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How new tools, drugs could eliminate malaria



How new tools, drugs could eliminate malaria

From eradication, United Nation (UN) agencies have set 2030 target for the elimination of the malaria globally. With Algeria and Argentina getting the World Health Organisation (WHO) malaria-free certification, the role of everyone – government leaders, community health workers and individuals to achieve zero malaria, could pave the way for its complete abolition, reports APPOLONIA ADEYEMI who recently attended the World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting on malaria in Geneva, Switzerland


It is not news again that some countries have exited the club of malaria burdened countries. As at May 22, 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) certified both Algeria and Argentina free of malaria, the life-threatening disease that is preventable and curable.
Such a certification is granted when a country proves that it has interrupted indigenous transmission of the disease for at least three consecutive years.
Contracted through the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito, malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, with an estimated 219 million cases and over 400 000 malaria-related deaths in 2017.
Approximately 60 per cent of fatalities occasioned by malaria, occur among children aged under five years.

Countries with WHO malaria-free certification
Algeria is the second country in the WHO African region to be officially recognised as malaria-free, after Mauritius, which was certified in 1973. Argentina is the second country in the WHO region of the Americas to be certified in 45 years, after Paraguay in June 2018. Algeria and Argentina reported their last cases of indigenous malaria in 2013 and 2010 respectively.
The world has made tremendous progress in the fight against malaria in the past 15 years. According to the World Malaria Report, malaria case incidence was reduced by 41 per cent and malaria mortality rates were reduced by 62 per cent between 2000 and 2015.
At the beginning of 2016, malaria was considered to be endemic in 91 countries and territories, down from 108 in 2000. Despite this progress, malaria continues to place a heavy toll on the world. In 2015, 212 million cases occurred globally, leading to 429,000 deaths, most of which occurred in children under age five years in Africa.
It is important to note that more than 100 countries have eliminated malaria in the past century. Of the 106 countries with ongoing transmission in 2000, 57 reduced malaria incidence more than 75 per cent by 2015, in line with the World Health Assembly target for 2015 of reducing the malaria burden by 75 per cent.
Similarly, an additional 18 countries reduced incidence by more than 50 per cent, also achieving target 6C of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which called for halting and beginning to reverse the global incidence of malaria by 2015.
In spite of this development, the WHO recently alerted the world community over the rise in the number of new malaria infections being recorded globally, saying the development was happening in 10 high burden countries. Details from the annual World Malaria Report shows that in 2017 there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria globally, with around 435,000 deaths.
Reacting to the development, the Director of the WHO’s global malaria programme, Dr. Pedro Alonso said he was particularly concerned about the report’s finding that, in 2017, there were an estimated 3.5 million more cases of malaria in the 10 highest malaria burden African countries over the previous year.
The 10 malaria high burden countries are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania. There were an estimated 151 million malaria cases and 275,000 malaria deaths in these countries in 2017, the report shows.
Director-General WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, warned that as progress in the fight against malaria stagnated, the global community was at risk of squandering years of investment and success in reducing the number of people suffering from the disease.
“The fact that every two minutes a child dies from this preventable and curable disease is unacceptable,” he wrote in the report.
African countries account for 92 per cent of all infections from the mosquito-borne parasite, which causes the potentially lethal fever disease.

Elimination as new trend in malaria fight
Despite the above background, the new trend is that an increasing number of countries are moving towards the elimination of malaria, which prompts the question: where exactly is Nigeria concerning this plan. Presently, Nigeria alone contributes 80 per cent of the number of malaria cases from the entire African continent. Out of those 80 per cent, 90 per cent of the cases affects children.
In spite of this huge malaria burden in Nigeria, the current global plan is to rid the world of this disease. However, question that has been agitating the minds of many stakeholders, personalities and individuals is: can Nigeria truly eliminate malaria from its environment against the background of wrong attitude of its people towards the disease?
According to concerned civil society organisations and medial experts, the way to go is to emulate countries that have achieved it and toe their line. What did they do right? What was the magic wand?

Call for R&D, new technology
Speaking on steps malaria high burden countries and other malaria burdened nations could adopt to rid their nations of the disease, Alonso who spoke at an event tagged innovation with unitaid, PM, and RBM partnership, held in Geneva, Switzerland on May 22, said one of the factors that should be looked into was current tools being used to fight malaria. For instance, while he admitted that the use of the Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Bednets (LLIT) reduces malaria by about 40 per cent, according to the WHO, “Some tools used in malaria fight are imperfect.”
When seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) is deployed in treatment, he noted, “We need to recognise that we don’t have modern tools; hence, Alonso urged the world community to do more in the area of Research and Development (R&D). SMC is defined as the intermittent administration of full treatment courses of an antimalarial medicine to children in areas of highly seasonal transmission during the malaria season.

