Major health stories last week: NHIS head suspended, Ikeme battles leukaemia, others

Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf [Photo: Concise News]
Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf [Photo: Concise News]

NHIS Executive Secretary suspended

The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf, has been suspended.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, approved the suspension with immediate effect, due to allegations of fraud. He was directed to hand over to the most senior officer in the agency, Attahiru Ibrahim, which was not formally done.

An investigation panel was also set up by the minister to look into the allegations.

Super Eagle’s goalkeeper Ikeme battle leukaemia

Super Eagles’ England-based goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, is to begin chemotherapy after being diagnosed with acute leukaemia.

The 31-year-old player of Championship side, Wolves, was said to have returned “abnormal blood tests” during pre-season testing and further checks were also said to have confirmed the diagnosis.

Ikeme has been with Wolves for his entire career, making more than 200 appearances for the club.

Osun Doctors protest unpaid salaries

Medical doctors working with the Osun State government staged a peaceful protest over the non-payment of their salary arrears and poor condition of public hospitals in the state.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Osun State chapter, Tokunbo Olajumoke, said salaries of doctors had been slashed drastically, saying they were now receiving a paltry 30 per cent of their salaries while the state government was taxing them based on the 100 per cent of the salaries.

Mr. Olajumoke said the conditions of the hospitals are bad and there are no drugs; adding that the most expensive drugs in many hospitals are paracetamol and other painkillers.

Ogun shuts 180 illegal facilities

The Ogun State government in its effort to curtail quackery among health workers has shut down about 186 illegal health facilities in the last one year.

The State Commissioner for Health, Babatunde Ipaye, disclosed that there has been backdrop of illegal health facilities and increasing number of quack doctors in the state. He said those arrested by the state monitoring team from the Ministry of Health were guilty of either operating with fake certificates, invalid license or operating in health facilities without government authorisation. He said they have been charged to court by the state government.

Ignorance, fear hinders HIV treatment

The Edo State Action Committee on AIDS (SACA) has reiterated that being tested positive for HIV is not a death sentence.

The Project Manager of the agency, Marietu Binkola, stated that ignorance and fear of the unknown has been identified as some of the factors hampering the fight against the disease across Nigeria.

She stressed that though HIV has no known cure yet, increased awareness and voluntary tests by members of the public could drastically reduce the spread of the disease and the number of deaths resulting from it.

Togo records outbreak of bird flu

Togo reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu at a poultry farm in the southern part of the country.

The Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health, OIE, citing a report from the Togolese farm ministry said the virus was detected on farm of 35,000 laying hens, located in the Maritime Region and it had infected 3,600 birds, and killed 152.

Gonorrhoea is becoming untreatable, WHO warns

The World Health Organisation, WHO, warns that Gonorrhoea infections are increasing, but doctors are running out of antibiotics that can fight the increasingly resistant bacteria causing the sexually-transmitted disease.

Two-thirds of the countries that report resistance data to the WHO have seen cases in recent years in which their antibiotics of last resort no longer worked against gonococci bacteria. These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg since systems to diagnose and report untreatable infections are lacking in lower-income countries where gonorrhoea is actually more common, a WHO expert, Teodora Wi, said in Geneva.

West African nurses, midwives urged to improve on emergency management

West African nurses and midwives have been tasked to return to the core values of the profession and improve on their training towards emergency response and crisis management so as to be more prepared for future epidemic occurrences in the sub-region.

Uduak Archibong, the keynote speaker at the West African College of Nursing, WACN, 14th Biennial General Meeting in Abuja, said there is a need to return to the essence of the core value of nursing to be able to achieve laudable feats in combating these diseases when they breakout.

Married women, girls turning to drugs in Borno – NDLEA

More married women and young girls in Borno State are turning to illicit drugs, the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has alerted.

According to the state commander of the agency, Joseph Iweajunwa, most women and girls who use drugs like Tramadol and cough syrups with codeine do so for energy enhancement.

Mr. Iweajunwa said between January and June, 248 suspects were arrested while 336kg of drugs like Cannabis, Tramadol, Diazepam, Exol, Cocaine, Heroin, Rohypnol, as well as cough syrups with codeine, were confiscated from various abusers.

Nigeria to upgrade health facilities with N9 billion – Official

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, said the federal government would invest N9 billion in upgrade of hospitals to halt foreign medical trips by Nigerians.

Mr. Udoma said what the ministry of health is doing is going into partnership with the private sector and tertiary institutions, through the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority to upgrade a number of hospitals.

He also said the government wants to use the opportunity to entice good doctors in diaspora back to the country.

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