Thursday, 18 October 2018

Minister Of Health Condoles With Family Of Hauwa Liman

Chioma Umeha

Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, has commiserated with the family of Hauwa Liman, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) humanitarian worker murdered by Boko Haram.
A statement signed By Mrs. Boade Akinola, Director, Media and Public Relations, Tuesday, said; “The Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has commiserated with the family of Hauwa Liman, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) humanitarian worker murdered by Boko Haram.”
Professor Adewole, who described the murder as callous and unfortunate, said the health workers should not be a target in any conflict zone as they are recognised as humanitarian service providers.
He prayed for the repose of her soul and called on Boko Haram to follow the rules of International engagement which respect the right of humanitarian workers in conflict zones.

Nurses Must Embrace Professional Core Values – Idris

Chioma Umeha 
Dr. Jide Idris, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, has tasked nurses in the State health sector on the need to embrace the core values of the nursing profession in the care of patients.
Idris gave this charge today during the 2018 Nurses Assembly, a programme sponsored by the Lagos State Government to update nurses, midwives and educators in Lagos on professional guidelines and policies affecting the profession.
He noted that nurses are integral part of the think-tank of the State government who contribute a lot to formulation and implementation of policies in the health sector.
Idris who was represented by Dr. Funmilayo Shokunbi, the Director, Medical Administration, Training and Programmes in the Ministry of Health, implored nurses to continue to exude professionalism, discipline, integrity, humility, selflessness and great care in the discharge of noble duties.
Earlier in her remarks, Mrs. Dorcas Shonibare, the Director of Nursing Services in the Lagos State Ministry of Health, stated that the Nurses Assembly is an annual event sponsored by the Ministry of Health to update nurses on current trends in the profession and serve as a platform for nurses to interact as professionals.
She explained that the theme of this year’s assembly “Nursing Accountability in the 21st Century” as a follow up to last year’s theme “Professionalism: A Roadmap for Ethical Compliance in Nursing” is a starting point for major strategic planning for a new perspective on ethics of the profession.
“Accountability is the acknowledgement and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions and policies including the administration, governance and implementation within the scope of the role or employment position and encompassing the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequence,” Shonibare said.
She stated that the recent launch of 12 patients’ Bill of Right championed by the Consumers Protection Council (CPC) and the Federal Ministry of Health is a wakeup call to the Health Sector in Nigeria thus bringing to fore the need for nurses to be fully updated as ignorance is no excuse.
“Patients are now empowered to demand for their rights and you must be ready to give explanation for your actions and intentions without having the erroneous belief that they are at your mercy,” she said.
Shonibare while encouraging nurses to have an orientation of being accountable stated that the practice of nursing services in Lagos State is being monitored in public and private health facilities by the Lagos State Health Facilities Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA).
During her lecture on 21st Century Nurse Manager, Mrs. Helen Mbonu, the Group Director of Nursing Services Reddington Hospital, stated that a 21st century nurse manager must be a great communicator employing frequent, timely and problem-solving communication to ensure patient care is running smoothly.
She added that nurses in the 21st century should know the rudiments of teamwork and the need to build effective teams, remain positive and be decisive, be technologically driven and should be conversant with the use of modern equipment in health service delivery.
“A 21st Century Nurse Manager should be academically driven, have the right attitude, possess excellent customer service skills, be involved in policy making, understand finance and budget and be readily available and accessible,” Mbonu said.

