Sunday, 2 September 2018

UN Official Named President Of New York NGO

Chioma Umeha

African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, Inc. (ARDN) announced Tuesday, that Dr. Djibril Diallo, a United Nations Senior Official, has been appointed to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer. The appointment will become effective March 25, 2018.
A statement jointly signed by Arlene Katzive, Secretary of the Board and James Hsui, Legal Counsel, both of ARDN said that Dr. Diallo currently serves as Regional Director for West and Central Africa and Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
He has held several management positions with the United Nations (UN) for more than three decades.
“We look forward to continued close collaboration between UNAIDS and ARDN with Djibril in the lead,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, in a message to all UNAIDS staff.
In his capacity as the chief executive officer of ARDN, Dr. Diallo will lead the organisation’s ‘Pathway to Solutions’ initiative, which aims to popularise the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to increase public understanding of the role and functions of the UN.
The international project has its genesis in the collective hope and vision of the office of UN Deputy-Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed; and ARDN under the direction of the Chair of its Board of Directors, Constance B. Newman, a Senior Fellow of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council.
Newman has also formerly served as Assistant Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Assistant United States Secretary of State for African Affairs.
After over  nine months of extensive consultations, the ‘A Pathway to Solutions’ strategic plan was presented to the UN Deputy-Secretary-General on December 19,  2017, at a coordination meeting held at the United Nations headquarters.
“Dr. Diallo’s expertise in international relations, diplomacy and human development will be critical at a time when the International Community is pursuing, in tandem, the SDGs, the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), and the African Union Agenda 2063,” said Ms. Newman.
“We are confident that under his leadership, ARDN will be well-poised to contribute to the world we want – one defined by peace, justice, freedom, respect, social progress, equal rights and human dignity, tolerance, solidarity and sustainability – starting with Africa and the African diaspora.”
“I’m deeply humbled by the trust and confidence that has been placed in me.  I’m excited to see what I can do in this new capacity to advance the United Nations’ hope and vision of a better world,” said Dr. Diallo.
“When we talk about Africa and the diaspora, we’re ultimately talking about the entire world. ARDN is built on the fundamental principle that we are stronger together. Today, more than ever, it’s important that we remember and reflect on this. This planet earth is the only home we have, and we are one human family.”
With over 35 years of experience at the United Nations, Dr. Diallo’s work for peace, sustainable development and protecting the most vulnerable has been recognized by numerous national and international organizations.
Previously, Dr. Diallo served as Director in the Office of the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Spokesperson of the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Director of Communications at the United Nations Development Programme, and Special Assistant to the Executive Director at the United Nations Children’s Fund.
A steadfast supporter of youth, Dr. Diallo initiated the first-ever United Nations Youth Leadership Summit in 2006, bringing together youth leaders from 192 countries, with a vision toward gender parity in participation. He speaks twelve languages.

Lagos Denies Fake Advertisements On Nursing School Admissions

Chioma Umeha
Lagos State Government has dissociated itself from fake advertorials making the rounds on the internet about admission into the State School of Nursing.
In a statement signed by Mrs. Adeola Salako, Director, Public Affairs, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Modele Osunkiyesi who made this known today through a signed disclaimer notice to the public stated that the attention of the Ministry of Health has been drawn to the activities of some unscrupulous group of people who place the fake advertisements on the internet.
She further revealed that these dubious people invite unsuspecting individuals to pay into their personal accounts.
“Some go by spurious names and false identities such as Dr. Bello of Alimosho General Hospital or Professor Adeleke of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) or Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Igando and they invite unsuspecting individuals to pay into their personal accounts”, Osunkiyesi noted.
The Permanent Secretary urged members of the Public to disregard any information on the internet about purported admission forms adding that all enquiries regarding admission into the State School of Nursing should be channeled to the Coordinator, Lagos State School of Nursing Complex, Alimosho General Hospital, Igando.
“Lagos State Ministry of Health will not by text message or e-mail, request any prospective candidate for admission into the Lagos State School of Nursing, Igando to pay any money into an agent’s individual or corporate bank account”, she stated.
Osunkiyesi further added that clarifications regarding sale of forms and admission procedures can be obtained from the following telephone numbers; 08176981957 or 08033061863.
The Permanent Secretary while also advising members of the public to be vigilant stated that anyone who deals with these touts does so at his or her own risk.

