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Mrs Buhari launches campaign to boost exclusive breastfeeding

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Mrs Buhari launches campaign to boost exclusive breastfeeding

The First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has launched the National Zero Water Campaign towards reducing stunting and severe acute malnutrition in the country.

Buhari, represented by Dr Mairo Al-Makura, the wife of former Nasarawa State governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, said the campaign would go a long way in improving the nutritional indices in Nigeria.

She said the campaign was aimed at changing the narratives of nutrition in Nigeria and pushes the exclusive breastfeeding rate to above 50 per cent which was the global target.

She lamented that Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children with a national prevalence rate of 32 per cent among children under five.

She added that an estimated two and a half million of our children suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), but only two out of 10 children affected are currently reached with treatment.

Buhari said there were lots of benefits of breastfeeding for the mother, child, family, community and indeed for our nation.

According to her, breastfeeding specifically contributes to the health and well-being of mother and child.

“It helps in child spacing and it is also known to contribute to reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancers. While it is a secure way of feeding, it is safe for the environment.

“Apart from the fact that it reduces infant mortality due to childhood diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia, it also creates bond between the mother and child,’’ she said.

The first lady affirmed her commitment to align with all relevant stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of the Zero Water Campaign through her Future Assured Programme.

Earlier, the Director, Department of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Adebiyi Adebimpe, said breastfeeding was known to be the most single cost-effective high impact method of feeding infants and young children.

She added that breast milk provides adequate nutrients from the first day of birth up to two years.

However, the director lamented that exclusive breastfeeding rate in Nigeria remains one of the lowest in the world.

According her, the 2018 National Nutrition Health Survey (NNHS), shows that only about one in three of our children are exclusively breastfed.

“The National Zero Water Campaign to address the low rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the country,” she said.

Similarly, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Abdulaziz Mashi, said the ministry in collaboration with partners has developed the campaign.

Mashi, represented by the Director, Health Research and Statistics, said the campaign would run for two years and it would draw the attention of the community to the importance of early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding.

The campaign was designed to harness the potential of different social mobilisation strategies as articulated in the National Social and Behavioural Change Communication Strategy (SBCC) for infant and young child feeding (2017).

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Embracing family planning for healthy living

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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.

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Tomori: Vaccination key to tackling yellow fever

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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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NAFDAC, stakeholders partner to tame food rejection abroad

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NAFDAC, stakeholders partner to tame food rejection abroad

How to reverse the current trend in which some Nigerian food products are rejected in the international markets was the focus of an interagency meeting between the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and some relevant agencies.

The agencies have consequently teamed up with NAFDAC to ensure the safety of agricultural food produced locally as well as facilitate their marketing especially at the international market at the same time.

The meeting tagged ‘Effective Inter- Agencies Collaboration as a Means to Diversify Nigerian Economy through Export,’ which held in Lagos at the weekend was attended by officials of the Nigerian Customs Service, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Shippers Councils, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Agricultural and Quarantine Service (NAQS), among others.

The meeting is expected to be a continuous nationwide awareness on food safety under the Inter-Agency collaboration forum.

The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Christiana Mojisola Adeyeye lamented the rejection of Nigerian food products abroad.

According to her,  the rejection was not only about losing money but losing Nigeria’s image. “We are working together to ensure that bad products do not go out of the country anymore and that is one of the reasons why we scheduled this meeting so that we can consolidate our efforts.

From our discussion, we are planning to consolidate through enlightenment, targeted sensitisation and consolidated testing of these products between SON and NAFDAC. “We want our people to understand the right thing to do before they ship their products outside the country.”

“We have the instrumentation to detect Azo-dye. We take samples to the laboratory to ensure that whatever is sold to our people doesn’t have this dye that can destroy our kidneys.”

