World Malaria Day – Nigeria pledges commitment to eliminating malaria
Globally, there were lots of activities in the health sector in commemoration of the World Malaria Day celebrated April 25.
With the theme “Ready to Beat Malaria”, governments, health development partners, policy makers and philanthropist financing humanitarian activities used the week to raise awareness on the need to eliminate malaria, a killer diseases which kills over 445,000 people yearly.
Nigerian government said in the past ten years it has committed N198 billion in fight against malaria and would be borrowing more funds this year to fight the disease.
Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO), show that about 3.4 billion people live in areas prone to malaria in 91 countries and territories. Of this, Nigeria has the highest burden, put at 27 per cent. It also reveals an estimated 216 million malaria cases and 445,000 deaths. 91 per cent of the deaths in 2016, were in African region.
Scientists decode enzyme causing ageing, cancer
Scientists have announced the completion of a 20 years quest to map the complex enzyme thought to forestall ageing by repairing the tips of chromosomes in plants and animals, including humans.
The scientists, in the journal, Nature, said decoding the architecture of the enzyme called telomerase could lead to drugs that slow or block ageing process along with new treatments for cancer.
The lead investigator, Kathleen Collins, a molecular biologist at the University of California in Berkley said the research has been a long time coming. She said their findings provide a structural framework for understanding human telomerase disease mutation and represent an important step towards telomerase related clinical therapeutics.
Hajj 2018: Nigeria assures Saudi authorities of tackling Lassa fever
Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has said that the country is on the verge of tackling the Lassa fever outbreak.
The minister, in response to fears raised by Saudi Arabian authorities on the outbreak of the disease in Nigeria and its likely impact on Hajj 2019, said Nigeria is almost free of the disease and a declaration on that would soon be made.
According to the WHO, 1081 suspected cases and 90 deaths have been reported from 18 states (Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekite, Federal Capital Territory, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, Rivers, and Taraba) between January 1 through February 25, this year.
WHO, however, said in a report that there is a steady decline in Lassa fever cases and deaths from 70, as at, February 18, to five, as at April 15.
Gene therapy can be used to cure Cancer, Sickle Cell Anaemia – Expert
Gene therapy can be used for the treatment and elimination of terminal ailments such as Cancer and Sickle Cell Anaemia, says Rose Gidado, the Scientific Officer and Assistant Director of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).
This, she said, is made possible through editing and modification of genes that make the human system susceptible to such terminal diseases.
Gene therapy is the introduction of normal genes into cells in place of missing or defective ones in order to correct genetic disorders. It is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease.
In the future, researchers believe this technique may allow doctors to treat all disorders by inserting a gene into a patient’s cells instead of using drugs or surgery.
Nigerian approves licensing, commercialisation of anti-sickle cell drug
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has given approval to the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NAPRED) and May and Baker Plc to scale up the commercialisation and marketing of Niprisan, an anti-sickle cell drug for the treatment of sickle cell patients in Nigeria.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said FEC gave the licensing agreement to NAPRED and May and Baker Plc to produce the drugs in commercial scale with the aim of reducing the burden of the disease in Africa and other parts of the world where the disease is common.
Sickle cell disease is a common problem particularly among blacks in Africa, South East Asia and Latin America. It is estimated that about 25 per cent of Nigerians carry the sickle cell gene and over two million people have sickle cell anaemia, that is, having the two genes combined.
Amend TETFund Act to cater for schools of nursing – Bida provost
The provost, Niger State College of Nursing Sciences, Bida, Fatimah Ndanusa, has called for the amendment of the Act establishing Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), to cater for schools of Nursing in the country.
Ms Ndanusa said the amendment would allow the fund to take care of schools that provide middle level manpower medical services for Nigeria.
TETFund was established by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment, etc.) Act of 2011, to collect and administer education tax for the rehabilitation, restoration and consolidation of tertiary education in Nigeria.
Ms Ndanusa said the Niger State school of Nursing, which had, in 42 years, trained medical manpower for the country, was suffering federal government’s neglect.
UNICEF: 4.3m Nigerian children miss vaccination annually
The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that despite tremendous progress made in the reduction of child mortality rate in Nigeria, about 4.3 million children still miss out on vaccinations every year.
The representative of UNICEF Nigeria, Mohamed Malick Fall, said the recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by the Government of Nigeria in 2016/17 shows that only one in four children in the country receive all the recommended vaccines.
But Mr Fall said immunisation coverage for pentavalent vaccine between the 36 states varies dramatically from 80 per cent in Lagos to three per cent in Sokoto and is still below the recommended global goal of 90 per cent in all of them.
According to him, children who have never been vaccinated are at the greatest risk of contracting diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and tetanus, which may be fatal or lead to long-term debilitating effects on survivors.
UNFPA: $10m Annual Budgetary Allocation to Family Planning
The Country Representative of United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), Diene Keita, has called on the federal government to improve its annual budgetary allocation to Family Planning (FP) and Reproductive health.
This is coming as stakeholders called for the inclusion of men in the family planning processes.
Ms Keita said that the estimated sum of $8-10 million budgeted for FP is poor, despite commendable government efforts.
“Nigerian Government needs to do more as only about $8-10 million is expended on Family Planning whereas India spends over $1 billion annually. Sometimes also it may not be about money but to ensure that the environment is right,” she said.
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