To ensure drug security, stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry has been advocating increase in local production of essential drugs from the present 40 to 45 per cent to 75 per cent. To achieve this feat, the environment has to be conducive for production. Other factors must also be in place for this to work. In this interview, the current President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa discusses how policy inconsistency, infrastructure deficit, policies that are not sensitive to local production, uncontrolled national border, among others contribute to reduce the production of drugs. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports
Background to local production of drugs
It will be recalled that in 1994 when we started in the National Economic Summit Group (NESG), we were trying to get Nigeria to work on the right side of national global economy and we made some successes with the former Interim President Ernest Sonekan who was Head of State then, but the moment late military ruler, Gen Sani Abacha succeeded Sonekan, he just blocked us.
Governments always want to have control over factors of production, but all over the world it has been found that this is not possible. Even countries, which ideologically like the Soviet Union believe in the government control of all the factors of production, have begun to let loose. There was a time China was closed, but today, China has opened up to forces of supply and demand and have allowed international trade to predominate.
What is critical here is that there is this natural proclivity to want to control things by the government. It’s natural to all governments; hence, letting go is always an issue. So, the battle has to go on. Every once in a while, they (governments) will open the door and at some point, they will start regretting.
May be what they thought should happen did not happen and they want to reverse it. We have seen those policy reversals and they have hurt the pharmaceutical industry as well as the economy because investment in value addition is long-term.
People project 20 to 25 years to put factories and industries in place because the time to get their money is also long-tern. Look at what’s happening today when you go to the stock market there is issues, there’s uncertainty about what will happen post elections and investors have alternatives. They don’t want to stay in a market that’s unstable.
Need to prioritise pharmaceutical industry
The basic thing is the difficulty of the country to realise that certain industries need to be treated slightly differently. Nigeria for example started the ECOWAS Common Currency and its applicable to every product without realising that in the case of pharmaceuticals, if the same rules is applied, it could cause the complete closure of certain plants because if the Federal Government makes finished drugs product zero tariff while raw materials get high tariff, logically people will go to the area where they can bring in finished goods which go with zero duty. Policies like that, which promote importation should be addressed.
Why governments should practice what they preaches
Governments preach what they do not practice. Almost every government preaches this slogan, but go and check the furniture government officials are sitting on, check the cars they are riding and check their medicine supply.
Do I need to give you the examples of even people at the highest level of governance who do not trust our own health system, hence can’t take the medicine we produce here.
On the contrary, whenever such officials seek care in London in the United Kingdom (UK), China, the United States, they take medicines supplied by those countries freely. That is the reality of our situation. Government leaders must use made in Nigeria medicines and even procure same.
Government must practice what it preaches, believe in its products and insist on their use locally. The governments must show in words and actions that it needs to support local industry, especially the pharmaceutical industry.
What fuels low medicine production
Another issue is the management of the nation’s pharmaceutical space. If I am producing products and it costs me N10 to manufacture for me to remain in business I must sell it N11 or N12. However, if somebody goes to China, arrives Nigeria with suitcases and but declares something else such as phones, but brings in some drugs into the country but many times not through the normal channel.
The goods come in and the landing price is N6. The man beings it in and is selling at N8. Even if I sell mine N10 which is cost price, I certainly cannot sell more than he (the importer) will sell. My productivity is the consequence of my ability to have uptake. Having sold what I produced, will I produce more? That is why there is reduction in production: it’s not caused by lack of capacity.
Many companies have invested, but because of the inability to control our borders, a lot of smugglers are bringing finished drugs into the country. Drugs will come and they will come with other things including narcotics and other banned drugs. They come into the open market and before you know the imported drugs are available everywhere. These are the issues impeding the local production of drugs in the country and we should confront them. If we don’t confront them, we will be deceiving ourselves.
Areas of focus
You will be shocked to hear that the pharmaceutical industry is still importing ingredients such as starch, sugar, all kinds of additives and colouring, which are used to colour tablets and syrups. I have found that these things can even be done even locally from natural sources including plants. We want to go the national research centres – the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) in Abuja and the universities, many of which have research capabilities. Although, many of them are working in these areas, but don’t have funding to complete the works.