Corroborating her views, the Technical Assistant to the Director General’s Office, Mrs. Simidele Onabajo  who stated that the meeting was to look at the state of the commodities and products consumed locally as well as those exported out of Nigeria, said the inter-agency collaboration would motivate diversification of the economy through systematic mechanism to facilitate export for Nigeria.

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Sanwo-Olu pledges to complete on-going health projects

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Sanwo-Olu pledges to complete  on-going health projects

Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu  has restated his commitment to speedy completion of all on-going projects in the State health sector in line with his administration’s drive improve access to quality and efficient healthcare services, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Goncalves has said.

Goncalves who stated this on Tuesday during an inspection tour of soon to be completed Maternal and Childcare Centre (MCC), Lekki, Eti-Osa noted that the Governor through approval for resumption of work at various on-going health projects has demonstrated that he is committed to achieving universal health coverage.

“One of such projects is this maternal and childcare facility which is strategically located here in Eti-Osa to provide maternal and child health services and improve the maternal and child health indices of the area”, the Permanent Secretary said.

She stated that the MCC is a specialised facility designed solely for the health needs of women of child bearing age and children stressing that various health services targeted at women and children including, delivery, gynaecology, pediatrics services, immunisation amongst others will be available at the facility.

While noting that medical services would soon commence at the centre, Goncalves explained the installation of equipment is at advance stage while logistics are being put in place to ease the process of smooth take-off.

She added that the maternal and childcare centre which is one of 10 others strategically located across the Lagos will complement other maternal and child health strategies to provide expected succour to mothers and children

“The construction of the MCCs underscores not only government’s capacity to reduce infant and maternal mortality but it also brings to the fore government’s imagination and determination to deliver strong healthcare for children and mothers”, Goncalves said.

She urged parents to support the State government’s drive to reduce maternal and child deaths by patronising only accredited health facilities and participating in all child survival interventions and programmes being carried out by government.

“I strongly believe that commencement of operation at MCC,  Lekki, Eti-Osa will help address the issue maternal and child mortality in Eti-Osa local government area”, the Permanent Secretary said.

Also present at the facility tour are the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Gboyega Soyannwo; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Mr. Olujimi Hotonu; Permanent Secretary, Health Service Commission, Dr. Benjamin Eniayewun and other officials of the Ministry of Health.

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NAWOJ promotes breastfeeding through incentive to mothers

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NAWOJ promotes breastfeeding through incentive to mothers

The National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Bauchi State chapter in their magnanimous efforts towards promoting breastfeeding have rewarded outstanding mothers who intended to practice exclusive breastfeeding for six months by presenting gifts to their new born babies.

Presenting the gifts to the beneficiaries during the World Breastfeeding Week in Bauchi, Chairperson NAWOJ Mrs. Bulak Afsat said it was a yearly support to women especially those who exclusively breastfeed their babies and to encourage others to key into the programme of promoting healthy environment.

Afsat said, “It is  part of our efforts to encourage the practice of breastfeeding because of it’s enormous benefits to the mothers and babies. It is also geared towards reducing the incidence of Severe Acute Malnutrition, of which Bauchi State is among the states with the highest burden. We do this by giving out little incentives to women who exclusively breastfeed their babies and also are up to date in Routine immunisation”.

The presentation of gifts which include wrappers, water flask, pampers, Baby Shoes milk, detergents and soap was done in collaboration with the wife of  the Bauchi State Governor, Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed.

Hajiya Aisha Mohammed said that “we want to emphasise that  mothers should take it a matter of necessity giving their babies breast milk in the first six months of life without any other liquids or solid foods not even water with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicine”.

He said, when a child is exhausted and when he is breastfeeding, it boosts their immunity system and strengthen  their bodies, which enable them to fight against life threatening illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and other related infections.

Aisha Mohammed explained that, breast milk alone is no longer sufficient to meet the daily nutritional requirement of infants after six months, therefore after six months, foods and liquids are allowed to complement breast milk, especially foods that can provide energy and essential nutrients for growth and healthy development.

