Major health stories in the news last week

Vaccination used to illustrate the story
Vaccination used to illustrate the story [Photo Credit: SundiataPost]

Polio: LASG to immunise children aged 0-5

The Lagos State Government will embark on House to House polio immunisation for children aged 0-5 years, irrespective of their previous immunisation status.

Modupe Owojuyigbe, Director, Health Education, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, said the exercise is scheduled for May 11 to May 14.

Mrs Owojuyigbe said the move was in response to the discovery of environmental Polio Virus strains in Lagos State, and to help prevent poliomyelitis that might result in paralysis of the limbs.

“Polio immunisation is free, it is safe, it is painless and it is effective. There is an issue around polio now because there is an environmental strain found in town, in Lagos State, and to avoid the outbreak, we have to give the vaccine to all children,” she said.

Federal Government flags off enrollment of BHCPF in Osun State

The federal government has flagged off the enrollment of clients under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) in Osogbo, Osun state.

The flag-off, at the Primary Health Care Centre in Isale-Agbara, Osogbo, is a key component of the National Health Act.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said at the launch that the BHCPF is one of the ways the government intends tackling poverty, poor health outcome and out-of-pocket health expenditure which is very high in Nigeria.

2000 medical workers leaving Nigeria annually – NMA

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The Nigerian Medical Association said about 2000 medical workers leave the country annually to developed countries.

The National President of the Association, Francis Faduyile, said this during the opening ceremony of the Annual General Conference/Delegates meeting of the association in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

He said the exodus necessitated the theme of the meeting which was ‘Skill Repatriation in the Health Sector: Turning Nigeria’s brain drain to brain gain’.

Ebola situation worsening in DRC

The ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has become profoundly worrisome, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

WHO Director-General, Ghebreyesus Tedros, and WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, had expressed concern about the spread of the disease after concluding a visit to DRC, where a WHO epidemiologist, Richard Mouzoko, was killed.

Mr Tedros said cases are increasing because of violent acts that set the organisation response to the disease back. He also urged the international community to step up support to contain the Ebola outbreak; including filling the funding gaps that threaten to stymie the Ebola response.

Invest more in primary health care facilities – WHO

The World Health Organisation has urged governments across Asia and the Pacific to invest more in primary health care as the key to solving the various health challenges facing the countries.

According to the international health agency, investment in primary health care is essential to provide access for all the most vulnerable, build more equitable societies and help economies grow.

Strengthening primary health care means ensuring that all people get the most basic health services as close as possible to where they live and work. The primary level should be people’s first point of contact with the health system.

Ebola: Medical workers demand more protection in DRC

Medical workers fighting Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo are demanding that authorities provide better protection for them after an attack on a treatment centre which led to the death of a doctor.

Ebola responders in the northeastern region of DRC where the epidemic has hit hardest are mostly at risk because the region has long been a conflict zone between armed groups and security forces.

Several treatment centres in the area have been attacked in recent months, and a nurse was killed in Vuhovi, in North Kivu Province, in February by a group of men armed with bows and arrows.

The outbreak has killed 970 people and sickened 1,480 as of April 30, according to the Ministry of Health.

Federal Government inaugurates committee on maternal database

The federal government in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) has inaugurated a Maternal and Perinatal Health Database Committee.

The committee will monitor and generate data from 48 tertiary institutions on the causes of infant and maternal mortality in the country.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said the committee’s main focus is to Strengthen Maternal and Perinatal Health Database for improving Quality of Care during Childbirth (MPHD-4-QED).

He said the inauguration of the committee was an important milestone in health systems strengthening and medical death audit to ensure a rapid reduction of maternal and perinatal mortality. The database to be used was designed to capture the death of mothers or babies as well as the causes of such deaths.

Britain to use space technology to fight cancers

Technology developed decades ago for the space race is to be used in Britain to help fight bowel cancer. This was disclosed on Monday by UK Space Agency.

New health technologies inspired by working in space will provide real-time diagnosis of bowel cancer, the agency said.

A grant of one million pounds will help space technology improve early detection and diagnosis of bowel cancer through a revolutionary artificial intelligence (AI) system developed by Odin Vision, a spin-out from University College London (UCL).

More young people, especially girls attempting suicide – Study

A new study that shows adolescents are attempting suicide by overdose at increasing rates is further evidence that the pervasive public health problem needs more conversation and money, experts say.

This is contained in the report, published recently in The Journal of Pediatrics, by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and the Central Ohio Poison Centre.

In the latest study, John Ackerman, Suicide Prevention Coordinator and other researchers’ analysed data reported to the poison centre from 2000 through November 2018, finding more than 1.6 million suspected suicide attempts by self-poisoning in children and young adults, ages 10 to 24.

It was founded that medication overdose suicide attempts have more than doubled since 2000, and more than tripled for girls.

Traffic pollution causes 4 million childhood asthma cases every year

A global study has found that air pollution from road vehicles is responsible for 13 per cent of asthma diagnoses each year.

The George Washington University study, published in the journal “The Lancet Planetary Health” shows a significant link between the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) output of diesel vehicles—and to a lesser extent other road vehicles—and pediatric asthma incidents.

The researchers arrived at these findings by comparing population data with diagnosed childhood asthma cases. They then looked at NO2 measurements from various monitors both on the ground and in orbit around the Earth. This allowed them to look at the overlap between traffic pollution and asthma cases among children in 194 countries and 125 major cities.

The researchers found that traffic pollution causes around four million childhood asthma cases each year or, to put this in perspective, 11,000 new cases every single day.

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