HIV : Group Seeks Increased Media Report To Control Child Infections

Chioma Umeha

To reduce the growing proportion of new HIV infections among children, Nigerian journalists have been called to increase reports which promote issues bordering on the Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (eMTCT) of HIV.
Journalists Alliance for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transimission of HIV/AIDS (JAPIN) in Calabar, Cross River State, made the call recently during a three-day workshop it organised to assess individual and collective efforts towards eMTCT of HIV with emphasis on communications through the mass media.
Lamenting that Nigeria has the second highest global burden of HIV/AIDS and also contributes the largest proportion of new vertically acquired HIV infections among children, JAPIN said stressed media’s role in halting  the trend.
The meeting brought together journalists from various media organisations across the country among other stakeholders in HIV industry who expressed worry over the country’s poor indices infant HIV infections.
For instance, Dr. Sunday Aboje, National Coordinator, National AIDS/STI Control Programme, (NASCP) Federal Ministry of Health, in his presentation, said that Nigeria is still home to the highest number of children living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
Dr Aboje, who was represented by Assistant Chief Scientific Officer of the agency, Taiwo Olakunle, said “Nigeria has the second highest burden of HIV globally with 3.4 million people estimated to be living with HIV; 1.7 million HIV positive women and 380,000 children less than 15 years.
“Nigeria has the largest number of paediatric HIV cases in the world. Nigeria also contributes the largest proportion of new vertically acquired HIV infections among children.
“The country has come a long way in its  effort to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly in PMTCT. Beginning with the pioneer 11 PMTCT-provider tertiary health facilities in 2002, the country now has 7,265 health facilities providing PMTCT services at all levels of the health care system.”
Aboje, however, stated that Nigeria’s target on eliminating new HIV cases in children among other things for 2018 was to ensure 50 per cent of HIV-exposed children have access to HIV prophylaxis treatment and early infant diagnosis services.
He also declared that funding, inadequate political commitment, and funding at state and LGA levels, weak health infrastructure as well as inadequate engagement of the private health sector as some challenges against eliminating new HIV cases in children.
However, Geoffrey Njoku, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Communications Expert, expressed grave concern on many pregnant positive women who miss out on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART).
The Communications Expert urged journalists to create greater awareness on the role of comprehensive package of PMTCT interventions in eliminating child HIV infections.
The comprehensive package of PMTCT interventions  includes HIV testing services (HTS), care of HIV-exposed infants comprising early infant diagnosis and linkage to treatment (EID/T).
Others are family planning services, antiretroviral (ARV) and Cotrimoxazole prophylaxis for mother-infant pairs, cervical cancer screening and use of lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) for women.
Dr Abiola Davies, HIV/AIDS Specialist and a senior representative of UNICEF, who was also one of the workshop facilitators, charged journalists to read wide, get accurate data on issues of PMTCT/eMTCT and attend training to obtain accurate information to authenticate their reports.

North-East: UN OCHA Condemns Killing Of Three Aid Workers

Chioma Umeha

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) weekend, condemned the killing of three Nigerian aid workers in a Boko Haram attack on a military installation in Borno.
Speaking for the UN OCHA, Edward Kallon, the Nigerian  Coordinator, said that apart from those who died and the injured, a female nurse was missing, feared abducted.
Kallon in a statement by Samantha Newport, OCHA Head of communications, said that two of the deceased were contractors with the international organisation on migration, while the third victim was a medical doctor employed as a third party consultant with UNICEF.
The deceased were working as coordinators in the camp for 55,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) who fled their homes as a result of on-going crisis in the north-east.
“Aid workers put their lives on the line every single day to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable women, children and men.
“Our deepest condolences go to the families of the victims and our brave colleagues and we call on authorities to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice,” said Kallon.
He said that the UN was also very concerned about other civilians who might have been injured or killed in the attack.
The coordinator noted that the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s north-east, that had spilled over into the Lake Chad region was one of the most severe in the world today.
According to him about 7.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2018 in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe and 6.1 million targeted for humanitarian assistance.
“Now in its ninth year, the crisis shows no sign of abating. Close to 80,000 people, including 55,000 internally displaced persons, currently reside in Rann and are supported with humanitarian assistance.

