Major health stories last week

vaccination exercise
vaccination exercise [Photo: News Express NG]

These are some of the highpoints of reports published in the national and global health terrains last week.

Nigeria has 11th highest newborn deaths globally – UNICEF

Nigeria has the 11th highest rate of newborn deaths in the world, a new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said.

The report focused on “Newborn Mortality.”

The global average newborn deaths per 1,000 births is 29. But with 37 newborns dying in every 1000 births in the country, Nigeria’s newborn mortality rate is higher than the global average.

According to the report, eight of the 10 most dangerous places to be born are in sub-Saharan Africa, where pregnant women are much less likely to receive assistance during delivery due to poverty, conflict and weak institutions.

Meningitis kills four in Niger

The Niger State Government last week confirmed the death of four persons in the state from ‘C strain’ cerebrospinal meningitis.

The state commissioner of health, Mustapha Jubril, at a press statement said about 31 cases have so far been reported with nine laboratory tests confirmed including the four deaths.

The deaths were recorded in Katcha local Government Area of the state.


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ECOWAS opens Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has opened its Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (RCSDC) office in Abuja.

The technical opening of the centre was attended by members of the West African Health Organisation, two ministers from ECOWAS and development partners.

The centre will work with ECOWAS to promote health security in the region and will begin operation with 11 staff recruited from across the region.

The agency was set up to strengthen member states’ health systems and enhance the region’s capacity for epidemics’ prevention, diagnosis and control.

Specialist advises on ear management

An Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist last week advised Nigerians against incessant use of earphones and headbands, saying that such could cause sores in the ear.

Abdulwahab Anas said using earphones could mount mechanical pressure to the ear and cause sores or other related diseases to the ear.

He explained that the best way to care for the ear to avoid any form of infections is by using a small clean cloth to clean the external region of the ear.

“The cloth should be used mildly and not inserted deeply into the ear canal as that may push the wax deeper,” he added.

Workers’ strike grounds Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu

Activities at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Enugu were grounded following an industrial action by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) in the health facility.

The hospital was deserted as only a few doctors and nurses were on duty as the strike entered day 13.

The Chairman of Medical and Health Workers Union at the hospital, Mathew Eze, said the industrial action was emarked upon to protest the percentage salary and other illegal deductions from their salaries by the management of the institution.

Anti-depressants lift people’s Mood – Study

Anti-depressants do help lift people’s mood, although their effects vary, according to a recent study published in the London-based medical journal, The Lancet.

The study, which analysed data from 522 trials involving 21 common anti-depressants, found that all tested drugs were effective in treating depression.

Drugs were deemed effective if symptoms were reduced in at least half of patients over two months.

Lead author Andrea Cipriani said he was “very excited” about the findings as it provided a “final answer” to the controversy over the effectiveness of the drugs.

Hot water bath dangerous for new born babies

Nigerian women have been advised to desist from bathing their newborn babies with hot water and stretching their hands in an attempt to massage them.

A Community Health Technician, Hellen Bulu, who gave the advice in a lecture to mothers at an immunisation programme in Abuja said it is typical of the African women to bathe their newborn with hot water and also stretch their hands without knowing the implication.

Bulu said bathing newborn with hot water can cause high temperature. She however advised mothers to breastfeed newborns rather than apply hot water when the baby is having high temperature.

World’s largest brain tumour operated in India

Surgeons in Mumbai, India, last week removed a 1.87-kg brain tumour from a 31-year-old man, saying it was the largest in the world.

The surgery lasted for seven hours at the Nair Hospital.

News of the procedure was made public after the hospital ensured the surgery was successful as the patient, Santlal Pal, had recovered, doctors at the facility said.

“The tumour was so big, it appeared there was another head mounted on top of the patient’s head,” Srikanth Balasubramaniam, a senior surgeon who was part of the operating team said.


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