…seeks children hospitals in Lagos senatorial districts
The Medical Guild has urged the new Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Kadri Hamzat to ensure the deployment of medical doctors to all primary health centres (PHCs) operating in Lagos State.
In a congratulatory message to both the governor and his deputy on their assumption of office, signed by the Chairman of Medical Guild, Dr. Babajide K.S. Saheed and Dr. Opeyemi Aiyegbo, secretary of Medical Guild, the duo said this measure would reduce pressure on the state’s secondary and tertiary health institutions, which is a major step towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Also, Medical Guild, which is an association of medical doctors employed by the Lagos State Government, called for the establishment of children hospitals in the three senatorial districts of the state, to reduce neonatal, child mortality and morbidity rate in Lagos State.
According to the Medical Guild, which is an affiliate of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State Branch, it was imperative for the new governor of Lagos State to review the newly inaugurated Lagos State Health Scheme so as to pave the way for equitable, accessible, affordable and qualitative health care delivery with UHC.
In addition, Saheed and Aiyegbo while calling for the renovation of the Cardiac and Renal Centres in Gbagada General Hospital with modern equipment and staffing with indigenous health workers, noted that the measure would reduce medical tourism, discourage as well as reduce brain drain of health workers to other countries.
Saheed and Aiyegbo said: “The Medical Guild will appreciate it greatly if the new government of Lagos State accedes: allocation of an association bus to Medical Guild as was done for other unions/associations in the state through the office of the Head of Service.
“Allocation of space for a permanent secretariat in the premises of General Hospital, Gbagada.”
“Restoration of the statutory NMA-appointed members to the boards of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Primary Health Care Board (PHCB), Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAAMA), Lagos State Health Management Agency, (LASHMA) and Hospitals Governing Boards.
“These are mechanisms of conflict resolution, feedback to the government and maintenance of standards. This appointment of NMA representatives to the boards of Lagos State health agencies is backed by Lagos State Health Sector Reform Law 2006.”
Furthermore, they said, “We appeal to the new administration for call duty allowances to be declared non-taxable, in order to reduce the massive tax burden of members of the Medical Guild.”
In addition, Saheed and Aiyegbo said the Medical Guild intends to work with the new administration, and to help it to a successful implementation of good health policies, for the benefit of the good people of Lagos State and expressed the hope that the tenure of this new administration in the state would bring greater development in the social, health, education and economic sectors.-
Over 1.4m under-5 children miss birth registration in Lagos
Against global practice, the birth of over 1,433,896 under-5 children in Lagos State was not registered.
This was unveiled at a 2-Day Media workshop on the need to scale up birth registration in Lagos State.
The event, which was organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lagos State, kicked off in Ibadan, Oyo State on Thursday.
The data of 1,433,896 unregistered children, sourced from the RapidsmsNigeria.org, represents 31 per cent of children in the state.
The Director of NOA in Lagos State, Prince Waheed Ishola said the NOA in collaboration with the National Population Commission (NPopC) and UNICEF was engaging traditional rulers and other stakeholders on the need to scale up the registration of all births and deaths in the state. He urged the media to prioritise the importance of birth registration in their reportage.
According to him, the target was to register up to one million children in Lagos State before the end of this year.
Providing an insight into how lack of birth registration could impact the future of the children negatively, Deputy Director/Head of Department, Vital Registration Department (VRD), NPopC, Nwachukwu Elias Ikechukwu said children whose birth were not registered did not have any official record of their existence.
“When such children are abused, nothing can be done about the situation, considering that nobody knows about their existence,” he explained.
Furthermore, he stressed that birth registration helped governments to plan.
Other challenges are the infiltration of touts in the registration exercise, who register births illegally while providing clients with fake birth certificates.
Communication Officer at UNICEF, Blessing Ejiofor urged the media to write stories around birth registration, and attention concerned stakeholders with a view to drive inter-agency/cross sector collaboration to improve service delivery for birth registration.
“We need increased reporting of birth registration,” added Ejiofor.
On her part, Sharon Oladiji, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, said it had become imperative to register the birth of every child, based on the document, Child Right Convention (CRC) assented to by 193 world countries, which clearly stated that the day a child was born, its birth must be registered.
Taming meningitis with immunisation
Medical experts have agreed that meningitis is a life- threatening disease. If not treated, this disease can lead to brain swelling and maiming and could as well kill an affected person. According to experts, the most serious form of meningitis is the bacterial type. Unlike other forms of meningitis, bacterial meningitis is said to be very fatal, sometimes even with treatment.