We are going to work with Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN) to incentivise these research centres and seek for basic funding that would help them do specific research.
We are going to set targets to say for example between now and 2021 we will no longer import starch. We will also do the kind of investments that would make that happen. We will also seek funders and investors to make sure we achieve that. These are the kind of things I want to do. If it’s one, two or three items that we are able to resolve, then after my term, somebody else will take it to the next level. You never win a game until you have started. You never solve a problem until you begin to confront it, making plans, identifying the problems.
Occupational therapy is lucrative profession, FNPH boss
Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun, has said that Occupational Therapy is still a lucrative profession in the world.
Speaking at the 13th and 14th convocation ceremony of the Federal School of Occupational Therapy, in Lagos, Saturday on the relevance of Occupational Therapists in healthcare, Mrs Ogun said they help to improve patients’ ability to perform tasks at work, home and leisure, among other things and facilitate their successful adaptations to disruptions in lifestyle, prevent losses of function and improve or maintain psychological status.
She noted that the school, since her inception in 2002 has continued to produce professionals in the field of occupational therapy who have excelled in their career.
Advising the graduates, Dr. Ogun said: “Each of you is here today through your hard work and determination to excel. By reason of study in this school, you have developed the needed skills, the capacity to think independently and to have empathy in the treatment of your patients.
“I want to encourage each of you not to rest on your oars academically. The future is very bright and the sky can be your starting point, not limit if you continue to press on. There are barriers to be broken, new grounds to conquer and glass ceilings to shatter, if you’re hungry enough for knowledge, all things are possible. Do your best in all things. Contribute your quota to the development of the nation,” she advised.
The Acting Principal of the institution, Mr Adeoso Akinwole, said: “We have produced best of hands that are manning various hospitals in both public and private practice.”
’28m Nigerians living with Hepatitis virus’
At least 28 million Nigerians are living with the Hepatitis B virus, with more than half of the number unaware of their medical condition.
A Professor of Gastroentorology/Hepatology at the Bayero University, Kano,
Adamu Alhaji Samaila, made the frightening revelation Friday, at an awareness lecture and screening excercise for Hepatitis B virus, which held at the headquarters of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in Abuja. It was organised by the medical branch of the Service.
The lecture was approved by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, as part of measures to ensure that Hepatitis and other similar diseases do not pose a challenge to the NAF’s operational readiness.
In his presentation, the guest lecturer said: “About 28 million Nigerians are suffering from Hepatitis B.
“Over 2 billion (global figure) individuals have evidence of previous and present infection. 240 million chronic carriers. 1 million deaths annually.”
Accordingly, Samaila called for screening and testing, saying doing so will facilitate early detection and treatment, where necessary.
In his opening remarks, the CAS maintained that, beyond the deployment of platforms for battles, there was the compelling need personnel to be mentally and physically fit.
Effective medicines could scale-up malaria defeat
Malaria is a risk for 97 per cent of Nigeria’s population. The remaining three per cent of the population live in the malaria-free highlands. There are estimated 100 million malaria cases with over 300,000 deaths per year in the country. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports on the impact of innovative antimalarials on the fight to eliminiate the disease
Leaders of malaria-endemic countries across Africa and the Asia-Pacific have pledged to accelerate malaria elimination through domestic funding and by creating an enabling policy environment for the introduction of new tools to boost innovation and access to medicines.
His Majesty King Mswati III, chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) said: “African leaders are racing to meet the target we set for malaria elimination by 2030. Increasing domestic resources for malaria so that we can scale-up and sustain universal coverage (UC) and ensure medicines can be accessed by those who need them most is our top priority. We also commit to continue to address drug and insecticide resistance through investment in constant innovation and ensuring new solutions are made available.
We commend all partners who have joined us on this critical journey, including MMV who is using data to identify gaps in innovation and developing new tools that will ensure we win this fight. I hope to be celebrating our countries eliminating malaria in the coming years. We will achieve a malaria-free Africa!”
