Major health stories in the news last week

Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health.

NAFDAC South-east zonal laboratory gets international accreditation

The South-east zonal laboratory of the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, in Anambra State has been accredited to test raw materials.

The International Organisation for Standard, ISO,‎ and the International Electro-technical Commission, IEC, presented the accreditation certificate to NAFDAC last week.

The certificate ‎is for testing raw materials in respect of 17025/2005 of the south East zonal NAFDAC Laboratory by ANSI-ASQ International  Accreditation Board.

Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, congratulated the agency on the development, but reminded it that the major challenge was maintaining the accreditation.

Mr. Adewole also spoke about the tariff paid on raw materials in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sub-sector and disclosed that he had taken the issue to the Federal Government for immediate reappraisal to save the local industry.

Nigeria destroys N9.31 billion worth of fake drugs

Nigeria’s federal authorities last week destroyed fake and unwholesome drugs valued at about N9.31 billion.

The Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole,behind the minister is Hon. Chike Obi ,Inspecting the seized fake drugs at NAFADAC dump site in Port Harcourt,Rivers state.
The Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole,behind the minister is Hon. Chike Obi ,Inspecting the seized fake drugs at NAFADAC dump site in Port Harcourt,Rivers state.

The exercise was carried out by the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigerian Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.

The goods were the largest consignments seizure in the last 30 years in Nigeria.

According to a statement by the Federal Ministry of Health, the exercise was led by the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole.

Mr. Adewole described the items as routine drugs in constant demand by Nigerians, stating that it implied a gap in supply to the people in need of drugs.

He called on health workers to work closely with pharmaceutical groups to fill the gap by making sure quality drugs were manufactured locally and at affordable prices to reduce

dependency on importation.

Chike Okafor, the Chairman of the House Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services, at the event said the House would continue to support NAFDAC and the other agencies to rid Nigeria of fake medical products and support all activities to make the lives of Nigerians safe and secured.

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The Comptroller-General of Customs, Hammed Ali, who was represented by his assistant, Sanusi Umar, attributed the success indicated by the seizure to the collaborative efforts of all relevant agencies.

The Acting Director-General of NAFDAC, Yetunde Oni, called on Nigerians to join the fight against fake drugs by providing Information to NAFDAC, pledging that such would be treated with maximum confidentiality.

Major Abuja hospital shut for four days

Wuse District Hospital
Wuse District Hospital

The Wuse General Hospital, one of the main public health facilities in the Federal capital Territory, was shut down for four days from Thursday.

A notice posted on the hospital’s premises, said this was to allow for fumigation of the environment from Thursday to Sunday.

The management of the hospital said it carries out the exercise every year to make the premises safer for patients and staff.

The hospital, located at Zone 3 in the Wuse District, is a major secondary health institution thronged daily by people for medical services.

The notice stated that doctors would stop admission of patients from January 23 and that all patients would be discharged by Wednesday.

Renovated Abuja PHC begins operations

renovation of primary heath care center, Abuja
renovation of primary heath care center, Abuja

Authorities at the Kunchingoro Model Primary Healthcare Center in Abuja last week ramped up efforts to ensure proper services are rendered to the people at the facility.

The centre was the first to be commissioned in the first phase of a Federal Government scheme to revitalise over 10,000 healthcare centres across Nigeria.

A visit to the centre two weeks after the commissioning showed that the staff were working with enthusiasm to ensure that the people of the community were well attended to.

The doctor on call was seen attending to patients but refused to talk to our reporter.

The federal government said a centre would be made functional in each of the 109 senatorial districts of Nigeria in the first phase of the rehabilitation exercise. This means every state of the federation would have three, including one in the Federal Capital Territory.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, had said during the commissioning of the Kuchingoro facility that the goal of revitalizing Primary Health Care Centres was to ensure that quality basic health care services are delivered to majority of Nigerians, irrespective of their location in the country.

The centres are to offer to patients at the grassroots, diagnosis and treatment of common diseases, as well as other services as counselling and referrals.

The departments at the Kunchigoro centre include immunization/ante-natal hall, tuberculosis centre lab, family planning section, post-natal ward, labour room and a standby ambulance.

Govt delivers N4.334 billion worth of health, nutrition items to North-east

The Permanent Secretary,FMOH,Mrs. Binta Adamu Bello,The Governor of Borno State ,Hon. Kashim Shettima and The Hon. Minister of Health,Prof. Isaac Adewole,during the presentation of essential medicals and supplies in Borno State.
The Permanent Secretary,FMOH,Mrs. Binta Adamu Bello,The Governor of Borno State ,Hon. Kashim Shettima and The Hon. Minister of Health,Prof. Isaac Adewole,during the presentation of essential medicals and supplies in Borno State.

The Federal Ministry of Health delivered materials worth N4.334 billion to Borno State to flag off the Health and Nutrition Emergency Response Initiative of the federal government in the North-east.

A press statement by the ministry said that the initiative was to fulfil President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to the people of the zone.

Essential medical materials and other supplies, including vehicles, were handed over to the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, praised President Buhari for providing leadership and taking ownership of providing adequate health care services for the citizens with the support of development partners.

Mr. Adewole called on the officials of the Borno State Ministry of Health and volunteers to ensure judicious use of the items provided.

He stressed that the items were to be distributed to the people free of charge and should not be sold or found in the market.

He warned that anyone caught in untoward activities with the items would face the wrath of the law.

NAFDAC warns skin lightening cream dangerous

Photo credit: Tribune
Photo credit: Tribune

The use of skin lightning creams containing mercury and hydroquinone above two per cent is dangerous to health, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has warned.

The agency cautioned members of the public against using such creams because they have adverse effects on health.