Experts also posit that if bacterial meningitis “progresses rapidly, in 24 hours or less, death may occur in more than half of those who develop it, even with proper medical treatment.”
Other types of meningitis like the viral, fungal and aseptic meningitis are not as dangerous, like the bacterial meningitis, according to experts. But meningitis in whatever guise has a devastating effect on lives.
That is perhaps, the reason why UNICEF has chosen to support the government and people of Cross River State to eliminate meningitis. UNICEF has so far supported government with drugs and other kits for immunisation of children from age nine to 15 years.
But more than just assisting the state, UNICEF discovered that the state is within the meningitis belt of the country, and is susceptible to the disease because it borders Cameroun and with the influx of refugees from that country due to the clampdown on the Southern part by the authorities, the state could be bearing a burden it did not prepare for.
This gesture of the international donor agency has encouraged the Cross Rivers State Government with the Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, saying recently that government would ensure the protection of children between the ages of nine to 15 years through intensive immunisation.
Esu, who spoke during the flag-off ceremony and introduction of meningitis ‘A’ vaccine into routine immunisation schedule at the Chieftaincy hall of Calabar Municipality last week, while appreciating partners, including UNICEF and WHO, among others, said the state government was interested in the wellbeing of children, disclosing that hundreds of healthcare workers have been trained to undertake immunisation across the eighteen local governments of the state.
“Government will attend to the health needs of the children and immunisation remains the best way to secure our children. Meningitis is a devastating disease and Nigeria is one of the countries within the meningitis belt in Africa.
“Cross River State is within the meningitis belt in Nigeria and that is why government continues to ask parents to ensure proper sanitation and avoid crowded room. We admonish parents to also ensure that their children are immunised; and this is free,” Esu told his audience.
He added: “We shall not rest until we have vaccinated all eligible children in the state.”
However, beyond mere promise, the Cross River State Government should back up its promise with action. It will be recalled that in 2017, the state governor Ben Ayade promised to establish a pharmaceutical company that would produce vaccines for meningitis.
At that time, the then commissioner for commerce and industry, Mr. Peter Akam Egbam, who spoke on behalf of the governor said: “The drugs will be produced locally. This is a gigantic project. We have the laboratories where the drugs will pass through all scientific processes; we have department in which packaging will be done. The idea behind this project is to basically reduce, if not eliminate, importation of drugs into Nigeria.”
On how to source for raw materials for the pharmaceutical company, Pakistani Managing Director of Calapharm, Farhan Ahmade Khan, said; “For now, the raw materials, which will feed the industry will be imported because Nigeria does not have most of the chemicals to use in producing most of the drugs. We will import the chemical but we will do all the medical works and packaging here,”
“Our main focus is on mother and child health. We will launch the pharmaceutical company with 40 products initially. We will produce syrups, tablets, syringes and injections. One thing that is not produced in Nigeria is vaccine, which we in Calapharm will produce early next year.”
Since that pronouncement, not much has been heard about the company and its products. The situation has been made worse with the non-appointment of a commissioner since the governor assumed a second term office in May, 2019, to give leadership to the project
Interestingly, this pronouncement was made at the height of the clamour for government intervention after one out of twenty four people who came down with meningitis had died between January and April, 2017.
The former Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong had alerted the public then that; “We have recorded one death but we have tried to ensure that the situation is contained. That is why we have put in place facilities and personnel to ensure that as much as possible, we do not record more cases of death,” she said.
Asibong had disclosed that the deceased, Paul Ogar, 12, was brought from Ogoja Local Government Area of the state with the disease “which eventually led to his death.”
Asibong had given the figure then saying the death toll would have been more “but for the prompt action of her ministry to contain its outbreak, explaining that most of the victims have been treated and discharged from the hospital.”
According to her, the ministry was doing its best to curb the outbreak, adding that Cross River was among the 16 states with the outbreak of CSM in Nigeria.
“Before now, we have actually been having sporadic cases of CSM, but it has been on the increase this year and this is not normal for Cross River.
“We have set our state team in motion and the epidemiology department is currently on top of the situation carrying out surveillance in all quarters,” she said.
Asibong then explained that her ministry had begun sensitising the public on the dangers of meningitis in particular and other communicable diseases in general, saying the state government has given the ministry the needed support to contain the situation.
The commissioner similarly assured residents of the state government’s readiness to do everything to reduce the impact of the disease, saying all those who were currently hospitalised would be discharged.
“We are fighting the outbreak of the disease with everything within our power and the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade is at the vanguard of ensuring that the disease is contained as soon as possible. We in the ministry are mobilising to drastically reduce the impact of the disease. So, we are doing something about the situation,” the commissioner said.