Similarly, the Asia Pacific Malaria Alliance (APLMA), in line with its goal to achieve a malaria-free Asia-Pacific by 2030, is supporting efforts to expand health financing and introduce new malaria medicines. With the opportunity to eliminate malaria in Asia and the Pacific, leaders have called for a rapid and sustained scale-up of efforts throughout the region.
Dr. Benjamin Rolfe, CEO, Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance adds: “In Asia-Pacific, we are making great strides against malaria – China has achieved nearly three years with zero indigenous malaria cases, Malaysia has reported no indigenous human malaria cases in 2018, and India reported a 24 per cent fall in malaria cases between 2016 and 2017. Yet multi-drug resistance in the Mekong region to Plasmodium falciparum, a deadly parasite found across the continent, is posing a threat to global health security. Now, it is more important than ever to ensure that citizens have access to innovative, effective medicines and scale-up efforts to defeat malaria. As we celebrate the progress made by MMV over the past 20 years, we reaffirm our commitment to increasing access to treatments for the disease and tackling resistance through the development of transformative medicines for malaria.”
These commitments mark the 20th anniversary of the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV). Since its foundation in 1999, when there were virtually no malaria medicines in the global development pipeline, MMV has developed the largest portfolio of antimalarial drugs in the world and launched 11 new antimalarial medicines that are already accessible to patients. Today there are 27 antimalarial drugs in product development; MMV and partners are committed to harnessing the latest and most exciting technologies available to address drug resistance and block onward transmission. Through partnerships between researchers, pharmaceutical companies and malaria programmes delivering medicines on the ground, MMV has helped save an estimated 2.2 million lives in malaria-endemic countries since the launch of its first co-developed drug in 2009.
Despite global efforts saving over seven million lives from malaria since 2000, a child still dies of malaria every two minutes. MMV remains committed to address the ongoing burden of malaria by discovering, developing and delivering transformative new medicines. Recently, MMV has launched the Malaria Drug Development Catalyst, a new legal and scientific framework, enabling pharmaceutical companies to collaborate more effectively in the development of new drug combinations. MMV is also playing a key role in facilitating the first African antimalarial manufacturer to achieve WHO prequalification of their product to protect pregnant women as well as improving cost-effectiveness, availability and access to quality-standard drugs in the region.
The past two decades of collaboration between MMV and its partners have seen countless advances in the development of antimalarial medicines. Several additional pioneering approaches, in development by other stakeholders and/or MMV, to improve access to these medicines in malaria-endemic countries under discussion at the event include enhanced collection and sharing of epidemiological and operational data, innovative strategies such as the encouragement of a community-driven approach to mobilise access to antimalarial treatment in hard-to-reach rural areas, development of new diagnostic tools to maximise access of antimalarials to eligible patients, extending the age range for administering seasonal malaria chemoprevention to children above five years of age – pushing boundaries to increase impact.
Dr. David Reddy, CEO, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) adds: “Today is a chance for us to acknowledge the incredible work of researchers across the world who have been and who continue to be at the forefront of malaria research and innovation. Not only is this an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned over the past 20 years it’s an opportunity to look ahead and ensure we continue to focus on finding new and innovative solutions that will ultimately eradicate this preventable and treatable disease.
“This year, two reports from the Lancet Commission on Malaria Eradication and the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasised malaria eradication will not be possible without increased innovation for new, transformative tools. MMV and partners are committed to developing the antimalarials that will help the broader malaria community to meet the long-term goals of malaria elimination and eradication.”
Malaria elimination will contribute to the objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), significantly improving health and economies. MMV works with partners to ensure its malaria interventions support the WHO Global Technical Strategy (GTS) and wider objectives, including reducing malaria case incidence and mortality rates by at least 90 per cent by 2030.
Why Nigerian doctors, nurses are bad tempered, by Prof. Ayobami
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi has explained why it appears that Nigerian doctors and nurses were wicked, unfriendly and inhuman while relating with patients in hospitals.
Professor Abayomi, who is a specialist in Internal Medicine, Oncology, Environmental Health and Biosecurity, said that unlike other developed countries, Nigerians and Nigerian government don’t prioritise the welfare of the health workers enough, saying that they were better appreciated, honoured and well-taken care abroad than in Nigeria.