Pharmacists Urge FG To Retain Drugs On Exclusive List

Chioma Umeha

L-R: Senate Chief Whip, Senator Prof. Olusola Adeyeye; Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye; President, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, Vice President, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi and Secretary, Prof. Fola Tayo all of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy at the Special Reception in honour of the two distinguished fellows by the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy which held at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel.
Pharmacists have urged the federal government  to retain medicines on the Exclusive List as contained in the Nigerian constitution, noting that its movement to the Concurrent List would worsen the problems of drug distribution and regulatory control across the country.
The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy made the call, weekend at a special reception it held in honour of two distinguished fellows of the Academy.
They are Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Prof. Chinedum Peace Babalola, Vice Chancellor, Chrisland University for their outstanding achievements in public service.
Notable pharmacists who spoke at the event stressed that it would be counter-productive and exceedingly damaging to the country to move medicines to the Concurrent List as being advocated in some quarters.
Speaking at the event, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, the President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy said; “medicines are currently on the Exclusive List (item 21 of part 1 of the second schedule of the 1999 constitution) and though there appears to be an ill-advised move to remove it from this list to the Concurrent List, the Academy wishes to strongly advise that the health needs of Nigerians are best served by retaining medicines on the Exclusive list.
“This is particularly critical, if we are to avert a worsening of the chaos of drug distribution across Nigeria and the nightmare this poses for regulatory control.”
He lamented that Nigeria had clearly transited from being a mere courier country to one in which young people now actively abuse drugs and hard substances.
He said there’s need for aggressive regulatory control backed by legislation to control the availability of drugs and other controlled substances across the country.
Also addressing journalists, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said: “curtailing drug abuse is everyone’s responsibility. However one essential measure in preventing abuse is making sure that access is cut off at the points of entry which is what we have been striving to do in spite of all the barriers.”
“We have intercepted many containers of illegal substances as I speak. There must also be a communal approach to tackling the issue by propagating the right message that illicit drugs can damage the brain and ruin lives. Community and religious leaders must drive and champion this cause of fighting substance abuse,” the NAFDAC’s DG noted.
It’s worthy to note that Prof. Adeyeye is the first African woman to bag the fellowship of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) in the US having served as the Founding Chair of the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences at Roosevelt University, Illinois.
Similarly, Prof. Chinedum Babalola who has had a distinguished career as a drug development expert, researcher, teacher and mentor to undergraduates and young pharmacists expressed her joy at being recognized by the Academy.
“I am happy to be so honoured by the Academy. I am not a competitor in the world of men but I also want to achieve that which is made possible by my husband. It is my vision that the university would be the best in terms of pharmacy and medicine as a centre of excellence because I cannot leave there without making the mark,’’ she said.
Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi however called on the government at different levels to help provide support especially with regards to legislation as well as enforcement, to enable NAFDAC deliver impeccably on its mandate.
Dignitaries who graced the event include the Senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District and Senate Chief Whip, Senator (Prof.) Olusola Adeyeye; Chairman, Association of Pharmaceutical Importers of Nigeria (APIN) Pharm. Nnamdi Obi and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, Prof. Charles Esimone etc.