New medicines
According to Alonso, if countries want to move forward as well as progress in the malaria fight, we must deploy not only modern and better tools but newer effective drugs.
He also advised that adopting new approach in vector control could bring new and improved vistas into the activities to eliminate malaria.
The director of WHO malaria programme also highlighted the RTS,S (developed by PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The RTS,S vaccine is an important new tool that can help save tens of thousands of children from malaria, and a powerful example of the role country leadership and multi-sectoral partnerships play in accelerating malaria elimination.
The vaccine will be deployed in selected areas of moderate-to-high malaria transmission through routine immunisation services. This pilot programme will provide crucial information and lessons for the vaccine’s future deployment.
Alonso also affirmed that the new policy of the WHO was to eliminate malaria worldwide by 2030.
On his part, the Executive Director of The Global Fund, Peter Sands accused both the governments of malaria high-burden countries and nations burdened by the disease of failing to invest enough in the fight to eliminate malaria. Sands said: “We must do enough to save lives.”
Together, we must invest enough to eliminate mosquitoes and malaria epidemic. Sands heads The Global Fund, from where 60 per cent of the finance that funds malaria fight is sourced from.
On his part, Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO, Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership to End Malaria, said: “Defeating malaria requires that everyone – government leaders, community health workers, mothers and fathers – takes personal responsibility to achieve zero malaria.”
To this end, he stressed that the RBM Partnership was committed to eliminate the disease from the world and was working to achieve that.

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Man has end of penis amputated after docs noticed it was rotting away



Man has end of penis amputated after docs noticed it was rotting away

A man needed to have the end of his penis amputated after doctors spotted that it was rotting away during a routine check-up.

The 43-year-old patient, who hasn’t been named, was having dialysis treatment for kidney failure at a hospital near Adelaide, South Australia.

But during his examination, medics noticed that the end of his penis had turned white with black spots.

Surgeons quickly realised that it was gangrenous and the dead flesh needed to be sliced off urgently to prevent it from spreading, reports

Rare disease

Writing in an article, published in BMJ Case Reports,medics explained that the man had developed a rare disease called penile calciphylaxis.

It’s a build up of calcium deposits in the small blood vessels, causing them to narrow and cut off circulation.

This can lead to the tissue dying and if it’s not caught quickly, it can cause gangrene which can spread quickly and is incurable.

Calciphylaxis can be caused by chronic kidney disease because the organs stop filtering the calcium out of the blood.

Lucky to be alive

In this case, the medics, led by Dr Rowan David, said that the man was lucky to have survived the condition, which kills around six in 10 patients.

He wrote: “The majority of patients who develop penile calciphylaxis progress to gangrene and sepsis”.

The patient was taken for an emergency operation to remove the rotting flesh but his wound got worse and he needed further surgery to remove the entire tip.

They managed to reconstruct it with a skin graft four days later but he was left with what they described as a “penile stump”.

Despite his ordeal, the man appeared to be doing well when he returned for his two-month check-up.

What is calciphylaxis?

Calciphylaxis is a rare, but serious, kidney complication.

The condition causes calcium to build up inside the blood vessels of the fat and skin.

Calciphylaxis is also called calcific uremic arteriolopathy.

It’s most often seen in people with advanced chronic kidney disease, or people with kidney failure who are on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant.

In dialysis, a machine filters and purifies the blood because the kidneys are unable to do so on their own.

Calciphylaxis results in the formation of very painful skin lesions. It often causes serious infections that can be fatal.

Symptoms of calciphylaxis include:





body aches

If you have any concerns, see a GP immediately.

Source: Healthline

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Cellphone-related head and neck injuries on the rise, study says



Cellphone-related head and neck injuries on the rise, study says

People distracted by their cellphones are tripping, falling and hurting their heads and necks more often, with such injuries increasing “steeply” over a 20-year period, a new analysis has found.

According to NBC News, most cases were mild, but some involved facial lacerations and traumatic brain injuries that could lead to long-term consequences, the authors warned.

The study, published Thursday in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, is believed to be the first to investigate the role smartphones play in injuries to these parts of the body. Previous studies have found that all types of “distracted walking” injuries have been on the rise.

Dr. Boris Paskhover, a reconstructive surgeon and the lead author of the new paper, started looking into the statistics after seeing patients with broken jaws or facial wounds who would tell him they fell while staring at their phones and not paying attention to their surroundings.

“I don’t think people are aware of how fragile we are as humans. We’re resilient, but we’re also fragile. You fall and you can get a pretty bad injury,” Paskhover, an assistant professor in the department of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told NBC News.