In her good will message, UNICEF Nutrition Specialist Dr. Rajia Sharhan said there were countless benefits for mothers, children and families who practice exclusive breastfeeding.

Rajia Sharhan pointed out that, breastfeeding provides total food security for infants which is available, affordable and nutritious food for infants up to six months of age and continuously up to two years and beyond. It prevents diseases and allergies for children, while for mothers, it  reduces the risk of ovarian cancers, increase the bonding and helps in birth spacing.

She said for families, it helps in reducing the cost of buying the formula milk, which can costs up to N2,000 per carton.  The amount needed  to purchase this formula milk for first six months is over N100,000.

According to her, there is a need for the children to continue to be breast fed for up to two years of age or beyond, saying it fits for the care of the child.

“UNICEF, therefore, calls on mothers and fathers, community and religious leaders, policy makers and all stakeholders to support the practice of breastfeeding”.

On their part, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency Alhaji Bello Mustapha said that exclusive breastfeeding for six months yield tremendous health benefits that provides the right to proportion of nutrient and protection from deadly diseases

He said in order to promote breastfeeding a strong partnership is needed between government,  non governmental organization and community based organization, partnership is needed between local authorities , health practitiiners and community members saying their role is key in elimination of malnutrition.

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Why good sleep is essential to your health

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Why good sleep is essential to your health

Nowadays, there are lots of health information on the internet. Health seminars and health talks are very common. Yet, one key area of health that has received little attention is the importance of getting enough sleep. What difference could an extra hour of sleep make in your life? Quite a lot. In fact, the gap between getting just enough sleep and getting too little sleep may affect your health, your mood, your weight and your sex life.

A good night’s sleep is vital to our physical health and emotional well-being. That’s why the benefits of good sleep should never be underestimated and why getting a proper rest on a regular basis isn’t just a good idea; it’s an essential one. If you’re getting less than the recommended seven or eight hours of sleep a night, then you need to re-examine your daily schedule and your priority. Even though getting a good night’s sleep won’t grant you immunity from disease, study after study has found a link between insufficient sleep and some serious health problems such as heart disease, heart attacks, obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

In most cases, the health risks from frequent inadequate sleep only become serious after many years. The same can also be said of many other diseases.  They develop over many years, and we hardly pay attention to them till they have advanced. Cancer, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and many others are chronic diseases that developed in the body over many years. It is therefore important that we pay attention to our health now for the sake of our tomorrow. Increased stress hormones caused by lack of sleep raises the level of inflammation in your body. This creates a greater risk for heart-related conditions, as well as cancer and diabetes. Inflammation is thought to cause the body to deteriorate as we age.

If your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it can react by producing an elevated level of stress hormones, which are a natural result of today’s faster-paced lifestyles. Deep and regular sleep can help prevent this. Ever noticed that when you’re really tired, it’s harder to remember things? Basically, this is your brain telling you that it’s not getting enough sleep. When you sleep well, your body may be resting, but your brain is busy organising and storing memories. So, getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.

Higher blood pressure increases your chances of heart attacks and strokes but getting plenty of restful sleep encourages a constant state of relaxation that can help reduce blood pressure and generally keep it under control. When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert, which causes hypertension and the production of stress hormones.

While you’re sleeping your body is producing extra protein molecules that can strengthen your ability to fight infection. So, if you’re feeling a bit run down and you don’t want it to turn into a full-blown cold, go to bed early and get lots of rest. Although, sleep won’t directly make you lose weight, it can help you keep it under control by regulating the hormones that affect your appetite and reducing your cravings for high-calorie foods.

Lack of sleep can make you more agitated, more easily irritated and fastidious; so, you are more likely to snap at the boss or be bad-tempered with a loved one, neither of which is a good thing. The better your sleep, the better your ability to stay calm, controlled and reasonable.

