Major health stories last week

Health Minister, Isaac Adewole
Health Minister, Isaac Adewole

These are the major reports that trended in the health sector last week.

54 babies born HIV positive in Nasarawa- Official

Fifty four babies delivered in Nasarawa state between January to September, tested positive to HIV.

Zakari Umar, the Executive Director of Nasarawa State Aids Control Agency, NASACA, said 54 out of 1,194 pregnant women who keyed into the Prevention of Mother- to- Child Transmission (PMTCT) HIV programme in 2017, transmitted the virus to their babies.

According to him, records from 2016 indicated that 66 babies were born with HIV and the cases of transmission recorded were due to lack of adherence to medical advice and refusal to take prescribed drugs.

Health insurance advocated for persons living with HIV

The federal government has been urged to adopt healthcare insurance schemes for people living with HIV/AIDS to reduce dependency on donor funds for its treatment and prevention.

Kema Onu, the Site Coordinator, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a non government organisation who spoke on the sidelines of events commemorating the 2017 World AIDS Day celebration said that adopting the insurance scheme for people living with HIV would create a sustainable means of funding its treatment and reduce the dependency on foreign donor agencies.

He said the Nigerian Government needs to show more commitment to ownership and sustainability of HIV response by developing strategies that would scale up funds.

He said out of over 3.2 million people living with the virus in Nigeria, only about 800,000 people are on treatment and out of the 800,000 on treatment, 750,000 of them are being funded by foreign partners.
10,000 Nigerians die of cancer annually — Minister

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole said 10,000 Nigerians die annually due to agony and lack of basic equipment for treatment of cancer.

Mr. Adewole at the inauguration of the National Hospital’s Radiotherapy Centre with new Multilleave Linear Accelerator for cancer treatment attributed the number of deaths to lack of necessarily equipment and resources to attend to cancer patients in the country.

He said: “based on the review of International Atomic Energy Agencies of all countries conducted in 2013 only South Africa and Egypt have the capability of treating cancer in Africa.”

Consumer council seeks to enforce patients’ rights in Nigerian hospitals

The Director General of the Consumer Protection Council, Babatunde Irukera, has said the agency has concluded plans to introduce a ‘Patient’s Bill of Rights,’ in Nigerian hospitals to govern the relationship between health practitioners and their patients.

Mr. Irukera said the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA as well as pharmacists’ bodies and other stakeholders in the health sector, had bought into the initiative.

“We are proposing a Patient’s Bill of Rights, just a statement of the rights of patients and the responsibility of healthcare providers to let both the people who should know their rights and those who have a duty to respect those rights, see it every day. We intend to translate it into different languages and make it mandatory that it’s pasted in public hospitals and private hospitals,” he said.

Global response to malaria at crossroads due to reduced funding – WHO

The global fight against malaria may suffer a setback following reduction in funding by international donors and governments of high burdened countries across the world.

According to the World Health Organisation, the 2017 World Malaria Report, indicated that global progress in malaria control has stalled as 216 million people in 91 countries were infected with malaria in 2016, an estimated five million more cases than in 2015.

The report also shows that Africa bore an estimated 90 per cent of all malaria cases and deaths worldwide in 2016 and 15 countries, all but one of them in sub-Saharan Africa, carry 80 per cent of the global malaria burden.

Borno: 16,000 die of HIV in 3 years

The Borno chapter of the Network of Persons Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria, NEPWAN, says more than 16, 000 of its members died in the past three years in state.

The Chairman, Hassan Mustapha, said that the victims died due to the activities of Boko Haram, which made it difficult for patients to access Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and other support services.

He explained that more than 27, 000 persons were registered for ART between 2011 and 2014, in various designated centres in the state, lamenting that the number dropped to 11, 303 clients in 2017.

Researchers launch two studies in Africa on new HIV vaccine

Researchers announced the launch of two big studies in Africa to test a new HIV vaccine and a long-acting injectable drug, fuelling hopes for better ways to protect against the virus that causes AIDS.

The start of the three-year vaccine trial involving 2,600 women in southern Africa means that for the first time in more than a decade there are now two big HIV vaccine clinical trials taking place at the same time.

The new study is testing a two-vaccine combination developed by Johnson and Johnson (J&J), the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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