Major health stories across Nigeria last week

Primary Healthcare Centre [Photo credit: LinkedIn]

Nigeria to adopt new health financing model

Nigeria’s federal government is planning to adopt a new financing model based on a partnership between the public and private sectors, to strengthen the nation’s healthcare system.

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting held in Abuja on how to bring private innovation and support into the health sector as part of the government’s effort to ensure universal health coverage.

Mr. Osinbajo said government partnership with private sector players would ensure better finance and healthcare delivery. He said more attention will be focused on the north-east.

The Minister of State for Health, Osagie Enahire, said the government wants to strengthen the national system for effective, accessible and affordable delivery of basic primary healthcare services and to curb the various challenges facing the sector.

He stated that despite considerable progress in recorded in the sector, undernutrition remains a problem. According to him, 37 per cent of children under the age of five have stunted growth, while many newborns, children, adolescents and women still die from preventable conditions annually.

Mr. Enahire said this is common among the poor and vulnerable communities, especially in the North-east where the healthcare system has been disrupted by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Dangote wants audit of funds

The Kano and Kaduna state governments have been given till March 31 to produce audit reports of how funds donated by Dangote Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for polio immunisation for last year were spent.

Aliko Dangote, Chairman of Dangote Foundation, said this at a video conference in Kano involving the Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, his Kaduna counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai, co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, officials of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and other development partners.

Mr. Dangote said the reports were necessary to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of funds released under tripartite agreements involving each state and the two foundations.

He said all expenditure in the exercise must be verified by external auditors and report tendered to the partners by March 31.

Mr. Dangote commended the Kano State government for providing world-class cold chain for the vaccines and urged the government to continue working closely with traditional authorities and local government officials to achieve a polio free society.

Mr. Gates lauded the two state governments on the war against polio, stressing that total eradication of the disease is possible if the states maintained their zeal.

Dangote and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had in 2012 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kano State on routine immunisation which lapsed in 2015 but was extended by a year.

Kaduna state signed a similar agreement with the foundations in 2015.

Billions more at risk of heart disease

Billions of people around the world are at risk of heart diseases, stroke and kidney disease and are more likely to die due to the complication from the diseases.

A research report released by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington in a U.S. journal, JAMA, showed that the number of people with elevated blood pressure has increased substantially in the past 25 years and deaths associated increased by 1.4 fold since 1990, making it the leading contributor to preventable deaths .

This means that more people are prone to having health related problems such as ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and chronic kidney diseases which are usually the outcome of high blood pressure, a condition also known as hypertension.

The researchers analysed 844 studies where they examined the health burden associated with Systolic Blood pressure (pressure on the heart when pumping blood) among 8.69 million participants from 154 countries.

It was discovered that the rate of SBP increased from 73,119 for every 100,000 people in 1990 to 81,373 per 100,000 in 2015. It also indicated that hypertensive heart disease increased among 17,307 people in 1990 to 20,526 per 100,000 in 2015. This means an estimated 3.5 billion individuals with SBP level of at least 110 to 115mm Hg and 874 million had hypertension.

The researchers added that global obesity epidemic may further increase SBP in some population. The study also revealed that China, India, Russia, Indonesia and the U.S accounted for more than half of the lost life years due to elevated SBP.


Doctors want implementation of Health Act

Resident doctors at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Zaria and the National Eye Centre, Kaduna have asked the Federal Government to fully implement the National Health Act signed by the Jonathan Administration in December 2014.

They also asked the government to rehabilitate dilapidated infrastructure at government tertiary hospitals.

The President of the National Association of Resident Doctors in ABUTH, Sokomba Aliyu, at a joint press conference of the chapters said it has become necessary for the government to not only regulate the National Health Insurance Scheme but also eliminate quackery and provide basic health funds.

He said the delay in implementing the Act was putting the health of people at risk.

“The Act guarantees that at least 1 percent of consolidated federal revenue is committed to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, just as 2 percent of the revenue goes to the Education Trust Fund”.

Ibrahim Abubakar of the National Eye Centre called on the government to employ more hands as no replacements have been made to fill the vacuum created by retired and exiting doctors over the years.

Other demands made by the association includes implementation of a uniform template for residency training in the country, full implementation of corrected CONMESS for state doctors and immediate enrolment of all resident doctors on the IPPISIS platform.


Federal Government to construct mental clinics

The Federal Government has awarded contract for the building of a mental health clinic in each senatorial district in the South East geo-political zone of the country.

Jojo Onwukwe, the Medical Director at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu made this known at a sensitisation and inaugural zonal meeting of the community health project officers. He said the clinics will help stimulate fast recovery of psychiatric and mentally derailed patients in the area.

According to Mr. Onwukwe, record indicates that over 9,000 psychiatric patients were recorded in the institution within the last five years and about 2,000 out patients came to the facility for annual treatment.

“The new facilities are necessary because it will help curb crowding the hospitals and allow for the patients to easily adapt to the new environment if it is within their vicinity as it takes at least two weeks for the patients to adapt into new environment.

A consultant for Mental Advocacy and Awareness Programme, Ejike Orji, said only 20 per cent cases of mental health is being reported.


UNFPA raises concern about adolescent marriage

Adolescent marriage and pregnancy has been identified as one of the socio-economic factors responsible for high rate of maternal and child mortality in Nigeria and other developing countries in Africa.

The Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin, disclosed this during an advocacy visit to the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai. Mr. Osotimehin was in Kaduna to assess improvement in access to health and education for women and girls in the state.

He said the negative implication of adolescent pregnancy includes dropping out of school and increase in sexually transmitted infections (STI).

Mr. El-Rufai expressed sadness that the north is the worst hit by poverty, illiteracy level, maternal and child mortality rate. While presenting the cost implementation plan for child spacing in Kaduna State, he appealed to the United Nations to focus its intervention programme on the most vulnerable states and regions in Nigeria.


NPHCDA gets new head

President Muhammadu Buhari approved the appointment of Faisal Shuaib as the Executive Secretary of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA.

Mr. Shuaib, a medical doctor and public health specialist, before his appointment worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BMGF, at Seattle, USA as a Senior Programme Officer for Africa.

Prior to working with the foundation, Mr. Shuaib coordinated Nigeria’s successful response to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) as the Incident Manager of the Ebola Emergency Operations Centre in 2014.

He was also a member of the six-member panel established to assess the response of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the global Ebola outbreak in 2014 and provided technical advice to the Federal Ministry of Health and NPHCDA in areas of immunisation and polio eradication activities between 2012 and 2015.

Mr. Shuaib had in the past also worked as a research associate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Nigeria flags off PHC revitalisation programme.

The Federal Government has flagged off the Primary Healthcare Revitalisation scheme with President Muhammadu Buhari commissioning a Primary Health Care Centre at Kuchingoro, Abuja.

This programme is part of the government’s effort to revive primary health care centres across the country to provide quality health care services for people especially in the rural areas.

The programme being executed under the National Primary HealthCare revitalisation Initiative through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and Federal Ministry of Health, is to make at least one primary health care centre fully functional to deliver a number of services in each of the wards across the country.

Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, said that the scheme is to avail poor Nigerians with qualitative and affordable health services.

The minister said the ministry had developed guidelines for efficient utilization of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.

Mr. Buhari called on those involved to ensure that the facility at Kuchingoro continues to work optimally by using it and ensuring that the health professionals are delivering quality services.

Emmanuel Odu, acting Executive Director of NPHCDA, said the agency has the target to revitalize 109 Health Care facilities across the country.

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