Yusuf’s suspension, Bauchi’s polio virus, others make health headlines last week

Former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf [Photo: Concise News]
Former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf [Photo: Concise News]

NHIS boss Usman Yusuf suspended indefinitely again

Nigeria’s health sector was shocked during the week as the governing council of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) suspended Usman Yusuf, the Executive Secretary of the scheme indefinitely.

It was the second time Mr Yusuf was suspended from office since he took over July 29, 2016.

The Chairperson of the NHIS governing council, Enyantu Ifenne, who disclosed the resolution of the council to suspend the ES after a two days of a closed door meeting at the Abuja head office of the scheme, said the council was inundated with petitions alleging infractions by the official.

Mrs Enyanatu said the council also resolved to set up a panel to examine the allegations against Mr. Yusuf, stating that the council got the approval of the Minister of Health, Isacc Adewole, before the suspension.

Sadiq Abubakar was appointed as the acting Executive Secretary in Mr Yusuf’s stead.


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Type 2 Polio Virus In Bauchi – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus Type 2 (cVDPV2) had been discovered in Bauchi State.

Adamu Ningi, the WHO Bauchi State Coordinator, disclosed this at a meeting with the Emir of Bauchi, Rilwanu Adamu, and the Chairman, Social Mobilisation on Immunisation and Emir of Dass, Usman Othman, in Bauchi.

He said samples were collected from various locations on a monthly basis and polio virus type 2 was found at Gwallaga Mosque area linking three wards of Makama B, Hardo and Dankade.

The state coordinator attributed the new strain to non-compliance to immunisation schedules in the state as only 52 per cent of children are fully immunised. 29 per cent did not complete the exercise, while 19 per cent have never been immunised.

Life Expectancy Increase

Life expectancy can rise to 74.8 years in Nigeria by 2040, a study published in international medical journal, The Lancet, stated.


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The study ranked Nigeria 156th among 195 nations with an average life expectancy of 65.0 years in 2016, but stated the country can rise to 123rd in 2040 with an average life expectancy of 74.8 years, an increase of 9.8 years.

The study, “Forecasting life expectancy, years of life lost, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 250 causes of death: reference and alternative scenarios for 2016–40 for 195 countries and territories using data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016,” was carried out by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Implementation of Basic Healthcare Fund

The Executive Director, Advocacy for Development, Health and Environmental Sustainability, an NGO, Adah Shem, called on the Nigerian government to speed up the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

Mr Shem identified the implementation of the fund as key to reduction of maternal and newborn death in the country.

He said BHCPF has been approved, accented by President Mohammadu Buhari but is stuck by non-release of funds; urging government to be committed in the release of funds.

BHCPF is a fund allocation in the 2014 National Health Act meant to cater for the basic healthcare needs of Nigerians. It stipulates that one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in the 2018 national budget and other subsequent ones will be deployed for the use of the health sector.

SON Confirms Human Flesh In Chinese Drugs

The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) confirmed the receipt of a letter sent on Chinese drugs reported to be made from human flesh.

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) earlier alerted the SON, National Agency for Food Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Customs Service on the Chinese drugs made with human flesh.

The Technical Assistant/Head, Public Relations of SON, Bola Fashina, said the organisation was on the lookout for the products even though he explained it is the primary responsibilities of both NAFDAC and Customs Service.

Investigations revealed that the capsules made in North Eastern China were filled with powdered flesh from dead babies.

Polio Eradication, Debt Owed Nigerians – Osinbajo

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said eradication of polio remained the greatest debt the government owed to Nigerians.

Mr Osinbajo said the Abuja Commitment made by the federal and state governments to provide active leadership of polio eradication through routine immunisation must be achieved.

He said the federal government was committed to polio eradication in the country. He was addressing state governors and members of the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication at a meeting.

He thanked the Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the remarkable progress that has been made in the polio programme.

Novartis Pays $2.1bn For Nuclear Medicine

Novartis is paying $2.1 billion for nuclear medicine specialist, Vas Narasimhan’s latest deal to reshape the Swiss drugs group from a pill maker to a producer of sophisticated therapies.

Mr Narasimhan, who raised Novartis’s 2018 revenue forecast as he released third-quarter results, is counting on Endocyte’s treatment for prostate cancer topping $1 billion in sales after it hits the U.S. market in 2021.

Some analysts said the deal, seen closing next year, fitted his push into high-margin specialty treatments, but was very expensive.

Since taking over in February, Mr Narasimhan has shed over-the-counter medicines and generic pills while pushing a spinoff of Novartis’s Alcon eye care unit come 2019.

UN Describes ‘Virginity testing’ Human Rights Violation

Three United Nations agencies; the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), UN Women and the World Health Organisation (WHO), have called for a ban on tests meant to assess the virginity of a girl or a woman.

In a joint statement issued during the World Congress of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) in Rio de Janeiro, the agencies stressed that such tests were both unscientific, and a violation of human rights.

“So-called ‘virginity testing’ – also often referred to as hymen, ‘two-finger’ or per vaginal examination – is a gynecological inspection of female genitalia carried out in the false belief that it can reliably determine whether a woman or girl has had vaginal intercourse,” the group said.

In a global call to eliminate violence against women and girls everywhere, the UN agencies said that “this medically unnecessary, and often times painful, humiliating and traumatic practice must end.”

US Confirms Polio-like Disease

The Southern Nevada Health District reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first case of acute flaccid myelitis in a child in Clark County, Nevada, United States.

This confirmed case – along with others in Colorado and Arizona – has resulted in almost entirely boxing in Utah; however, at this point there are no reports of the illness in the Beehive state.

AFM is a rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system, resulting in polio-like symptoms. So far this year there have been 62 confirmed cases in 22 states across the U.S., according to the CDC

Ebola Loses In West Africa

The West African Health Organisation (WAHO) said there is urgent need for countries to prepare for emergencies to prevent economic, human and other losses, especially as the region lost seven billion dollars during the 2014 Ebola epidemic.

Stanley Okolo, the Director-General of the organisation, challenged the 15 West African countries during the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) sub-committee meeting in Lagos to be ahead of the curve because those involved in epidemic and emergencies know it has huge economic problems.

REDISSE project is a regional project funded by the World Bank, covering all the 15 ECOWAS countries and Mauritania in five-year phases from 2016 to 2023.

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