PSN President Preaches Selfess Service, Inter-Professional Collaboration

•Commissions Foundation Laying Of Rivers Pharmacy Resource Centre

Chioma Umeha

Pharm. Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN),  weekend, renewed his call for selfless service and  inter-professional collaboration among healthcare professionals, even as he tasked his members to see pharmacy practice as service to mankind.  
The PSN President who made the call while commissioning the foundation laying of the Pharmacy Resource Centre (PRC) in River State,  Yakasai,  described it as a legacy project of the Rivers State Branch of PSN.
He counselled the state branch to ensure that the centre is accessible to other professions and public for use, describing pharmacy practice as service to mankind.
The PSN President also reiterated the need for pharmacists to continuously collaborate with other members of the healthcare profession as no one profession can effectively work alone for the benefit of the served, the patients.
The PSN President further stressed on the need for all pharmacists to unite to ensure the growth of PSN in the state, particularly the speedy actualisation of the PRC project.
He thanked the Pharmacists in Rivers State for the support shown him as the President of the state and for making the state branch so reputable such that it becomes a must visit for those aspiring to lead the national body.
The PSN boss however appealed to colleagues to set aside tribal and religious sentiments in their choice of a leader.
He counseled the pharmacists present to choose a leader with the fear of God and the interest of the people at heart. He pledged his willingness to be available and support the PSN even after his handover later in the year.
Speaking at the occasion, Pharm. Adewale Oladigbolu, the Chairman of PSN Rivers state,  described the successes achieved on the PRC project as a dream come true revealing his excitement at the growth of PSN over the past 26 years of his residence in the state.
He however applauded the support of all past leaders and members of the PSN in the state who have been instrumental to the successful growth of the PSN till date.
In his remark, Dr. U.N.O. Uwaga, a former Chairman of PSN in the state and former National President of PSN, lauded the project and stated his commitment towards the success of the building of the PRC.
He also enjoined the PSN leadership in the state to device good strategy to continuously raise funds so as to ensure steady advancement of the project.
In his address at the site just before performing the task of the day, the PSN President commended Pharmacists in Rivers State for their vibrancy and extolled the leadership prowess of the state Chairman, Pharm. Adewale Oladigbolu, MAW.
He praised the initiative of the project and affirmed that it was in line with the visions of his administration to inspire the erection of legacy structures in the various branches of PSN as well as among her technical groups.
He further urged pharmacists in the state to actively support the project so that it can be completed within the shortest possible time.
On their part, the leadesrhip and members of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students (PANS) of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Port Harcourt described Pharm. Yakasai as a phenomenal personality and a rare gem.
They expressed great delight meeting with the PSN President and commended his laudable achievements.
Speaking on behalf of PANS Uniport, Ms. Chinaza Rejoice Chigbo, the leader of the students delegation at the Pharmacy Week activities and Vice President of PANS Uniport,  commended the hospitable disposition of the President, as he freely chatted and took pictures with them.
Chigbo further praised his sterling leadership skills which have united and promoted the PSN and set the society on the trajectory of greater progress.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Paediatricians Take Children’s Nutrition Campaign To Four States

Chioma Umeha 
 Over 5,000 children and their parents across Lagos, Kwara, Abuja and Abeokuta between September 29 and October 1, 2018 received nutrition assessment and support from FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC, one of the Nigeria’s leading dairy company in   partnership with Ask the Paediatricians (ATP) Foundation.
According to the Diary Company, the effort was in line with its community service to mark Nigeria’s 58th Independence celebration in conjunction with Ask the Paediatricians (ATP) Foundation.
A statement signed by Ore Famurewa, Corporate Affairs Director, WAMCO Nigeria PLC, said that the social responsibility initiative supported by Peak 456 growing-up milk had a team of doctors led by Dr. Gbemisola Boyede of the ATP Foundation did nutrition assessments using growth charts.
The social responsibility initiative milk also did sampling and gave health talks which had the participation of  FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s specialised nutrition staff volunteers.
Boyede, a consultant paediatrician at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idiaraba Lagos started Ask the Pediatricians (ATP) Foundation as a group on Facebook on July 20, 2015.
ATP now has four major areas of focus namely, Health Education Online Forum, Community Medical Outreaches, Health Seminars and Workshops, and Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children.
FrieslandCampina WAMCO is renowned for its mission to nourish Nigerians with quality dairy nutrition. According to Zatur Hassim, Head, Specialised Nutrition, “This is what drives our business and motivates our people. These outreaches were deployed not just to conduct health checks on children but also to teach parents how to identify nutrition deficiencies and mitigate their prevalence.
“In honour of Nigeria’s 58th  Independence celebration, we are once again demonstrating our corporate citizenship of the world through this programme that supports reduction in hunger, promotes well-being and partnerships for development, all of which demonstrate the United Nations sustainable development goals 1, 2 & 17,” said Hassim.

