Major health news across Nigeria last week

Resident Doctors On Strike
Resident Doctors On Strike

The Association of Resident Doctors, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi-Araba, urged stakeholders to prevail on the Nigerian federal government to meet the demands of its members to prevent further strike.

Adebayo Sekumade, President of LUTH chapter of the association, made the plea at a news conference organised by the Lagos State chapter of the association to sensitise stakeholders about the doctors’ proposed strike, if the government refused to meet their demands.

Mr. Sekumade urged government to address all outstanding issues that could potentially affect effective healthcare delivery in the nation’s health institutions.

The association had on December 19, 2016 given government until January 2 to implement the National Health Act 2014 and address other demands of the association.

The body had directed its members to wear black ward coats and conduct rallies at the expiration of the initial ultimatum of January 2. According to him, some of the issues include non-release of a uniform template for residency training in Nigeria which has been ongoing for several years.

Kenneth Uwajeh, President of the association at Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, said that the news conference was to let stakeholders prevail on government to avert the strike.

“Doctors are not desirous of strike, unfortunately, we are not immune to illnesses, and we also have families who require medical care. We also suffer consequences from this action, that is why we are calling on Nigerians to intervene to prevent the coming strike,” he said.

Malaria vaccine passes trial test

There might be hope against malaria as malaria vaccine passed a critical milestone in human safety trials. According to Africa Review, doctors used a genetically modified form of malaria that is unable to cause a full infection in people.

A tropical disease expert finds this promising as the vaccine uses a weakened form of the parasite. Trials published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, suggested it was safe with a good immune response.

Ten people took part in the safety trials. None went on to develop the disease and there were no severe side-effects to the treatment. The patients’ antibodies were then given to mice, which showed greater immunity when they were deliberately infected with malaria.

Sebastian Mikolajczak, one of the researchers, said: “The clinical study now shows that the vaccine is completely attenuated in humans and also shows that even after only a single administration, it elicits a robust immune response against the malaria parasite.”

No case of polio in Cross River – FG

Nigeria’s federal government clarified that a disease reported to have affected an infant in Cross River state during the week was not related to polio virus.

The child’s case was detected in Ekpene-Eki community of Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River and reported on Monday. The child’s aunt said he had remained without proper medical attention as the only health facility in the area seemed not to be able to handle the case.

Usuma Adamu, the Incident Manager of the National Polio Emergency operation Centre in an interview with Channels Television said the clinical diagnoses of the child indicated a deformity known as club foot and not polio as earlier suspected.

He explained that there was no need to take sample from the child as the first polio diagnosis process revealed that the child’s leg was not flaccid but a deformity that happened after the child was born.

A team of experts from the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control had been sent to the state on the directives of the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, to investigate the claim.

There had been detection of fresh cases of wild polio virus in the north-eastern state of Borno in 2016, thus dashing the hope that Nigeria had attained a polio free status after two years of non-occurrence of polio virus in the country.

Kogi doctors warns of strike

Doctors in Kogi State under the aegis of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, warned that they would go on an indefinite strike starting midnight January 13 if the state government fails to pay doctors working with the state all outstanding salaries.

In a communiqué signed by the chairman and secretary of the association, Magnus Ogaraku and Zubair Kabiru respectively, the NMA gave the state government 21 days ultimatum to meet their demands, failing which they will ask their members in health institutions in the state, including private hospitals, to proceed on an indefinite strike from January13.

The threat was issued after the state governor, Yahaya Bello, said that his administration had redeemed its pledge to pay civil servants their backlogs of salaries.

The communiqué accused the governor of not paying 10 medical officers and five consultants at the state university teaching hospital (KSUTH) Anyigba since 2015. It also said four chief medical officers; two senior medical officers, and a consultant working with the Kogi State hospital management board and one medical officer working with the state Ministry of Health had not been paid.

“The Congress also observed the gross underpayment and illegal deductions from the salaries of some medical officers working with the Kogi State government. The premature, selective and illegal application of no work no pay rule to some members of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, in less than 49 days of commencement of strike action.”

