Major health stories in the news this week

Health Minister, Isaac Adewole
Health Minister, Isaac Adewole

Lassa kills 4 in Nasarawa

Four people were confirmed dead due to the outbreak of Lassa fever in Nasarawa State, north-central Nigeria.

The state commissioner for Health, Daniel Iya, said they had recorded 16 suspected cases in the state and the 36 people who had contact with the deceased were being followed up.

All recorded cases were from the state capital, Lafia.

Prior to this, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, had raised concern over the increasing cases of Lassa fever in the country.

In a statement issued by Lawal Bakare, the Technical Assistant Communication, NCDC said that seven states reported the case of at least one case of Lassa fever in December 2016.

He said six deaths were so far recorded in the 19 cases reported in the seven states.

Mr. Iya said Nasarawa state government had taken adequate measures to stall the spread of deadly disease.

This is coming barely three weeks after the Ondo State Commissioner of Health, Dayo Adeyanju, convened a sensitisation meeting where he said the state government was putting all measures to prevent the disease from spreading to the state.

Mr. Bakare said NCDC commenced the implementation of Lassa fever preparedness ahead of the dry season in the last quarter of 2016.

To prevent Lassa fever in the community, Nigerians are advised to keep their food safe from rats and rat excreta. Improving food and personal hygiene is vital to prevention at household level, he said.

Inmates treated after scabies outbreak in Nigerian prison

About 53 of the 669 inmates of the Central Prison in Gombe were treated for scabies, following an outbreak of the disease at the facility.

The Director of Public Health in the state, Joshua Abubakar, said this at a ceremony to flag off a programme to curb the spread of the disease among the inmates.

Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by tiny mites, called the human itch mites, that burrow into the skin. The main symptom of the disease is intense itching. The disease is commonly found in overcrowded places like boarding schools, prisons and public institutions.

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The state Commissioner for Health, Kennedy Ishaya, on behalf of the state government donated to the Deputy Controller of the prison, Abba Mohammed, intervention materials such as cartons of antiseptic, cartons of Tetmosol soap, bags of detergent and chemicals for the fumigation of the prison.

Kaduna partners with Bill Gates on primary Healthcare

The Kaduna State Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have signed an agreement that will strengthen Primary Health Care service delivery and Polio eradication drive in the state.

The Vice President of the Foundation, Melinda Gates, said the partnership was aimed at ensuring the total eradication of polio and other child killer diseases in Africa.

Mrs. Gates assured Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of the state, that the foundation was committed to helping Nigeria address the problem of maternal and child mortality through funding and technical support.

“The strategic partnership on health and governance will advance the implementation and transformation of primary healthcare system in the state,” she said.

Paul Dogo, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Health, told the foundation that the state government was optimistic that the partnership would strengthen Primary Health Care in rural area to address the constant increase in mortality rate in mothers and children.

Kaduna state just like other states in the country is faced with the challenges of lack of adequate healthcare facilities.

WHO begins measles vaccination of children in north-east

The world Health Organization has started a campaign to vaccinate 4.7 million children against measles outbreak in three north eastern states.

The vaccination campaign which will take place in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, is expected to last for two weeks.

Wondimagegnehu Alemu, a doctor and WHO Representative in Nigeria, said the measles vaccination campaign is an emergency intervention to protect more than 4 million children against a highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease.

“The Massive disruption to health services in conflict-affected areas has deprived these children of essential childhood vaccinations. In addition, many of them have severe malnutrition, making them extremely vulnerable to serious complications and death from measles,” he said.

A publication on the WHO website reports that the organisation established Early Warning, Alert and Response System (EWARS), which reported more than 1500 suspected measles cases in Borno State from early September to 18 December 2016.

More than 77 per cent of children aged less than five years in Borno state have never received the measles vaccine and this is the age group where most cases have occurred.

Doctors say they won’t treat Nigerian Police officer and families

The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Shaba Alkali, has pleaded with doctors to overturn the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) directive to withdraw medical services to police and their family members in the state.