He said: “You know doctors or any profession there is an established number of working hours and established number of contacts that any professional can have without exhausting the profession. It is not confined to health alone, it is a workforce regulation. You can’t force somebody to work beyond necessary. It is like a pilot; you can’t force him to fly for unusual hours. Once he does one flight, he gets up with his crew and a new crew comes in. Medicine and flight are very similar. The profession is crucial; once you make a mistake, people are dead!
“How can you allow a pilot to do just a flight and ask him to get up and go and relax with his crew in a five star hotel? But you make a doctor work for 34 hours, 48 hours and three days in terrible condition? No rest, working day and night looking after people with no resources. Why do you think they are leaving for developed countries? Why do you think they are bad tempered?
“Although it is not an excuse but when you have a doctor working for 48 hours, he hasn’t slept, he hasn’t eaten, if you see where he will sleep you will be shocked yourself. He has no food, nobody is looking after him and you expect him to meet you with a smile, and you bringing somebody that is close to death?
The renowned specialist insisted that just like a tired pilot can’t be forced to fly a plane, so are the doctors who are being forced to operate diligently in an unfriendly and difficult situation. “If I asked you to be writing articles for 48 hours continuously, you will be writing rubbish. Our spellings and syntax will be wrong. Why do you think you can’t read their handwriting?”
He added that unless something urgent is done to improve the welfare package of the Nigerian doctors, the issue of exodus of doctors may get worse, adding that most doctors in the country now prefer to practice in Lagos only to travel out after sometimes.
“We have got a big problem and we have to pay attention to the welfare of doctors and health care professionals. Doctors and nurses are not just ordinary professionals, I ‘m telling you this free of charge, because there is nobody that comes to tell them good news all throughout the day. They have to deal with the sick.
Consumption of traditional diet could reduce diabetes
World Diabetes Day, marked globally on November 14, was created in 1991 by International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. As Nigeria commemorates the day today, Dr. Anthonia Ogbera, an Associate Professor of Medicine, Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) discusses factors fuelling new cases of diabetes mellitus, the huge burden the disease impose on patients, preventive measures, among others. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports
How does diabetes present?
Adult type of diabetes may present in three ways. It may present with symptoms: the person is urinating frequently, the person is losing weight, and may have blurring of vision.
Also, an affected person may present with complication, which may be either acute or chronic.
Some of the chronic complications are blindness, foot ulcer, a wound that will not heal and erectile dysfunction, which is impotence in men, So, you have some people presenting for the first time with these complications. By the time they are presenting we are detecting that they have diabetes.
Some experts blame rising diabetes mellitus on the consumption of sugary drinks and confectionaries. Whats your take on this?
Indirectly because when I talked about poor eating habit – people taking calory-dense food, most of these pasteries are calory-dense, meaning that they are packed with calories.
Similarly the soft drinks have high calories like all these high energy drinks and they are not complex cabohydrates in that when you take those drinks your blood sugar shoots up instantly. It is not that if your blood sugar shoots up you will have diabetes, but over time that you do this and against the background of a person with the risk factors of developing diabetes, then we can say they are contributory. This is why we encourage healthy eating.
Those ones that do not have symptoms mind their own business until somebody says, “Let me screen.” They screen and find that the person has diabetes. You can imagine this group that doesn’t have symptoms. They will be there for a long time until one day that they will come up with a wound that will not heal or until somebody screens and finds that they have diabetes. That is why we say it is good for people to go for screening, especially if they are 40 years and above or if they have family history of diabetes. They could even go earlier for screening. This is because diabetes may go undetected until there are complications.
How exactly does this high calorie injure the body?
There is a certain amount of calorie the body requires daily. This depends on what your current body mass index (BMI) is and what your activities are. Are you a sedentary person or you are active. For somebody like a bricklayer he will require more calorie than the banker who says he is very busy but sits down and busies himself without burning any calorie. He may be doing a lot of physical activity but may not be doing any physical activity. These are the factors that determine how much calories one should take.