The association stated its grievances against the state government and management of the Federal Medical Centre and said it would be left with no option than to ask its members in all health institutions in Kogi to stay off work if government did not address the grievances.

Doctor charged for murder

A Lagos-based medical practitioner was arraigned for allegedly having a hand in surgical operation on a woman which resulted in her death.

Olugbenga Farajimakin was accused of partnering with a “self-acclaimed doctor to perform a Caesarean Section on a woman that led to her death”.

He was docked at an Ebute Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on a charge of conspiracy.

The prosecutor, Adebayo Oladele, a police Inspector, had told the court that the accused committed the offence on June 5, 2016 at Glorious Mercy Clinic situated at No. 14, William Akintunde St., Abule-Egba area of Lagos State.

Mr. Oladele said that the accused had partnered Shehu Abdulkareem, a registered nurse, only licensed to operate a convalescent home, but impersonated a medical doctor fit to carry out a Caesarean Section.

“The accused had joined Abdulkareem to perform a Caesarean Section on one Eunice Omokwudu that led to her death.”

He said Mr. Farajimakin ought to have prevented Mr. Abdulkareem from doing so since he was only a trained nurse.

Mr. Farajimakin, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Chief Magistrate M.O. Olajuwon admitted the accused to N200,000 bail with one surety in like sum and  adjourned further hearing in the case to January 26.

Victims of VVF abandoned by husbands

Many women suffering from vestico vagina fistula, VVF, in Plateau State have been abandoned by their husbands.

VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract that extends between the bladder and the vagina. It allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.

PREMIUM TIMES discovered the abandonment when the wife of the Plateau State governor, Ragina Lalong, presented relief materials and cash to the women at the Evangel Specialist Hospital, Jos, to aid their treatment and as part of activities marking the new year celebration in the state.

Some of the patients interviewed by Premium Times said they had been abandoned by their husbands. Yakubu Rakiya, a widow with no child and the oldest among those interviewed, said she is 43 and had been suffering from the disease for 20 years.

Other patients with similar predicament said they had been footing their bills themselves because they had been abandoned by their husbands and families.

Imo primary health care

Residents of Avu community in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo state called on the government to improve the primary health care centre in the vicinity.

Only one primary healthcare centre caters for over 5,000 people in the vicinity. The entire environment was said to be plagued by lack of basic amenities and infrastructural decay, leaving residents with no other choice than to nurse their illnesses at home or resort to private clinics.

A patient at the clinic urged the government to provide the necessary amenities for the growth of the primary health care system.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) believes that inadequate funding of the health sector is a major reason for poor primary healthcare services in Nigeria.

Expert appeals for improved health care system

Adewunmi Alayaki, a former General Secretary of the Nigerian Medical Association, called on the government to improve the state of primary health care delivery in Nigeria as it is the basis of a formidable and efficient health care delivery in the country.

He challenged the government to focus more attention on the sector because it will make health delivery cheaper and accessible to the people at the grassroots.

He explained that the government and people will benefit more if there are always enough doctors manning the centres.

Mr. Alayaki noted that if the government can revitalise PHCs and expedite action to put in place basic equipment and qualified personnel, it will go a long way to lessen pressure on secondary and tertiary health centres.

Wife of Osun state governor advocates exclusive breastfeeding

Sherifat Aregbesola, wife of Osun State governor, advised nursing mothers to feed their babies exclusively on breast milk to ensure their proper growth and healthy living.

Mrs. Aregbesola, who was represented by Sekinat Oyebamiji, wife of Chairman Osun State Investment Company Limited, in a hospital to welcome the first baby of the year in the state, urged new mothers to embark on exclusive breast feeding and immunise their children against polio.

She emphasized the importance and advantages of exclusive breast feeding, without water or supplements, to the mothers and encouraged them to feed well so that the baby can acquire nutrients needed for development from the breast milk.

She also emphasised family planning for the mothers to help them space their children and give them energy to take care of themselves and their homes.

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