Major health stories last week

Rex Tillerson [Photo: The New Yorker]

Nigeria to benefit from U.S. $533m charity fund for Africa

Nigeria will benefit from about 533 million dollars to be released by the United States to some African countries humanitarian assistance.

The benefactors are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan, as well as countries in the Lake Chad region.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said these additional funds will provide emergency food, nutrition assistance, and other aid.

Of the newly announced funds, more than $128 million is for affected populations from Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad region.

Treatment of Lassa fever is free – Federal Government

The Federal Government has debunked a Newspaper report published by the Guardian of Sunday, March 11, 2018, which stated that the high cost of treating Lassa fever was responsible for the high mortality rate recorded so far in the country.

In a statement issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Chikwe Ihekweazu, he stated that Federal Government of Nigeria has ensured that Ribavirin, the major drug used for the treatment of Lassa fever has been provided free-of-charge to patients, ‘for every single case of Lassa fever reported in Nigeria.’

Ihekweazu acknowledge the high cost of treating Lassa fever cases in Nigeria, especially the cost of the drug Ribavirin. He however, stated that the Federal Government of Nigeria has ensured that Ribavirin has been provided free-of-charge to patients, for every single case of Lassa fever reported in Nigeria in 2018.

Nigerian bakeries still use cancer-causing chemical in bread – Food expert

A food expert in Nigeria has alerted the Federal Government on the continuous use of a banned substance, potassium bromate, in bakeries.

Oladunni Akinnawo, a professor of food chemistry at Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo State, said a recent study she conducted in Ibadan and Oyo towns, for instance, indicated the use of potassium bromate in 72 per cent of bread samples.

She said the substance, which is added to bread dough to strengthen it, increase loaf volume, and improve the texture, can cause sore throat, abdominal pains, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. In extreme cases, it could lead to kidney failure and heart failure, she said.

She added that studies have linked the compound in the chemical to cancer in experimental animals and humans and has been classified as a potential carcinogen.

Ex-Speaker Etteh, others inaugurated as board chairpersons

The Federal Ministry of Health on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the Governing Boards and Councils of some tertiary health institutions and agencies.

Among the board chairpersons inaugurated is the controversial former speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, who was appointed to head the National Hospital in Abuja.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, in his inaugural address urged the appointees to support the vision and core values of President Muhammadu Buhari on transparency and accountability.

Mr. Adewole also tasked the appointees to key into the Buhari administration’s zero tolerance for any form of corruption.

Vitamin D, secret weapon against heart attack- Scientists

A new study published in the journal Heart Lung and Circulation has revealed that Vitamin D, which is often called the “sunshine vitamin,” can prevent a heart attack.

Vitamin D also performs other physiological roles in the body and the sun is the major source of vitamin D as few foods contains it .

Specifically, studies have linked low levels of vitamin D to coronary artery disease and heart failure.

Although research into vitamin D and its cardio-protective powers is in its infancy, the results are encouraging.

Women drug addiction on the increase in Kebbi- NDLEA

The rate of women indulging in drug abuse in Kebbi state is on the increase, the National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in the State, says.

The Commandant of the agency in the State, Suleiman Jadi, when receiving officials of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) said the trend has now taken a new turn as the number of women addicts is on the increase.

Mr Jadi, however, did not disclose the number but called on the group to support relevant agencies in the fight against drug abuse among the youths and women in particular.

Studies on HIV prevention in women assuring – UNAIDS

UNAIDS is elated with mid-way results from two studies that show a vaginal ring releasing long-acting antiretroviral medicine to prevent HIV infection in women.

Reports say that the results show that studies is up to 54 per cent effective in preventing HIV.

The ring, which is replaced monthly, slowly releases the antiretroviral medicine dapivirine and could give women an additional HIV prevention option that is discreet and that they can control.

However, the final results from both studies are expected in 2019, according to the UN HIV/ AIDS agency.

Influenza virus causes panic in Kenya

Kenyan health officials have issued an alert after samples taken from patients confirmed the presence of H1N1 prototype 9 influenza virus.

The samples were taken from the patients suffering from flu in Laikipia County, Central Kenya.

Mr Donald Mogoi, a chief officer in charge of health in the area, said a child is suspected to have died of the flu two weeks but the deadly virus was confirmed on Tuesday by the National Public Health Laboratories.

The diseased is characterised by high fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, dry cough and general body weakness.

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