Major health stories published last week

Conjoined twin babies, Goodness and Mercy Martins, with their parents after separation.
Conjoined twin babies, Goodness and Mercy Martins, with their parents after separation.

The media last week reported the successful separation of conjoined twins in Abuja. This was a major medical feat for the country as the surgery was carried out by a 78-member team right in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, deaths recorded from measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo reached an alarming level.

Here is a round-up of some of the health stories that made the news last week.

How Nigerian hospital separated conjoined twins

Conjoined twin babies, Goodness and Mercy Martins, will now have a chance at living their individual lives after undergoing a successful operation that separated them.

The National Hospital in Abuja conducted the separation of the twins joined at the chest, abdomen and liver on November 14.

The hospital management said it did not collect a dime from the parents for the surgery, its procedure and the 16-month period the twins spent in the facility.

Ministry confirms outbreak of Lassa fever in Abia community

The Abia Ministry of Health has confirmed the outbreak of Lassa fever in one of the local governments in the state.

The permanent secretary of the ministry, Egbulefu Eze, said the disease was reported in a 28-year-old made from Olokoro community, Umuahia South Local Government Area.

Although the victim died at the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, where he was admitted, Mr Eze allayed the fears of possible epidemic in the state.

He said the ministry was taking measures to contain its spread.

Nurses seek funding to address health sector challenges

Nurses and midwives at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Edo State have called on the government at all levels to pay attention to the health sector needs in Nigeria.

The medical practitioners made the appeal at the commencement of a three- day sensitisation walk to mark the beginning of the year 2020, which was tagged the Year of the Nurse by the World Health Organisation.

The nurses decried the increasing rate of migration of Nigerian medical personnel to other countries, where there are better opportunities for quality healthcare.

Low-fat diet linked to lower testosterone levels in men

For the many men diagnosed with testosterone deficiency, losing weight can help increase testosterone levels.

But certain diets—specifically a low-fat diet—may be associated with a small but significant reduction in testosterone, suggests a study in The Journal of Urology, Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA).

According to the report, Jake Fantus of the Section of Urology, Department of Surgery, University of Chicago Medicine and colleagues,“found that men who adhered to a fat restrictive diet had lower serum testosterone than men on a nonrestrictive diet”.

The researchers add, “the clinical significance of small differences in serum T across diets is unclear.”

Deaths from DRC measles outbreak top 6000

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling for more funding to stop the measles outbreak which has been ravaging the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since 2019.

As the death toll surpasses 6,000, the UN agency said the lack of funding remains a huge impediment to successfully curbing the disease.

So far, $27.6 million has been mobilised. However, a further $40 million is required for a six-month plan to extend the vaccination to children between six and 14 years and to reinforce elements of the outbreak response beyond vaccination.

This includes improving treatment, health education, community engagement, health system strengthening, epidemiological surveillance and response coordination.

Antibiotics combination for infected patients promote resistance – study

A team of researchers from the Hebrew University and Shaare Zedek Medical Center has found evidence that suggests administering combinations of antibiotics to patients with bacterial infections might be promoting resistance transmission.

In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes its research on patients with bacterial infections and what they learned.

They suggest that giving patients combinations of antibiotics is making bacteria develop resistance to the drugs easier. They plan to study the effect in patients infected with different types of bacteria.

China reports first death from mystery pneumonia outbreak

A 61-year-old man has become the first person to die in China from a respiratory illness believed caused by a new virus from the same family as SARS, which claimed hundreds of lives more than a decade ago, authorities said.

Forty-one people with pneumonia-like symptoms have so far been diagnosed with the new virus in Wuhan, with one of the victims dying on Thursday, the central Chinese city’s health commission said on its website on Saturday.

The episode has caused alarm due to the spectre of SARS, or Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which in 2002-2003 killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong, whose economy was hit hard by the epidemic’s devastating impact on tourism.


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