Major health stories last week

Drugs
Drugs used to illustrate the story

Antibiotics alarm: Usage, abuse soar; superbugs feared

Health researchers are calling for a new rein in the usage of antibiotic as global consumption of antibiotic drugs have increased since the year 2000, which can lead to drug- resistant superbugs.

A study in a the Proceeding of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) based on sale data for 76 countries shows that antibiotic consumption increased 65 percent for 76 countries from 2000 to 2015, most users in low and middle income countries.

The research team, headed by scientists from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in the US capital said countries needed to invest in alternative treatments, sanitation and vaccination.

Meningitis not ‘strange disease’, killed eight in Kano – Official

The Kano State Government says the outbreak of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis was responsible for the death of eight persons in Dungurawa village of Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area of the state.

The state commissioner for health, Kabiru Getso, said that the ministry received the information about the outbreak of a strange disease and dispatched its Rapid Response Team to the area.

He said some other cases were recorded in the area but were not reported early to the hospitals.

Mr Getso further revealed that the patients had a high fever, and convulsion as well as vomiting and was later confirmed to be Cerebro Spinal Meningitis type A.

Nigerian govt. deploys 1,335 basic midwives to PHCs across Nigeria- Official

The Nigerian government is deploying 1,335 basic midwives to Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and other areas of critical need across the country.

The exercise, which is in partnership with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), will engage the basic midwives on one year compulsory community service as part of their qualifications for practice.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), which is coordinating the deployment, said 1,589 of the health workers were targeted but 254 were left out having been found to be already engaged by some states or NGOs.

The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, said the exercise is part of government’s efforts to reduce the high rate of maternal, child and infant morbidity and mortality in the country.

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Scientist in China studying cockroaches for medical treatment

Chinese scientists are taking a close look at cockroaches to explore their potential in medical treatment.

The lead researcher, Li Sheng, director of the Institute of Insect Science and Technology at South China Normal University in Guangzhou City, said reason for the research is because a cockroach has as many as 522 taste receptors, 329 of which have evolved into bitter receptors that respond to poisonous foods.

He said cockroaches also have the ability to self-detoxify if they eat the wrong food and are an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine.

Based on previous studies on the German cockroach by foreign researchers, Li’s team has been focusing on the genetic code of the American cockroach.

Cancer in coffee: Judge orders retailers to give health warning

A Judge in Los Angeles, California, United States has ordered coffee’s globally known retailer Starbucks Corp and other coffee sellers to put a cancer warning on coffee sold in the state.

A little-known not-for-profit group sued some 90 coffee retailers, including Starbucks, on grounds they were violating a California law requiring companies to warn consumers of chemicals in their products that could cause cancer.

One of those chemicals is acrylamide, a byproduct of roasting coffee beans that is present in high levels in brewed coffee.

However, the National Coffee Association (NCA) has said the industry was considering an appeal and further legal actions as cancer warning labels on coffee would be misleading.

Association to conduct free eye test for children in FCT

The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) would be conducting a nationwide comprehensive free eye test for children between the ages of five and 14, with the bid to improving their sight.

Ngozi Nwanekezie, Chairperson of NOA FCT Chapter, said the exercise, which began March 30, would end in November.

She said the initiative was part of the association’s activities to commemorate its 50 years contributions to eye health in the country and they decided to concentrate on children because “a healthy nation starts from the children’’.

According to her, 80 per cent of what a child learns is visual, so a child that goes to school with impaired vision, such child will never be successful academically.

New drug gives hope for breast, lung cancer victims

There is rising hope for breast and lung cancer victims as researchers from Michigan State University in East Lansing in the United States are using novel molecular routes to attack cancer genes.

The scientists were particularly interested in bromodomain inhibitors (BET inhibitors). These are a promising new class of drugs that target the genes involved in cancer’s growth.

BET inhibitors prevent the expression of certain growth-promoting genes and therefore slow tumor growth.

The researchers have published two papers in the journal Cancer Prevention. One concentrates on breast and lung cancer, and the other focuses on obesity-related cancers. Both approach the same molecular pathways.

Experts speak on challenges of polio eradication in North-east

Some health experts on polio eradication have called for approval of President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for $1 billion to fight insurgency in the North-east.

Boko Haram activities have limited access to some areas in the North-east and thereby hindered vaccination in those areas. Though Nigeria has gone 18 months without any new case of polio outbreak, but conflict areas are still under threat.

Speaking at the 35th meeting of the Expert Review Committee for polio eradication and routine immunisation in Nigeria in Abuja, the chairman of the committee, Oyewale Tomori, described access to such areas as key to eradicating the virus.

He urged the federal government to do everything possible to end the activities of Boko Haram, if the country is to make “any statement in the bid to be declared polio free nation.”

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