NIMR’s Lab Gets WHO Certification For Evaluation

•Will Reduce Medical Tourism, Misdiagnosis - DG

Centre for Human Virology and Genomics (CHVG) management, staff and World Health Organisation (WHO) after one of their meetings, recently.
Chioma Umeha
Loss of capital flight from misdiagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), hepatitis B and hepatitis C in the country will now be a thing of the past with the listing of Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) as a WHO Prequalification Evaluating Laboratory.
With the World Health Organisation’s (WHO),  accreditation, NIMR would now conduct Independent performance evaluations of In Vitro Diagnostics (IVDs)  which will assist in the diagnosis and/or monitoring of infections with HIV-1, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, the institute announced weekend.
Speaking for NIMR, Prof Babatunde Lawal Salako, Director General/CEO of the institute told journalists that the Independent performance evaluations of IVDs which will be done  by the NIMR’s Centre for Human Virology and Genomics (CHVG) will either be coordinated by WHO or commissioned by a manufacturer.
Prof. Salako explained that NIMR scaled through the re-audit of the laboratory to ISO 15189:2012 standard by WHO Geneva on Monday January 22, 2018 which has made CHVG the first laboratory in West Africa to attain this feat.
He also said that the development is a very timely one that will reduce medical tourism and misdiagnosis of infections with HIV-1, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
The NIMR boss said; “The Center for Human Virology and Genomics (CHVG) in the Microbiology Department at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has just been listed as a WHO Prequalification Evaluating Laboratory.
“This happened after a successful re-audit of the laboratory to ISO 15189:2012 standard by WHO Geneva on Monday 22nd January 2018. This makes CHVG the first laboratory in West Africa to attain this feat.
“It therefore means that this laboratory is now listed as a WHO Prequalification Evaluating Laboratory to perform evaluation of In Vitro Diagnostics (IVDs) either coordinated by WHO or commissioned by manufacturer.
“CHVG would now conduct independent performance evaluations of IVDs which will assist in the diagnosis and/or monitoring of infection with HIV-1, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.”
The DG also said that the journey to being listed as a WHO prequalification evaluating laboratory began in December 2016, at the satellite session of Strengthening Laboratory Management toward Accreditation (SLMTA) workshop.
He also said that participants were challenged to attend the WHO session on prequalification evaluation of In vitro Diagnostics at the conference organised by the African Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM).
There, he added, “laboratories with experience in conducting independent performance evaluations of IVDs which assist in the diagnosis and/or monitoring of infection with HIV-1/HIV-2, syphilis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and G6PD to submit an Expression of Interest for WHO Prequalification Evaluating Laboratories.”
To be eligible to apply, laboratories have to be national laboratory that provide testing services to the government in their respective country particularly those located in geographical areas corresponding to the intended setting of use of the IVDs, such as Africa, Prof Salako said.
He further said; “As soon as the ASLM conference was over, we completed the WHO online forms and by December 23, 2017, we submitted an application to WHO Prequalification of In Vitro Diagnostics Programme (3), Geneva. The initial audit by WHO was scheduled for a date in May 2017 by which time the pre accreditation assessment by the accrediting body had taken place.
He also said that his institute completed the WHO online forms as soon as the ASLM conference was over and submitted an application to WHO Prequalification of In Vitro Diagnostics Programme (3), Geneva by December 23, 2017.
“The re-audit took place on the January 22, and we were informed that the corrective action plans were effectively implemented consequently our laboratory has been enlisted as a WHO Evaluating laboratory.”
“We therefore enjoin other medical laboratories recently accredited in Africa to take up the challenge to identify long existing gaps that had limited best practices in our health systems.
“We need to harness our strength to improve medical diagnostics in the continent in order to justify the SLMTA investment made in us to attain our current accreditation status.”
For Dr. Rosemary Audu, Deputy Director Research, NIMR, her joy was palpable, being the Laboratory Director, CHVG.
Obviously excited at the development, she told Daily Independent; “This laboratory in the Centre for Human Virology and Genomics now has the capacity to conduct prequalification evaluation of IVDs which will assist in the diagnosis and/or monitoring of infection with HIV-1, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
“With the recognition of the global health body, when it evaluates a test kit for hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV, the result will be accepted anywhere in the world, it means that Nigeria or any other African country can use it.
“We started doing it for National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), that’s where we got our competence from. When test kits come into the country before they get NAFDAC number, they will send them to us for evaluation.
“Globally, any kit that does not have a sensitivity of 99 per cent is not good enough. So we evaluate kits to avoid misdiagnosis, then we calculate the sensitivity to ensure it meets WHO requirement.  If it meets the WHO requirement, then it will be handed over to NAFDAC for registration.
“This accreditation by WHO is beyond Nigeria, it means that if we evaluate any test kit, it has global recognition. This implies that the test kit would be included in the WHO list and this will reduce medical tourism,” she added.

Benola Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Some management and staff of Benola Cerebral Palsy Initiative with those from Modupe Cole Home for the disabled and physically and mentally challenged children and adults with the inates of the home, during the donation, recently.