Sleep could reduce your chances of diabetes. Not getting enough sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by affecting how your body processes glucose. It’s not conclusive by any means, but it’s yet another indication of how important the benefits of sleep can be. A regular sleep pattern can help to lower the levels of stress and inflammation to your cardiovascular system, which in turn can reduce your chances of a stroke or heart condition.

If you’re suffering pain from a recent injury like a sprained ankle, getting plenty of sleep can make you hurt less. There is a link between lack of sleep and inability to bear pain. Along with a great night’s sleep, one or two hour’s nap in the daytime can contribute towards making your brain more effective and productive. It will make you feel sharper, more attentive and focused for the rest of the day.

Did you know that people who consistently work late night shifts have a higher risk of developing breast and colon cancer? Researchers believe light exposure reduces melatonin levels. Melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, is thought to protect against cancer as it appears to suppress the growth of tumours. Be sure that your bedroom is dark and avoid using electronics before bed to help your body produce the melatonin it needs.

Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. People with serotonin deficiencies are more likely to suffer from depression. You can help to prevent depression by making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep: between seven and nine hours each night. Sleep is a time to relax, but it’s also a time during which the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposure. Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping and these protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair the damage.

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Experts blame Eco System for infectious diseases

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The unending distruption of the Eco system is the major cause of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) in Africa, experts said in Abuja recently at the 5th African Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity.

The conference was organised by Global  Emerging Parthogens Treatment Consortium (GET).

The experts added that inadequate funding of health care research and environmental impact studies coupled with the inability of government to regulate utilisation of environmental resources accounted for increased outbreak of diseases traceable to dangerous pathogens

The Principal Investigatior (GET), Professor Akin Abayomi noted that Nigeria has been destroying the Eco system through felling of forests causing animals  to move out of the forest into human communities.

He noted that interaction between animals  and humans was increasing due to population growth and destruction of the eco system thereby forcing animals out of forests.

He added that the frequency and range of EID such as Ebola, fever , Yellow fever, Monkey Pox, Cholera, Bird Flu, and Menigitis is due to shrinking natural resources particularly human competition for water, which was leading to demographic conflicts.

The don  advocated increased government expenditure on health care delivery research and creation of awareness while lamenting that there was a lag between what government should be spending and what was actually spent.

The Chief operating officer , GET, Dr. Dotun Bobadoye, commented on climate change and increasing security challenges in Africa as they were affecting emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity threat on the continent.

He disclosed that the aim of the conference was to come out with ways of addressing climate change and its impact on security and Emerging Infectious Diseases in Africa. Bobadoye added that the communique from the conference will be sent to relevant government agencies so as to develop policies to solve current problems.

The Director General of the Nigerian Center For Disease Control (NCDC), Professor ChiKe Ihekweasu said that the country’s exponential growth rate of 2.8 per cent, internal and external migration and inadequate educational policies were all responsible for the increase in spread of infectious diseases.

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BHCPF could address health needs of all Nigerians

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BHCPF could address health needs of all Nigerians

Since the official rollout of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) by President Muhammadu Buhari in January this year, N12.7 billion out of the budgeted N50 billion has so far been released to some states. REGINA OTOKPA writes on its importance and benefits for Nigerians

 

 

Every Nigerian young or old, has a right to access basic health care services in the country. Sadly, the reality on ground shows that millions of people, especially those in the rural communities, do not have access to functional Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC), which has the sole responsibility of providing access to essential medical interventions.

With about 70 per cent of the nation’s health problems domiciled at the primary healthcare sector, it is worrisome that out of about 30,000 PHCs located in various parts of the country, less than 10 per cent are functional. Unfortunately, the resultant effect has been the loss of countless lives to preventable deaths.

Across the globe, Nigeria ratings in various diseases are very high; there is no gainsaying that if there were timely access to essential interventions at the PHCs, and the over stretched secondary and tertiary health institutions have more time attending to referrals or complicated health issues  rather than attending to minor cases, disease burdens confronting the country could have been minimal.