“You walk in the city and you see everyone just looking at their phones,” he said. “Be aware that you can hurt yourself.”

The study looked for cellphone-related injuries to the head and neck listed in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a database that collects information about emergency room visits from about 100 U.S. hospitals.

From January 1998 to December 2017, there were 2,501 patients who sought help for such issues. If translated onto a national scale, the number of cases would amount to more than 76,000 people, the authors estimated.

Head and neck injuries related to cellphone use were relatively rare until the rate began to increase sharply in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released, followed by a much steeper increase that peaked in 2016.

Cellphone users aged 13 to 29 made up almost 40 percent of the patients, and most of the injuries caused by distraction happened in this age group.

A third of the cases involved the head; another third affected the face, including the eyelids, eye area and nose; and about 12 percent involved the neck.

Many of the injuries were caused by falls when people were looking at their phones and not paying attention to their surroundings — like texting while walking, for example, Paskhover said.

Children younger than 13 were more likely to be directly hurt by the phone — accidentally hit by a device that was in their parent’s hand, for example. Paskhover has also had patients who were playing a game on their phone when it slipped, hit them on the face and broke their nose. “It happens,” he noted.

The most common injuries included lacerations, which accounted for 26 percent of the cases. Scarring from facial lacerations can lead to anxiety and lower self-esteem, the study noted.

Another quarter of patients suffered bruises and abrasions.

Internal organ injuries made up almost a fifth of the cases, or 18 percent. When referring to the head, this diagnosis most commonly indicated traumatic brain injuries — “those are the scary ones,” Paskhover said.

“We have a skull that protects our brain, but it doesn’t mean it’s impervious. Your brain is soft,” he noted. “I see patients who die just from falling. A fall from upright — you fall, you hit your head the wrong way, you get a traumatic brain injury.”

Still, most patients in the study were treated and released from the hospital, or released without any treatment required.

The findings suggest there’s a need for public education about the risks of being distracted by cellphones beyond texting and driving, the authors noted.

The takeaway is “don’t be distracted — period,” Paskhover said. “Be self-aware. Answer a text message, fine, but you shouldn’t be walking around reading articles on your phone.”

Earlier this year, New York lawmakers proposed a ban on texting while crossing the street.

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Doctors revive woman after six-hour cardiac arrest



Doctors revive woman after six-hour cardiac arrest

Doctors in Barcelona have managed to revive a British woman who had a six-hour cardiac arrest after developing hypothermia while hiking in the Catalan Pyrenees in freezing weather last month.
Audrey Mash said she was surprised at the attention her case had attracted and said it had not put her off hiking. “I feel like a fraud for not being back at work. I’m hoping to go back before the end of next week,” she said on Thursday.
She and her husband, Rohan Schoeman – who live in Barcelona – set out from Coma de Vaca to Núria on the morning of November 3, reports the Guardian.
Around lunchtime, after the temperature dropped and it began to snow, Schoeman noticed that his wife was speaking oddly and becoming incoherent.
Shortly afterwards, she stopped moving and fell unconscious. He rang friends, who helped firefighters and rescuers locate them and launch a helicopter rescue operation. But bad weather delayed the rescue and by the time they reached the pair, it was 3.30pm.
“Our first assessment suggested that Audrey was in a bad way,” said one of the rescuers, Pere Serral. “We couldn’t find any vital signs and we did what we could using pre-hospital techniques.”
By that point, Mash had severe hypothermia and her body temperature had fallen to just 18C; normal body temperature is 37C. She was then taken by helicopter to the Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona, which has an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (Ecmo).
When connected to a patient, the Ecmo takes over the functioning of the heart and lungs, oxygenating the blood outside the body then reintroducing it, allowing both organs to rest.
The Ecmo had never been used in Spain for a resuscitation procedure. But by 9.45pm, Mash’s body temperature had risen to 30C and the doctors tried again to revive her, using a defibrillator.
Dr Eduardo Argudo said doctors at the hospital had decided to use the machine “to win some time so that her brain could receive oxygen while we treated the cause of the cardiac arrest”.
He added: “Although hypothermia was about to kill Audrey, it also saved her because her body – and above all her brain – didn’t get any worse. If she’d been in cardiac arrest for that long with a normal body temperature, we’d have been certifying her death. But we knew that the severe hypothermia meant that we had a shot at saving her thanks to the Ecmo.”
Argudo said that while hers was the longest instance of cardiac arrest survival documented in Spain, similar cases had occurred in the Alps and in Scandinavia.
Mash, who is 34, spent six days in the intensive care unit, where doctors monitored her for signs of neurological damage.
“I’m good but a little surprised by all the attention it’s got today – it must be a slow news week,” she told the Guardian on Thursday evening.
“I recovered much faster than I, or I think the doctors, expected. I was out of intensive care after six days and out of hospital six days after that. The doctors have since told me that they expected me to be in intensive care for closer to a month.”
Mash, an English teacher who has lived in Barcelona for more than two years, said she was getting back to normal and that the ordeal had not put her off hiking.
“I think my husband is a little more dubious about it than me – he has to live with the memories,” she said.
“I woke up when it was all over. I don’t think we’ll be out in any high mountain this winter. But I do hope that next spring or summer we’ll be able to go back and do some long walking and feel confident in it. I don’t want it to take away from my enjoyment of the mountains.”