Now that partners have come in to assist the state to keep children secure from meningitis, it is hoped that the governor will revive the initiative of producing the vaccines as well as paying the state’s counterpart funds to enable partners sustain their struggle to keep our children safe.
Agwogie: Nigeria may lose 100 youths to substance abuse daily
Martin O. Agwogie, (Ph.D) is the Founder/Executive Director of Global Initiative on Substance Abuse (GISA) and Global Trainer, Drug Demand Reduction. In this report, he highlights the huge burden of drug abuse in the country, some of the root causes and preventive strategies, among others. ESTHER BAKARE reports
Enormity of problems from substance abuse
Drug and substance abuse in Nigeria has become a threat to public health, national stability, peace and security that needs more than urgent attention. Over the years, the national drug phenomenon has expanded from the conventional illicit drugs like cannabis, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine to the non-conventional substances like volatile solvents (inhalants), lizard dung/excretes, bio-generic fumes (soak away/pit toilet gas) to the misuse of synthetic/pharmaceutical opioids and benzodiazepines. This is in addition to the consumption of a wide range of new psychoactive substances.
The facts of drug abuse
– Global prevalence of drug use is 5.6 per cent but in Nigeria, it is 14.4 per cent (14.3 million people)
– One in seven persons in Nigeria between the ages of 15 and 64 years use at least one psychoactive substance as against global average of one in 20.
– One in five persons who use drugs in Nigeria are suffering from drug use disorders. This is higher than the global average of 1 in 11 persons
– One in every four drug users in Nigeria is a woman. For cough syrup containing codeine, more women (2.5 per cent) than men (2.3 per cent) are involved. This portends grave danger even to the generation yet unborn. Women involvement in substance abuse has more implications than men, especially considering the critical role of women in child nurturing from the womb
– One of five high risk drug users inject drugs, using needles and syringe. This has its own multiplier health consequences
– The most common drugs injected are pharmaceutical opioids
– Nigeria population is about three per cent of the world population but six per cent of the world population of cannabis users are in Nigeria
– 14 per cent of the world population who misuses pharmaceutical opioids are in Nigeria, making Nigeria one of the countries in the world with the highest population of people who misuse tramadol and codeine cough syrup.
– Reports recently ranked Nigeria as 5th in the world with the highest suicide rate of an average of six suicides per month. Factors that put individuals at the risk of substance use are very much related to factors which make people to commit suicide. More so, persons with substance use disorders place less premium on life, therefore are at the risk of suicide
– Beyond suicide, there are increased cases of sudden deaths among youths in the country which may not be unrelated to opioid overdose. Going by the recent trend, and if nothing is urgently done, we stand the risk of losing more than 100 youths daily to opioid overdose. Substance abuse may become one of the leading cause of deaths in Nigeria
– Also worrisome is the increasing drug supply via the internet including the anonymous online marketplace known as the “dark net.”
How did we get here?
Since 1935, the efforts to address drug issues started at the federal level with The Dangerous Drugs Ordinance followed by The Indian Hemp Decree No 19 of 1966. Under this decree, cultivation of cannabis could lead to 21 years imprisonment or death penalty.
This was followed by several amendments until 1989 when the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was established with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) established in quick succession in 1993. Since then, these two agencies have been in the forefront of drug control through implementation of drug laws and regulations in Nigeria in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. With recent trend in substance abuse, the efforts of these agencies and stakeholders seem not to be yielding the expected results. There is therefore the need to approach the issue of substance abuse in Nigeria differently.
Drug control at the state level
The need to involve states in drug control efforts in Nigeria was documented as far back as 1994. Unfortunately, the state governments in Nigeria have not been very committed to drug control.
For example, despite efforts from different quarters, local and international for states to be involved in drug control efforts in Nigeria, only seven out of the 36 states in Nigeria have functional State Drug Abuse Control Committee (SDCC). They see drug control as the responsibility of federal government.
Local government level
On its part, local governments do not see drug control as their business. Of course, if it is not the business of states, how will it be that of the local governments?
Communities are helpless; unfortunately that is where the major solution to drug problems lies.
In addition, families are faced with a sense of hopelessness and despair on one side, ignorance and denial on the other side, thereby serving as enabler to substance use and abuse. There is usually the assumption that peer influence is stronger than family influence.
Science has taught us that family, which is the smallest unit of socialisation, is the strongest agent of socialization and as such, plays a significant role in substance use prevention. Unfortunately families have abandoned their primary responsibilities.
