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NHVMAS advocates policy change on sexual reproductive he

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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.

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Investing in medical rehabilitation, key to quality life for PWDs

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Investing in medical rehabilitation,  key to quality life for PWDs

Over 50 per cent of persons in need of rehabilitation in the country are unable to access such services due to several factors including paucity of funds, poor communication and coordination in the health sector. REGINA OTOKPA writes on the way forward

 

As the years go by, the number of persons in need of medical rehabilitation has increased tremendously, as a result of disabilities arising from accidents, mental and psychological disorders or non-communicable diseases such as stroke, diabetes, cancer, amongst a host of others in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

These group of persons need special treatment and training to have another shot at living normal lives either physically, socially, psychologically or in vocational sense.

As a matter of fact, although a good number of adults need medical rehabilitation, children with congenital diseases such as down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autistism spectrum disorder to mention the least, form a significant portion of rehabilitation users in many countries and are the largest group in need of rehabilitation. Sadly, they are not getting the required attention due to several reasons.

These includes ignorance, uneven distribution of service capacity and infrastructure, lack of access to rehabilitation, a complex referral system, inadequate personnel, poor investment, quackery, lack of communication and collaboration among the different sectors within the health ministry.

The Registrar/CEO, Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board of Nigeria (MRTBN), Dr. Akanle Olufunke, said that one way to tackle this issue is the establishment of at least one state- of-the-art equipped one-stop national rehabilitation centre in every geopolitical zone in the country.

MRTBN is a regulatory board established to regulate and control the training and practice of seven professions: physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, prosthetics and orthotics, chiropractic and osteopathic medicine professions but most importantly, it is saddled with the responsibility of solving the rehabilitation issues by removing all barriers to improve access to health services, strengthening and extending  rehabilitation habitation, assertive technology, assistance and support services and community based rehabilitation.

At the 2nd International Conference of Medical Rehabilitation Professionals (ICMRP) with the theme, “Strategic Initiatives for Sustainable Medical Rehabilitation Services in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa, Olufunke lamented that in Nigeria as a whole, there is no well established medical rehabilitation center as found in other parts of the world

“It is long overdue for Nigeria to have well established medical rehabilitation center. This will reduce prevalence of disabilities because it comprised of early intervention and  treatment. So, if you don’t have a well established medical rehabilitation it increased prevalence of disabilities, because some conditions that could have been prevented were not prevented as at when due.

“Also, it will help identify disabilities in the hospital because some conditions that lead to disability are some times confused. Without proper diagnosis there cannot be proper treatment. Unfortunately, the accessibility of rehabilitation centres is low, because we only have it in  teaching hospitals, federal medical centers and some general hospitals but we are supposed to have them in the grassroot level so that when a patient  with ailment like stroke is discharged from a teaching hospital, he or she can easily move to a nearby primary healthcare centre  to access the facilities. 

“Even in the teaching hospitals, what is majorly available is  physiotherapy services,  other specialists are not available. But if all these services are available the patient will just go from one room to the other. That is why the Federal Government needs to establish medical rehabilitation centers in all the six geopolitical zones in the country.”

According to the Registrar, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global disability action for 2014 to 2021, was to remove barriers and improve access to health services and programme, in order to strengthen and extend rehabilitation, habitation, assertive technology, assistance, and supportive services to community-based rehabilitation.

She further stressed the need to strengthen the collection of relevant internationally comparable data on disability support research and related service.

But no matter how bad it might seem, all hope is not lost if government and the various levels in the nations health care system  collaborate to address the situation holistically.

The Chairman, Governing Council MRTBN, Dr. Umo Udom, harped on the need for a  “strong leadership and governance  at the ministry of health and effective coordination mechanisms with other relevant sectors, adequate allocated funding, efficient service delivery models, effective referral systems across all levels and availability of a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation work force.”

While calling on stakeholders to work towards an enabled access to knowledge, tools and access to required resources to scale up rehabilitation, she further maintained that training and employment of more rehabilitation professionals, career development and a good working environment would sustain rehabilitation.

The call for training and employment of rehabilitation professionals is germane, given the operation of fake physiotherapists and physiotherapy facilities milking unsuspecting patients at the  detriment of their health.

Poised towards changing the narrative, the MRTBN have been embarking on inspection exercises to weed out quackery from the profession, which is a sensitive one.

At the last count, no fewer than 300 fake facilities were shut down in various parts of the country.

One thing that stands out however, is the fact that fake physiotheraphy facilities  are predominant in the south south and South western geopolitical zones in the country, operating with physiotherapists who are either unqualified or without the much needed license to operate.