Fidson Healthcare Wins 2018 Frost & Sullivan Best Practice Awards

Chioma Umeha

Fidson Healthcare PLC has emerged winner of the 2018 Frost & Sullivan – Best Practice Award for Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership. The award ceremony which was held recently in Cape Town, South Africa, recognizes Fidson’s definitive competitive strategy, innovation and strong leadership in the area of Pharmaceutical Production and Distribution in Nigeria.
The 2018 Frost & Sullivan Award which is a global award that has been in existence for the past fifteen years brought together top business leaders and innovators to celebrate their success.
According to Frost & Sullivan, at the forefront of Fidson’s Innovation and competitive strategy is the N7.5 billion state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Sango Ota, Ogun State, the largest manufacturing facility in West Africa, designed to double the company’s production capacity, enabling it to grow sales volume and meet the rising demand for drugs in Nigeria and broader West African region.
Beyond boosting the local economy and creating more than 300 jobs for skilled and unskilled Nigerians, the new Fidson plant is consolidating the company’s extensive manufacturing capabilities, increasing revenue growth, facilitating expansion into a new product category, and ultimately reinforcing the company’s firm position in the Nigerian pharmaceuticals market.
Frost & Sullivan noted in its statement that the significant competitive advantage of the new Fidson’s factory is already evident after only one full calendar year in operation; when the company experienced revenue growth from N7.6 billion ($21 million) in 2016 to N14 billion ($39 million) in 2017.
Chairman, Frost & Sullivan – David Frigstad wrote that “To achieve excellence in competitive strategy is never an easy task, but it is one made even more difficult considering today’s competitive intensity, customer volatility, and economic uncertainty  – not to mention the difficulty of innovating in an environment of escalating challenges to intellectual property. Within this context, your (Fidson’s) receipt of this award signifies an even greater accomplishment.”
Receiving the award at Cape Town, South Africa, Head, Business Development and Strategy, Mr Oshoke Ayebae appreciated Frost & Sullivan for recognizing Fidson’s contribution through its Innovation and Leadership in the Pharma industry, particularly in the area of quality pharmaceutical products, production and distribution in Nigeria.
“Since inception in 1995, Fidson has relentlessly pursued its goal of becoming a leading player in the Nigerian pharmaceutical landscape and has built an innovative organizational framework that has helped gain dominance in the industry. We have built a structure of Innovation and Excellence around our system, process and people”, he said.
He also noted that the Frost and Sullivan Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Awards is a credible indication that the company is taking steps in the right direction. “As a company, we have left no stone unturned in ensuring that our operations are congruent with the best practice globally, and have recorded several remarkable feats, from one milestone to another. We, therefore, believe that this award will go a long way to boost our corporate reputation and also validate our commitment to deliver excellent quality healthcare solutions to Nigerians”.
The new factory, which is compliant with the World Health Organization (WHO) and is on course to receive WHO certification —satisfying the African and global pharmaceuticals markets’ requirement for compliance and regulation. The factory doubled the company’s factory-based revenue generation from 20 per cent in 2016 to above 40 per cent in 2017 – primarily due to an increase in production volumes and the introduction of new product lines.

Implement Approved Consultancy Cadre For Pharmacists, PSN Tells FG

L-R: Emeka C. Duru, National Secretary; Ahmed Yakasai, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) President; Bhushan Akshikar, Managing Director, Glaxosmithkline Nigeria, and Prof Martins Emeje, Chairman, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) at the briefing on the 2018 World Pharmacists Day in Lagos, recently.