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HIV prevalence dips, challenges remain



HIV prevalence dips, challenges remain

The estimated number of people that have HIV in Nigeria reduced from 3.5 million in 2005 to 1.9 million in 2018. In spite of the low  prevalence, experts and international agencies said special focus  on paediatric HIV would reduce new infections and prevent deaths among those living with the virus. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports



As far back as March, 2019, the outcome of the Nigeria National HIV/AIDS indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) had given Nigeria a pass mark in the fight to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country. The findings of that survey showed that Nigeria was making good strides in the efforts to achieve zero-HIV in its environment.

Speaking recently on the development, the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDs (NACA), Dr. Aliyu Gambo said, “We will say the situation is good at the moment.  We never knew that in the last 15 years we have done so well in terms of fighting HIV in Nigeria until 2018 when we did the NAIIS survey. 

According to the survey, the prevalence of HIV reduced from 4.4 per cent to 1.4 per cent.

It was 4.4 per cent in 2005 and 2018 it was 1.4 per cent. Consequently, the estimated number of people we think have HIV in Nigeria reduced from 3.5 million in 2005 to 1.9 million in 2018.  So 1.4 prevalence in 2018 and 1.9 million as the estimated number of people living with HIV in the country is good, said the director general of NACA.

Against this backdrop, however, one of the challenges still facing HIV/AIDS fight in the country is the impact of this epidemic on children. A recent report released by UNICEF in advance to mark the 2019 World AIDS Day revealed that in Nigeria, more than 47 children and adolescents died every day from AIDS-related causes in 2018. That findings was based on the outcome of a global snapshot on children.

Low access to antiretroviral treatment and limited prevention efforts were the leading causes for these deaths, with only 54 per cent of children aged 0-14 living with HIV globally in 2018 – or 790,000 children – receiving lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Country Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins said, “Progress has been made in the battle against HIV and AIDS – but we must do more, especially when it comes to Nigerian children and adolescents.”

“Testing and treating for children and adolescents is a matter of life and death – and we must choose life.”

According to latest global data, regional disparities in access to treatment among children living with HIV is very high – with West and Central Africa including Nigeria faring worst.

Access is highest in South Asia, at 91 per cent, followed by the Middle East and North Africa (73 per cent), Eastern and Southern Africa (61 per cent), East Asia and the Pacific (61 per cent), Latin America and the Caribbean (46 per cent) and West and Central Africa (28 per cent).   

However, access to treatment by children living with HIV in Nigeria is only 35 per cent.

Mothers’ access to antiretroviral therapy to prevent the transmission of the virus to their babies has increased globally, however, reaching 82 per cent, up from 44 per cent less than 10 years ago. This figure in Nigeria is 44 per cent, up from 22 per cent in 2009.

“It is good news that more and more pregnant women are receiving antiretroviral treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, which has helped avert about two million new HIV infections and prevented the deaths of over one million children under five years old around the world,” said Peter Hawkins.

Speaking further on efforts to avert new HIV infections in children, Hawkins said, “But we need to see the same kind of progress in ensuring that children who already have the virus are receiving lifesaving treatment. HIV programmes need to be fully funded and equipped to preserve, protect and improve the quality of life for Nigerian children. We cannot and must not abandon these children.”

A Professor of Heamatology and Blood Transfusion and Head, Antiretroviral Services at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Suleiman Akanmu said most of the services on the Prevention of HIV from Mother-to-Child were domiciled in teaching/tertiary hospitals in Nigeria, hence, they are not accessible to numerous women in rural far-to-reach locations. He therefore called for the expansion of services to grassroots areas with a view to capture more pregnant women in those outposts so as to prevent the transmission of HIV to their newborn.

Additional data from the report include:

To end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat for future generations, UNICEF therefore called on governments and partners to improve HIV testing and treatment data for children and adolescents to better respond to the needs of this vulnerable population.

Similarly, the world body urged governments to invest in and implement effective and innovative interventions to urgently close the persistent testing and treatment gap for children and adolescents living with HIV.

