the country, should be well positioned to contribute her quota toward conducting innovative research that will engender national development.
“The conduct of medical research should not be viewed as a liability to the nation, but should be seen as a veritable tool that can be used to attain economic development and self-reliance.
“Many developed nations have demonstrated to the world that research is the greatest engine for human development and a nation,” Salako said.
Similarly, Prof. Oladosu Ojengbede, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, called for a national health research policy that would harmonise all research activities in the country.
The Obstetrician urged corporate bodies, organisations and international donors to support the funding of health research to eliminate some diseases affecting the health of Nigerians.
Ojengbede, who works with the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, said that availability of funding for research purpose would promote application of knowledge for massive development of the country’s health sector.
“Private sector is at a vintage position to drive research development,’’ he said, noting that research and innovation were individually driven in any part of the world.

Chevron Disburses $2.5m To Support Global Fund

By Chioma Umeha

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) in Nigeria received a boost as Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) disbursed $2.5 million donated by Chevron Corporation, United States, weekend.
Announcing the disbursement in Lagos, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, CNL, said the fund is for the implementation of the Chevron-Global Fund Anti-Retroviral Treatment Service Maintenance Programme (ART Programme) in Delta, Bayelsa, Ondo and Lagos States.
These funds are in addition to US$6.7 million earlier donated by Chevron to the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in Bayelsa State.
Brikinn, said a final installment of $2.5 million would be disbursed in 2018, to support these HIV programmes, amounting to a total contribution of US$5 million being donated by Chevron.
He said the disbursements are part of a nine-year $60 million commitment from Chevron to the Global Fund.
The Fund, one of the world’s largest international financiers of health care programmes to fight tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria, raises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programmes run by local experts to fight the three diseases in countries and communities most in need.
The ART programme, according to Brikinn, will help bridge a critical national health gap and continue Chevron’s work in achieving an AIDS-free generation.
He added that the programme will also help reduce new HIV infections and improve the quality of life for the infected and affected people in the communities of the targeted states.

Plans To Produce Local Vaccines Being Sabotaged – PSN

By Chioma Umeha

Pharmacists under the auspices of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have alerted that the Federal Government decision to roll out the first locally produced vaccines in July 2019 may not be practicable.
Announcing this recently was Ahmed Yakasai, President, PSN at a press briefing in Lagos.
According to Yakasai, the plan was aimed at producing vaccines against Yellow fever, Tetanus Toxoid and Hepatitis B.
He said: “It is unbelievable that there are so many intrigues. Some people want the process to fail. There are so many interests, even from international bodies. To some, it is either they are involved or it fails. But everything is stabilising now, as the plan is still on, but delayed.
“I have visited the Yellow fever vaccine plant in Yaba, Lagos and work is ongoing. The project is capital intensive, but to make it work better, we are encouraging partnerships.”
May and Baker Plc, an indigenous pharmaceutical industry, had in June 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government to begin the production.
The plan also included developing a centre of excellence for research and development of vaccine technology and other biologics.
Yakassai disclosed that the Senate was planning to establish at least, one National Drug Rehabilitation Centre in each of the six geopolitical zones in the country.
On drug abuse especially among the youths, he said: “The uses of cough syrup with codeine, tramadol, rohypnol, and others have experienced an exponential increase.”
The PSN boss said the PSN had been a strong advocate for local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and the need for government to create a friendly environment for the sector.
According to Yakasai, the local production of vaccines and drugs would help the country to respond better to emergencies, generate increased internal revenue and raise the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He identified the challenges facing the sector to include poor funding, delayed and unlawful appointments in regulatory agencies and poor composition structures in the health sector.
Other challenges are the lopsided appointments in federal health institutions, as well as poor cultural attitude to research and development.