•Seeks Reconstitution Of PCN, MDCN, Others

Chioma Umeha
To guarantee better health outcomes for patients in the country, pharmacists have called on the Federal Government to implement the approved Consultancy cadre for practitioners in the country’s hospitals.
Making the call was Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, the President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) who frowned at the delay over the implementation noted that that the Head of Service of the Federation has been foot dragging on the issue.
Pharm. Yakasai who spoke during the celebration of this year’s World Pharmacists Day further reasoned that executing the approved Consultancy Cadre will give room for their recognition as medicine experts.
The PSN boss further said that the theme of this year’s World Pharmacists Day, ‘Pharmacists: Your Medicines Experts,’ is in line with the PSN call for recognition as experts.
He noted that PSN for decades have been calling for recognition of pharmacists in Nigeria as medicine experts and as consultants in the nation’s hospitals, insisting that the approval will help ensure better health outcomes for patients.
He said; “Pharmacists demand the release of the circular by the office of the Head of Service of the Federation on Consultancy Cadre for pharmacists in public service as approved by the National Council on Establishment.”
Pharm. Yakasai, however, lamented that the Head of Service of the Federation has been foot dragging on the issue.
He also observed that the Nigerian nation needs optimum medicine management, which is only possible if Nigerian pharmacists are given the opportunity to practice to their full scope of practice.
This, the PSN president said, means allowing pharmacists to have the opportunity to improve the outcomes of medicine management in the Nigerian healthcare system.
Pharm. Yakasai further explained that this entails rewarding pharmacists in the country for their significant expertise, skills and training and having a framework that allows them to have career development and recognition.
His words; “As the President of PSN, I strongly believe that pharmacists as the medicines experts should have the opportunity to practise to their full scope of practice. “This means that pharmacists should have the opportunity to improve the outcomes of medicines management in the Nigerian healthcare system. If we are sincere in addressing pertinent issues that we have with medicine management in this country then pharmacists must be able to do more.”
The PSN President stressed; “We must ensure that the pharmacists are supported professionally by the government to be the best healthcare practitioners they can be.
“They must be recognised as medicines experts; they should be rewarded for their significant expertise, skills and training and we must have a framework that allows for career development and recognition.
“For our healthcare delivery to move to the next level we need optimum medicine management and Pharmacists as medicine experts are crucial in the actualisation of this goal.”
He also identified poverty as the number one cause of disagreement among healthcare professionals in the country, especially in the discharge of their duties.
According to him, healthcare practitioners need to collaborate in performing their duties regardless of the area of specialisation.
Rivalry between healthcare practitioners, he insisted, is detrimental to the health of patients.
Pharm. Yakasai also appealed to the Federal Government to reconstitute the council of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Nigerian Medical and Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and National Institute of pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) without further delay.
The PSN boss while faulting the Yayale report, urged the Federal Government to disregard it, saying that it is one-sided and generate further crisis in the sector.
He said; “The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria as a matured and peaceful professional organ wishes to use this opportunity to appeal to the Federal Government to reconstitute the council of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Nigerian Medical and Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and National Institute of pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) without further delay.
“Also discard the Yayale report as it will only create more problems to the already fragmented healthcare system. The report is considered to be biased and not in tune with current trends in healthcare delivery development globally.”
Pharm. Yakasai called for a prescription policy and effective implementation, saying that this will enable every healthcare practitioner practice ethically, remove unhealthy rivalry and promote specialisation.
“Lastly, as pharmacists are responsible for ensuring the safe, effective and rational use of medicines, we appeal for a prescription policy and effective implementation so that every healthcare practitioner can practice ethically and remain on his lane.”
He reiterated pharmacists’ commitment to the advancement of the health sector for the benefit of all Nigerians.
He however tasked the government to provide the enabling environment for pharmacists to contribute effectively and efficiently to the healthcare delivery system in the country as medicine experts.
Similarly, Pharm. Duru Emeka, National Secretary, PSN stated that all over the world, pharmacists now contribute to healthcare delivery by applying their different skills acquired during training and work place experience.
In a separate report, Dr Francis Adedayo Faduyile, President of the Nigerian Medical Association,  and all members of NMA congratulated Pharm. Yakasai and  every pharmacists in Nigeria and  across the world on the special occasion of the World Pharmacists Day.
The NMA President says the theme for this year’s celebration: “Pharmacists: your medicines experts” is a reflection of the important and key role played by Pharmacists within the healthcare team globally.
“In line with the theme for this year’s celebration, we urge the PSN to reflect on the poor health indices of Nigerians and come out with the roles you can play to stem the ugly tide.”
“We also wish to reiterate our commitment to maintain the already established cordiality and collaboration with your members, ensuring harmony within the health sector for the benefit of the patients,” Dr Faduyile added.
The International Pharmaceutical Federation, FIP, had in 2009 designated 25 September to mark the annual World Pharmacists Day.
Dr Carmen Peña, the Immediate  past President of International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) observes, “World Pharmacists Day 2018 will focus on the extensive expertise that pharmacists have and put to use every day to ensure better and improved patient health outcomes.
This expertise is applied through science and research, through educating the next generation, and through transforming patient needs into services.
The theme of World Pharmacists Day emphasises that pharmacists are a trusted source of knowledge and advice, not only for patients but for other healthcare professionals. For every patient who walks into a pharmacy, pharmacists ensure that the right medicine is provided at the right dose and in the most suitable formulation.
FIP encourages pharmacists to use this day to organise activities that promote and advocate for the role of the pharmacist in improving health in every corner of the world.

UK Signs MoU With Nigeria To Strengthen Health Security

Chioma Umeha

The United Kingdom through its national public health institute, Public Health England(PHE) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Tuesday, to strengthen health security in Nigeria.
The IHR strengthening programme in Nigeria is part of a £16 million project funded by the UK Department of Health, to support the capacities of national public health institutes in five countries. In Nigeria, this project will focus on the key pillars within the mandate of NCDC, including disease surveillance, emergency preparedness and response, public health laboratory services as well as workforce development.
At the signing event in Abuja, the IHR strengthening programme was formally launched by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Paul Arkwright. In his remarks, Ambassador Arkwright emphasised the need for strong collaboration between national public health institutes in ensuring global health security.
“The United Kingdom recognizes that we must work closely with other countries in our efforts to build strong and resilient health systems globally. The partnership between PHE and NCDC would contribute to ensuring the world is much safer and less vulnerable from the threat of infectious diseases”.
Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of PHE, added that the recent cases of monkey pox in the United Kingdom highlighted the ease of movement of infectious diseases and reinforced the need to strengthen national public health institutes globally.
“The IHR strengthening project is very much a partnership and invaluable opportunity for both countries to learn from each other. By working together and sharing expertise, both countries become stronger and that is our joint ultimate aim.”
In his address, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, NCDC CEO, stated that the implementation of the IHR strengthening programme in Nigeria will be coordinated by NCDC. The NCDC will work with PHE to provide dedicated staff time and adoption of a multi-sectoral collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Environment, and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; other relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs); as well as partner organisations.
“We are grateful for this opportunity which formalises and strengthens the existing relationship between NCDC and PHE. We look forward to building on this co-operation, for national and global health security” said Dr. Ihekweazu.
Since the program began in 2017, PHE has supported NCDC in the development of its National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS), training of staff.
from the National Reference Laboratory and the network of public health laboratories on enteric pathogen testing, development and strengthening of protocols for NCDC’s incident management system and several other project areas.

