Major health stories in the news last week

Health Minister, Dr. Isaac Adewole
Health Minister, Dr. Isaac Adewole

These are some of the health stories that trended last week.

Nigerians use over 400 million condoms yearly

Nigerians use over 400 million condoms annually, a Non-Governmental Organisation, the Society for Family Health, has said.

The managing director of the group, Bright Ekweremadu, said during the launch of a new condom brand, Flex Condom, that the 400 million condom consumption could fall below expectation based on society’s estimation of people still engaging in unprotected sex in the country.

He said though the organisation has done a lot of things in educating people to embrace abstinence, the other alternative is to expand choices of condom for those who cannot totally abstain particularly at this time when HIV/AIDs is prevalent in the country.

Despite global effort, TB mortality rate remains high in Nigeria

Despite global efforts to reduce the mortality rate of tuberculosis, TB, Nigeria still ranks high among the seven countries which account majorly for the disease globally.

According to the global TB report 2017 released by WHO, Nigeria ranked sixth among the countries with global burden and out of the estimated 10.4 million new cases, 10 per cent are people living with HIV/AIDs in which only 6.3 million were detected and officially notified in 2016, leaving a gap of 4.1 million. India, Indonesia and Nigeria accounted for almost half of this global gap.

An estimated 1.7 million people died from TB, including nearly 400,000 people who are co-infected with HIV/AIDs. The seven countries accounting for 64 per cent of the global burden are India, Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa.

Two of the major challenges for Nigeria have been the ability to detect cases and the battle against drug resistant variants of the aliment.


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Measles: Nigeria has the highest number of unvaccinated children worldwide

Though there has been a substantial decline in global measles death, Nigeria still tops the chart of number of children not vaccinated against measles.

A report by WHO indicates that 20.8 million children worldwide are still missing their first measles vaccine dose and more than half of these children live in six countries.These are: Nigeria with 3.3 million children, India – 2.9 million, Pakistan – 2.0million, Indonesia – 1.2 million, Ethiopia -0.9 million and the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC with 0.7 million.

Measles is a highly contagious seasonal viral disease. A surveillance data by UNICEF from Nigeria shows that measles incidence among children under five years increased more than two-folds in Northern Nigeria between 2014 and 2016.

Worldwide, coverage with the first of two required doses of measles has stalled at approximately 85 per cent since 2009, far short of the 95 per cent coverage needed to stop measles infections. Also, coverage with the second dose, despite that recent increase was only 64 per cent in 2016.

Nigeria must invest more in ICT to improve health sector

Medical experts and businesses in the health sector advised health professionals to tap the benefit of information technology to improve their service delivery. This is to change the face of medical practice in the country so as not to be left behind in the global trend.

A medical expert, Olaokun Soyinka, said one of the challenges facing the health sector in the country is the lack of political will of the politicians to invest and revive the sector. He, therefore, urged stakeholders in the sector to move from health advocacy to health activism saying this is the only path to remarkable development in the sector.

Monkeypox: Bayelsa alleys fears of new outbreak

The Bayelsa State government during the week dispelled the rumour that two new cases of monkey pox disease were detected in the state.

The Commissioner for Health, Ebitimitula Etebu, said there are no new cases of the disease detected from the state. He said what they have are old ones from the batch of blood samples sent for confirmatory tests at the World Health Organisation reference laboratory in Dakar.

Twenty one suspected patients had been isolated and placed under surveillance from the disease, out of which five positive results to monkeypox were confirmed. The disease was first noted in Bayelsa in September and suspected cases spreading to 14 other states.

Bauchi to disburse N46 million to health facilities

The Bauchi State Government approved the disbursement of N46 million to 16 health centres in Dass Local Government Areas under the Nigerian States Health Investment Project, (NSHIP). This fund was in addition to the N 28 million earlier disbursed to the health facilities.

The project coordinator, Adamu Muhammed, in a press statement, said the funds which would be distributed to the benefiting facilities based on performance, serves as first and second quarter remittance of the implementation of the project.

He explained that each facility was verified on the quality and quantity of services rendered to the people.

Partners commit $100 million to rebase HIV in Nigeria

The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has set aside $100 million to conduct a national survey to rebase the HIV prevalence in Nigeria by 2018.

The country director of the agency, Erasmus Morah, said this is part of the agency’s effort to partner with the federal government in its fight against HIV/AIDS in the country. Most of the support for the survey would come from the United State Government,and the Global Funds to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Mr. Morah said available data showed that Nigeria has 3.2 million people living with HIV, with prevalence of about 3.2 per cent.

Fake product: NAFDAC drags manufacturer to court

The Manging Director of Tasty Time Nigeria LTtd, Isaac Kole, was arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos over alleged manufacture of fake and unregistered products.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, alleged that the accused and his company have been using their plant to produce unregistered products.

NAFDAC prosecutor, Okon Chinyere, said the accused was alleged to have packaged and labelled the products in a manner likely to create a wrong impression that they are genuine.

She identified some of the products as Tasty Time juice, Glucosaid Energy drink, Tasty Time Pop Orange flavoured drink, Tasty Time Fitz Apple drink and Tasty Time mixed Orange flavoured drink.

The accused however pleaded not guilty, and the case has been adjourned to November 6.

Senate bemoan state of govt owned hospitals

The Senate has charged the Ministries of Finance and Budget to prioritise the Ministry of Health in the release of annual budgetary allocation.

The Senate made this charge following a motion sponsored by Monsurat Sumonu, Oyo-APC, which sought to improve the condition of federal government-owned hospitals across the country.

She observed that despite a N308, 464, 276.782 allocation to the sector in the 2017 budget, government-owned hospitals are unable to provide basic medicine while medical equipment malfunction due to lack of electricity.

She said that, “renovation or even constructions (of government-owned hospitals) are baseless if hospitals are not well-equipped with basic facilities to save lives.”

Ekiti NMA tackles illegal medical centres

The Nigerian Medical Association , NMA, Ekiti State chapter, has taken steps to clamp down on illegal medical centres and fake doctors.

Sunday Omoya, the NMA Chairman, said the association has signed a pact with the state government to initiate the accreditation of health facilities. He said the activities of the quacks had been affecting medical practice and denting the image of genuine members.

While noting that the agreement with the state government is based on accreditation and re-registration of all health facilities in Ekiti, Mr. Omoya urged government to pay members’salaries and fund health institutions, particularly the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, EKSUTH, to improve healthcare delivery in the state.


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