For many years the media and civil society organisations (CSOs), dedicated time and resources calling on the government to implement the National Health Act (NHA), which was enacted in 2014, to allow for proper funding of the health sector in order to address the daunting challenges in the  sector including out-of- pocket spending, which constitutes over 70 per cent of the total health expenditure in the country.

After years of dilly-dallying, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), which is one per cent of the federal government consolidated revenue and contributions from donor grants, a fundamental funding provision under the NHA set aside to fund the basic health needs of Nigerians, was appropriated for the first time in the 2018 Budget by the National Assembly.

Flagging off the implementation of the BHCPF with N55.1 billion, President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated his administration’s commitment towards revitalising the PHCs to ensure delivery of quality basic health care to majority of Nigerians irrespective of their locations.

“We shall focus more on the people living in the rural areas and the vulnerable population in our society such as women, children under five years of age and the elderly, in collaboration with national and international partners.”

According to former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, as  part of requirements to ensure sustainability and ownership of the BHCPF, states are expected to co-fund the BHCPF with an initial N100 million deposited in a dedicated account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as part-expression of interest to implement the BHCPF. In addition, states are required to create state health insurance agencies and state primary health care development boards to serve as channels through which implementation would be monitored

Seven months after implementation of the fund, the Federal Government has so far disbursed N12.7 billion of the budgeted N55 billion to nine states through the three relevant health agencies, while 12 states have completed the necessary processes to enable them have access to the funds in order  to reposition healthcare facilities and meet the basic health care needs of people living in communities.

Providing clarification during a technical session with health journalists in Abuja, the Coordinator, Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) Aminu Magashi, disclosed that the fund was disbursed on May 17, 2019 before the dissolution of the last cabinet.

Magashi who gave a breakdown of the funding said 50 per cent amounting to N6.5 billion went to National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) got 45 per cent which was N5.8 billion, while the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) got 2.5 per cent, amounting to N327 Million.

Another tranche is expected to be disbursed between August and September, 2019, as another 25 per cent has been allocated to the account of the Federal Ministry of Health  (FMOH) for further disbursement.

However, Magashi and other experts in the health sector have raised concerns over the expenditure of these monies, which are specifically  meant to address the needs of the people and the numerous abandoned and dilapidated PHCs across the country.

“They are the gate keepers to the Nigerian people so they have to tell us what they are using the money for. The money given to them should be used for drugs at the PHCs, for immunisation, infrastructure development, live saving drugs for pregnant women and the construction of toilets in PHCs.

“It is a big shame that most PHCs lacks a good convenience for both staff and patients. The money for NCDC should be used for emergencies preparedness for disease outbreak so the heads of agencies should not complain about lack of funds,” he said.

Also worried on how the monies were spent, the Chief Executive Officer of Vaccine Network, Chika Offor,  maintained that agencies, which were part of the BHCPF must play their statutory roles to ensure that the money meant for the public work for the Nigerian people to improve their health.

“The role of each agency of health is well stated out. The role of NPHCDA is to maintain the health centre, get staff when necessary and to be sure there are life saving drugs. The NCDC must raise the bar over prevention of disease epidemics

“For NHIS, is to make sure that people in the community have access to those already established work centre. People no longer go PHCs because they don’t believe anything is happening there. So, this money must work for the Nigeria people,” she said.

Following the worry of CSOs over how the BHCPF was disbursed and spent, it behoves on the media to once again beam its search light to ensure the fund was judiciously utilised and that every common man on the street has access to accessible, affordable, quality health care. Also, the three agencies are saddled with the responsibility to make public know how these monies are spent, especially at the communities.

This is very important in holding government accountable by tracking and monitoring bogus claims by some corrupt persons and agencies who sideline money meant for projects. This singular act can go a long way in addressing the deplorable state of PHCs.