…Donates Wheelchairs, Crutches To Modupe Cole
Chioma Umeha

 Help came the way of some inmates of Modupe Cole Home for the disabled and physically and mentally challenged children and adults as Benola Cerebral Palsy Initiative presented them with wheelchairs, crutches, and walking aid at the tune of the N1.8 million.
Making the presentation which was to mark the  fifth anniversary of the Benola, AVM Femi Gbadebo, the  Founder, said his organisation had taken up the challenge of visiting homes for the abandoned and disabled children on a regular basis.
Mr. Gbadebo called on the government to support its advocacy campaign stressed on the need to tackle stigma against persons living with disabilities.
He said; “Without eliminating stigma attached to disabilities, particularly the childhood variant, most parents will continue to either live in denial or hide their children.”
He decried the activities of  fakers who claim that there is cure for cerebral palsy and lamented that some ignorant parents fall prey to them.
Mr. Gbadebo said; “A lot of damage is also being done by the numerous charlatans who go about promoting miracle cures with the resultant effect that parents waste money that could’ve been better utilised and when their expectations are not realised, depression sets in.”
Emphasising on the need for more collaboration on awareness about CP, he said; “Various information organs of government like the Ministry of information, Voice of Nigeria, NBC, National Orientation Agency etc and private sector should get involved.
According to him, this should come in form of sponsorship of advocacy campaigns, support to families in terms medication, covering the cost of treatment/therapy as well as provision of drugs and assisted devices.
“Families need to get more involved in the advocacy campaign, joining family support groups and sharing their true life experiences; Adults living with CP and other disabilities should also get involved with advocacy and readily share their stories.”
However, he explained that Modupe Cole was selected for this particular visit because of its size, number of residents; the dual nature – home and school; and  having large number of persons living with CP.
“These reason led us to choose Modupe Cole as venue for our first official visit on First Benola Day to mark Olaoluwa’s Birthday on  June 14,  2013. Since then we’ve made several visits at various times of the year to make donations and meet with their vibrant PTA.”
Corroborating earlier views, Mrs. Alaba Gbadebo, said; “We chose Modupe Cole Home for the donations of wheelchairs and other assistive devices to mark Benolas fifth anniversary because the home has a  lot of Cerebral palsy cases and are in dire need  of these things. The home has over 300 Adults and children.”
Giving details of the donation, Mrs. Gbadebo said this include, 10 wheelchairs, each two representing one year of Benola; eight crutches and  eight walking sticks were presented to Modupe Cole Home School.
Responding the Benola’s plans for the future; She said; “Our next focus now is to raise money and awareness for our  Cerebral palsy family forum in August where we intend to give out 100 wheelchairs and lots of adult and children diapers.
She further observed; “We realised the great need in these areas at our family forum held at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idiaraba, last year when over 450 parents and Children with  CP showed  up and we only gave out 21wheelchairs. We then realised that the need is enormous.

Group Plans Awareness Programme For Endometriosis

Chioma Umeha
Endometriosis Support Group Nigeria (ESGN) has said it would be partnering with the private and public sectors to reduce the ignorance around the invisible condition called Endometriosis as it severely affects the quality of life of sufferers, including all forms of meaningful relationships.
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus –  the endometrium –  grows outside the uterus, typically on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines or other areas in the pelvis. It is a common cause of infertility.
Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, the Founder,  ESGN disclosed this at a press conference the group organised in Lagos recently, to announce its programme of activities for 2018.
Ajayi said, “It gives me pleasure to announce our programme of events for the year 2018.  This year we are going to make significant inroads to expand the awareness level of this condition among people across the country.
“In the past 12 years, we have championed this cause in Nigeria, and we have raised the consciousness about the condition among sufferers, medical practitioners, media and the public. We believe this is a critical issue that needs to be addressed.”
He explained that endometriosis is a debilitating condition which affects one in 10 women and characterised by late diagnosis as most physicians tend to miss it.
“With all that we know today, we are bringing a message of hope to sufferers, new technologies and treatments are becoming available to manage the condition.
“On March 10, 2018, we will have our annual Endo March. A walk to drive awareness about the condition in the city of Lagos. We will commence at 7 a.m. from City Mall, Onikan through Awolowo Road to Muri Okunola Park.
“We are happy to announce that Diamond Woman who have traditionally supported us during the past four years is again playing a role in ensuring the success of the walk.
Every year, we try to ensure that our Lagos Endo March is celebrated in commemoration of the International Women’s day,” he stated.
Ajayi said his group would be partnering with the German Endometriosis Scientific Research Foundation to help increase awareness among medical practitioners about advancements in the management of endometriosis.
“A special edition of the Physicians Round Table will hold on Thursday April, 2018 at the Civic Centre. The Physicians Round Table (PRT) is Nordica’s annual medical conference usually in the month of March and dedicated to Endometriosis.
“Other activities lined up include ‘Our Secondary Schools Essay Competition’. This year’s edition is the second we are holding. We have invited twice the number of schools that participated in the competition last year.
“Winners of the essay competition will be awarded a cash prize and plaque at our Endo Gala slated for April 14, 2018 at the Civic Centre, Lagos.
“Another interesting event slated for this year’s activities is the ESGN Picture Contest. This is the first time we will be introducing this to our scope of activities. The winner of this contest will become an ambassador for ESGN from the date of being crowned till our next year’s event,” Dr. Ajayi added.
He implored all Nigerians to join their social media campaign on Instagram, twitter and Facebook to lend a hand of support.

