Major health stories last week

A primary healthcare centre in one of the communities in Enugu West
A primary healthcare centre

The Third Annual Summit for the Legislative Network for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was one of the major health events which took place in the country last week. The summit was aimed at exposing the lawmakers to the problems in the health sector and seek ways for the country to achieve UHC.

Also, on the international scene, there were various health day celebrations such as the World Diabetes Day, World Pneumonia Day .

Here is a roundup of some of the health stories in the week.

NMA seeks revamp of primary healthcare system

Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has called for revamp of Primary Healthcare system in the country, with focus on funding, infrastructure rehabilitation and development.

The call is in a communique following the 2nd Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National Health Summit and 25th Commonwealth Medical Association Triennial Conference held in Abuja.

The association urged governments at all levels to revamp Primary Health Care centres (PHCs) in the country, noting that funding, infrastructure rehabilitation and development, as well as human resource for health and policy implementation were crucial areas toward achieving healthy communities.

Countries need $264bn to end maternal deaths – UN study

Countries need about $264 billion, the equivalent cost of 110 military aircrafts, to end maternal deaths, gender-based violence, child marriage, and provide family planning to all women by 2030, said a United Nations study.

An investment of $115.5 billion – which is equivalent to the cost of 46 high-end military aircraft, would end needless maternal deaths by 2030, researchers said at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Kenya.

The price for ending the 12 million child marriages every year would be $35 billion, they said, adding it would cost $600 to spare a girl from becoming a child bride – the equivalent cost of a one night in a luxury hotel.

South Africa dismisses reported Ebola outbreak

South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Thursday said they have not confirmed any Ebola cases in the country or neighbouring countries.

This follows media reports that a South African woman, staying in Ficksburg not far from neighbouring country Lesotho, was confirmed as the first case of Ebola in the country.

“We have not had any positive Ebola cases in South Africa or neighbouring countries.

Cost of treatment drug for Tuberculosis slashed 70%

A French pharmaceutical giant has slashed the price of a critically important antibiotic used to prevent tuberculosis, giving new hope of beating the disease to millions of people – including hundreds of thousands living with HIV.

The cost of the drug, rifapentine, will be cut from $45 to $15 for a recommended three-month course of treatment in 100 nations – including 48 in Africa – where TB is a big killer.

The discount deal was negotiated with the pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, by Unitaid and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, two initiatives which mobilise resources and finance to fight threats to public health

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Swine flu kills fourth person in Vietnam in 2019

A 37-year-old Buddhist nun in Vietnam’s central highlands has died of swine flu, bringing the total number killed by the disease this year to four, authorities said on Tuesday.

The patient initially experienced a mild fever and fatigue before growing malnourished.

She was admitted in the hospital in Kon Tum City on November 3, for intensive treatment but died on November 8, the statement said.

WHO moves to make insulin more accessible for diabetes patients

The World Health Organisation on Thursday announced a pilot programme to ‘prequalify’ human insulin as an alternative means in the treatment of diabetes in low and middle-income countries such as Nigeria.

This is expected to make insulin products more accessible and affordable for the treatment of diabetic patients in countries with low-income levels.

The decision was announced in a press statement on Wednesday ahead of the World Diabetes Day.

First Case of Sexually Transmitted Dengue in Spain and Europe

Spain confirmed the first case of sexually transmitted dengue, according to health ministry officials in Madrid. This is the first case of sexual transmission of the dengue virus described in Europe, and also the first case reported in men who have sex with men.

As reported by the Consejería de Sanidad, in September, Hospital Ramón y Cajal staff in Madrid notified Madrid’s Dirección General de Salud Pública of the two cases of dengue (one native and one imported) in two local men.

After further epidemiological investigation, scientists ruled that the disease must have been sexually transmitted from one of the partners.


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