Ignorance, Culture Are Reasons Female Genital Mutilation Persists

Chioma Umeha

Not a few keen observers of the health sector are worried that Nigeria is home to millions of those who survived female genital mutilation (FGM). More worrisome is the high level of ignorance concerning the practice of FGM.
Nigeria is among four countries where two thirds of all women who have undergone FGM/C live; the other three countries are Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
Most recent estimates from UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme On FGM/C Abandonment: Accelerating Change Phase II report from 2014 to 2017  show that Nigeria has zero to 28 per cent  prevalence along with Yemen.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that Female genital mutilation include all procedures which involve partial or total removal of the  external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs, whether for cultural or any other  non-therapeutic reasons.
The world health body further classifies FGM into four major types, namely; Type I (Clitoridectomy), Type II (Excision), Type III  (Infibulation) and Type  IV.
The United Nations (UN) health body in its 2018 reported that young girls between zero and 15 years even women are subjected to female genital mutilation in worldwide.
Of the 200 million girls and women globally living with the consequences of FGM, 44 million are aged less than 15 years, the report further said.
According to the report, three million girls are at risk of the practice every year.
In 2016, UNICEF estimated that at least 200 million women and girls in 30 countries have been subjected to FGM.
While earlier focus in Nigeria has generally been on three major types of FGM/C practiced -Type  I, Type II, and Type III – recent evidence show s that different forms of Type IV are as prevalent as  the other  types, especially in the northern regions, where little attention  has been  paid  over the  years.
The procedures for FGM can take place anytime from a few days after a child’s birth to a few days after a woman’s death.
Although FGM/C is known to be widespread in Nigeria and is an important issue in international discourse, nationally representative data on its prevalence in Nigeria is comparatively rare.
Speaking during two-day review meeting with media – radio –  partners on ending FGM in Nigeria which was organised by National Orientation Agency (NOA), Oyo State with support from UNICEF, Benjamin Mbakwem, FGM/C Consultant for Ebonyi & Imo State, UNICEF Enugu Field Office, said it is an out-dated practice and tradition that threatening the rights of girls and women to development, protection and ultimately survival.
This is an unbridled contravention of the international Child Rights Act adopted by Nigeria in 2003 to domesticate the convention on the Rights of the child. Despite the fact that some states have passed it into law, it is still a daunting task fighting FGM/C in the Southwest, Mbakwem said.
According to WHO, the practice of FGM enables the victims to be automatically open to various risks which may be immediate, long term, psychological, sexual functioning, or obstetric.  The immediate risks the victims are exposed to include: excessive bleeding, pain, shock, genital tissue swelling, infections, wound healing problems, as well as death. The victims are still exposed to long term risks which may include: genital tissue damage, vaginal discharge and itching, menstrual problems, chronic genital infections, reproductive tract infections, urinary tract infections, keloids and cyst.
These victims are not exempted from the risks in childbirth which may include: prolonged labour, post-partum haemorrhage, still birth and early neonatal death, caesarean section, extended maternal stay, episiotomy, etc.
Apart from the physical risks the victims are exposed to, they can also be affected psychologically. They can be depressed, have anxiety disorder, or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
UNJP On FGM Elimination: Alignment with SDGs, UNFPA and UNICEF’s Strategic Plan Outcome Areas.
UNFPA/UNICEF  global  target  and  call  to  eliminate  FGM/C  by  2030,  an  understanding  of  prevalence,  trends,  and legal frameworks  in Nigeria  is a critical first step in designing  policy and programme interventions.
SDG Goal 5, Target 5.3: “Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation.”
UNFPA Strategic Plan 2018-2021 Outcome 3: “Gender equality, the empowerment of all women and girls, and reproductive rights are advanced in development and humanitarian settings” and Output 12: “Strengthened response to eliminate harmful practices, including child, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation and son preference.”
UNICEF Strategic Plan 2018-2021 Goal 3: “Every child is protected from violence, exploitation and harmful practices” and Result 2 “By 2021, girls are reached with UNICEF-supported multisectoral at-scale programmes to address harmful practices, namely [female genital mutilation] and child marriage.”
The Joint Programme will focus its interventions in Phase III on the 16 countries listed above (Slide 5), as a way to maximise resources and bring the international community closer to achieving SDG Target 5.3.
In Nigeria the intervention will also continue in the five States (Ekiti, Ebonyi, Imo, Oyo and Osun), while further studies will e conducted to ascertain the emergency of new FGM Hotspot States in Nigeria.
UNFPA/UNICEF will discuss government on the best way to conduct the intervention at the community level to avoid duplication.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Reproductive Health: BMGF Awards $20.5m To TCI For Urban Youth Programmes

