Health stories that made headlines last week

File photo of Resident Doctors
File photo of Resident Doctors

JOHESU: Health workers’ strike looms in Nigeria

The Nigerian health workers under the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) have threatened to resume their suspended strike.

JOHESU on Wednesday threatened to resume the industrial action it suspended last year May, if the dispute is not resolved within two weeks. JOHESU, through its chairman, Biobelemoye Josiah, issued the strike notice in a letter addressed to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Nigige.

Buhari approves medical director for FMC, Kebbi

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Aliyu Balarabe as the Medical Director (MD), Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State.

According to a press statement signed by a spokesperson of the federal ministry of health, Boade Akinola, on Wednesday, Mr Balarabe’s appointment is for an initial first term of four years.


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Ms Akinola said the appointment was confirmed in a letter signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

She said Mr Balarabe’s appointment takes effect from December 27, 2018.

Researchers urged to develop Lassa fever vaccine

Scientist and researchers have been tasked to intensify their researches towards developing a vaccine that could prevent the spread of Lassa fever across the continent in the nearest possible future.

This plea was made at the maiden Lassa fever international conference which held in Abuja.

Though some Lassa fever vaccines have been developed, all are still in clinical stages and none has been certified for use.

This is one of reasons for organising the Lassa fever international conference.


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The conference was an avenue for researchers, scientists, health workers and people with interest in the disease from across the world to reflect on what is known and available and prioritise research agenda towards eradicating the disease.

More investments in global health will yield incredible returns – Bill and Melinda Gates

After years of putting billions of dollars of their own money into the support of the sector and other humanitarian causes across the world, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates say more investments in global health will yield incredible returns for mankind.

The couple spoke on Wednesday in a teleconference with journalists across the world on the importance of continued robust investment in global health.

Mrs Gates noted there has been considerable improvement in human conditions in the last two decades due to improved investment in the sector.

She said the result of the huge global investments in the sector is that the poorest parts of the world have not only become less poor, they have also become much healthier.

Lagos to enforce standards on sale of fruits, vegetables

The Lagos State Government says it will enforce standards in the sale and consumption of fruits and vegetables to guarantee the health and safety of consumers in the state.

Divine Dunkwu, the Head, Public Affairs, State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA), said the agency had initiated a project to ensure that handling, packaging and display of vegetables and fruits are done in accordance with the acceptable standards.

He said LASCOPA was collaborating with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Lagos State Market Board and the Ministry of Wealth Creation to drive the project.

According to him, LASCOPA will look into the packaging, handling, ripening of fruits with unhealthy substances, lack of proper storage facilities and unhygienic environments for sales and display of the products.

Scientist claims local remedy for diabetes

Chukwunonso Ejike, a professor and researcher at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi, said he has developed a local remedy for diabetes mellitus.

Mr Ejike made the claim on the sidelines of the Technology and Innovation Expo 2019 in Enugu.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Mr Ejike said that the remedy product known as the VOG Tea was one of six products exhibited by the university at the Expo, invented in 2018 after four years of intensive research.

The don, who is the Dean, Basic Medical Sciences in the institution, said that the tea was produced from three culinary vegetables, noting that the process of patenting the product had already begun and it would soon be in the market.

Programme to reduce lead poisoning in Nigerian communities yielding result — Study

A pilot programme introduced to reduce lead poisoning in Nigerian gold mining communities has yielded positive result, a new study has revealed.

The study titled “Reducing Lead and Silica Dust Exposures in Small-Scale Mining in Northern Nigeria” shows that the programme has brought extraordinary improvements to an area where hundreds of children had died from lead poisoning

The study was carried out by Occupational Knowledge (OK) International in partnership with Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Lead poisoning in Nigeria was first discovered in Zamfara State by Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) in 2010.

The plague, which was caused by lead pollution generated from processing lead-rich rock ores for gold, claimed the lives of 400 to 500 children within the state.

To pave a way for treatment, eight villages were remediated.

Man blind after taking erectile dysfunction drug overdose

A man in his 50s, who reportedly drank an entire 30-milliliter bottle of liquid sildenafil used to treat erectile dysfunction, is currently experiencing vision issues that include “debilitating night blindness”.

According to a medical case study recently published in the journal, JAMA Ophthalmology, the man, was not identified but was said to have drunk 10 times more than the recommended dose of the drug.

IFLScience reported that the man later saw doctors at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, U.S., where he claimed he was experiencing night blindness, sensitivity to light and was seeing “doughnut-shaped” spots, IFLScience reported, citing the study.

Doctors said in the study all of his symptoms — except for the doughnut-shaped spots — improved days after he received treatment.

Stress may raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

New research suggests that vital exhaustion, a marker of psychological distress, may raise the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Many factors may increase Alzheimer’s risk, including age, family history, and genetic makeup. Certain health issues, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, may also influence the odds of experiencing dementia because they impact the blood vessels.

Researchers led by Sabrina Islamoska, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, set out to investigate the possibility of a link between vital exhaustion and Alzheimer’s disease.

Your smartphone might be the cause of your neck pain

A new study published in PLOS One reveals that prolong cellphone use, and in particular text messaging, can cause neck pain and have an impact on soft tissues that surround the spine.

Researchers at the University of Khon Kaen in Thailand aiming to elucidate the cause of a syndrome known as “text neck” highlighted the risk associated with this type of posture.

The team filmed 30 smartphone users aged 18 and 25, who spent up to eight hours a day on their phones. Their ergonomic risk levels were evaluated with Rapid Upper Limb Assessment tool (RULA), which is often used to analyse the posture of desktop and portable computer uses. Participants in the study had an average score of 6 points, well in excess on an acceptable score of one or two points.

The lead researcher, Suwalee Namwongsa, said the results identified issues with unsuitable neck, trunk and leg posture which leads to musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal disorder was more prevalent among students who spend the most times on their smartphones (more than five hours a day) and among those who smoked and did not exercise.

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