Link Between Infertility And Artificial Insemination

By Chioma Umeha

When you and your partner talk to a doctor about getting help for infertility, he may suggest a technique called “artificial insemination.” It’s a simple procedure with few side effects, and it can help some couples who haven’t been able to get pregnant.
In artificial insemination, a doctor inserts sperm directly into a woman’s cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus. The most common method is called “intrauterine insemination (IUI),” when a doctor places the sperm in the uterus.
Why is this helpful? It makes the trip shorter for the sperm and gets around any obstructions. Your doctor may suggest this method first as a treatment for infertility.
What Type of Infertility Can Artificial Insemination Treat?
The procedure can be used for many kinds of fertility problems. In cases involving male infertility, it’s often used when there’s a very low sperm count or when sperm aren’t strong enough to swim through the cervix and up into the fallopian tubes.
When the issue is female infertility, it’s sometimes done if you have a condition called endometriosis or you have anything that’s abnormal in your reproductive organs.
This method might also be right for you if you have something called an “unreceptive cervical mucus.” That means the mucus that surrounds the cervix prevents sperm from getting into your uterus and fallopian tubes. Artificial insemination lets the sperm skip the cervical mucus entirely.
Doctors also often suggest artificial insemination when they can’t figure out the reason a couple is infertile.
What to expect during the procedure
Your doctor will use ovulation kits, ultrasound, or blood tests to make sure you’re ovulating when you get artificial insemination. Then, your partner will need to provide a sample of his semen. The doctor will suggest that your partner avoid sex for two to five days before the procedure to help make sure his sperm count is high.
If you live close to the clinic, your partner may be able to collect a semen sample at home. If not, he’ll do this in a private room. The reason it helps if you live close to the doctor’s office is that the sperm must be “washed” in a laboratory within one hour of ejaculation.
The process of “washing” the sperm in a lab removes chemicals in the semen that may cause discomfort for a woman, and raises the chances of getting pregnant. Technicians liquefy the sperm at room temperature for 30 minutes and add a harmless chemical to separate out the most active sperm. They use a centrifuge to collect the best sperm.
Those are placed in a thin tube called a catheter and put through your vagina and cervix into the uterus.
Artificial insemination is short and relatively painless. Many women describe it as similar to a Pap smear. You may have cramping during the procedure and light bleeding afterward. Your doctor will probably have you lie down for about 15 to 45 minutes to give the sperm a chance to get to work. After that, you can get back to your usual activities.
In some cases, before you have the procedure, your doctor will place you on fertility drugs, such as clomiphene citrate (Clomid). This helps your body ovulate multiple eggs.

Disability: Lagos Governor Urges Parents To Monitor Risk Factors In Children

By Chioma Umeha

To reduce high incidence of disabilities in the country, healthcare practitioners, parents and guardians have been advised to fulfill their responsibilities of monitoring their children to ensure early detection and intervention of the predisposing conditions.
Giving the advice recently, was the Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State who stressed on increased commitment to developmental assessment of a child’s life, particularly those between the ages zero to three.
The Governor said that this would improve the chances of early detection, intervention and ultimately reduce the prevalence disability in the society.
The governor who was represented by Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule,  the deputy governor spoke at a stakeholder’s summit in Lagos with a theme: ‘Ability in disability: A Stitch in Time Saves Nine.’
He said the concept of early intervention is based on early identification and treatment of children who have established diagnosis such as cerebral palsy, down syndrome, autism or those who are at risk due to environmental factors such as malnutrition, poverty and rest.
Noting that greater percentage of the development of a child’s brain occurs at age three,  the Governor therefore said; “Early intervention will afford us the opportunity to do whatever is necessary medically to salvage the situation and avoid the worst possibility that may occur if neglected.”
According to him, the summit is part of the State government’s effort to promote awareness for early intervention for children living with disability or at risk of disability and its associated challenges.
“This initiative is therefore targeted primarily at parents who are the first point of contact to the children; who are in the best position to identify issues that might affect the proper development of their children.”
He said helping them to discover their abilities and value it will enable them define their identities and to contribute their quota to the country’s development.
In her welcome address, Mrs. Joyce Onafowokan, Special Adviser to the Governor on Social Development, implored parents to visit healthcare professionals early for their children’s own good.
In his keynote address, Prof. Julius Ademokoya, Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan and President, Speech Pathology and Audiology Association of Nigeria (SPAAN) identified conditions that deserve early detection.
According to Prof. Ademokoya, such conditions include children that might have visual impairment of palsy, hearing impairment, mental retardation and intellectual disability.
Others are  those who have chronic health and physical impairment, autism spectrum disorder and learning disability.
“We have those with multiple disabilities. Most of the time we pay attention to single disability, but it is not so. It is very common to see somebody with both ear and visual problem,” he stressed.
He also said some children don’t have physical and visible disability, yet they are not doing well, adding that such children need early intervention together with gifted and talented children too.
Prof. Ademokoya said there is need to make sure that early interventions are effected as early as possible to reduce disability effects; correct and rehabilitate the children,” he said.
He maintained that there is ability in any disability and therefore tasked people not to condemn a child because of disability. “There are individuals who because of early intervention overcame disability and eventually went on to make it in life,” he noted with examples.
Speaking on behalf of the Prof. Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, Prof. Chris Bode, Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital ( LUTH)  said; “What we are saying today is that let the doctors, nurses, medical personnel know what to look for and pick them up very early because many babies die without being recognised or were presented too late because they were not recognised in the first few hours and days of birth.”