Paediatric HIV is not the only area that pose challenge in the fight to cut HIV prevalence in the country. Even among adults, patients who step forward to carry out voluntary HIV tests are in the minority in Nigeria. Although, as awareness on HIV increases, more Nigerians test to know their status, several proportion of the population, especially in the grassroots, are still not captured.

Common reasons that deter people from getting tested for HIV are:

Fear and anxiety of testing positive for HIV

Fear and anxiety are probably the biggest reasons why people avoid getting tested. However, experts said it was far better to get the testing over and done with.

If it is negative, it will bring much relief. If the result is unfortunately positive, it is timely to get support and treatment in order to stay healthy.

If I test positive for HIV, people will find out

Medical clinics and testing centres endeavour to keep all patient records strictly confidential. However, the ministry of health would be notified. This is mainly for public health purposes, such as disease surveillance, monitoring the HIV infection situation, conducting contact tracing, and assessing disease prevention and management measures.

Healthcare professionals and the ministry do not inform the patient’s employer, insurance provider, or family and loved ones.

Fear of being judged or being embarrassed

Healthcare professionals are trained to provide professional and non-judgmental consultation.

If you do not wish to visit your regular doctor, search online as there are plenty of alternative options that you can consider.

It is important to find a sexual health clinic or testing centre that you feel comfortable with.

I trust my partner

If two HIV-negative people are in a monogamous relationship, then there is no risk of contracting HIV.

If one member strays from the relationship, then both parties could be at risk of HIV, especially if engaging in unprotected sex.

It is important to have open and honest communication with your partner.

If you or your partner has had sex with any casual partner, or if there is any doubt about your HIV status, get tested.

I am not at risk of HIV

Even if you think that there is no chance that you have been exposed to HIV, as long as you are sexually active, do get HIV testing at least once a year, or more frequently if your behaviour puts you at higher risk.

Who should test

On who should test for HIV, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that everyone between the ages of 13 to 64 should undergo HIV testing at least once as part of routine healthcare.

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Myths, poverty hinder treatment for mental illness –Peter



Myths, poverty hinder treatment for mental illness –Peter

Dr. Ogunnubi Peter is a consultant psychiatrist and chief executive officer (CEO) of Grace Cottage Mental Health Clinic in Ilupeju, Lagos.  Peter, who is also a World Health Organisation (WHO)-certified mental health advocate, fielded questions from journalists recently during the 2019 World Mental Health Day, when he highlighted some of the challenges of tackling mental illness in the country. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports



Stigma is a major problem in tackling mental health disorders. How do we change the narrative?

The truth is because mental illness has a very rich history in the sense that it has come of age. People over the past years have attributed the causal factors of mental illness to many things, especially evil spirits. So, because of that mentality it is still enshrined in people and also in the perception of people whenever they see anyone presumed to have mental illness.

Hence, when I talk of mental illness, the picture that comes to mind is that is that of a man on the road wearing tattered clothes, eating from the dustbin, laughing and talking to himself or herself; that is to them madness, craziness and mental illness. Because of that perception, people fail to realise that gambling, phobia, depression, anxiety, sexual and Internet addiction, among others also constitute mental illness.

Similarly, some who fear about coming out of their house, feeling that people want to harm them, those hearing voices don’t know that they also suffer mental illness. They tell themselves: ‘’Nothing is wrong with me; it is only the mad man on the road that has mental illness”.

However, we are now changing the narrative; that is why the topic is ‘Raising Awareness for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention’. So, people need to understand that mental illness is not that ‘mad’ man on the road. Although, the stigma is there, the more we educate people, the more we let people know that you don’t have to be stark naked on the road before you suffer mental illness.

The cost of treating mental health disorders is still high side. What should be done to make it affordable?

Just like the treatment of HIV, anywhere in the world the treatment of mental illness because it is a chronic condition that is not like malaria which will go within three days; hence,  you need more money for its treatment. In fact, under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), some health insurance companies refused to include mental illness as part of their coverage; so, individuals have to pay out-of-pocket and that is unfortunate.

Today, people will tell you that if they have HIV, they will go to the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and get free medications, but when people come down with depression, anxiety, phobia, inability to sleep, to get the money to buy drugs they have to pay out-of-pocket. It is very pathetic.

However, are the few federal institutions in our setting equipped to provide subsidised medications? The answer is no. So, you have people resorting to private care. When people who cannot afford to treat the illness realise that they have the illness, what you will see them say is: “Jesus will heal me; Allah will heal me.” They go to churches, mosques, traditional medicine practitioners and herbalists. It’s not that they don’t know that they should go for orthodox care, but when they don’t have money they begin to psyche themselves and say, ‘’God will heal me.” So, Federal Government, states and local governments should all come to the aid of those suffering mental illness.

