Major health stories in the news last week

Health Minister, Dr. Isaac Adewole
Health Minister, Dr. Isaac Adewole

These are some of the reports published on developments in the health sector last week.

Nigeria loses N175 billion annually to medical tourism – former Health Minister

A former minister of health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said Nigeria loses N175 billion annually to medical tourism.

Mr. Chukwu at opening ceremony of the 2017 Faculty of Clinical Sciences 10th Faculty Week & Scientific Conference, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, with the theme: “Medical Tourism in Nigeria” said the wasted fund was more than 50 per cent of the proposed total budget for 2018 for the federal health sector.

According to him, the lack of funding of the health sector is affecting the development of the trainers and trainees as they are not exposed to enough cases and quality of care, therefore making the local sector lose the confidence of the populace resulting in low esteem and loss of morale among the health personnel.

Senate Hears Petition Against MDCN Registrar

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The Senate Committee on Health commenced an investigative hearing regarding allegations levelled against the acting Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, Tajudeen Sanusi.

The chairman of the committee, Lanre Tejuoso, APC-Ogun Central, explained that Mr. Sanusi was invited because of petitions from students and parents accusing him of incompetence as well as conducting exams for students under a non-conducive environment.

The allegations against Mr. Sanusi ranged from extortion to massively failing Nigerian students who schooled abroad and recently sat for the MDCN examination. 423 out of the 696 students that sat for the examination failed.

Medical directors sue Abuja area council over ‘illegal charges’

The Guild of Medical Directors, GMD, has asked an High Court in Abuja to look into the ‘illegal and unnecessary’ taxes collected from them by officials of Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC.

The counsel to the guild, Akinwale Aderele, who made the plea via an application brought before the judge, Charles Angbaza, said the group was seeking, ”a judicial review of taxes and levies paid to AMAC so as to reduce the burden on owners of private hospitals.”

The chairman of the Guild , Chito Nwana, explained that different agencies of government within the FCT have descended on private hospitals with duplicitous multitude of crippling taxes such as radio and television fees, environmental fees, trade and operating licence fees thereby ‘killing’ many hospitals and adding that these must ust be reviewed urgently.

270,000 Nigerian children living with HIV – UNICEF

No fewer than 270,000 children ages ranging from 0 to 14 years were living with HIV in Nigeria in 2016, says the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.

The figure represented the lion share of half of the 540,000 total infected children in West and Central Africa over the same year.

Nigeria also recorded 37,000 new HIV infections among children out of the total of 60,000 new infections in West and Central Africa over the same period, representing 62 per cent of the new infections.

UNICEF warned that the West and Central Africa were lagging too far behind the rest of the world in access to HIV treatment and care as four in five children living with HIV in the regions were still not receiving life-saving antiretroviral therapy. Also AIDS-related deaths among adolescents aged 15 to 19 years were on the rise.

Myanmar: 586,000 kids vaccinated to ‘shield their brains’

About 586,744 children between nine months and five years in Myanmar’s Rakhine state are to be vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) from December 11 to 21, the official Global New Light of Myanmar reported.

Japanese Encephalitis virus is maintained in a cycle involving mosquitoes and vertebrate hosts, mainly pigs and wading birds. Humans can be infected when bitten by an infected mosquito.

Some infected patients will develop neurological symptoms including tremors, seizures (especially among children), as well as mental status changes and movement disorders and can be fatal in 20 to 30 per cent of cases. Most of survivors continue to have neurologic, cognitive or psychiatric symptoms.

Two Indian doctors sacked for declaring living baby ‘dead’

The services of two doctors working at private hospital in Indian capital city New Delhi were terminated for incorrectly declaring newly born twins “dead”, while one of them was alive.

The hospital has set up a inquiry panel into the matter with two senior doctors from the Indian Medical Association to investigate the matter. It said the 22-week-old premature baby was declared dead, while he was alive.

Institute wants more tuberculosis treatment centres</strong

The Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, has appealed to federal, state and local governments to provide more treatment centres for the management of drug resistant tuberculosis.

Vivian Ibeziako, the Programme Manager, Drug Resistant Tuberculosis of the Institute, said Nigeria currently has 22 tuberculosis treatment centres and the centres are funded with global funds.

She said in order to tackle cases of tuberculosis among the people, there is a need to promote more centres that can manage drug resistant tuberculosis is necessary in all health centres.

Sokoto targets 1 million children for measles immunisation
Sokoto State says the government has targeted one million children for 2017 measles vaccination campaign in 12 local government areas across the state during the first phase of the programme.

The governor of the state, Aminu Tambuwal at the inauguration of the programme in Gwadabawa Local Government Area of the state, urged parents and healthcare givers to sustain the efforts to eradicate the disease. He assured people that the vaccines were safe for use.

Twelve local government areas are expected to be covered in first phase while 11 local government areas will be covered in the second phase.

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