Dokita247 Unveils Telemedicine App In Nigeria

Chioma Umeha
To improve healthcare services, a lifestyle company has unveiled a telemedicine app, in Lagos recently.
The app, which is expected to be freely available for every smart phone user in the country will reduce medical tourism, minimise consultation and treatment time between physicians and patients.
Announcing this during its launch, Dr. Richard Afonja, the app developer, said the platform can be downloaded on google play store and apple store with any smart phone.
Afonja added that there exist real, verified, credentialed and vetted physicians waiting to respond to all health diagnosis and treatment enquiries by patients using the app.
“The app is presently being used in in the United States. By January 2018 it will be in effect in Nigeria, and we hope to spread this to other African countries very soon.
“Using the app may extend the lifespan of Nigerians as they can seat in the comfort of their home and office for the consultation, laboratory tests and drug prescriptions,” the Founder who is also a US based medical expert said.
On his part, Dr. Francis Faduyile, the key note speaker, said such telemedicine can change the face of healthcare in Nigeria as it can be both beneficial for patients and he healthcare providers.
For the providers, this can aid in reviewing patient information, provide medical advice, connect to the facility’s electronic health record and manage clinical messages among others. The patients can use it to view, schedule and make appointments using web portals, view medical information from the Internet, find healthcare providers, and find pharmacies.
“This will help patients have access to the safest and highest-quality care, regardless of how much they earn, where they live, how sick they are, or the color of their skin. Patients must be the first priority and the focus of the transformed system.”
The new technologies will allow remote monitoring of patients and their access to healthcare, health data collection, patient identification, medicine administration, medication compliance, information exchange with the providers and other patients.
It will also allow access to medical record, among   several other benefits that would continue to accrue with the fast pace development of medical and allied health technologies.
Similarly, Mr. Silva Umukoro, Chief Financial Officer, Dokita247 also noted that telemedicine will bridge the gap between doctors and patients as well as reduce healthcare challenges bedeviling Nigeria and Africa as whole.

Irregular Periods And Infertility Challenges

By Chioma Umeha

Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for 30 per cent to 40 per cent of all cases of infertility. Having irregular periods, no periods, or abnormal bleeding often indicates that you are not ovulating, a condition known clinically as anovulation.
Although anovulation can usually be treated with fertility drugs, it is important to be evaluated for other conditions that could interfere with ovulation, such as thyroid conditions or abnormalities of the adrenal or pituitary glands.
Once your doctor has ruled out other medical conditions, he or she may prescribe fertility drugs to stimulate your ovulation.
The drug contained in both Clomid and Serophene (clomiphene) is often a first choice because it’s effective and has been prescribed to women for decades. Unlike many infertility drugs, it also has the advantage of being taken orally instead of by injection. It is used to induce ovulation and to correct irregular ovulation by increasing egg recruitment by the ovaries.
Clomiphene induces ovulation in most women with anovulation. Up to 10% of women who use clomiphene for infertility will have a multiple gestation pregnancy — usually twins. (In comparison, just 1% of the general population of women delivers twins.)
The typical starting dosage of clomphene is 50 milligrams per day for five days, beginning on the third, fourth, or fifth day after your period begins. You can expect to start ovulating about seven days after you’ve taken the last dose of clomiphene. If you don’t ovulate, the dose can be increased by 50 milligrams per day each month up to 150 mg. After you have begun to ovulate, most doctors suggest taking Clomid for  three to six months before referring to a specialist. If you have not gotten pregnant by then, you would try a different medication or get a referral to an infertility specialist.
These fertility drugs sometimes make the cervical mucus ‘hostile’ to sperm, keeping sperm from swimming into the uterus. This can be overcome by using artificial or intrauterine insemination(IUI)  -injecting specially prepared sperm directly into the uterus –  to fertilize the egg. It also thins the endometrial lining.
Depending on your situation, your doctor may also suggest other fertility drugs such as Gonal-F or other injectable hormones that stimulate follicles and stimulate egg development in the ovaries. These are the so-called ‘super-ovulation’ drugs. Most of these drugs are administered by injection just under the skin. Some of these hormones may overstimulate the ovaries (causing abdominal bloating and discomfort). This can be dangerous and require hospitalization; thus, your doctor will monitor you with frequent vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests to monitor estrogen levels. About 90 per cent of women ovulate with these drugs and between 20 per cent and 60 per cent become pregnant.

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