More Lassa fever deaths, male birth control pill, other major health stories last week

Lassa fever
Lassa fever

Lassa Fever: Nigeria’s death toll rises to 57

The current Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria has killed at least 57 people, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Friday.

According to the situation report released by the health agency, 275 cases of Lassa fever were confirmed in 19 states as of February 3.

The situation report is a weekly update of the trend in the Lassa fever disease across the country. The latest report by NCDC is for week five: January 28 to February 03, 2019.

Since the beginning of the year, 19 states – Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba, FCT, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Benue, Rivers, Kogi, Enugu, Imo, Delta and Oyo – have recorded at least one confirmed case across 51 local government areas

Buhari renews appointment of FMC Yenagoa’s Medical Director

The federal government has renewed the appointment of Dennis Allagoa as the Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

Mr Allagoa’s reappointment is for a second and final four-year term. The reappointment will take effect from March 11

Lassa Fever: WHO increases response in Nigeria, four other West African countries

With five West African countries reporting outbreaks of Lassa fever, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has scaled up its efforts to support the region’s response.

The countries in the region currently witnessing outbreaks of the disease are Nigeria, Benin, Guinea, Liberia and Togo. The countries are some of those in the Africa Lassa Fever belt.

Nigeria is the most hit with 275 cases confirmed in 19 states as of February 3.

WHO said while these outbreaks are occurring during the Lassa fever season in countries where the disease is endemic, the speed of escalation is of concern.


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FG inaugurates emergency medical treatment committee

The federal government has inaugurated an Emergency Medical Treatment (EMT) Committee and National Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance Scheme (NEMSAS) to provide an effective and efficient emergency medical services to Nigerians.

Inaugurating the committee, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said its main mission is to use available resources and mobilise other resources to provide efficient emergency medical services with full national coverage as part of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for Nigeria.

He said EMT is an important component of an effective and comprehensive medical system which was long overdue.

Kenyan health workers strike over pay

Provision of healthcare services in 23 Kenyan counties was paralysed on Monday as nurses went on strike to protest a delay in the implementation of an agreement to pay them higher salaries.

The nurses’ strike affected critical services in public hospitals where the bulk of Kenya’s low-income earners seek treatment.

Union officials said the strike would continue until a collective bargaining agreement negotiated with their employer in November 2017 is implemented in full.

Male birth control pill passes safety test

Scientists have been able to develop a daily capsule which can safely suppress reproductive hormones in men, making it an appealing candidate for male birth control pill, a study has shown.

The new drug prototype dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU, after a month treatment, reduces the level of hormones including testosterone that are necessary for sperm production.

All contraceptives in the market are female contraceptives and scientist have been working on male contraceptives for decades.

A reproductive endocrinologist, at Ann and Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital Chicago, Monica Laronda, who is not involved in the research said DMAU shows great great promise.

UN agencies call for new measures to end FGM

The relevant agencies of the United Nations have called for new policies to end the practice of female genital mutilation across the world.

The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a United Nations-sponsored annual awareness day that takes place on February 6. It is part of the UN’s efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation. It was first introduced in 2003.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a traditional practice of partially or totally removing the external genitalia of girls and young women for non-medical reasons.

FGM leads to long-term physical, psychological and social consequences. It violates women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, physical integrity, non-discrimination and freedom from cruel or degrading treatment.

CSOs campaign against tobacco

Civil society groups working on tobacco control in Nigeria have called for firm enforcement of the National Tobacco Act which prohibits the sale of tobacco to minors.

They made the call in Abuja at the public presentation of the Tobacco Sales Violation report. The report shows a worrying level of Tobacco sales to minors (people under the age of 18) in Nigeria.

The report titled “Tobacco vs the People” by Gatefield found that 89 per cent of cigarette vendors in the states are unaware of the law banning cigarette sale in single sticks.

Condom Day: NGO to distribute 600,000 condoms in Nigeria

The AIDS HealthCare Foundation (AHF), a Non-Governmental Organisation, says it will distribute over 600,000 condoms across the country as part of activities to commemorate this year’s International Condom Day.

Steve Aborisade, the Advocacy and Marketing Manager of the Foundation, said the day was set aside to promote the prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV and unwanted pregnancies.

The commemoration is usually observed on February 13 in preceding Valentine’s Day. He said the condoms will be distributed in Abuja, and five other states of Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Anambra and Cross River.

NHIS should cover cancer – NMA

The Nigerian Medical Association has raised the alarm over the high rate of mortality from cancer in Nigeria, saying that 70,327 died of the disease in 2018 alone.

This made the association call on the federal government to include cancer diagnostics and treatment as part of ailments covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)

In a press briefing to mark the World Cancer Day, Francis Faduyile, National President of the NMA, attributed the deaths to low awareness.

He said that out of the 9 million deaths across the world in 2018, Nigeria contributed over 70,000 to the number while the country recorded 115,950 new cases within the period under review.

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