New health ‘ministers’, polio eradication, others dominate health stories last week

Health ministers, Ehanire and Mamora addressing pressman on resumption to office
Health ministers, Ehanire and Mamora addressing pressman on resumption to office

The health sector at the local and international levels experienced many activities and developments during the week.

Aside from new appointments and nominations, policies expected to revolutionise the African health sector were endorsed and new researches aimed at improving healthcare delivery were assigned.

Also, Nigeria and the WHO African Region celebrated three years of no wild polio case detection in the country and on the continent.

On the local scene, the big news was the inauguration of the health ministers by President Muhammad Buhari.

At the international level, 47 African health ministers met for five days (Monday to Friday) in Brazzaville, Congo at the 69th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa.

PREMIUM TIMES brings you a roundup of some of the major news during the week.

Ehanire, Mamora resume as new health ministers

Osagie Ehanire and Olorunnimbe Mamora on Wednesday resumed office at the Federal Ministry of Health as Minister Health and Minister of State, respectively.

The ministers who reported at the ministry a few hours after their inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari said they would execute the agenda of the president on delivery of quality healthcare to Nigerians.

Mr Ehanire said they would deliver Mr Buhari’s promise of revitalisation of the health sector.

Doctors task Nigeria’s new health minister on brain drain, others

Doctors, under the aegis of the Medical Guild, have called on the new Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, to improve on the nation’s health sector and continue from where his predecessor, Isaac Adewole, stopped.

The Guild’s Chairman, Babajide Saheed, said a lot needs to be done to improve the healthcare system.

He said the new minister should ensure delivery of Universal Health Coverage to the country. This, he said, can be achieved by making the primary healthcare system functional.

Advocates urge Nigerian government to raise tax on tobacco

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Nigerian tobacco control advocates have urged the federal government to raise the tax on tobacco products and earmark a percentage of these for tobacco control activities across the country.

The group said such measures will reduce the menace of tobacco use in the country.

It said further that this would make funds available to carry out activities targeted at rolling back tobacco addiction and ill-health associated with tobacco use in Nigeria.

Accelerated research necessary for malaria eradication – WHO

Accelerated research and development (R&D) in new tools for malaria prevention and treatment is key if the world is to eradicate malaria in the foreseeable future, the World Health Organisation has said.

The UN health agency said less than one per cent of funding for health R&D investment goes to developing tools to tackle malaria.

The findings by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication (SAGme) to achieve a malaria free world said there must be a drive for transformative strategies and tools that can be tailored to the local situation.

The group published the executive summary of its report ahead of a WHO-hosted forum on “Rising to the Challenge of Malaria Eradication” to be held in Geneva on September 9.

Nigeria still has a long way to in immunisation – EU

Despite investing over €200 million in Nigeria’s health sector since 2002, the European Union (EU) has said there is still a long way to go in the country’s immunisation programme.

Speaking at the end of its project dissemination seminar, European Union Support to Immunisation Governance (EU-SIGN) in Abuja on Thursday, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and West Africa, Ketil Karlsen, said this has left the union with mixed feelings.

World Bank, partners deploy funds to WHO to fight Ebola in DRC

With the goal to put an end to the deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Bank and World Health Organisation along with the government and key partners are working closely on stopping the spread of the deadly disease.

The World Bank announced that US$50 million will be released to WHO for its lifesaving operational work on the frontlines of the outbreak.

WHO said the fund will close the financing gap for its emergency health response in DRC through to the end of September 2019, and is calling on other partners to mirror this generous support in order to fund the response through to December.

WHO advocates more research on health impact of microplastics

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for further assessment of microplastics in the environment and their potential impact on human health.

This call was made on Thursday following the release of an analysis of current researches related to microplastics in drinking water.

Although the international health organisation said the level of microplastics in drinking water is not yet dangerous for humans, it still called for more research into potential future risk.

Ebola: Medical directors urge FG to imortalise Adedavoh

The Guild of Medical Directors, Federal Capital Territory branch has called on the federal government to declare August 19 a national holiday in memory of late Stella Ameyo Adadevoh.

The medical directors said Ms Adadevoh made a huge sacrifice in protecting millions of Nigerians from Ebola disease and that according her the honour was long overdue.

Mrs Adadevoh helped prevent the spread of Ebola virus in the country through Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian (and first index case of the disease in Nigeria) who had come into the country and was treated at her hospital in July 2014.

WHO, Heads of African countries glad as region reaches last mile of wild polio

African leaders and developmental partners working on the eradication of polio have been urged not to relent on their achievements in ending polio on the continent.

Speaking on the milestone achieved in polio eradication on the continent, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said WHO is confident that soon the agency would be trumpeting the certification that countries have, once and for all, kicked polio out of Africa.

August 21 marks the third year of no wild polio case notification in the continent.

A total of 47 countries in the WHO Africa Region are yet to be certified polio-free because of the polio case detected in Nigeria in August 2016.

African health ministers agree on new response strategy for disease outbreaks

African health ministers have adopted a 10-year regional strategy to strengthen integrated disease surveillance and response in the continent.

The ministers adopted the Regional Strategy for Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response 2020–2030 on Wednesday at the 69th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa, in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo.

The strategy is necessary for disease control because of the increasing reports of acute public health events across Africa.


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