World Hepatitis Day, Breastfeeding Week, others dominate health stories last week

Breastfeeding Photo: The Guardian
A mother breastfeeding her baby used to illustrate the story
Photo: The Guardian

It was a busy week in the health sector globally.

There were two major events in the health sector during the week – World Hepatitis Day celebrated July 28 and the World Breastfeeding Week on August 1.

The two events draw attention to a disease that has killed millions of people globally and the need to improve on breastfeeding to have healthier babies.

Here are some highlights from the health sector last week:

World Breastfeeding Week

As countries around the world celebrated the World Breastfeeding Week, UNICEF and WHO called on governments and all employers to adopt family-friendly policies that support breastfeeding.

The World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every first week in August. The theme for this year is “Empower Parent, Enable Breastfeeding”.

The UN agencies said family-friendly policies such as paid parental leave – enable breastfeeding and help parent nurture and bond with their children in early life when it matters most.

Governor suspends medical director, four doctors

The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has suspended a medical director and four resident doctors, who were not at their duty posts on the night he paid surprise visits to some public hospitals in Maiduguri.

The governor had, on Monday night, paid unscheduled visits to some of the state-owned general hospitals to find out how the health facilities are being run. The affected doctors were not present when he visited.

Before now, there had been complaints of patients being left unattended to at night by doctors, who rather engage in private practice.

Gbajabiamila meets doctors over planned strike

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Monday met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, over its planned industrial action.

The speaker held a meeting with the association and officials of the Federal Ministry of Health at the National Assembly to resolve pending issues.

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At the end of the meeting, Mr Gbajabiamila “was able to convince both parties to reach an agreement on how to settle the matter.”

DRC: Third Ebola death in Goma

A third death caused by Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has sparked concerns in neighbouring countries and led to temporary closure of the border by neighbouring Rwanda.

The Ebola epidemic is entering its second year after claiming more than 1,800 lives.

The report is coming a few weeks after the first case was reported in the highly populated city of Goma. The city, which houses about two million people, lies just across the border from the Rwandan city of Gisenyi.

WHO urges countries to invest in eliminating hepatitis

The World Health Organisation in collaboration with other health partners across the globe celebrated World Hepatitis Day on July 28.

The day is celebrated to raise global awareness about hepatitis.

This year, WHO called on countries to take advantage of the reduction in the cost of diagnosis and treatment of viralhepatitis and scale up investment in the elimination of the disease.

NISA Premier hospital performs first kidney transplant in Abuja

NISA Premiere Hospital, Abuja, has carried out its first kidney transplant in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The chairman of the hospital, Ibrahim Wada, said the transplantation was carried out on a woman by the hospital in collaboration with a Nigerian American doctor and his team.

Mr Wade said the medical feat was the first of its kind in Abuja.

Poor PHC policies implementation worries researchers

About 80 per cent of deaths in rural communities across Nigeria are due to poor implementation of Primary Healthcare policies, a doctor and researcher, Tolu Fakeye, has said.

Mr Fakeye spoke Tuesday at the 8th Annual Scientific Conference and General Meeting of the Epidemiological Society of Nigeria (EPiSON) held in Jos, Plateau State.

The event was organised by EPiSON in partnership with PACFaH@Scale.

Mr Fakeye made a presentation on research titled “A scoping Mission on Primary Health Care Under One Roof in Nigeria (PHCUOR)”.

The research was conducted by the Society for Public Health Professionals of Nigeria (SPHCN).

The shortcomings of the PHCs have forced many women in Nigeria to patronise traditional birth attendants, despite the risks involved.

Suicide: NARICT develops non-toxic alternative to Sniper

The National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) says it is currently developing a non-toxic chemical product for the Nigerian market as a substitute for the killer Sniper pesticide.

The Director-General of NARICT, Jeffrey Barminas, said the agency will be producing a non-toxic chemical product which can be used for pesticide control instead of Sniper.

The sale of the agricultural chemical in the open market was proscribed by the Nigerian agency in charge of drug control because of the increasing use of the toxic chemical by youth as an instrument for suicide.

WHO launches report on the global tobacco epidemic

A new World Health Organisation report on the tobacco epidemic has shown that many countries are still not adequately implementing tobacco control policies, including helping people quit smoking.

The seventh WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic analyses national efforts to implement the most effective measures from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) that are proven to reduce demand for tobacco.

The report, however, shows that some governments are making progress in the fight against tobacco, with five billion people living in countries that have introduced smoking bans, graphic warnings on packaging and other effective tobacco measures. This, the UN agency, said is four times more than what was obtainable a decade ago.

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