However, as important as this initiative is, it is saddening that only 22 states have registered to be a part of it. Shortly before Prof. Isaac Adewole bowed out as minister of health, he accused 14 states including Sokoto, Ogun, Cross River, Benue and Rivers of refusal to embrace the BHCPF.

But in a counter accusation, the states alleged that the politicisation of the health policy  by the Federal Government was responsible for their inability to access the fund. They argued that the choice of beneficiaries for the health care fund was allegedly skewed in favour of states in the good book of the Federal Government. 

Whatever the reason, it is important for all states to embrace the BHCPF, which holds immense benefits to Nigerians especially those at the community level.

Besides cutting down out-of-pocket spending, people will be able to access among other benefits; free ante-natal care, free delivery, treatment of malaria, tuberculosis (TB) screening, hypertension and diabetes.

In the words of Adewole, “if all the states embrace the BHCPF initiative, we will be able to reach 10,000 places and over 100 million Nigerians with basic health care. For us to come out of our current health crisis, the governors must without further delay, set up health care development agencies, institute the health insurance scheme and pay their counterpart fund of N100 million to access the BHCPF.”

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Adinma: Poor health-seeking behaviour driving infertility

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Adinma: Poor health-seeking behaviour driving infertility

Prof. Brian Adinma is the former National President, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON). In this interview, he discusses rising infertility among Nigerians, lifestyle fuelling the trend, challenges of available medical interventions to address infertility, among others. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports

 

What is the prevalence of infertility in the country?

Infertility is a big problem in the sense that there is no couple that come together, especially among the blacks that will not want to have children. The prevalence of infertility in the country varies.  Available data on the prevalence of infertility, mostly institution-based varies, depending on what work had been done in specific places. For instance, today we could say from 25 per cent to 40 per cent of couples in the country have infertility problem. I can also tell you that based on work done in some places, rate of infertility is about 15 per cent. There are areas that it is as high as 40 per cent.

Also, infertility is also dependent on whether it is primary infertility or secondary infertility.

Furthermore, based on work that we have done on consultations in gynaecological clinics in eastern Nigeria, we can tell you that infertility accounts for about 45 per cent to 60 per cent of couples.

Presently the rate of infertility in the society is very high. One of the medical interventions recommended to tackle infertility is Invitro Fertilisation (IVF). However, the procedure is very expensive. What is the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON) doing to reduce the cost?

Invitro Fertilisation (IVF) is only one of the interventions that can be carried out to treat infertility and it is done in extreme situations where the fallopian tubes are not too good. It is only a minor proportion of women with infertility that will require IVF.

Yes, IVF is expensive because we do not have enough technical expertise yet to provide it on a wide scale basis. When we are able to train enough sub-specialists on that to be able to provide it on a wide scale and we have enough centres that provide this IVF services, the price will go down.

In fact, it is done at the National Hospital, Abuja at less than 50 per cent of what other centres demand to do it.

By the time our government becomes interested and is able to fund centres, especially in the general hospitals and other health facilities, the price will come down. Just like any other thing, price is contingent on the number of resources available. When there are lots of people that can offer the treatment and the equipment is there, the price will come down. So, it is a question of time.

Is infertility preventable?

Well infertility is preventable. If for instance, you do everything to prevent pelvic infection, which can block the fallopian tubes and cause infertility, then you have prevented it in to that extent.

Sometimes, infertility happens and one may not be able to prevent it. Sometimes, there are hormonal causes, which one may not be able to prevent but could be discovered, treated and the patient will get pregnant.

There are causes from endocrine problems like a woman that is diabetic. If you are able to discover it and control the diabetes, she will become pregnant. There are all sorts of causes.

Why is the rate of infertility high in the country?

It is high on account of high rate of pelvic infections. Unsafe abortions result in pelvic infections that are not properly treated. This has to do with our health-seeking behaviour where people pick up drugs from over-the-counter. For instance, people who have unprotected sex just pick up two capsules of antibiotics and swallow them. That will even make the organisms to become more resistant and by so doing, damage the fallopian tube/tubes. So, on the long run, it leaves the woman with damaged fallopian tubes. It is very difficult to treat because when the tubes are damaged, it is very difficult to restore their functions. Sometimes, it can lead to tubal pregnancy, which can result to death.