FTSF Announces 2018 Free Fertility Treatment Programme

•Last Year’s Beneficiaries Express Joy, Laud Initiative
Chioma Umeha
It was indeed a joyous moment for Mrs. Alice Soyemi, 47 and Mrs. Vivian Eshiet, 33 both beneficiaries of free Fertility Treatment Support Foundation (FTSF) as they narrated the success story of their conception to an enthusiastic audience.
Giving her narrative at a press briefing recently, to herald this year’s edition FTSF free fertility treatment programme for couples, Mrs. Soyemi has lost hope of ever becoming pregnant.
For a decade, she has moved from one hospital   to the other within the country, even abroad, seeking help to no avail. Some of the hospitals told her she had endometriosis, a debilitating disorder in which the tissue lining a woman’s uterus (the endometrium) grows outside it (endometrial) implants. It involves the ovaries, bowel or the tissues lining the pelvis. Endometriosis has no cure, for now, and it can lead to infertility in women.
She said; “I was told endometriosis only stops when you attain menopause so I told myself ‘what again?’ and placed my hope in God.”
Her dreams of becoming pregnant became true when she saw an advert by FTSF last year, offering free IVF treatment for couples in need. She applied and received the free IVF treatment. Today, Mrs Soyemi is pregnant. The visibly excited expectant mother could not hide her joy while sharing her sweet experience to journalists recently, in Lagos.
The story of Soyemi is not different from that of Mrs. Vivian Eshiet, who has had challenges in conception after five years of marriage.
In order to conceive, she made several efforts by visiting many hospitals and taking herbs without positive results. Finally, her next option was IVF which Vivian and her husband, Okon Eshiet could not afford.
“The fund was an issue. We needed to save and plan before trying it,” she said.
However, her story changed when  a friend told her about free IVF treatment organised by FTSF.
Vivian said; “My friend told me about the free IVF treatment organised by FTSF, when my husband came back I told him about it and he said we should try it, and then we registered.
“We registered and qualified for the treatment. After going through all the required tests, the doctor said I needed to do a hysteroscopy to check and see if everything was okay, it was done and I started the treatment.
“I did the first circle, it was not successful after the egg retrieval, I was sad, but calm when they told me that I had another chance. They did the second one and the same thing happened again. I was completely sad.
“One day the doctor called that I have to go for the third circle. But, I told him next time, he insisted, I went for it last December and started another treatment. But, the quality of the egg was far lower than the ones used for the first and second cycles.
“The news was not palatable, but the next day they called and told me that the egg that was not looking good had suddenly become good. Two days later, they invited and informed me that we now have an embryo from the egg, but that they can’t transfer it into my uterus. I was advised to wait for my next circle.When the time came, I went and they put it inside my uterus and after few weeks I went for pregnancy test and was confirmed pregnant.”
Speaking at the media briefing with journalists in Lagos, a Trustee of the Foundation Dr. Abayomi Ajayi and Mr. Onuora Molokwu, an Executive Member of the FTSF stated that the foundation this year, will be giving 20 free treatments to deserving couples with a compelling infertility story, but are unable to pay for the treatment.
According to them, the high cost of fertility treatment globally, has remained a burden for many fertility challenged couples.
Dr. Ajayi added that this has denied them the opportunity of accessing fertility treatment and the joy of having children.
He also said FTSF was encouraged by the results from its previous interventions in this area of free fertility treatment since its inception in 2008 which has resulted in over 150 couples receiving free fertility screening and treatment.
On his part, Mr. Molokwu enjoined interested couples to visit the foundation’s website or its social media handles to obtain information on how to qualify for the free treatment programme.
He further urged well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to collaborate with FTSF so as to support the initiative which he believes has the potential of assisting needy couples to experience the joy of parenthood.
FTSF commenced operations as a non-profit organisation in 2008 with a mandate to provide free fertility screening and treatment to couples with a compelling infertility story, but are financially challenged.
He said; “Last year it embarked on its annual call for entries and got five couples to receive free treatment.
“From this number, two of them have confirmed pregnancies, while one is scheduled to have a pregnancy test this week.
“This year, we are planning to do 80 free screenings, from where we will select five couples every quarter, making a total of 20 for the year that will qualify for free treatment,” he added.

Don’t Move Drug Matters To Concurrent List, PSN Warns FG

L-R: Olumide Akintayo, Immediate Past President Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Ahmed Yakasai, President PSN, and Emeka Duru, National Secretary PSN during the Council meeting of PSN at Pharamcy House, Anthony Village, Lagos, recently.

