Major health stories published last week

Olurunimbe Mamora
Olurunimbe Mamora

The world is still battling the Covid-19 (coronavirus) scourge as there is yet no cure or vaccine to prevent the spread of the disease.

African countries, especially, have been investing on preparedness and surveillance against the disease.

Meanwhile, Nigeria also continues to battle its Lassa fever outbreak.

Here is a round-up of some of the stories that made headlines last week.

Chloroquine not yet confirmed as treatment for coronavirus

Chloroquine is yet to be confirmed as one of the sure drugs in the treatment of coronavirus, formally known as Covid-19, Nigeria’s minister of state for health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said.

Mr Mamora said there is yet no certain acceptable drug in the treatment of the new disease as lots of clinical trials are still ongoing.

It was reported that chloroquine has been effective in the treatment of Covid-19, but the minister said this is yet to be ascertained.

More than 20 African countries can now test for coronavirus disease

Twenty-four countries in the African region have confirmed to the World Health Organisation (WHO) that they can carry out the test for potential COVID-19 cases.

Two weeks ago, only two referral laboratories – one in South Africa and another in Senegal – were capable of doing this. The scaling up of testing capacity across the continent represents a significant milestone in COVID-19 preparedness efforts.

At the beginning of the outbreak, the vast majority of national laboratories in Africa lacked the reagents necessary for testing. As the virus had not been in humans before, there were no pre-existing supplies of reagents that could be used to test for its presence.

Buhari commends Doctors Without Borders for roles in Nigeria

The sacrifices of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) in conflict areas in Nigeria are well appreciated, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

Receiving Christos Christou, International President of the organisation at State House, Abuja, Friday, the president said the sacrifices as individuals and as a group were quite enormous, particularly as they are on non-profit basis.

Commenting specifically on the situation in the North-east, President Buhari said despite criticisms, the government has made substantial progress.

South Korean city on full alert as coronavirus numbers soar

South Korea’s southeastern area was on full alert as the number of coronavirus patients continued to surge on Friday.

The new cases were mostly assumed to be related to a church associated with a minor religious sect.

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South Korea reported 52 new cases of the new coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 156.

Nigeria’s death toll from Lassa fever rises to 103

Since the onset of the Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria, no fewer than 103 people have lost their lives to the disease, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed.

According to the agency, there was a spike in the number of suspected and confirmed cases as well as in deaths from the disease.

As of February 16, the number of newly confirmed cases increased from 109 in week six to 115.

Paracetamol abuse can cause liver, kidney failures – Expert

Nigerians have been cautioned against the abuse of paracetamol in general and in tenderising meat in particular, as it could lead to liver and kidney failures.

This advice was given by a medical doctor with the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Gbenga Adebusoye.

Mr Adebusoye said drugs are chemicals and should not be taken lightly. He said when abused, drugs can be toxic to the human system and could endanger lives.

He said the abuse of paracetamol leads to rapid damage of the liver, which can cause acute liver injury that could result in liver failure that can not be managed except by a liver transplant.

Polio eradication on UN Secretary General’s agenda during Pakistan visit

Polio eradication is of high priority on the agenda of the United Nations, its Secretary General, António Guterres, has said.

Mr Guterres during his visit to Lahore, Pakistan, during the first nationwide polio campaign of the year, said “polio is one of the few diseases we can eradicate in the world in the next few years.

“This is a priority of the United Nations and I am extremely happy to see it is a clear priority for the Government of Pakistan.”

More than 39 million children across the country are set to be vaccinated during the February campaign.

UN officials join global call to end ‘scourge’ of preventable deaths

Road traffic accidents take some 1.35 million lives every year and cost most countries three per cent of their gross domestic product, a top UN health official said on Wednesday as the Third Global Ministerial Conference On Road Safety kicked off in Stockholm, Sweden.

WHO said road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years.

The UN health agency said 93 per cent of the world’s road fatalities occur in low- and middle-income countries, even though these nations have approximately 60 per cent of the world’s vehicles.

Coronavirus: Russian-Linked Social Media Accounts Used To Spread Alarm, Says US

Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread alarm about the new coronavirus, disrupting global efforts to combat the epidemic, US officials told AFP.

The disinformation campaign promotes unfounded conspiracy theories that the United States is behind the COVID-19 outbreak, in an apparent bid to damage the US image by seizing on international health concerns, they said.

False personas are being used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to advance Russian talking points and conspiracies, including suggesting that the CIA is behind the virus that has claimed more than 2,300 lives, mostly in China.

Coronavirus factsheet


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