Mr. Alkali made the plea in Gusau, while reacting to the directive by NMA that its members are to withdraw medical services to the police.

Tijjani Abubakar, Chairman, and Mannir Bature, Secretary of the association, on Monday directed in a statement that doctors immediately withdraw medical services to the police.

The statement said that doctors would not attend to any policeman in the state following the assault on a doctor who was on official duty in August 2016.

Mr. Alkali said the doctors’ action was too harsh, adding that they did not discuss the issue with him.

“They know I am new in the state, they should have come for a discussion before taking any action, more especially when women and children are involved,” he said.

Mr. Alkali said he had directed his deputy to immediately arrange a meeting with the doctors on Wednesday in order to resolve the matter amicably.

Consultants want upward review in retirement age

The Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Chukwu Abali Chukwu, has called on Nigeria’s federal government to review the retirement age of consultants at medical centres to 70 years.

The retirement age for all workers at the centres is 60 years, unlike at teaching hospitals where consultants, like other university professors, stay on in service until 70 years.

The gap created by the retirement of consultants in critical areas of medicine in most Federal Medical Centres in Nigeria, is said to be part of the challenges that has given rise to increase in medical trips outside the country.

Briefing journalists in Umuahia, according to a Channels Television news report, Mr. Chukwu urged the federal government to reconsider the 60 years retirement age for the consultants with a view to extending it to 70 years as this will strengthen healthcare delivery service.

The country will be losing a lot if nothing is done to fix the gap created by the retired consultant.


NSCDC parades suspected drugs dealers Ilorin

Six suspected drugs dealers including a 65-year-old woman were parade by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) at Ilorin.

The State Commandant of the corps, Pedro Ideba, said the suspected drug offender kept the drugs inside a hole dug in the shops and covered with lid.

Some of the recovered substances include cough syrup, tramadol tablet, codeine, Indian hemp, charms among others.

Mr. Ideba said the suspects tried bribing the officers with the sum of 15,000 naira to escape arrest.

The owners of the business, two apprentices and takers of the hard drugs arrested are to be handed over to NDLEA who has the mandate to prosecute those involved in contraband drugs or drug trafficking


Kogi Government pledges maternal, new born health week long programme

Kogi State Govenor, Yahaya Bello, has directed health workers in the state to pay special attention to the needs of women, children and nursing mothers.

This he said through the Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Ayoade, in Lokoja at an official flag-off of a week free healthcare services for women and children to mark the 2017 Maternal, New born and Child Health Week (MNCHW) in the state.

The governor promised that his administration was poised at bringing good health to the door step of everyone living within the state and directed the Commissioner for health in the state, Saka Haruna to ensure that every stage of the exercise was comprehensively covered.

The high point of the event was immunization of children which was done by Mrs. Ayoade and witness by representatives from WHO, UNICEF,Federal Ministry of Health, Centre for Integrated Health Programmes, National Primary Health Care Development Agency as well as government officials in the state.

Suspend Healthcare Centre renovation, Ogun State Government tells senator

Ogun state government has asked for the suspension of the renovation going on at the Obada Primary Health Care Center in Ijebu-Igbo in Ijebu North Local Government area of the state.

The renovation is been carried out by Senator Buruji Kashamu, the lawmaker representing Ogun state East Senatorial District.

A statement issued by the Commissioner of Health, Babatunde Ipaye, kicked against the renovation as it claimed that the health center requires an overhauling and not superficial repairs.

“The senator should not play politics with the people’s health as what the state and community need is a technically sound approach to health care system and not a cosmetic repair of the building. 40 Primary Health Care centers in the state require holistic approach and not cosmetic repairs. The senator had claimed the project was a constituency project but his claims had been refuted by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other Federal Government agencies that should monitor the project”.

“The center is one of the 40 marked for repair and the senator is welcome to join hand with state Ministry of Health in the repair in line with the standard set by the Federal Government,” he said.

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