…Says Plan Will Defeat War On Fakes

Chioma Umeha

 Members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) rose from its first National Council meeting and alerted on dangers of moving drug matters to the Concurrent List, saying it may constitute a setback to the fight against fake drugs.
Specifically, PSN has warned that any attempt to move drug matters to the Concurrent List would worsen the fake drug syndrome, drug misuse and abuse as well as other bottlenecks in drug distribution networks in the country.
The warning which was contained in a communiqué signed by Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai and Emeka C. Duru, President and National Secretary, respectively, issued at the end of the meeting held at Pharmacy House, Lagos, recently.
The communique reads; “The council drew attention to a recommendation of El-Rufai’s APC Restructuring Committee that proposes to move drug matters currently on the Exclusive List (item 21 of part I of the second schedule of the 1999 Constitution) to the concurrent list.
The APC had last year set up a 23-member committee led by Gov. Nasir El-rufai, to articulate its position on restructuring, with a charge to the team to engage in deep and wide consultations such that its final report will engender credibility and broad acceptance.
The communiqué reminded the APC administration and the National Assembly, “All successive federal constitutions from Independence had always placed drug matters like in most other responsible and sensitive countries in the Exclusive List.”
The communiqué posited;“It would be extremely dangerous for an evolving country like Nigeria with a track record of poor security checks and extremely wretched regulatory controls to contemplate the possibility of at least 37 licensing authorities for product and premises licensure in Nigeria.”
The meeting also critically appraised contemporary matters in the pharmaceutical sector and the totality of the health system in Nigeria.
On the statutory responsibilities of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), PSN praised the recent landmark ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in December 2017 for declining to approbate any responsibility to CPC.
The responsibility declined by the court include the CPC bid to partly regulate and control pharmacy practice as well as exercise oversight responsibility on the pharmacy profession in Nigeria.
The PSN Council advocated strong collaborations between the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) and other agencies like the CPC.
PCN has specific powers in law to regulate and control pharmacy practice in all its aspects and ramifications in the country.
In view of such collaborations, the PSN Council counseled that reports of cases on breaches which are brought to the attention of the CPC should be transferred to the PCN to enable it invoke appropriate sanctions.
It called for harmony at the Secretariat of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in Abuja where there is controversy over the reinstatement of the erstwhile suspended Executive Secretary of the Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf.
The reinstatement of Yusuf, who was alleged to have misappropriated N919 million, has generated controversy among different stakeholders in the health sector.
After his suspension by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, last year June, and probed by a body constituted by the minister, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a letter signed by his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari on Tuesday, February 6, recalled Yusuf.
After reviewing the poor coverage rate of social health insurance in Nigeria, which was put at less than three per cent after 12 years, the Council called for a check on the unproductive drift of the NHIS.
It observed with regret that NHIS is supposed to be a private-sector driven agenda, but is drifting towards a public sector project.
The Council of PSN therefore called for a check on NHIS. Consequently, it also demanded for a proper definition of what constitutes a primary care centre. Similarly, the group sought the entrenchment of a lawful payment mechanism in the operations of the social insurance scheme.
The Council further frowned at the slow pace of Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) in actualising central internship placements of interns in all cadres of health professions in the country.
It reminded the FMOH that PCN championed a proposal on commencement of central placement for interns in the pharmacy profession to the Health Minister.
The Council urged the FMOH to commence the central internship placement as its initiative by removing the bottlenecks which are unduly delaying the Federal Executive Council’s (FEC) noble interventions.
Also, the Council of the PSN lamented the delay in the adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS) unlike the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) which was adjusted since January 2014.
It also noted with regret that the Federal Government approved another round of increment coupled with enabling circulars within four weeks in favour of the CONMESS structure.
The communiqué warned the Federal Government on impending industrial action by health workers over failure to meet their demands at the end of a 21-day ultimatum which expires on March 1, 2018.
It stated; “Council expressed anxiety at the level of restiveness of health workers which has led the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and AHPA to declare another 21- day ultimatum to the Federal Government effective February 8, 2018.
“Council implores the Federal Government to immediately convey necessary approvals to avoid another round of morbidity and mortality imposed on Nigerians.”
Furthermore, the council urged FMOH to facilitate an IT platform which centralises information about registered drugs, products, pharmaceutical premises, including business partners in line with the template of the National Council on Health’s policy.
It further enjoined the FMOH to ensure that the IT platform be coordinated by the PSN, PCN and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) under its, the former’s supervision.
The Council strongly urged the National Universities Commission (NUC) to finalise its working arrangement with the West African Postgraduates College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) to open windows for students of the college to embark on academic postgraduate training.
The postgraduate training which is to take place in Nigerian universities should be specially tailored to enable them to speedily conclude their Masters and Ph.D programmes, it said.
It also called for a special training for media personnel on drug abuse and misuse in line with its corporate social responsibility outputs, saying it would provide detailed insights to abuse of codeine, narcotics medicines and drug misuse episodes in the health system.
The council then endorsed the proposal of PCN, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), NAFDAC to collaborate with the PSN on its training proposal.
It condemned the non-appointment of pharmacists on the Boards of Federal Health Institutions as representatives of other health professionals as provided for in the Teaching Hospital Act.
The council advised the Federal Government to adopt international standards which places premium on the availability of safe and efficacious drugs in the health systems of any nation.
It insisted that credible healthcare is built on a flawless drug supply scheme which only registered pharmacists can drive.
Finally, the National Council enjoined all pharmacies to continue to excel in service delivery to consumers of health, while the leadership of PSN continues to work assiduously with stakeholders and government to redress the myriad of challenges ravaging the practice environment.