Is there a cure for mental illness?

The truth is that there are myths around mental illness. People believe that once you are mentally ill, you are ill for ever; it’s a myth. The same way you take care of hypertension, arthritis and diabetes so also you take care of mental illness. Don’t let us forget that diabetes is affecting pancreas, hypertension is affecting the heart, asthma is affecting the lungs and all these are organs in the body. The same way arthritis will affect the bones. Mental illness is affecting the brain. Where is the brain which is inside the skull is also an organ, but when people have problem with the heart, liver, kidney, lungs, they either go to, cardiologist, nephrologist, orthopaedic surgeon, rheumatologist, among others, but when they have problem with mental illness,  they run to churches, mosques  and traditional healers. It is abysmall; it is abnormal.

It is important to know that mental illness is a problem of the brain. The same way you manage other medical conditions in the body, you can also manage mental illness. Those treated for mental illness are okay and doing well in society.

What are the symptoms of mental illness?

If anybody has malaria the likelihood is that he is going to have fever; some will have headache. Some will talk about pains in the joints. Then the persons goes to the hospital, does a test and it will show malaria parasite.

Now, when people have mental illness, what is the function of the brain? The function of the brain will make you know if there is a problem with that brain. I am using glasses now because glasses are for vision but because I cannot see too far I need glasses to correct the vision error.

If my brain is for thinking and for perceiving things rightly; it is for memory: to remember things, for judgment, let us now assume that organ is affected. When I see a man, I can think he is a woman. When I see a man I can think he is a goat. That brain is for judgment. When I go out, I may just be eating on the main-road. Why? My judgment to say I am Dr. Peter is already affected. Why? The organ of serving that function is already affect or impaired.

When everybody is happy and I am sad and I keep to myself; I am not talking to people. People begin to wonder. “What is wrong, come on, be a man”. But they don’t tell the one that has malaria and presenting with fever to be a man. They will be telling you that have problem with the brain to be a man. Do you tell a man that has fever not to shiver?. You now understand the explanation. That is why we are changing the narrative.

Some people that have mental illness kee to themselves, not a able to sleep and have anxiety. Some have asthma and panic attack as if they want to die. Some will feel as if their breath wants to seize; they will be shaking and palpitating. These are signs of mental illness. Some will go to the extent of hearing voices. Some will see things that others can’t see, which is abnormal perception. Mental illness is not arrow from the village. It is problem with an organ called the brain that is inside the skull.

Is Nigeria in line with the WHO doctor-patient ratio in tackling mental illness?

We have less than 300 psychiatrists in Nigeria; practicing, may be 200 to 250 in a population of 200 million. So, we have an average of one psychiatrist to one million patients and the WHO talks about one doctor to 6,000. The doctors are evenly distributed. They are concentrated in the cities: Lagos, Abuja, Jos, etc. So, what happens to people in rural northern regions and in other parts of the country. In terms of the WHO recommended ratio, we are far behind.

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Medical Guild tasks LASG over shortage of doctors



Medical Guild tasks LASG over shortage of doctors

Doctors under the auspices of Medical Guild have raised the alarm over the acute shortage of doctors in Lagos State health system and called on the government to address severe shortages of personnel through the replacement of staff that have exited the system.

The Chairman of Medical Guild, Dr. Babajide Saheed who raised the alarm disclosed that about 200 to 250 medical doctors left exited health service in the state in 2018, saying the situation had resulted in the delivery of poor health service to Lagosians while doctors succumb to excessive stress, stroke and hypertension.

According to him, generally a doctor in Lagos State at the  general out-patients (GOP) see between 100 to 120 patients daily while one under specialised clinics which is supposed to see around 10 patients, sees between 50 to 70 patients. “Now we can understand why Lagosians are not getting the best of healthcare,” Saheed added.

He said these at a press conference where he announced activities for this year’s annual general meeting of the Medical Guild, which is an association of doctors under the employment of the Lagos State Government.

He said, “We need about 1,000 doctors to be employed for exit replacement. If the government cannot do this in a lump sum, it should do it in phases. The first 25 per cent should be done by the end of this year, 2019.

“The second 25 per cent should be done by January next year, 2020, while the remaining 50 per cent should be done in the first quarter of next year.”

“If nothing is done about this acute shortage of doctors, the Medical Guild will convey a meeting  next year and members will decide on what to do.”

Similarly, he called for improvement in welfare of doctors, saying it would go a long way in stemming the current brain drain in the health system. “Incentives such as housing loans and car loans would help boost morale.

