Major health stories in the news last week

Doctors attending to patients used to illustrate the story
Doctors attending to patients used to illustrate the story
Body weight contributes to infertility – Physician

The body mass of an individual can have a significant effect on their fertility, a physician, Okezie Emenike, said.

Mr Emenike said being overweight or underweight can cause infertility.

He said it was important to understand that both underweight and overweight women and men suffered from a higher incidence of infertility.

According to him, overweight or underweight women in many cases would have hormonal disorders, which could cause them to ovulate infrequently or not at all. He added that severe obesity in men had been shown to alter fertility often due to imbalances in hormone regulation tied to sperm production.

NAFDAC to strategise on regulatory mandate

The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it would step up its regulatory mandates to curtail unwholesome drug distribution in Nigeria.

Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, said this during a courtesy visit to the Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Elijah Mohammed.

She decried the rate of abuse of cough syrups containing codeine and other substances in the country.

She said the process of recalling the syrups from manufacturers in the country was hectic and blamed this on weak enforcement of upstream drug distribution practices by the past administration of the agency.

Babies fed with solids early sleep longer

A study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics has found that babies introduced to solid foods early slept longer and woke less frequently at night than those exclusively breastfed for around the first six months of life.

Researchers from King’s College London and St George’s University of London studied 1,303 exclusively breastfed three-month-olds from England and Wales and divided them into two groups.

One group were encouraged to exclusively breastfeed for around six months. The second group, while continuing to breastfeed, were asked to introduce solid foods to their infants’ diet from the age of three months.

The study found that infants in the group which had solids introduced early slept longer and woke less frequently than those infants that exclusively breastfeed to around six months of age.

Health ministry gets new Permanent Secretary

A new Permanent Secretary of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, Abdullahi Mashi, has assumed office.

Mr Mashi is one of the three permanent secretaries whose redeployment was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 29.

Mr Mashi took over from Clement Uwaifo. Mr Uwaifo had left the ministry on June 28 and handed over to the Director, Department of Public Health, Evelyn Ngige, to steer the affairs of the ministry in acting capacity until the appointment of a substantive permanent secretary.

Addressing the directors and management staff of the ministry, the new permanent secretary stressed the need to improve on service delivery at hospitals, particularly at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments.

Zamfara loses over 20 medical doctors in six months

No fewer than 20 medical doctor have left the services of Zamfara State government between January and June this year in search of greener pasture.

The Medical Director in-charge of the state owned Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital, Gusau, Bello Mohammed, said all the affected doctors were serving at the Specialist Hospital.

Mr Mohammed said most of them left to places where they can enjoy more training to better their professionalism, experience and performance even through residence training.

Zamfara begins renovation of 147 PHCs

The Zamfara State Government has started the renovation of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the state as part of its efforts to improve rural health care delivery.

The Commissioner for Health, Lawal Liman, said it is part of measures the state was taking to improve health care delivery in the state.

He said the government planned to provide functional PHCs in 147 wards of the state and has started the renovation of 15 PHCs with the aim of upgrading them to higher standard.

Cross River to punish 54 health workers

The Cross River State Government says it will punish 54 healthcare workers allegedly caught extorting money from patients in primary healthcare facilities across the state.

Betta Edu, the Director-General, Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said the agency had set up a disciplinary committee to look into the petition, including absenteeism and gross misconduct of health workers.

She added that the committee would also checkmate the workers and punish the offenders to serve as a deterrent to others.

Mrs Edu, who did not disclose the type of sanctions for the erring workers, warned the others to shun all forms of sharp practices.

Wasted Health Funds

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says between 20 to 40 per cent of funds allocated to healthcare delivery by government in Nigeria is wasted due to inefficiency.

Health Finance Advisor of USAID – HFG project, Ngozi Okoronkwo, said this at a three-day intensive training for officials of Osun and Abia states on operationalisation of their health insurance schemes.

Ms Okonkwo said resources allocated for the health sector were often wasted by those saddled to manage them. She urged healthcare managers to be prudent in handling funds meant for healthcare.

Canada records success in transplanting Hepatitis C organs

A long-running shortage in donor organs has pushed doctors to find ways to use those with hepatitis C, an infection that is increasingly common in the United States due to the opioid crisis, and which can be cured with medicine.

Some U.S. hospitals, particularly in Boston, have already transplanted infected donor organs into people without hepatitis C. These patients are swiftly treated with drugs to eliminate the virus.

In Toronto, Canada, another team of doctors also announced early results from a trial using a different technique, involving 10 people who received lung transplants from donors with hepatitis C.

Infected donor lungs were placed in a sterile dome for six hours, and treated with medication to reduce the level of virus. Then, they were transplanted into the patients.

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Ayodamola Owoseye is a senior reporter covering the health beat for PREMIUM TIMES.  She is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, and holds a B.A in Anthropology and M.Sc in Information Science.

Ayodamola advocates gender equity and loves travelling and listening to old skool music. Twitter: @damolaowoseye


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