Usual approach and focus of substance use prevention
Penal laws and regulations: Laws and regulation are the foundation for drug control, defining what is acceptable and what is not. Some have advocated for stiffer penalty for drug use. Unfortunately, stiffer penalty has never been a deterrent to substance use/abuse. There is ample evidence that drug laws don’t stop lots of people trying drugs. For those who have started, drug control and the fear of arrest or prosecution have little to do with their decisions to stop using drugs. Instead, they improvise or use adulterated/impure substances thereby making their drug use more dangerous and hostile. It is counterproductive, inefficient, and costly. As good as laws and regulations may be, it is just inadequate.
Sensitisation, awareness, media campaign and rallies: Studies have shown that these are not very effective in substance use prevention. You spend more for limited impact. Unfortunately, this is the most popular approach to substance use prevention in Nigeria. These strategies can be used to draw support from relevant stakeholders but not enough on its own.
Scare tactics and providing just information about the consequences of substance abuse without commensurate skills is relatively ineffective in substance use prevention. Studies have shown that substance abuse is not all about ignorance. Among those who received treatment for substance use disorders in Nigeria between 2016 and 2017, more than 75 per cent had secondary school education. In fact 53 per cent are graduates. Among those who use and abuse psychoactive substances today in Nigeria are medical doctors, psychologists, and lecturers, among others. They are knowledgeable and I am sure they know the consequences. Part of the scare tactics or fear arousal is the use of persons in recovery (“ex-drug users”) as testimonials. Persons in recovery for drug use could be used as testimonials for persons who use drugs and are in treatment and not for substance use prevention such as talking to the universal population or students.
Laughter, best medicine cuts stress
People often attribute the phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine” to the American publisher and humour writer Bennet Cerf. But experts say its actual origin may be Biblical. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart is like medicine.” Whoever said it first, Ellen Jacob, author of the book “You’re the Best Friend Ever,” agrees with the premise: “Whoever said laughter is the best medicine was right — it’s the glue that holds friendships together.
To laugh together at life’s ridiculous turn of events makes those events bearable. To laugh at the funny things in life makes life wonderful.” Dr. Judy Kuriansky, psychologist and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to a Healthy Relationship,” said that laughter helps form a bond between two people.
A recent study published in the ‘Journal of Neuroscience’ revealed that when people gathered to watch 30-minute comedy clips, their bodies released endorphins, which are “feel good” chemicals in the brain that can cause feelings of euphoria without the obvious downside of taking drugs.
Here are some of the other benefits of hearty laughter: Exercise: “When you allow yourself a good, old fashioned belly laugh, you are using your stomach muscles and shoulders, opening up your lungs, and actually improving your posture,” said Kuriansky. “We spend so much of our time slumped over our devices that a good laugh can open up the heart and our bodies.” • culled from ‘News Max’
NHVMAS advocates policy change on sexual reproductive he
The New HIV Vaccine M i c r o b i c i d e s Advocacy Society (NHVMAS) has urged the Federal Government to adopt a policy change on adolescents’ age of accessing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and HIV services. According to NHVMAS, the age of access to reproductive health services should be reduced to 14 years.
This was made known at a Roundtable on Adolescents’ Sexual Reproductive Health & Age of Consent, which was organised by AVAC in partnership with Journalists Against AIDs (JAAIDS).
The theme of the roundtable, which held recently in Lagos is ‘Creating a Pathway For Adolsescents to Access SRH Services’. Highlighting common problems confronting adolescents, the young ones between 10 and 19 years, an AVAC Fellow in Nigeria, Mr David Ita said adolescents have poor health outcomes in the country. Available data shows that 37.4 per cent of female and 20 per cent of males aged 15 to 19 years have reported having sex. While early initiation into sex sometimes is at age 10, Ita said about 50 per cent of girls are already married by age 20.
“They are usually married young without their consent.” Speaking through the Programme Manager of AVAC Project, David Ita appealed to the federal and state governments to facilitate access to preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), access to adolescent and young people who are at the risk of HIV infections. “PrEP should be part of a combination prevention package embedded in SRH services for young people.
“Discrimination and stigmatisation of persons due to their HIV status, age range or sexual orientation by healthcare providers should be stopped while adolescent health tolls for providers and schools be updated to include PrEP. Corroborating his view, Coordinator for Civil Society for HIV & AIDs in Nigeria, Aladeyelu Adebayo admonished government to legalise abortion for special cases such as rape survival.
