Major health stories last week

Dangote and Bill Gates

Own fight against HIV/AIDS, U.S. urges Nigeria
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDs (UNAIDS), have urged the Nigerian government to “own the HIV response programme” by assisting in reducing the cost of placing people living with HIV/AIDs on treatment.

Speaking at the 4th National Council of AIDs, the country coordinator of PEPFAR, Shirley Dady, said it will be more cost effective “when the government of Nigeria takes over the HIV programme at all levels.”

This, she said, will enable PEPFAR locate and place 150,000 more people living with HIV on life saving treatment in the coming year.

Nigeria’s locally-produced vaccines ready ‘within next 3 – 4 years’
Locally-produced vaccines in Nigeria will be ready in about four years, Oyewale Tomori, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Biovaccines Nigeria Limited, has said.

Mr. Tomori, a Professor of Virology, said the Board is taking calculated steps to ensure they get everything right.

“Usually, a Greenfield project will require five to eight years gestation period. But we cannot wait that long.

“We are engaging our experts and relevant government agencies to see how we can shorten this process without making quality compromise. It is our hope that we can achieve production within the next 3 – 4 years.” he said

Nigerian government inaugurates committee on basic healthcare fund
In compliance with the National Health Act and towards increasing funding for the health sector, the Nigerian government has inaugurated a National Steering Committee on Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

The committee will seek more resources and ensure smooth operation of the Basic Health Healthcare Provision Fund.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, who is also the Chairman of the Committee, during the inauguration said Niger, Abia and Osun had been selected as the first set of states for commencement of the implementation of the Programme in the second quarter of 2018.

NMA introduce doctors’ stamp to remove quacks
In order to eradicate quackery in the medical profession, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says doctors will commence full usage of doctors’ stamp with effect from April 1.

The president of the association, Mike Ogirima, said the rate of quackery in medical profession has increased disease burden and mortality rate in the country.

He said certain security features will be embedded in the stamp which will help differentiate professionals from quacks and any doctor that does not possess or have the stamp latest April 1 would be regarded as a quack.

JOHESU to begin strike April 7
Health workers in Nigeria under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), and the Assembly of Health Care professionals (AHPA), would begin an indefinite strike April 7.

The Vice President JOHESU, Chimele Ogbonna said that the health workers had explored all avenues for an amicable settlement of their grievances and are left with no other option to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike.

He said the action is against their wish but the government has failed to honour the agreements with the workers from 2009 to 2017. The Union gave a 30 day ultimatum since March 5 and will end April 7.

Bill Gates, Dangote sign MoU with 6 governors on immunisation funds
Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote have signed a memorandum of Understanding with six northern governors on improved access to immunisation in the states.

The governors are; Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Muhammed Abubakar of Bauchi State, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State.

According to Mr. Gates, all partners are committed to ensure that maximum number of children were reached.

He said the partners are projecting to reach at least 80 percent coverage in 2019 and the MoUs are intended to enable the states achieve targeted coverage.

Treat malaria with combination of drugs, NMEP pleads
The National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Audu Mohammed has appealed to Nigerians to discourage anti-malarial treatment with a single medicine — monotherapy.

He said the Artemisinin based Combination Treatments (ACT) for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria remained efficacious, therefore Nigerians should use the ACT adopted by Nigeria, for the treatment of malaria.

He described the therapy as the best and said eliminating malaria requires a multi-pronged approach and change in behaviour

Scientists find miracle gel that kills cancer tumours
A medical research has produced a biodegradable gel that has the capacity to kill cancer tumours.

The gel, created by scientists at the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, was designed to deliver immunotherapy directly to the area from which a cancerous cell has been surgically removed.

The results of the study was reported by Michael Goldberg and colleagues in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Upon testing the gel on mice during the surgical removal of breast cancer tumours, the scientists found that it not only helped to prevent tumour recurrence at the primary site, but that it also eliminated secondary tumours in the lungs.


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