Health stories in the news last week

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Malaria vaccine in trial phase

The Director for Vaccines at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Orin Levine, said scientists at the organisation were moving to the next stage of evaluation of a malaria vaccine candidate.

He said experts, researchers and physicians at the organisation were working towards finding solutions to neglected infectious diseases killing children and adults in Africa.

“Vaccination has played a vital role in child health across the world and same approach is what we want to bring to the development of malaria vaccine. We are not there yet, but we are very hopeful”, he said.

Mr. Levine urged the federal and state governments in Nigeria to increase funding of routine immunisation programmes to sustain them.

Know your genotype before marriage – Gowon

A former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, urged intending couples to know their genotype before marriage in order to prevent the complications associated with sickle cell anemae.

While expressing concern over global statistics that 75 per cent of sickle cell cases in the world occur in Nigeria, he urged the federal government to do more, regretting that his government could not take steps to combat the menace of the disease because its enormity was unknown at the time.

Eyitayo Lambo, a former Minister of Health, said the disease could be managed effectively by medical practitioners especially if there was increased intervention by government and sickle cell foundations to allow for early detection.

He said researches are ongoing on drugs that can be used to effectively manage people with sickle cell.

One dies of Lassa fever in Cross River

A 22-year-old woman, Itodo Christabel, was confirmed to have died of Lassa Fever in Calabar, Cross River state

Ms. Itodo who had taken ill in Benue State requested to be referred to Eburutu Barracks clinic in Calabar, where her husband who works with the military lives.

It was from Eburutu clinic that she was taken to the Navy Hospital, Calabar, where she was managed for some days before being referred to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital where she died less than 12 hours after admission.

The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Thomas Agan, who confirmed the incident, said doctors and nurses who attended to her had been quarantined.

Nigeria Health workers threaten strike

The National Union of Allied Health Professionals, NUAHP, has put Nigeria’s federal government on notice that its members would go on strike after February 27, if it fails to address the rot in the health system.

The president of the group, Ogbonna Obinna, gave the notice during street protest in Abuja. The group comprises all hospital health staff apart from medical doctors.

Some of the inscriptions they displayed on placards during the protest include: “Federal Ministry of Health has legalised corruption”, and “Our hospitals are empty.”

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences accredited in 18 universities

The Registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Elijah Mohammed, said the Council has so far accredited the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 18 universities across the country.

Mr. Mohammed said the accreditation is to ensure that qualified professionals are produced in the universities. He said about 1,500 pharmacists were being produced annually in the country, and that number was grossly inadequate.

Some of the accredited institutions are Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, University of Maiduguri, University of Jos, University of Nigeria Nsukka, and Madonna University Okija, University of Port Harcourt, Nmamdi Azikiwe University Akwa, University of Uyo, Delta State University Abraka, and University of Benin.

Others include University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye.

Gate Foundation spent $250 million on humanitarian service in Nigeria in 2016 – Official

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said that it spent $250 million dollars on health, education and improving the lives of the poor in Nigeria in 2016.

Mairo Mandara, its Country Representative, said the organisation spent about $35million five years ago but it had to spend more last year because the needs were high.

She said there will be a little increase in the amount the foundation will spend in Nigeria this year.

“We see the need and then address the need based increasingly on partnership with the government; we look at what the government is trying to put on its own scale and then partner with them.”

She urged wealthy Nigerians to help improve the lives of others and bridge the poverty gap, adding that millionaires around the world had started supporting it.

Ogun prosecutes 10 fake doctors

The Ogun State Commissioner of Health, Babatunde Ipaye, said the state government had dragged about 10 “fake medical practitioners” to court for allegedly operating illegal medical facilities in the state.

Mr. Ipaye said the suspects were arrested during a monitoring of medical facilities across the state after being identified to be using fake documents to operate clinics and hospitals.

He said some of the fake doctors had caused the death of four pregnant women in Ifo Local Government Area where a particular hospital ruptured four pregnancies.

He said the ministry would not relent in its fight against quacks and quackery in the state. The state government has so far ‎ shut down 168 private health facilities following the failure of the owners to revalidate or register the facilities.

FG to help homegrown drug manufacturers reach production target

The federal government has told pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in Nigeria that it is ready to support them in ensuring that 70 per cent of the drugs Nigerians need are produced in the country, in line with the National Drug Policy.

According to a statement from his office, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, at a meeting with members of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), said the Health Ministry was ready to support willing and capable groups to expedite action towards the achievement of that goal and ensure access to quality medicines by Nigerians at affordable cost.

The National Drug Policy stipulates that Nigeria should aim at producing 70 per cent of its medicines needs.

Ogun state commissions children emergency medical units

Ogun State government has commissioned an emergency facility in a bid to enhance child health care services in the state.

The state commissioner of health, Babatunde Ipaye, who commissioned the one-stop shop for child care delivery at the General Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta, said the facility would enable children access health care services without stress.

The facility is equipped with a state of the art laboratory, pharmacy and doctor’s call room for 24 hours a day service.

Americans and life expectancy

A research led by scientist from Imperial College London in collaboration with the World Health Organisation shows that the average life expectancy is set to increase in many high income countries by 2030.

The result showed that the United State is likely to have the lowest life expectancy at birth by that year among the countries. The research team explained that the poor results in the United States are due to a lack of universal health coverage, as well as its highest child and maternal mortality and homicide rate among high-income countries.

Life expectancy is projected to rise in all 35 industrialized countries covered in the study, with a probability of at least 65 percent for women and 85 percent for men.

Army medics take charge of Zimbabwe hospital

Zimbabwe has deployed army medics to work at major public hospitals following a week-long strike by junior doctors who are demanding an increase in call allowances and a duty free car facility.

Gerald Gwinji, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, said the doctors’ strike had put pressure on public hospitals, which were already struggling with shortages of drugs and under-funding from the government.

Edgar Munatsi, the president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, which called the strike, said doctors wanted their call allowances to be increased to $10 an hour from the current $1.20. He said more than 400 doctors were staying away from work, warning that senior doctors could also join the strike.


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