  

What is the cause of primary infertility?

There are a number of things that can cause that. The most common thing is when there is imbalance in the hormones. Hormonal imbalance may lead to lack of ovulation. That is to say the woman is not ovulating and without ovulation, one cannot achieve a pregnancy.

There are three levels of infertility and infertility is attributable to these three levels. The first is the level of the reproduction of eggs; that is the level of ovulation. The second one is the level of passage of eggs. You know that it is at the tube that fertilisation occurs; and the third is the level of the sperm. Now, if the sperm is weak or not available in sufficient quantity, how does it move up to go to the fallopian tubes for pregnancy to occur?

Basically, there are three investigations that we must do initially. It is when we do not find answer to those three investigations that we now move into a higher aspect of investigations.

What are these three levels?

Is the woman ovulating? This investigation is the ovulatory function test. If she is ovulating, are the fallopian tubes open to transmit the ovulated eggs? This second level will determine if the fallopian tubes are open or blocked. Then the third is to determine if the husband’s semen is good enough. The semen contains the sperm.

Whenever anyone is evaluating infertility, both the woman and the man must be evaluated. Otherwise, the fellow may be missing out something that is very important.

At what point is infertility attributed to environmental factors?

Environment is an unwieldy term. It is a very big terminology, which encompasses a lot of things. This is because if you talk of environment, are you talking about a workplace or are you talking about the occupation of a man or woman.  There can be many aspects of this that can be a factor. For instance, if you talk about a long distant driver that sits down and produces a lot of heat because he drives for a long time, his sperm production will be impaired; it will be lowered. This is caused by environmental factor.

Similarly, if you talk about problem relating to occupation where a husband lives elsewhere and the wife also lives in a different location. Some people get married. While the wife lives elsewhere, the husband also lives apart. For this reason they do not meet often and by the time they meet it will not be ovulation time. So, pregnancy will not occur.

Before conception will occur, a couple must be living together and having unprotected regular sexual intercourse at least three times and this situation must exist for at least one year. If conception does not occur within this period before one can be said to be infertile.  What it means is that within one year, up to 80 per cent of people that are married and living together having regular unprotected sexual intercourse will have better chances of conception. So, you do not start investigating a couple until they have stayed together for one year without the woman getting pregnant.

Sir what are the challenges health facilities face in tackling infertility?

This secondary infertility is usually very hard to treat because usually when the fallopian tubes are damaged they are very difficult to restore. So, one of the challenges that we have is habit of people going over the counter to pick drugs. So, there is a very high incidence of infections resulting mostly from self-medications. It is these low grade infections that damage fallopian tubes. People have sex and take antibiotics on the believe that they are protecting themselves from infection.

On the contrary, that is not protection because the person is causing more harm. This is because that dose will not cure an infection that has occurred but will build resistance to those drugs.

So, one of the major challenge is the type of infertility that we have to grapple with. To what extent, do we have the wherewithal to grapple with this infertility in terms of having the technical knowhow?

One of the ways we handle tubal blockage is with surgery- perform operation, remove the bad portion of the fallopian tube and then join the portion that is good. The success rate which is about 10 percent, is very low.

Now the primary infertility is easier to manage if we are able to identify the level of hormones that are deficient or that are low and try to joggle with drugs.  You can help the woman that is not ovulating to ovulate once more. Once the tubes are open and the husband’s semen is good, she will conceive. Among the whites they have very little infection that will damage their fallopian tubes. So, the type of infertility that is seen there is the type with hormonal problem.

One of the main answers to tubal blockage is what is called assisted reproduction which includes the IVF procedure, among others. The major problem is that the cost of IVF is usually very prohibitive. This high cost makes assisted reproduction usually inaccessible to the average Nigerian.