How you can control your blood pressure with diet
Hypertension or high blood pressure refers to the pressure of blood against your artery walls. Over time, high blood pressure can cause blood vessel damage that leads to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and other problems. Hypertension is sometimes called the silent killer because it produces no symptoms and can go unnoticed — and untreated — for years. According to research published in the ‘American Journal of hypertension’ in2017, overonebillionpeopleintheworld suffer from hypertension. One in eight deaths worldwide is due to high blood pressure.
The condition is the main risk factor for heart and kidney disease and it greatly increases the chances of a stroke. Globally, about a fifth of women and a quarter of men have high blood pressure. It is commonly thought of as a disease of the rich or affluence.
But available data state otherwise. Central and Eastern Europe have the highest rates for men, while the highest rates for women are in sub-Saharan Africa. Prevalence is lowest in rich Western and Asian countries, including South Korea, America and Canada. In only 36 countries high blood pressure is more common in women than in men.
Nearly all of them are in Africa. In Africa, Nigeria is among the five countries with the highest percentage of adults with hypertension. The five countries with the highest prevalence of hypertension are Seychelles (40 per cent), Cape Verde (39 per cent), Sao Tome and Principe (39 per cent), Ghana (37 per cent), Niger (36 per cent) and Nigeria (35 per cent). Meanwhile, the five African countries with the lowest prevalence of raised blood pressure were Mali (16 per cent), Eritrea (17 per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (Kinshasa, 17 per cent), Cameroon (17 per cent) and Togo (19 per cent). Many risk factors for high blood pressure such as age, family history, gender and race are out of your control. But there are also factors you can control such as exercise and diet.
A diet that can help control blood pressure is rich in potassium, magnesium, and fibre and low in sodium. The World Health Organisation (WHO) hasalsoofficiallyconfirmedthat diet and lifestyles are major factors in the prevalence of hypertension globally.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you might be worried about taking medication to bring your numbers down. Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication. Many Nigerians who are hypertensive are not aware that they have the disease.
By the time it is discovered, the disease may have done a lot of damage to the body. For this reason, if you are 30 years and above, I recommend that you check your blood pressure at least once a month. On many occasions, when I tell people to try and monitor their blood pressure, they respond: ‘I reject it in Jesus’s name. It is my enemy who will have hypertension; its not me’.
My reply to those people is: ‘thou shalt not put God to the test’. If you want to control and manage your blood pressure or you are already on orthodox medication and you want to change to natural drugs, here are some important lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.
Lose some weight
Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnoea), which further raises your blood pressure. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes in controlling blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight or obese can help reduce your blood pressure. In general, you may reduce your blood pressure by about 1 millimetre of mercury (mm Hg) with each kilogram of weight you lose. Besides shedding weight, you generally should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.
Regular physical activity — such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again. If you have elevated blood pressure, exercise can help you avoid developing hypertension. If you already have hypertension, the regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels. Some examples of aerobic exercise you may try to lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. You can also try high-intensity interval training, which involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with subsequent recovery periods of lighter activity. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lowfat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. It is not easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet: Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why. Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that’s best for you. Be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan when Salt photo: wag you’re dining out, too.
Nutrient deficiency could cause premature graying
Just like nature, causes of grey hair vary from person to person but several factors have been found to be responsible. Graying is a fate everyone must accept, not necessarily in the course of just growing into old age. According to Dr. Charles Adeyemo, a health expert with Esep Le Berger University, genetics plays a large role in premature graying in young ones especially. A child born into a family of people who grayed prematurely could risk partaking in that fate.
The deficiency of certain nutrients needed for the production of melanin and keratin in the food of an individual, increases the possibility of graying prematurely. Endocrine problems such as hypo or hyper-secretion of thyroxin, an hormone produced at the neck region, has also been connected to premature graying. More so, the acute deficiency of vitamin B12 due to low absorption by the body can lead to pernicious anemia, which in turn gives rise to graying. Stress has also been a major cause of graying in young ones. Relatively, excessive intake of alcohol and junky food could trigger the risk.
Direct or indirect smoking tendency of constricting blood vessels, thereby reducing the flow of blood to the hair follicles resulting to graying. Insufficient sleep or sleeping problems have been found to be associated with premature graying. Amongst other factors, anxiety and hypertension are generally bad for normal body function and increases the risk of graying.
Exposure to certain chemical based products like shampoos, soaps, hair dyes may directly cause premature graying. According to investigations, some of the psychological conditions associated with premature graying includes, societal inferiority complex, vulnerability to different prescription, discrimination and lack of confidence.
The prevention or management of graying is largely dependent on the factor responsible but some tips have been widely observed to cause a change or restoration of pigment to the hair. They include hormonal therapy for endocrine problems, well balanced diet and adequate nutrition to increase the production of melanin and keratin, avoidance of direct or indirect smoking in it’s entirety, psychotherapy to manage anxiety and sleeping problems and every curative measure against hypertension.