In addition, he called for exemption of call duty from taxation to lighten tax burden and the increase of doctors’ retirement age to 65 years as has been done for teachers.”

While rejecting the new minimum wage by the Lagos State Government, Saheed  lamented that the Medical Guild was not part of the negotiation that produced the new wage regiment.

Harping on the need for exit replacement, Dr. Saliu Osen, an ex-officio of the Medical Guild lamented that as more doctors exited the health system in the state, “there is need to replace those that have left; we are having more facilities built and we have increasing number of population.

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‘Local manufacturer of medicines’ll boost drug security’



‘Local manufacturer of medicines’ll boost drug security’

The recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Sanofi Nigeria and May & Baker Nigeria Plc, for the manufacture of four medications from the stable of Sanofi, has been commended by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who lauded the move as a development that would boost drug security in Nigeria, said it was in line with the African Union (AU) plan for Africa to manufacture and produce medicines for Africa.

Going by the agreement, the four medications for infections, diabetes and ante-malaria that were hitherto imported and marketed in Nigeria by Sanofi would be manufactured locally at the May & Baker Pharmacentre in Otta, Ogun State.

The Pharmacentre, which was commissioned in 2011 was certified for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)  by the World Health Organisation (WHO)  in 2014.

Adeyeye who was represented by Dr. Monica Eimunjeze, NAFDAC’s director of Registration & Regulatory Affairs Directorate, spoke at the signing ceremony in Lagos recently.

The General Manager Rx & Country Chair, Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, Folake Odediran said the formal signing of the manufacturing agreement was proof of Sanofi’s commitment to localisation.  “We will continue to contribute our quota towards availability of very efficacious, high-quality made in Nigeria medicines.”

According to Odediran, most of the products Sanofi promotes and markets in Nigeira were imported, but now “we are  taking a bold step to produce some of them locally. It will bring empowerment, expand business, increase access to needed medicines, and more importantly ensure availability of quality products.

It would also enhance the employment of Nigerians, she added.

Odediran said the choice of May & Baker was based on its rich history of producing high quality medicines in Nigeria, which follows rigorous due-diligence exercise and successful compliance outcomes.

On his part, Managing Director/CEO, May & Baker Nigeria Plc, Nnamdi Okafor said Sanofi and May & Baker had symbiotic business relationship.

“The signing agreement represented a   major achievement in the national quest to increase local content and capacity in the pharmaceutical sector.”

According to him, the local manufacture of Sanofi’s medicines would result in the transfer of technology and build capacity.

President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa urged companies that manufacture medicines locally to raise the bar and ensure that quality products were on the table.

While calling for the overhaul of the drug regulatory system, Ohuabunwa urged the Federal Government to review the Pharmacy Act, which was awaiting legislation, adding that it was not robust enough.

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Mount Davis provides free medical services for Osun community



Mount Davis provides free medical services for Osun community

As parts of the annual medical programme in Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College Of  Health Sciences at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, the management of Mount Davis Hospital, Ada is  inviting members of the public in Ada and the neighbouring towns for free medical services.

According to a statement by the company, the free medical services would  be given by expert consultants and doctors from Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex(OAUTHC) as from this Thursday by 8a.m. at Mount Davis Hospital, Ibokun Road Ada,Osun  State

The nature and scope of the exercise, the statement said covered medical diagnosis, pregnancy, surgeries such as hernia, fibroid, breast lump, lipoma, eye problems, adding that all medications would also be free.

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Firm cautions on stigma prevention



Firm cautions on stigma prevention

In commemoration of this year’s World AIDs Day, the management of Flour Mills Nigeria (FMN) Plc has cautioned its staff about their lifestyles, discrimination and stigmatisation at the workplace in anticipation of supporting victims with HIV if the need arises.

Group Managing Director, FMN, Paul Miyonmide Gbededo made this appeal when the company marked 2019 World AIDs Day in Lagos, where he implored workers in the organisation to know their HIV status considering the current state of the epidemic – AIDS in the country.

In his address, Gbededo explained that the awareness about the scourge of HIV/AIDS in the environment was very germane and critical, saying that the world has committed to end the AIDs epidemic by 2030 as part of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), with Nigeria ready to play key role towards achieving this laudable objective.

According to him, at the FMN, the management was encouraging workers on the importance of collaboration across the various departments and businesses in line with its PIILOT core values.

He said, “If we must achieve our collective objective as a family in FMN, we must recognise the importance of collaboration across our various departments and businesses. Going by PIILOT – our core values, we are constantly reminded of the importance of values like ownership and teamwork.