Chioma Umeha

The Challenge Initiative (TCI) a global programme with focus on the reproductive health needs of people living in poor urban communities has received $20.5 million supplemental grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The  award will enable TCI to focus more on adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health issues. The grant from the Gates Foundation includes funds from Gates Philanthropy Partners.
The Initiative, led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute on Population and Reproductive Health within the Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is now actively implementing its evidence-based urban reproductive health interventions in 52 cities across four regions: East Africa, Francophone West Africa, Nigeria and India.
The supplemental award will also allow the Initiative to address the needs of youth, ages 15 to 24 years, with best-practice programming, in addition to its programs already being implemented for women and men living in poor urban communities.
“Globally, many adolescents don’t have access to the sexual and reproductive health information they need to make informed choices and this can keep communities trapped in a cycle of poverty,” says Jose “Oying” Rimon, the Initiative’s Director and Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health Senior Scientist at the Bloomberg School.
“We are so grateful that the Gates Foundation has made it possible for The Challenge Initiative to use our ‘business unusual’ approach to really make a difference in the lives of youth.”
The Initiative will now layer adolescent and youth programming onto its already existing portfolio in the cities where it is currently working. Thirty-five of those cities have already formally expressed interest in this new area of focus.
In addition to adolescent and youth programming, the new award provides funding to enhance the Initiative’s monitoring and evaluation efforts, as well as implement a robust new learning agenda.
With this award, the Initiative is now a $59.5-million, five-year (2016 – 2021) program. This investment has also attracted investments from other donors.
A private philanthropist and London-based Comic Relief previously contributed $8 million to the original investment. It has also received $6 million from USAID in India and nearly $30 million in cash contributions from 52 cities and local governments worldwide.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this new investment in this important sector,” says Cynthia Minkovitz, MD, chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Population, Family, & Reproductive Health and William H. Gates Sr. Professor.
“We are confident that its model for scaling up and sustaining family planning programmes will succeed.”
Minkovitz cited the Initiative’s model that allows cities to lead and implement their own programme, while allocating their own funds.
Implementers also have access to evidence-based toolkits and best practices that they can adapt at scale for their own local context.
City implementers can also use the Initiative’s digital-based “university without walls” to learn from proven approaches and, in turn, enrich those leanings from their own experienc