Scientists create butter made mainly of water
Scientists have created a spread that is made almost entirely of water, in an attempt to make a healthier alternative to butter.
The spread is derived from 80 per cent water and 20 per cent fat, while real butter is made of 80 per cent fat – and has no artificial ingredients.
A tablespoon of the fake ‘butter’ contains a quarter of the fat (2.8g) and calories (25.2) of the real thing, barely touching daily dietary guidelines.
The scientists have not said when the spread would be available, or what it tastes like, but previous ‘healthy’ butters have left customers disappointed.
However, the team said how it was created gives the fake spread the ‘consistency of butter’, as well as having a similar ‘creaminess’.
Government officials have ruled that people cut down on butter because it contains saturated fat, which is bad for heart health, reports dailymail.co.uk.
However, there is evidence saturated fat – also abundant in cheese and red meats – is good for health, too.
Food scientists at Cornell University are behind the low-calorie spread, and shared its creation in a paper published in the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.
Embracing family planning for healthy living
An estimated 1.25 million induced abortions occurred in Nigeria in 2012, equivalent to a rate of 33 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The estimated unintended pregnancy rate was 59 per 1,000 women in their reproductive age. Available data showed that 56 per cent of unintended pregnancies were resolved by abortion. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports
Against the rumour often peddled in communities and metropolitan cities indicating that most women of reproductive age, 15 to 19 years detest using family planning, the visit of many women to the Ajara Flagship Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Badagry Local Government Area recently, has proved otherwise. The women, not only expressed joy at the opportunity they had to access family planning services to prevent unintended pregnancy, they advocated same for others that are not using the service presently.
Arriving the PHC as early as 10 am penultimate week, the women seeking the services had occupied available seats at the family planning clinic.
The Media Field Visit to the Ajara Flagship PHC in Badagry, was carried out by members of the Media Advocacy Working Group (MAWG) in partnership with Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative (PHSAI). Both groups are supported by Pathfinder International Nigeria, a global non-profit organisation that focuses on reproductive health, family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and maternal health.
Narrating her experience to the New Telegraph, Mrs Labake Orija, a 33-year-old trader who is married to her 41-year-old husband, said she visited the facility, based on the approval of her husband.
After four children: two boys and two girls, Orija enthused that she and her husband were done with childbearing. “What’s left is to care for them as well as educate them to attain the best “as far as we can afford.”
Having been in the marriage for eight years, the female trader said she was convinced that it was time to deliberately keep away from bearing more children. She said, “I got married eight years ago, specifically May 7, 2011.
This is the first time I am coming to access family planning service. I have the support of my husband. We have decided that the four children we have now are sufficient for us, hence, the plan to embrace family planning.
Besides, Orija disclosed that her petty trader mother, who has nine children, has persistently warned her never to toe the path of bearing more children than she could cope with. With little in terms of financial capability, raising the nine children into adulthood was very burdensome . “From the time my marriage was consummated, my mother advised that I should limit the number of children I bear to prevent unnecessary hardship of raising numerous kids. She also advised me from the onset to use family planning to prevent unintended pregnancy.”
Family planning services are defined as “educational, comprehensive medical or social activities which enable individuals, including minors, to determine freely the number and spacing of their children and to select the means by which this may be achieved.
Another client who visited the family Planning Clinic at the Ajara PHC, Madam Atinuke Oke, 39 years, said she got married to her 41-year old husband in 2005. According to her, the 14 year old marriage has produced three children: two boys and a girl.
Mrs. Oke who is a caterer, said she started using injectable, a family planning commodity, which prevents pregnancy since 2009.
The injectable, a birth control shot (sometimes called Depo-Provera, the Depo shot, contains the hormone progestin. Progestin stops women from getting pregnant by preventing ovulation. When there is no egg in the fallopian tube, pregnancy can’t happen. It also works by making cervical mucus thicker.
Progestogin is similar to one of the hormones produced naturally by a woman’s ovaries. The injectable is given every 12 weeks.
Oke added, “The last injectable I got was three months ago. “That’s why I am in the clinic today to get a new dose.”
The case of Temitope Taiwo, 40 years but married to a 60-year old husband is one in which present day economic reality in the country, prompted the decision to embrace and use family planning.
Hear Mrs. Taiwo: “My husband and I were clearing agents of imported vehicles. Both of us do the same work, but since a Federal Government policy prohibited us from engaging in that practice, making sufficient money for daily living for our family, has been difficult. Presently, I am into the business of buying and selling while my husband is currently jobless.”