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Antibiotic benefits of onions



Antibiotic benefits of onions

Onion is among the most common vegetables around. It is available in every home all year round. Have you ever heard of a shortage of onions? And because our women can hardly cook without using onion, we take it for granted. It is time we overcome the sickness called ignorance. Blessed are you among other vegetables, Onion! The onion that is ever available. You that can make both men and women cry. Any wonder then that hired mourners use you to induce tears? Some house wives confided in me (please keep this to yourself o!) that whenever they needed a favour from their husbands; they would peel the onion to induce tears to win the sympathy of their husbands! Onion is a common name for many plants of the genus allium of the lily family:

The true onion is Allium cepa, wild onion is allium vineate, the leek is allium ampeloprasum, Garlic is Allium sativum. Onions were originally grown in Iran and the Middle-East before they now spread to other parts of the world, especially the tropics. Onion is made up of 60 per cent aflylpropyl disulphide, a volatile oil called sulphured glycosides.

Onion also contains the following enzymes: sulphur, iron, potassium, magnesium, fluorine, calcium, manganese and phosphorus. It also contains vitamins A, B, C and E, flanovoids (anti-cancer) and gly-coquinine (anti-diabetic). Onion is regarded as a versatile vegetable because it can be eaten in many ways: raw, grated, boiled or pickled. It is used as flavouring or seasoning. The characteristic pungent taste of onion is due to the presence of the volatile oil, sulphurous.

Many uses of onion anti-biotics

  Onion is one of the potent natural anti-biotics. It strengthens the immune system, thus helping to ward off common infections. For over nine years I have been recommending onion for many sick people, and the results have been positive. Simply chew a bulb of raw onion every night. It’s as simple as that. As a starter, you may take half a bulb instead of one bulb and gradually increase it to one bulb. Science has confirmed that Onion works powerfully against the following bacteria:

1.     Escherichia Coli, which causes intestinal dysbacteriosis and urinary infections.

2.  Salmonella Typhi, which causes typhoid fever.

3. Shigella Dysenteriae, which causes bacillus dysentery.

4.  Staphylococcus & Streptococcus, which cause inflammation of the genital organs, damaged sperm cells, and skin infections and blemishes.

Hypolipidemic: Onion has been proven to lower noxious cholesterol level in the blood. This is understandable when one considers the fact that Onion is rich in fibrinolytic substances that help to break up blood clots and to prevent coagulation. This makes Onion indispensable for many Nigerians who consume a lot of fat, palm oil and butter. Over-consumption of processed palm oil is partly responsible for cases of high cholesterol level in Nigerians today, thereby increasing the risk of heart problems. God has given us Onion as a remedy for this ailment.

Anti-diabetic: Combined with other herbs, Onion has proved useful for lowering blood sugar. This hypoglycemic or anti-diabetic property of Onion is due to the presence of glycoquinine. Those who are afraid of developing diabetes because their parents are diabetic should make friend with Onion, as it is a very good prevention against diabetes.

Anti-tumour: Onion strengthens the blood cells that protect the body against micro-organisms. If these cells are weak, the body becomes prone to viral infections, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), pneumonia and cough. Onion also destroys cancerous cells in the body. In Nigeria, cases of cancer, especially of the breast, are increasing daily. I wish to suggest that our women should take onion as much as possible.

The onion will act as good prevention against cancer as well as help in dissolving cancerous tumours. The prevalence of fibroids, breast cancer and infertility among our women today is alarming. What do we do? Are we to fold our hands and watch our sons and daughters die in pain and desperation? Or are we to once again sit lazily and wait for western thinkers and scientists to help us find the solution? Is it not true that the best remedies for our health problems are those that come from our environment? The challenge before us is big indeed. I, therefore, encourage you, readers, to help spread the Gospel of Herbal medicine to our fellow brothers and sisters. We must continue to pray and reflect together and explore deeper ways of finding solutions to the problems of the world.

Other benefits of onion

Onion purifies and strengthens the liver and the kidney and as well as cleanses the blood. Onion is a good remedy for hepatitis, which is becoming common in Nigeria these days. Do you suffer from resistant typhoid fever, inability to sleep well, low sperm count? Try Onion and see the difference it makes! Onion has been of help to men who experience weak erection or low libido. On many occasions, I have recommended Onion to women who experience premature menopause, and anovulation (inability to ovulate) and the results have been encouraging. Indeed, God has arranged nature to take care of all our needs. In cases of sickle cell anaemia, onion has been of invaluable help. Onion is rich in enzymes, which helps in the production of blood. Onion contains iron and trace elements, which are often lacking in sicklers.

Insomnia/stress: In our so-called hyper-active world, it is not surprising that the most common complain of modern man and woman is stress. But it is not only human beings that are stressed; the plants are stressed. The animals are stressed. The cosmos itself is stressed.

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