Natim Mullah-Dadi, the Kaduna State coordinator for the agency, gave the warning in an interview. He said the creams do not only destroy the skin, but also destroy organs, specifically targeting the kidney.

“These chemicals damage respiratory, kidney and reproductive systems. Banned chemicals have serious health implications. They cause cancer, affect the nervous system and deform unborn babies among others,” he said.

He urged people to always look for expiry date, ingredient name and NAFDAC registration number on a drug before buying‎.

OAUTH records 14 successful open heart surgery

oauthc-doctorsThe Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Ile-ife, Osun state last week disclosed it recorded 14 successful open heart surgeries in 2016.

The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Victor Adetiloye, attributed the success of the surgeries to the competence of its doctors.

He said routine surgeries Nigerians travel abroad to perform were being successfully handled at lower costs in OAUTHC.

“Nigerians don’t need to travel abroad before they can get solution to their health challenges that can easily be done in OAUTHC, Ile-Ife.  The medical experts presently serving in the hospital are of international standard as they were trained abroad,” Mr. Adetiloye said.

A cardiothoracic surgeon, Uvie Onokpoya, stated that hole in the heart which requires three sections of surgery that people travel to perform at over six million naira in India had been attended to by the medical experts at less than a million naira.

Mr. Onakpoya advised people with medical challenges to always patronize Nigerian hospitals. He said OAUTHC has modern equipment and well trained and highly skilled medical experts.

The hospital authorities called on Nigerians to collaborate with the government to provide more modern equipment and to train and retrain medical personnel to alleviate challenges that make people go abroad for treatment.

FG to launch free healthcare programme in Niger Delta – Minister

Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole
Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole

The Federal Government will next month begin a free healthcare intervention scheme in the nine oil producing states.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, made this known in an interview with the media.

He said the programme would be executed by his ministry in collaboration with the National Association of Urologists, with both parties bearing the cost.

According to Mr. Usani, the essence of the programme is for the people to know their health status and promote healthy living.

He said it was being organised in acknowledgement of the region’s immense contributions to the nation’s economic development.

The programme would cover all kinds of treatment.

Although, he did not disclose the centres, the minister said people in remote areas would not be left out.

FG offers free Healthcare Services in Oyo state

UCH_ibadanAt least 700 people from three local government areas in Oyo state benefited from free health services under the ‘Rapid Response Initiative’ of the Federal Government.

The initiative by the Federal Ministry of Health kicked off at the University College Hospital, UCH, in Ibadan.

The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Temitope Alonge, said that the initiative aimed at providing access to quality healthcare services to poor people in their local communities.

The first phase, which will hold in all localities of the 11 LGAs in Ibadan, started in Akinyele, Ona Ara and Ibadan Northwest LGAs.

Patients were assessed and treated for various ailments ranging from hypertension, diabetes, hernia and eye defects among other complex health issues.

Mr. Alonge disclosed that more than 300 people were given referrals to UCH, out of which at least 60 would be operated upon free of charge.

Babtunde Latunji, the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, in Oyo State, who was part of the outreach, said the initiative focused on providing free access for rural dwellers and those in the urban centres within the city.

“Because of poverty, most people have been keeping their ailments to themselves and they can’t actually seek for the health intervention that rather addressed their issues. With this kind of intervention, we are hopeful that people will be able to access free health services and their health condition will be a little bit ameliorated,” he said.

Stop female circumcision- NOA

genital mutilationParents and guardians have been urged to stop girl child circumcision, also known as genital mutilation.

The Director of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, in Imo State, Vitus Ekeocha, gave the advice at a community event focused on eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM) and cutting.

Mr Ekeocha said the practice is dehumanising and often leads to complications, especially during childbirth.

“When you circumcise a girl child, you are causing health and psychological damage to her. Whether you are cutting or using hand to rub, leave the genital organ of the girl the way God created her. We discovered that most of the women who undergo FGM find it difficult during labour or it may even affect the urethral,” he said.

He urged the participants to see themselves as change agents in their communities by sensitising the people on the dangers of female circumcision.

FGM, also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

There are several myths that have promoted the practice, including claims that women not circumcised have insatiable desire for sex.

Four dead in Plateau Lassa Fever outbreak

Credits: tmreporter
Credits: tmreporter

Cases of Lassa fever were recorded at two hospitals in Jos, Plateau state.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Kamshak Kunden, said four deaths were recorded from five reported cases of the disease in January.

Three deaths were recorded at the Jos University Teaching Hospital while the other patient died at the Bingham Teaching Hospital.

“The high mortality rate were due to late presentation of patients to healthcare facilities. Getting the drug to manage the disease is difficult because it is not sold in the open market. Lassa fever is best managed when patients start taking the drug within the first week of contracting the disease”, he said.

Mr. Kunden said the Ministry of Health had commenced sensitisation in the 17 local government areas of the state to enlighten the people on how to prevent the disease.

Resident doctors suspends strike, give 21-day ultimatum

Resident DoctorsThe National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, ended its seven days nationwide warning strike and gave the Federal

Government another 21-day ultimatum to meet its demands.

John Onyebueze, president of the association, in an interview with the media said the doctors has called off the warning strike which started on January 18 and were giving the Federal Government another ultimatum to see if the government would embark on its promises.

Mr. Onyebueze said their demands border on welfare, revamping decayed infrastructure and equipment in government-owned health institutions, and provision of quality and affordable healthcare to the populace.

Other demands include immediate implementation of the National Health Act, 2014, and release of the template and implementation of white paper on residency training programme.

“The last time we met with the government officials they made some promises. We are giving them between 21 days, if we do not see the committee working or implementing the National Health Act, that means it is a mere promise.

“On the other issues regarding welfare, the government also made some promises, which of course they have been making since 2013.


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