Health stories in the news last week

Mosquito used to illustrate the story. Photo: WebMD
Mosquito used to illustrate the story. Photo: WebMD

100,000 Nigerian children suffer cerebral malaria yearly

More than 100,000 Nigerian children suffer from cerebral malaria annually, a medical practitioner, Samuel Oyo, said.

Mr Oyo said the disease which is caused by the female mosquito can lead to other sickness if not promptly treated and advised prompt treatment to avoid other complications.

He explained that the plasmodium parasite that causes the sickness is neither a virus nor a bacterium but a single-celled parasite that multiplies in red blood cells of humans as well as in the mosquito’s intestine.

“Symptoms include sweating, sore throat, headache, fast heart rate, or pallor,” he said.

Malaysia goes tough on smoking

Malaysia will enforce a smoking ban at restaurants, coffee shops and hawker stalls nationwide from January 1, 2019, the Sin Chew Daily newspaper quoted Deputy Health Minister, Lee Boon Chye, as saying.

Mr Lee who announced the mandatory ban while chairing a health forum at the Asian Institute of Medical, Science and Technology in Kedah, said the ban will cover all air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned restaurants, coffee shops, as well as open-air hawker centres and street stalls.


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Those caught smoking at prohibited areas will be fined RM10,000 (S$3,321) and eateries found not enforcing the ban will be fined RM2,500.

In China, cancer patients get 57% off drugs

China National Healthcare Security Administration said payment standards for 17 types of anti-cancer drugs newly included in China’s healthcare security system, is 56.7 per cent lower than their retail prices.

According to Xiong Xianjun, an official with the administration, these anti-cancer drugs dealing with solid tumors and hematological neoplasms, are clinically necessary, therapeutically effective and needed by insurance participants.

Negotiation for the prices kicked off in June, and the 17 drugs were selected and included on China’s medical insurance reimbursement list through expert review and voting.

Aisha Buhari Foundation builds maternity complex in Yola


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In furtherance of her advocacy on the need for improved access to healthcare services among women, a foundation run by wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, is constructing a maternity complex within the Federal Medical Centre, Yola.

The Coordinator of Aisha Buhari Foundation, Kamal Muhammad, during the inspection of the project, said the project was aimed at reducing the burden on existing facilities at the hospital.

He said the construction is at 60 per cent completion and will likely be completed before the end of the year.

The project which is the second of its kind after Daura General Hospital, Katsina State, is a 70-bed facility which will house multiple consultation rooms, ante-natal clinics, a gynaecology ward and clinic, ultra sound room, emergency operations theatre, pharmacy, family planning clinic and a 200 – capacity ante-natal waiting area.

Health minister inaugurates committee on the use of Bisphenol

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has inaugurated a technical committee on the use of Bisphenol – A (BPA) in Nigeria.

Bisphenol are used in bottled water plastics, as structural components in polycarbonate plastics used for consumer and industrial products such as medical equipment / devices and electronics, as well as found in epoxy resins, which act as a protective lining on the inside of some metal based food and beverage cans used all over the world.

Recently, there has been controversy on BPA as a potential health hazard following claims that exposure to BPA would lead to unexpected effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children, as well as earlier age for puberty for female at current human exposures.

The House of Representatives last year pushed for the ban of the substance and the technical committee has the mandate to investigate the health implications.

60 million Nigerians at risk of depression – Survey

A new survey says 60 million Nigerians are at risk of suffering from depression.

The Nigeria national depression report produced by Joy Inc. in partnership with NOI polls was released in commemoration of the 2018 World Mental Health Day.

According to the report, three in every 10 Nigerians experience depressive symptoms.

The report, which is the first nationwide study of happiness and depression, contains results of surveys conducted across the 36 states in the country, including the federal capital territory (FCT).

The survey focused on gauging public perception of Nigerians regarding their happiness and experiences with some factors that may affect their state of happiness and depression.

FG promises to invest in health, education in 2019

The Minister of Health, Mr Adewole, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will invest more money on health and education in 2019.

The minister gave this assurance during a peer review meeting with chief medical directors (CMDs) and medical directors (MDs) across Nigeria, which took place at Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Meta, Lagos.

The meeting was to enable them exchange ideas, share experiences and appreciate challenges confronting each facility in other to help the government address such and if necessary capture them in the 2019 budget.

The minster during the meeting said government would not only invest money on health but also on education as the nation needs healthy and educated people to drive the economy.

Cancer: Alternative therapies popular but risky

Two new studies, presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology 2018 Congress, show that people with sarcoma often take complementary and alternative medicine with little regard for the potential risks or ways in which they may interact with conventional cancer treatment.

Sarcoma is a rare cancer that affects connective tissue and accounts for one percent of all cancer cases.

Two separate studies by Peter Hohenberger from University Hospital Mannheim in Germany and Audrey Bellesoeur of the University Paris Descartes in France found that people with this type of cancer who use conventional and alternative medicines are at risk of complicating treatment.

Antibiotic may prevent breast cancer recurrence

A recent cancer research may have found a common cost effective drug to reduce the risk that cancer will recur or metastasize.

Cancer stems cells (CSCs) also known as tumour-initiating cells, are resistant to current treatments and play a significant role in both metastasis and recurrence, which are two of the biggest challenges in cancer treatment.

In a paper published in journal Frontiers in Oncology, researchers from the University of Salford in the United Kingdom outlined the potential use of an antibiotic called doxycycline to clear CSCs.

Higher risk of alcohol and suicide-related death in diabetes

Diabetic patients are more likely to die from alcohol related factors, accidents or suicide, a new study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology has said.

Researchers at the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere, and from Helsinki University Hospital, all in Finland, conducted a large population study investigating the relationship between diabetes and the risk of death due to factors such as alcohol, suicide, and accidents.

The study findings suggest that the increased risk of death from these causes may be related to the mental health of patients, which may be adversely affected by the psychological burden of living with and self-treating this debilitating disease, with potentially serious complications.

It found out that both type 1 and type 2 diabetes place people at a heightened risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stoke as well as cancer and kidney disease.

All of these related health conditions can lead to premature death. However, other factors may also shorten the lifespan of people with a diabetes diagnosis.

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