NAFDAC Moves To Boost Growth In Cosmetics Production

Chioma Umeha 

The National Agency  for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has designed a set of guidelines aimed at increasing cosmetics production in the country.
The guidelines include: Guidelines for Micro or Kitchen scale Cosmetics producers and the Guidelines for Medium and Large scale Cosmetics producers.
Prof. Christianah Adeyeye, NAFDAC Director-General, while announcing this, explained that the scaled down policies will drive growth in cosmetics Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise sectors in line with ease of doing business.
Speaking  at a stakeholders’ meeting with all chemical marketers, distributors and veterinary products tagged: A Date with the DG, which held in Lagos, Prof. Adeyeye said; “The difference in the two documents is that the Micro is an abridged form of the Medium and Large scale cosmetics guidelines.
“The number of documents, staff strength and room space was scaled down for the micro and likewise, the number of products they can manufacture.
“The boldest move made so far by the Agency is consent for use of personal kitchens to manufacture certain classes of cosmetics products under micro scale. Albeit, may I state clearly that kitchens shared by families will not be allowed neither will individual kitchens that are kept untidy.
“Still in the spirit of ease of doing business, the Agency has put in place processes and procedures for companies with similar products and limited resources to use common facilities provided their products are similar.
“The quality of products circulating within our jurisdiction is more of a focus and we are focusing more on post-marketing surveillance (pms).  We will be increasing our vigilance activities and spot checks to ensure consistent product quality. We have as a result, developed relevant guidelines and documents to enhance post-marketing surveillance activities in the country.
“In line with the Ease of Doing Business, the Agency created the Small Business Support Desk (SBSD) whose function is to facilitate registration processes for micro and small business operators through engagements such as MSME Clinics, Exhibitions, NAFDAC Product Registration Outreach, NaPRO.
“The decentralisation of registration of certain regulated products commenced in April 2018. This was done to make approvals at the zonal levels more effective and the goals of MSMEs more realisable. This has been made possible after the creation of six zonal directorates and the FCT directorate.”
Similarly,  the agency pledged to regulate multiple registrations, imposed on the marketers by sister agencies for producers and distributors of cosmetics, agrochemicals and veterinary products.
The agencies are the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA); Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
Commenting on this, Prof. Adeyeye said, she has commenced discussions with the Director General of related agencies on how to bring an end to the issue of multiple product registrations, which is unpleasant to stakeholders.
The DG who was responding to the request of stakeholders in removing several registrations of a product, explained that this is not in favour of ease of doing business policy in Nigeria, as it is hitting hard on marketers.
She said;”We are working on it right now, as we are already talking with the Director General of SON, CPC, and NESREA. We have to come to an agreement, as it is the stakeholders that are at the losing end, because of many regulations and fees imposed on them. We are also talking about it at the vice presidency level, in terms of ease of doing business, and creating an environment, conducive for businesses”.
The NAFDAC boss further pledged to look into the issue of police harassment on agrochemicals dealers, as the agrochemicals distributors complained bitterly about unnecessary threats and distraction of their members by the Police, as they go about their legal businesses in the society.
Prof. Adeyeye also noted that NAFDAC has scaled down some of her processes for the micro scale cosmetics manufacturers without compromising standards and put in place policies that will drive growth in cosmetics MSME sectors in line with ease of doing business.
She however stressed the decision of the agency to allow micro entrepreneurs in the cosmetics industry to use their personal kitchens to produce certain products, but with a caveat that untidy and shared kitchens will not be permitted for use.
She said; “The boldest move made so far by the Agency is consent for use of personal kitchens to manufacture certain classes of cosmetics products under micro scale. Albeit, may I state clearly that kitchens shared by families will not be allowed neither will individual kitchens that are kept untidy”.
While appealing to the stakeholders to adhere to the rules and regulations of NAFDAC during product registration, she highlighted the generally observed lapses to include: untimely renewals of listing certificates, incomplete documentations , for example, inadequate stock cards & utilization records, safety data sheets without chemical compositions, illegible attachments to the portal, noncompliance to good warehousing practice, etc.
On minimisation of pesticides residues on exported agricultural produce, she said the agency is setting up policies in terms of exportation of agro products, which will ensure that exporters bring their products to NAFDAC first for testing, in order to save the nation from further national embarrassment due to products containing high pesticides residues.
Mr. Mamud Talid, representative of Pest Control Association of Nigeria, iurged the NAFDAC DG to look into the formation of Pesticide Bill as it is done in other climes, as well as pleaded with the agency to make the intended increase in tariff reasonable enough to their level.
Mr. John Nwabueze, who spoke on behalf of Cosmetics Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, identified the need for NAFDAC to reduce faking of cosmetics in the country, as well as scale up penalty for fakers.

World Contraception Day: Invest In Youths, Pathfinder International Tasks Nigeria

Chioma Umeha

With a contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods of 10 per cent, there is big concern among experts that Nigeria is among those with poor contraceptive indices despite the significant investments made over the last decade.
Expressing worry, Dr. Farouk Jega, Country Director, Pathfinder International in a statement to mark this year’s World Contraception Day said, Nigeria’s teeming population provides great potential of developing industrious youths that would guarantee the country’s development.
However, Dr. Jega stressed that this depends on largely on increasing investment in youths’ education, skill empowerment, health, especially in the area of reproductive health, among others.
The Pathfinder International boss said, “With a population nearing 200 million, about a quarter of who are young people, Nigeria has a good opportunity of harnessing the so-called demographic dividend by turning the ‘youth bulge’ into a productive segment contributing meaningfully to economic growth and development.
“But this demographic dividend can only be achieved if the necessary investments are made in the young population – investments in their education, skills development and health care, including access to full and voluntary family planning.
“Despite the significant investments made in the last decade or so, Nigeria’s contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods is still a lowly 10 per cent.”
Bemoaning the situation, the Pathfinder International CEO said, Nigeria recently committed to significantly increase funding for contraceptive commodities at the London FP2020 Summit.
Despite this commitment, he decried the existence of funding gaps, noting that most states in the country have yet to prioritise family planning, and few have made budgetary provisions for this important service.
“Stock outs of key commodities are beginning to resurface in many health centers, further compounding an unmet need of women for contraceptive services, which is currently at 21 per cent.
It would be recalled that the latest edition of Goalkeepers, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation annual publication on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) stressed on the need to track progress towards achieving SDGs.
The publication drew attention to the stark reality that unless something is done urgently, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo will be house to 40 per cent of the world’s poorest people by 2050.
Dr. Jega further noted that the National Youth Policy is long overdue for revision to address the reproductive health needs of adolescents and young people in the country.
He said, “Empowering our youthful population is an urgent necessity; failure to make the necessary investments in this restless segment of the population portends serious consequences, some of which may have already started manifesting in increased levels of insecurity and violent crimes across the country.
“Improving access to, and quality of family planning services has long been recognised as one of the most cost-effective interventions to address both maternal and child mortality.”
However, he identified recent positive developments, including, the task sharing policy of 2014 has enabled the training of many health care workers at the primary health care level to provide key services they were not hitherto providing, including contraceptive services.
Many State Ministries of Health have developed costed implementation plans for family planning, and a few have identified funding for implementation of such plans, he said.
But, the Country Director stressed that obstacles to access still exist, adding; “Apart from stock out of commodities, provider bias is another reason why women (especially young women) don’t have access to a full range of family planning options.
“Many providers erroneously believe that certain contraceptive methods are not suited for young people.”
He recommended that such erroneous belief should be addressed through constant retraining of health workers.
But, Dr. Jega lamented that the demographic window of opportunity is, unfortunately, not going to last forever, insisting; “Now is the time to start making those strategic investments in young people.
“As we enter into another election season, it is imperative that we make the connection between our burgeoning population that largely lacks access to opportunities, and the increased level of poverty and insecurity bedeviling our country.
“Making the necessary investments in human capital, especially in the youthful segment of the population, should be given the desired attention.”
The World Contraception Day takes place on September 26 every year.
Since 1957, Pathfinder has partnered with local governments, communities, and health systems to remove barriers to critical sexual and reproductive health services. Across 19 countries, we expand access to contraception, promote healthy pregnancies, save women’s lives, and stop the spread of new HIV infections, wherever the need is most urgent.
Their work ensures millions of women, men, and young people are able to choose their own paths forward.