When you are taking too much calories that the body does not need it is going to be stored as fat. The person will be getting bigger and that is where obesity comes in. It is about what you take in versus what you burn and there is a way your insulin is going to respond to that. Your insulin may not be functioning normally.
Whats your description of healthy eating habit?
Its all about the traditional way we eat – the unprocessed food. Most of the food in fast food eateries, have high cholesterol, though there is good and bad cholesterol. So, apart from having high values of calories they also have high levels of the bad cholesterol.
Our traditional food includes ‘gari’ which has fiber and vegetables. A healthy diet should have a certain amount of carbohydrates; usually remember that ‘gari’ is carbohydrate nad soft drinks is also carbohydrate. Of course you are taking the same calory that you are taking from the ‘gari’ and the soft drink but if you place the ‘gari’ and the soft drink side by side, the ‘gari’ is healthier because it is a complex carbohydrate. When you eat it your blood glucose will not just shoot up. The body takes time in breaking it down unlike when you take a bottle of soft drink. They may have the same calories, but the bottle of soft drink is empty, considering that it is just sugar, unlike the ‘gari’ and soup. The ‘gari’ has some fibre and and if you are eating the ‘gari’ with bitter leaf soup there is still some vitamins you may get from that. Yams are similarly good. To eat healthy, focus more on consuming traditional foods.
Unhealthy diet will be soft drinks, carbonated drinks, ice creams and processed fast foods. The thing with these fast food is that they can be misleading. Somebody could go into the fast food joint and takes meatpie and in our thinking we are wired to think that is a snack and because it is not proper food the person will say he has not eaten proper food and that he will eat when he gets home.
Unfortunately that snack may have more calory than the proper food. So at the end of the day somebody may be consuming up to 2,000 or 3,000 calories from he fast food joint and the fellow has not eaten the his main meal. Hence, that’s the danger in these fast foods. If you take a breakdown of these calories in the snack, you will find that they are really high.
Why are we seeing an explosion of diabetes mellitus?
The explosion of diabetes is the adult type because of the risk factors associated with it. We have certain risk factors that are non-modifiable. There’s nothing you can do about that and these include age. As people get older their insulin may not be functioning properly. We are all getting older but that’s not to say that everybody at a particular age must get diabetes.
Similarly, having a family history of diabetes is another non-modifiable risk factor. You don’t chose your family. This puts such people at risk of diabetes. It is not everyone with family history of diabetes that end up having diabetes. The higher the risk, more likely affected persons may develop diabetes.
There are modifiable risk factors. These are the ones we can do something about and it is the ones that are partly responsible for the explosion. These include obesity. People are getting bigger because of sedentary habits including sitting down and watching several series of television (TV) broadcasts. Most children no longer play football on the fields; they do it with their smart phones. Even as they are watching TV they are taking the calory-dense sugary drink and unhealthy drinks.
Sedentary habit is another factor. When people are sedentary they are not physically active. You find out that the insulin too may not be functioning optically. Of course, other risk factors include being hypertensive, women who have had big babies in the past or a woman who had diabetes in pregnancy and after pregnancy the blood glucose became normal. Such a woman is at risk of developing diabetes.
Another reason why we see more diabetes is because we are now able to detect it better than before. Detection is easily accessible. It is offered freely. Most hospitals do opportunistic screening and because of this we are detecting those with diabetes more.
There is now more explosion of diseases like HIV and Tuberculosis, (TB). HIV has also been found to be associated with diabeters because some of the drugs they take make them prone to diabetes.
Sickle cell disease: WHO advocates prevention control programme
The Director for WHO Africa region, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti has advocated that the prevention of sickle cell disease (SCD) should be prioritised.
He spoke at the three-day conference organised by Dr. Sickle Cell – Center for Sickle Cell Disease in association with Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation and supported by World Health Organisation (WHO), Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), amongst other sickle cell foundations across Africa
Moeti who was represented at the event by Prof. Jean-marie, the, Coordinator of Non-Communicable Disease Primary Prevention and Integrated Management also addressed the need for setting priorities for national, regional and global SCD prevention and control programme.
