Major health stories in the news last week

Kuchingoro Primary Health Care Centre, Abuja

World Tuberculosis Day: Nigeria outlines plans to improve identification, treatment

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, unveiled a Gene-Xpert Laboratory at the Kunchingoro Primary Healthcare Model Centre, to commemorate the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day and bring TB screening closer to the community.

The Gene-Xpert MTB/RIF technology will be used as the primary diagnostic tool for TB among all presumptive TB cases in the country, including People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).

The Federal Ministry of Health and international partners took this step to accelerate TB case findings in Nigeria as the ministry said it targets having one machine per LGA across the country.

In the same vein, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, called on state governments to create stronger collaboration between their programmes for the treatment of TB and HIV.

The Director General of NACA, Sani Aliyu, said TB and HIV pose serious challenges to the Nigerian health sector and global efforts to fight TB and HIV require improved collaboration between programmes to ensure a holistic approach in dealing with the dual epidemic.

He said Nigeria needs to urgently upscale efforts in preventing, diagnosing and treating TB because TB remains the commonest infection suffered by people living with HIV.

French firm takes over Swipha

Biogaran, a French pharmaceutical company specialised in generic and biosimilar medicines, and a subsidiary of Servier, has taken over all the activities of Swipha, a Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturing and distributing company known for drug quality.

Swipha produces medicines to meet local health needs and focuses on three families of products: anti-anxiety and tranquillizers, antimalarial drugs, and antibiotics.

Swipha was the first Nigerian pharmaceutical company to obtain ISO 9001 certification in 2007. It was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2014, employs 300 people locally and generated record sales of four billion naira (approximately € 20 million) in 2012.

Government employs Midwives for PHCs

The Federal Government deployed more than 1,473 newly graduated basic midwives to Primary Health Care Centres, PHCs, in rural areas throughout the 36 states and FCT in 2016.

The recruitment and deployment was undertaken through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA. The deployment of the midwives was aimed at improving maternal, new-born and child health outcomes and consolidation on the gains of the Midwives Services Scheme (MSS) of the Federal Government.

Kidney theft: Patient surviving on life support machine

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The Adamawa State Government has confirmed that a victim of kidney theft, Isa Hamman, 23, is still surviving on life support machine at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, nine months after a doctor at a private clinic in Jimeta allegedly conducted a surgery on him in 2016 removing his kidney in the process.

Fatima Atiku, the state Commissioner for Health, said the patient is stable, but will still have to survive on a machine due to the lack of suitable kidney for his body.

Premium Times Centre launches Health Tracker

The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, PTCIJ, has launched a Primary Health Care tracker as part of its strategic vision of employing civic technology solution to address health care provision in Nigeria.

The tracker, named PHC Tracker, seeks to bring service delivery in the health sector within the purview of the people in a way to give substance to accountability of citizens over government policies in the sector. It will enable citizens and journalists track and report on healthcare service delivery and project implementation in the country.

Yobe govt receives hospital equipment worth N70 million

The Department for International Development, DFID, and Maternal and Neonatal Child Health 2 (MNCH2) have delivered hospital equipment worth N70 million to Yobe State government with the aim of improving health care delivery sat primary level across the state.

The Yobe State Commissioner of Health, Mohammed Kawuwa, who received the equipment, said it will complement the state government’s efforts in strengthening health care services. He added that the equipment will be shared across hospitals in the electoral wards of the state.

Senate investigates NHIS Director for alleged N960 million procurement scam

The Nigerian Senate has constituted a five-member ad-hoc committee to investigate allegations of financial and administrative abuses against the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf.

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mr. Yusuf head of NHIS in July 2016.

Mr. Yusuf had been accused of spending above his threshold expenditure totalling N960 million, without the approval and supervision of the Ministry of Health headed by Isaac Adewole.

UNICEF’s restates commitment to maternal and child health

The Deputy Executive Director, Programme, UNICEF, Omar Abdi, restated the agency’s commitment to improving maternal and child health, strengthening immunisation and revitalisation of primary healthcare system in Nigeria.

Marie Pierre Poirier, from the agency’s West and Central Africa Regional Office, Dakar, Senegal, said UNICEF considered Nigeria a very important country in West and Central African region and sharing ideas between the Minister of Health and UNICEF may offer solutions to some of the numerous challenges confronting the Nigerian health sector.

World Oral Health Day: Low Awareness of Dental Services Affecting Oral Hygiene in Nigeria

The National Dental Association, NDA, has said poor public awareness on oral hygiene and available dental services is affecting dental care in Nigeria

Speaking on this year’s theme for World Oral Health ‘Live Mouth Smart’, Vice President of NDA, Funmi Ashiwaju, said the mouth should be kept healthy “with no dirt, plaque, calculus, illness or ailment whatsoever and people should see their dentists every six months whether they have pain or not and also brush their teeth twice every day; morning and last thing at night.”

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