Asked if her husband was aware of her plan to use family planning, Taiwo said he was not aware. “Although, I used to use the contraceptive pill called postinor, which a friend introduced to me, sometimes, I forget to take it.
“Often, I don’t remember to take it; also, when I exhaust available pills, I forget to buy. On occasions that I need it, but if the contraceptive is not available, I used to be very worried.”
Postinor-2 is an emergency contraceptive only and is not intended as a regular method of contraception, but used to prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. The more time that has passed since sex, the less effective the medication becomes, and it does not work after pregnancy has occurred. However, it decreases the chances of pregnancy by 57 to 93 per cent when used according to regulation.
However, having heard so much about the benefits of family planning through the mass media and some advocates in her community, Taiwo decided to visit the family planning clinic in Ajara for a more durable contraceptive method.
She said, “For now, my plan is to shelve having more children due to the harsh economic reality facing my family.”
On her part, Bosede Oke said circumstances made her to start using family planning. Her first baby was nine months only when she became ill. Subsequent tests showed that she was carrying a three-month pregnancy. “When I got the test result, I screamed and patients at the reception of the health facility that conducted the test wondered what was wrong. “I told them that I have a baby of nine months and just found that I was already three month pregnant.”
The doctor on duty however counselled me. “I was advised to come to the facility with my husband after delivery of the baby.”
After the baby was delivered in 2010 I returned to the facility. Although, I rooted for contraceptive implants, based on my medical history in which I suffer ulcer, I was counselled to go for the injectable contraceptive, which the providers said was better for me.
Oke told the New Telegraph that she and her husband accepted to use the injectables to enable them have sexual intercourse without inhibitions and to avoid unintended pregnancy.
Explaining the renewed interest by the population in Ajara to use modern contraceptives, the Family Planning Manager at the Ajara PHC, Sidikat Iyabo Salami said the major problem hindering women from accessing family planning in Badagry was the ‘husband’s lack of approval to key into family planning services,’ a factor that had reduced due to advocacy to embrace family planning by various groups and increased awareness about its benefits.
Salami also informed the visiting media team that the problems of stock out of consumables was also being addressed resulting in increased funding for consumables. She added that regular availability of family planning services has contributed majorly to why more women visit the family planning clinic in recent time to access services.
In spite of the new development, the current contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) in Nigeria is 15 per cent, though Nigeria has set a goal of a 36 per cent CPR to be achieved by 2030.
Against this background, Country Director of Jhpiego Nigeria, Prof. Emmanuel Otolorin recently called on all Nigerians in their reproductive age to voluntarily embrace family planning in order to reduce current high population growth rate, saying, “leaders and policy makers at all levels must support investments by budgeting adequately for family planning commodities, consumables and services.
He said, “Family planning providers must stop under-the-table user fees, which frustrates governments effort to provide free family planning services.
“We must ‘de-stigmatise’ family planning in some parts of the country where it raises suspicion.”
Otolorin observed that the use of family planning contraceptives reduces maternal and new born mortality. Based on this reasoning, experts believe that if women access and use the services, unintended pregnancies would be tackled and families would similarly space the birth of their children, which boosts quality of life for women and their babies.
Tomori: Vaccination key to tackling yellow fever
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) recently confirmed the outbreak of Yellow fever in Ebonyi State. As at the last count, no fewer than 20 deaths have been recorded in Izzi Local Government Area of the state, according to NCDC, indicating that the outbreak may have been going on for months undetected by local health authorities. In this interview with APPOLONIA ADEYEMI, Oyewale Tomori, a professor of virology and former vice chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, highlights factors driving disease prevalence in the society, role of vaccines in tackling yellow fever and strategies of disease prevention, among others
Why Yellow fever outbreak must be controlled
If you want to control a disease, you determine what level of control you want. Take the case of Lassa fever for example, it’s normal that if you are getting five or six cases, that is within the normal of our control, but when there are 40 to 50 cases of Lassa fever then you have passed your threshold. For every situation, there is a threshold. When a disease is supposed to be eradicated, the threshold is one; if it is more than one case it means you have failed.
If it is a matter of control, each country whatever is the disease determines what is the threshold for control, then you have looked at your balance.