Also, speaking at the event, former President Olusegun Obasanjo reiterated the need for more collaborative efforts to foster better education and awareness about SCD just as he stated that people living with sickle cell needed empathy not sympathy.
Speaking as the grand patron of the First African Congress on Sickle Cell Disease (ACSCD).
Obasanjo also emphasised the fact that every sickle cell sufferer has a unique story behind the pain they go through therefore, needed empathy and not sympathy.
The event which was indeed a huge event for the sickle cell community in Africa and was attended by delegates from Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Namibia, India, Netherland, Egypt, Belgium, Canada, United State and United Kingdom (UK).
The co-chair ACSCD Congress, Dr. David Ajaere stated during his welcome address that the burden of sickle cell disease can not be overcome by any single organisation or individual, it takes an hoslitic approach whereby partnerships are forged between organisations and relevant stakeholders with aligned interest and vision in a bid to overcoming sickle cell disease in Africa.
The Kabaka (King) of the Buganda kingdom in Uganda who was represented at the congress by his Minister of Health, Dr. Prosperous Nankindu also shared insight on the fight against sickle cell disease in Uganda and how they have successfully made Ugandans more aware of sickle cell management by puporlarising the need for genotype screening before marriage.
The First lady of Lagos State, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu who was represented at the congress by Dr. Mobolaji Johnson gave a welcome address to the local and international delegates at the Congress.
Painkillers may increase heart risk
Common painkillers — even those sold over the counter — could raise your heart attack risk to as much as 50 per cent, according to a new study that looked at nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
The findings of the new study was published in ‘BMJ’.
Researchers found that the increased risk occurred regardless of duration or dosage.
This group of drugs includes ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, Cambia, Zorvolex), celecoxib (Celebrex), and naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox), which are available over the counter or by prescription.
The team found that taking any dosage of these drugs for one week or longer was linked to an increased risk of a heart attack, but that risk appeared to gradually decline when these painkillers were discontinued.
The primary indication is to relieve pain or fever, headaches, back pain, menstrual cramps, and other causes, the ‘HealthDay news,’ reported.
The level of risk, which ranged from 20 per cent to 50 per cent, increased as early as one week into the use of any drug in this category, and the risk associated with taking higher doses was greatest within the first month.
A call for investment in medical rehabilitation
Over 50 per cent of persons in need of rehabilitation in the country are unable to access such services due to several factors including paucity of funds, poor communication and coordination in the health sector. REGINA OTOKPA writes on the way forward
As the years go by, the number of persons in need of medical rehabilitation has increased tremendously, as a result of disabilities arising from accidents, mental and psychological disorders or non-communicable diseases such as stroke, diabetes, cancer, amongst a host of others in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
These group of persons need special treatment and training to have another shot at living normal lives either physically, socially, psychologically or in vocational sense.
As a matter of fact, although a good number of adults need medical rehabilitation, children with congenital diseases such as down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autistism spectrum disorder to mention the least, form a significant portion of rehabilitation users in many countries and are the largest group in need of rehabilitation. Sadly, they are not getting the required attention due to several reasons.
These includes ignorance, uneven distribution of service capacity and infrastructure, lack of access to rehabilitation, a complex referral system, inadequate personnel, poor investment, quackery, lack of communication and collaboration among the different sectors within the health ministry.
The Registrar/CEO, Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board of Nigeria (MRTBN), Dr. Akanle Taibat, insists that one way to tackle this issue is the establishment of at least one state- of-the-art equipped one-stop national rehabilitation centre in every geopolitical zone in the country.
MRTBN is a regulatory board established to regulate and control the training and practice of seven professions: physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, prosthetics and orthotics, chiropractic and osteopathic medicine professions but most importantly, it is saddled with the responsibility of solving the rehabilitation issues by removing all barriers to improve access to health services, strengthening and extending rehabilitation habitation, assertive technology, assistance and support services and community based rehabilitation.
