Major health stories in the news last week

World Health Organisation (WHO) Head-Quater in Geneva, Switzerland. Copyright : WHO/Pierre Virot

While the World Health Organisation celebrated 40 years of eradication of smallpox virus, the resurgence of some vaccine-preventable diseases, such as polio and measles, is posing concern on the international health scene.

Here is a round up of the major health stories last week –

WHO celebrates 40 years of smallpox eradication

The World Health Organisation on Saturday celebrated 40 years of the eradication of the smallpox virus globally.

The historic feat was achieved on December 9, 1979. Five months later, in May 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly issued its official declaration that “the world and all its peoples have won freedom from smallpox.”

WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said, “Smallpox is the only human disease ever eradicated, a testimony to what we can achieve when all nations work together.” He called for support in the eradication of polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases globally.

Armed robbers attack hospital, rob patients, staff – Police

An armed robbery gang attacked a hospital in Ogun State and stole from the patients and staff.

The incident occurred in a private hospital in Ibafo in Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.

The police spokesperson in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, on Sunday, said the armed robbers attacked the Riverside hospital at Omolaja Odunbaku in the community, subjecting patients and their relatives, as well as the staff to mental torture.

Global STD test, product market projected to grow in the next five year- Report

A new market report has projected that the global sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing market could grow by $ 73.59 billion during the next five years (2019-2023).

The market research conducted by Technavio said the growth of the market can be attributed to factors such as increased government initiatives to curb the spread of STDs, presence of favorable reimbursement policies, and the increasing prevalence of STDs.

The report said the market will witness significant demand for laboratory testing devices over the period. It predicted that North American region will remain the largest market for STD testing over the forecast period due to increasing awareness about the spread of STDs and their treatment and prevention among consumers in the region.

Aisha Buhari names Dolapo Osinbajo, governors’ wives as TB champions

Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has appointed Dolapo Osinbajo, the wife of the vice president, and wives of all state governors as ‘champions’ to lead the fight against TB in Nigeria.

This was contained in a statement released by the Executive Secretary, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Mayowa Joel.

Tuberculosis is an infectious airborne disease that is transmitted when individuals inhale the bacteria expelled into the air by infected TB patients through coughing, sneezing or even talking. It is curable if detected early and treated properly.

TB is now the world’s leading infectious killer, surpassing HIV.

WHO develop new advice on curbing deadly non-communicable diseases

World leaders and health experts have recommended to the World Health Organisation eight new steps that could save millions of lives and promote mental health.

The WHO Independent High-level Commission on non-communicable diseases was convened by WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, in October 2017 to identify innovative ways to curb the world’s leading causes of death: cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, respiratory diseases and mental health conditions.

The Commission highlighted that non-communicable diseases still account for more than 70 per cent of deaths and stressed that “progress against NCDs and mental health conditions must be greatly accelerated if the 2030 Agenda is to succeed.”

25 years to reduce doctors’ shortage in Nigeria

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) says with at least 3,000 doctors graduating yearly, it would take about 25 years to produce adequate numbers of doctors to cater for the country’s population.

The president of the association, Francis Faduyile, said the few healthcare practitioners in Nigeria were overwhelmed as a doctor caters for about 10,000 to 22,000 patients, instead of the World Health Organisation recommendation of a doctor to 600 patients.

He said currently, the nation’s education institutions graduate about 3,000 doctors yearly. With such numbers, he said, it would take about 25 years to produce the number of doctors required to cater for Nigeria’s increasing population.

UNICEF commends Kwara State over health spending

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commended the Kwara State Government for spending over N92 million on the health sector within the last six months.

A health specialist, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, Ahmed Tsofo, during the 2019 End-Year Review and Planning meeting in Ilorin, said the amount spent by the government between May and November was an improvement on the previous years’ expenditure on health in the state.

He explained that the money was specifically spent on campaigns on polio, measles and meningitis, which according to him are part of immunization activities.

Court sentences fake doctor to 54 years in jail

The State High Court 1 in Yola, Adamawa State, has sentenced a fake medical doctor, Ibrahim Mustapha, to 54 years in jail.

Justice Nathan Musa gave the ruling on Monday following an earlier plea of guilt by the accused.

The judge said the court had considered the plea by the convict’s counsel for a mitigated sentence, and therefore sentenced him on the nine counts charge. All the terms will run concurrently meaning that he will spend 10 years behind bars.

Mr Mustapha was arrested by the State Security Services in June this year for operating without valid papers.

Mumbs outbreak in British varsities

Hundreds of students across British universities have been infected by a severe mumps outbreak.

Public Health England figures show that more than 7,200 suspected mumps cases have been reported in the UK since July, almost triple the same period last year.

Health officials said the surge is linked to the dip in immunisation rate especially from about two decades ago. The current generation of students were born at the height of the mass health scare triggered in 1998 when a now disgraced doctor, Andrew Wakefield, made a link between vaccine and autism.

Health officials, however, urged anyone who has not gotten the MMR vaccine to get vaccinated.

Study suggests vapers are 1.3 times more likely to develop lung disease

A new three-year study from UC San Francisco associated vaping with an increased risk of developing lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. It also showed that it is a major risk factor for pulmonary diseases.

A senior author, Stanton Glantz, said in a statement said they found out that for e-cigarette users, the odds of developing lung disease increased by about a third, even after controlling their tobacco use and their clinical and demographic information.
Mostly, high risk was found among people who combined both conventional cigarettes and vaping. Overall, the evidence is not looking good for the health effects of vaping.

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