Over the years you would have looked at the pattern of your diseases and say maybe every year between now and a particular time, we have a maximum of about 10 cases every year for the last 50 years. Then, suddenly we now have 60, 70, 80 cases, then you have to begin to look at that threshold. Average is not a particular number. It has to be subject to what you are planning over that particular disease. As far as yellow fever actually is concerned one case is actually an outbreak and the reason for that is that almost 80 to 90 per cent cases of yellow fever are very mild. When you are able to detect only one Yellow fever case, you can be sure that there are about ten thousand or moer who have the infection but have not shown the symptom (sign) of the disease. Such people are dangerous because they can become the source of the virus to pass the disease to other people.
How diseases make populations vulnerable
Again with regard to polio, when you look at polio it is only one out of a thousand that gets the polio disease itself, 99 per cent of them will just come out with a mild disease.……so when you dictate one case of polio you actually say an average is up, not only because it’s being eradicated but because we know a thousand who would have been infected but have not shared the disease and who could be a source of infection to other people.
People who are unlikely to have got anti bodies or protection against yellow fever and that is based on some of the studies I have done in which there are actually some mathematical model they do, you would say when was your last immunisation?
how many people got infected in that period, how many people are likely to be protected or to recover from the disease. So, we can take a whole of say at Coker for example, there was an outbreak there and we had 10 cases out of the 100,000, the vaccinators may vaccinate maybe 80 per cent, then we know that Coker area is not a high risk for yellow fever because the people there have been infected, people have recovered, people have been vaccinated.
Take it to a place far away like Banana Island, when nobody had ever been there to give any vaccination for example. When we do a survey we will be able to say people in Lagos, the 200 people in Banana Island are vulnerable but the 800 people in Coker are not vulnerable therefore you use that to determine in case you don’t have enough vaccine where you will go first and the good things about what happens in what we call health immunity, is that if as all of us are here now, let’s say 18 of us have been vaccinated remaining two, if mosquito comes with the virus the chances of getting to those two is much reduced because 18 others have been protected.
Reverse it, supposing 18 of us do not have anti bodies, it’s only two, then the chances of getting to those that are not immunised is high. That’s what the whole essence of immunity is all about, to protect those that are not immunised. You may not really get 100 per cent of people immunised but if you can get 18 of us out of 20 of us here you are in a way protecting the two, but if it is reversed only two of us are immunised then the 18 of us are in danger. That’s why we claim that 101 million Nigerians are vulnerable to Yellow fever and need vaccination.
Background to Yellow fever epidemics in the country
I showed you data about when we had yellow fever epidemics in Nigeria in 1925, 1931 in what places they were and we know that your vaccine during infection protects you for the rest of your life. Therefore if you go to a place like Ojo Local Government Area where we know there was an epidemic, people who were there when the epidemic was on would be protected but if are born after that the calculation would be these children who were born after the epidemic would not likely be protected. Therefore, we count them as vulnerable people. Therefore, all that come together to get the 101 million people that we say need yellow fever vaccine in this country that is the level of the vulnerability.
Limited diagnostic facility is a challenge
You talked about the issue of diagnosis, incidentally when Ebola occurred in Nigeria, one thing common to the two laboratories that did the diagnosis is that they were both supported by outside grants from the international community. While the laboratory in Lagos at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has a link with an European Union (EU) group, which provided all the reagents that were used, the laboratory at the Redeemers University also has a link with the Harvard Medical School in the United States (US) and some other groups.
We have six other laboratories in this country which are called Federal CDC labs, but they cannot diagnose nothing because they don’t have reagents to do it. We deceive ourselves and call all these things National labs, but they are not able to do anything.
The thing that saved this country is that there were the labs in Lagos and the other one at the Redeemers University which were able to diagnose the Ebola promptly then. If these two labs had not been there, we would have waited.
If you remember the first time Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian diplomat that imported the Ebola Virus Disease (EVC) into the country was admitted at the First Cconsultant health facility at Obalende in Lagos, they actually took his sample because they thought it was malaria and took it to a private lab for the first three days, we could have had disaster in this country if not that (as we always say) God was on our side.
Again I want to say something about what happened, you remember the time the country recorded Ebola, doctors were on strike. LUTH was closed, the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) was closed and this man Sawyer had to be taken to a private hospital. That limited the number of possible contacts because if he had gone to the Emergency Ward in LUTH, the disaster could have been huge. In fact the two people who took him to the hospital got infected so you can imagine if we had put that man at LUTH or supposing he was going to Calabar for a meeting and not Lagos, to have gotten to Calabar and got sick there that would have been the end of Nigeria because we wouldn’t have known what was wrong with him.
Away from that, when we then decided that we had an epidemic we did what was right. But then the question is why did we not sustain that? This is the question we are asking. Why was it that with all we did with Ebola when Lassa fever came we could not do anything, neither could we sustain the success from Ebola?
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