At the 2nd International Conference of Medical Rehabilitation Professionals (ICMRP), Taibat lamented that in Nigeria as a whole, there is no well established medical rehabilitation center as found in other parts of the world
“It is long overdue for Nigeria to have well established medical rehabilitation center. This will reduce prevalence of disabilities because it comprised of early intervention and treatment so if you don’t have a well established medical rehabilitation it increased prevalence of disabilities, because some conditions that could have been prevented were not prevented as at when due.
“Also, it will help identify disabilities in the hospital because some conditions that lead to disability are some times confused. Without proper diagnosis there cannot be proper treatment. Unfortunately the accessibility of rehabilitation centres is low, because we only have it in teaching hospitals, federal medical centers and some general hospitals but we are supposed to have them in the grassroot level so that when a patient with ailment like stroke is discharged from a teaching hospital, he or she can easily move to a nearby primary healthcare centre to access the facilities.
Nutritional values of cashew
Cashews, known scientifically as ‘Anacardium occidentale,’ belong to the same family as the mango and pistachio nut. Native to Brazil, cashews are crescent-shaped nuts with a sweet flavour and a plethora of uses in the kitchen. Considered third in consumption among all the tree nuts in the world, they’re great when mixed with raisins, dried cranberries, shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, and other nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, to make a fantastic homemade trail mix.
The cashew tree is native to coastal areas of Brazil. In the 16th century, Portuguese explorers took cashew trees from this South American country and introduced them into other tropical regions such as India and some African countries, where they are now also cultivated. The cashew tree has always been a prized resource owing to its precious wood, cashew balm and cashew apple, but the cashew nut itself did not gain popularity until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the leading commercial producers of cashews are India, Brazil, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria.
Cashews are the number one crop in the world (after almonds), cultivated in more than 30 countries. They require a hot, humid climate to proliferate, which is why India, Brazil, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Nigeria are the largest raw cashew producers.
The first lesson you gain from the cashew tree is patience.
Cashew plants don’t begin to bear nuts for three to five years, and then another eight to 10 weeks is needed to develop them to full maturity. They can produce for as long as 60 to 100 years after that.
A great mineral source, cashews contain 31 per cent of the daily recommended value for copper, along with 23 per cent for manganese, 20 per cent for magnesium and 17 per cent for phosphorus, as well as 12 per cent of the daily recommended value for vitamin K.
Studies show that magnesium helps diminish the frequency of migraines, improve cognitive ability, and also lowers blood pressure, which can prevent heart attacks.
Copper contains antioxidants that render free radicals harmless. This protects against heart disease and cancer. Enzyme components like tyrosinase convert to the pigment melanin, which provides not just our skin and hair colour, but protects our skin from UV damage. Magnesium works with copper to provide bone strength, and with melanin and elastin to provide joint flexibility, giving the nerves just the right tension.
Another ingredient in cashews is proanthocyanidins, which contain flavanols that inhibit the ability of cancer cells to divide and multiply, reducing incidences of colon cancer.
Don: Nigeria needs N420bn to eradicate malaria by 2030
Proposes tax to fight scourge
A Professor of Medical Parasitology, Abimbola Amoo, has said Nigeria will require the sum of N420billion to eradicate malaria through total fumigation of the country against mosquitoes on or before the year 2030.
To this end, Amoo, who is a senior lecturer at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, called for the introduction of Mosquito Responsibility Tax to raise the needed funds.
Speaking while delivering the 92nd inaugural lecture of the university in Ago-Iwoye, the don said the proposed tax of one dollar monthly should be imposed on every adult Nigerian.
The lecture was titled: ‘Parasites of animals and man: A dance in the forest of death.”
Amoo explained that the money will be used in surveillance, biological and chemical control of mosquitoes as well as for inter-agency cooperation and research on mosquitoes.
According to him, the scourge of malaria caused by parasite from the female anopheles mosquito is a huge health burden in Nigeria.
He stated that malaria has often been responsible for the increasing hospital visits, hospital admission, anaemia during pregnancy, school absenteeism among children and even deaths.
The professor noted that the treatment of people with malaria and use of insecticide treated mosquito nets have proved inadequate and ineffective in eradicating malaria, hence the need to attack the vector (causative organism) by destruction of mosquitoes.
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