Insurgency: UNICEF Seeks $3.6bn Emergency Aid For 48 Million Children

. Says 117 Million Lack Access To Safe Water
Chioma Umeha
UNICEF on Monday appealed for $3.6 billion to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance to 48 million children living through conflict, natural disasters and other emergencies in 51 countries in 2018.
A statement signed by Eva Hinds, Communication Specialist, made available to INDEPENDENT on Monday said, “Around the world, violent conflict is driving humanitarian needs to critical levels, with children especially vulnerable.”
Hinds said that conflicts that have endured for years – such as those in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, among other countries – continued to deepen in complexity, bringing new waves of violence, displacement and disruption to children’s lives.
“Children cannot wait for wars to be brought to an end, with crises threatening the immediate survival and long term future of children and young people on a catastrophic scale,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes.
“Children are the most vulnerable when conflict or disaster causes the collapse of essential services such as healthcare, water and sanitation. Unless the international community takes urgent action to protect and provide life-saving assistance to these children, they face an increasingly bleak future,” the director said.
The statement said parties to conflicts were showing a blatant disregard for the lives of children.
“Children are not only coming under direct attack, but also are being denied basic services as schools, hospitals and civilian infrastructure are damaged or destroyed.
“Approximately 84 per cent ($3.015 billion) of the 2018 funding appeal is for work in countries affected by humanitarian crises borne of violence and conflict.
“The world is becoming a more dangerous place for many children, with almost one in four children now living in a country affected by conflict or disaster. For too many of these children, daily life is a nightmare,” Fontaine said.
The spread of water-borne diseases is one of the greatest threats to children’s lives in crises, the statement added.
“117 million people living through emergencies lack access to safe water and in many countries affected by conflict, more children die from diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation than from direct violence,” said Fontaine.
“Without access to safe water and sanitation, children fall ill, and are often unable to be treated as hospitals and health centres either do not function or are overcrowded.
“The threat is even greater as millions of children face life-threatening levels of malnutrition, making them more susceptible to water-borne diseases like cholera, creating a vicious cycle of under-nutrition and disease.”
As the leading humanitarian agency on water, sanitation and hygiene in emergencies, UNICEF provides over half of the emergency water, sanitation and hygiene services in humanitarian crises around the world.
Working with partners and with the support of donors, in 2018 UNICEF aims to provide 35.7 million people with access to safe water and reach 8.9 million children with formal or non-formal basic education.
The UN agency for children also plans to immunise 10 million children against measles; provide psychosocial support to over 3.9 million children and treat 4.2 million children with severe acute malnutrition.

Mexico City To Host 10th IAS Conference On HIV Science

Chioma Umeha
The International AIDS Society (IAS) has announced that Mexico City, Mexico, will host the 10th IAS Conference on HIV Science, 2019.
IAS 2019 will take place at the Centro Citibanamex on 21-24 July 2019. Held every two years, the IAS Conference on HIV Science is a unique forum for scientists, clinicians, public health experts and community leaders to examine the latest research developments in HIV science and explore how to realistically apply and implement that knowledge to address the epidemic.
IAS 2019 is expected to gather more than 6,000 participants. This is the second time that the IAS has convened a conference in Mexico City; it also hosted the 17th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2008) there.
“We are excited to bring IAS 2019 to Mexico City,” Anton Pozniak, IAS President-Elect and IAS 2019 International Chair, said. “It was at AIDS 2008 in Mexico that the potential impact of ART on reducing HIV transmission was first being talked about and, perhaps more than any previous International AIDS Conference, it brought a renewed focus on the legal and human rights issues faced by vulnerable and most-at-risk populations.”
This will be the third time that the IAS Conference on HIV Science has been held in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. In 2001, Buenos Aires, Argentina, hosted the conference, followed by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2005.

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