Yakasai Condemns Rivalry In Healthcare, Seeks Collaboration

Chioma Umeha
Pharmacists under the auspices of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have condemned disharmony and rivalry in the Nigerian healthcare sector, linking the development with the demand for the establishment of the office of Chief Medical Adviser “Surgeon General” to the president and creation of a national healthcare commission.
Pharm. Ahmed  Yakasai, President, PSN who spoke for the body enumerated other reasons which  causes rivalry, including, Matters arising from Teaching Hospital Act and opposition to appointment of other health professionals as directors in Federal Health Institutions.
The rest, he said are, establishment of postgraduate colleges for other health professionals, and the obvious bias against health professionals other than doctors especially in the reflected areas.
Pharm. Yakasai, who presented a paper  recently, at the annual scientific conference and exposition of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA)  titled: “Synergy among Healthcare Practitioners: Advocacy to Respective Agencies for Collaborative Practice in Nigeria”,  stressed on synergy in a successful healthcare  delivery system.
Insisting on the need for collaboration at the event which held weekend, Pharm Yakasai said; “Synergy among healthcare practitioners is a must and not an option in achieving optimum safe quality care for the patients.
When healthcare practitioners with different complimentary skills cooperate, come together and work hand in hand in the interest of the patients they always achieve better results for the patients, he added.
“The outcomes achieved due to synergy among the healthcare practitioners are far better than when each healthcare practitioner works in isolation. That is synergy. Even drugs work better when they work synergistically which one drug increases the other’s effectiveness.
“For example; Effect on the same cellular system by two different antibiotics like the Penicillin damages the cell wall of gram positive bacteria and improves the penetrations of aminoglycosides.”
Comparing recent development in the healthcare industry to what obtains in the past, the PSN boss said there is an obvious change in healthcare delivery nowadays due to influx of knowledge on the parts of patients and practitioners, which keeps the scope of healthcare expanding by the day.
“In the past, as it relates to the care process, healthcare practitioners were primarily nurses, pharmacists and doctors. Now the term healthcare practitioner encompasses a wide range of other people including other professionals.
“Not only has the number of medical subspecialties significantly increased over the last century (from 14 in 1927 to 103 in 2000), but the number of non-medical care practitioners has also increased. Patients too have to a certain extent become ‘practitioners’ in their own healthcare.
“Moreover, not only do current practitioners role need to be specified relative to the new care processes and operating systems, but entirely new roles – perhaps system architecture for example , need to be developed and reimbursed,” he stated.
The PSN President also noted that collaboration among healthcare practitioners would promote patient-centred care, enhancement of better communication, comprehensive patient care, better coordination of patient treatment plans, and it empowers team members.
A major high point of the annual scientific conference and exposition was the decoration of Pharm. Yakasai with the NAPPSA Distinguished Service Award, at Embassy Suites-Concord Hotel, Concord, North Carolina, USA.
He was recognised for his advocacy and tenacity for Pharmacy Practice in Nigeria.

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