Also, the technical expertise is also very expensive to acquire. Only a few have acquired it.

Infact, in the acquisition of assisted reproductive services, many other components that constitute the team must be included to complement it. You have to have a molecular biologist; you have to have a laparoscopic; you have to have a reproductive endocrinologist. All these people have to put their heads together to make a success of assisted reproduction. So, it is usually cost intensive and therefore usually unaffordable to majority of Nigerians.

What advice would you give Nigerians considering their penchant for indiscriminate use of drugswhich could impact negatively on their fertility?

Even if we have to purchase drugs, we should not take drugs like antibiotics except in doses and type that has been prescribed by a doctor.

If we use drugs indiscriminately, the body will build resistance against those drugs, apart from infections which may arise. What we mean is that in any type of medical treatment, we should see a doctor who will do investigations and treat according to the sensitivity of the drug.

Once we can stop our people from going to treat themselves. Let them get the right doctor. Then for people who are infertile or those grouped under infertility, do not start jumping from place to place. Go and see a doctor. Any doctor that’s in his right senses should refer such a person to a gynaecologist because if you see are able to see a gynaecologist, the treatment will be cost effective.

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MRTB: Shortage of professionals hamper care for PLWD

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MRTB: Shortage of professionals hamper care for PLWD

The Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board of Nigeria (MRTB), Dr. Olufunke Taibat Akanle has alerted stakeholders that Nigeria lacks enough access to rehabilitation services for persons living with disabilities (PLWD) in the country, saying 30 per cent of the 6,000 registered rehabilitation professionals currently practice outside the country.

While highlighting the acute shortage of rehabilitation personnel in the country, Akanle said 90 per cent of the seven different approved rehabilitation professionals the MRTB registered from 1992 till date,  were physiotherapists. The seven rehabilitation professions include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, clinical audiology, chiropractic and osteopathic medicine, prosthetics and orthotics.

Based on this situation, she lamented that many institutions and health facilities including tertiary, secondary and primary care centres in the country did not have enough of these professionals working in health facilities.

Akanle made these known at a media briefing in Lagos recently where she announced plans for the forthcoming 2nd International Conference of Medical Rehabilitation Professionals (ICMRP), which is scheduled to hold at the Chida International Conference Hall, Utako in Abuja from 18 to 20 September.

The conference with the theme: “Strategic Initiatives for Sustainable Medical Rehabilitation Services in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa, would be organised by the MRTB of Nigeria.

Akanle said the MRTB as an organisation with vested interest  in solving rehabilitation challenges passionately, seeks to provide solutions by formulating remedial actions to make the care of persons living with disability (PLWD) better in Nigeria.

The purpose of the conference, according to her was to identify challenges, discuss and propose strategic initiatives for medical rehabilitation services in the country and in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to her, rehabilitation is an essential part of the continuum of care, along with prevention, promotion, treatment and palliation and should therefore be considered as an essential component on integrated health services.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Disability Action Plan 2014-2021, disability is a global public health and human right issue.

“Throughout their lifetime, they (PLWD) encounter widespread barriers in accessing health and related services and have worse health outcomes than people without disability.”

Speaking further on the shortage of personnel, Akanle said, “The standard laid down by the Board, is that a teaching hospital that has well about 7,000 bed should have nothing less than 80 physiotherapists. But now, while some have less than 40, some have less than 35.

“Some even have less than 10 working in some hospitals. So, what it means is that, patients in need of these rehabilitation services are not having access to these service even at the tertiary level as it ought to be.

“The MRTB of Nigeria is a regulatory board that regulates and control the training and practice of seven professionals in the health sector. Speaking further, the Registrar of MRTB lamented that following the acute shortage of rehabilitation personnel, most stroke survivors ended up in the hands of trado-medical practitioners or their spiritual houses with worse outcome.”

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