The registrar MRTBN, has revealed that some  of these fake physiotherapists were presently being prosecuted in various courts of law in the affected regions.

“There are two types of quacks; one practice what he is not trained to practice and the other practice what he is not licensed to practice. We are dealing with them together.

We have a lot of establishment claiming they have physiotherapy services and when you go in there you discover they don’t have physiotherapist in the center.

“In the south west and south south, we have closed about 300 facilities. We have arrested and prosecuting people who claim they are physiotherapists. We also have some NGO who claim they have physiotherapist, those that we need to arrest we arrested them

“Some individuals who refused to renew their licences, we have also written to their management to tell them that such individuals should not be promoted except they renew their licences.”

It would not be out of tune to say the MRTBN is working in the right direction despite the challenges of inadequate funding among many others, to add its quota to providing quality universal healthcare services to the citizens, including People Living With Disabilities (PLWD).

Impressed with the commitment of the board against all odds, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire recently stressed on the need for a meaningful cross examination of ideas that would help lift rehabilitation services to a greater height to provide appropriate, sustainable medical rehabilitation services to the people, especially the vulnerable living in the country.

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‘Many IDPs lack mental health support’

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‘Many IDPs lack mental health support’

Dr. Ifeanyi Okudo is a World Health Organisation expert on Humanitarian and Health Emergencies including the North-East of Nigeria. In this interview with REGINA OTOKPA, he brings to fore the urgent need for more financial support, improved communication on health issues and mental health support services in the region

 

There are indications that a good number of people in the north east of Nigeria are in need of mental health services. How true is this?

This is because of the peculiar emergency in the north east, which is a complex emergency with displacement of persons. Remember that there is a baseline of mental health, which you expect in normal situation but we see an increased number of people who require mental health support. It doesn’t mean people are out on the streets without clothing but these are people who need mental health support to deal with anxiety-related conditions, depression, among others.

What role is the World Health Organisation (WHO) playing to help control the situation? 

We are working with health sector partners to provide psychosocial counseling and mental health services to the people, and also link them to the tertiary institutions like the federal neuropsychiatric hospital, which is in partnership with the health sector to provide specialised care as well as in-patient services to the people.

The fund allocated to health emergencies is far below average. How does WHO meet with the funds needed to address emergency needs in the north east?

There are obvious health needs in the north east and there are multiple partners responding to these. First among them is the Federal Government, states and humanitarian partners also provide support on the ground. There is humanitarian response support plan that guides the work of humanitarian partners in the north east.

In the 2018 humanitarian response plan, the health sector partners have a section in there that covers health and the health sector requires $109 million to support what government is doing. Over the last two years, the health sector has not received adequate funding from donors to meet the health needs on the ground. We are now seeking donors and partners to come and support the work that is going on there.

The health sector partners are currently 15 in all and they are made up of international and national organisations who work to support government within the health sector in the North-East. We are requesting these more support to the partners to cover the three states and support the different areas of the health sector because the idea is to use the different health system building blocks to respond to the challenges and building back the health sector better than it was before it was affected by emergency.

Is this $109 million meant to cater just for the humanitarian sector?     

The funds are for the entire health sector. We are not just responding to the life saving needs but also strengthening the health system, building back better so that it can cater to the people in need in the area, that involves a little bit of the development or recovery aspect but essentially to save lives.

Should the funds not come through, what would be the health implication in the north east?

The way things have been, things are gradually getting better, and we must acknowledge the role of government and other partners. In the health sector things are also getting better, the number of disease outbreaks is going down generally but we know that much more need to be done.

If we don’t have the resources required within the health sector to respond to the vulnerable population, we may not be able to reach all the persons that we have planned to reach and that means, we may have some people in the north east who require health services who may not get all the health interventions that they require.

How has poor documentation affected financing, leading to failure to represent the emergency health needs in the north east?

Not by documentation per say but by what the media reports and advocacy about activities in the north east. The reports about the north east are mostly about the violence that is going on and how people do not have food at all but we are also asking that while the press discusses this, they should also consider the health of the people living in the region, the health systems, the health care workers, the people and their peculiar needs. If people are healthy in the first instance, then they can build their lives back, they can move back to their homes when everything settles and then they will be in a better position to regain their livelihoods.

How do you think the health care workers can be best protected so that they do not become emergency cases themselves?

We are concerned that sometimes healthcare workers who provide care to the persons in need, the persons who are displaced are caught up in violence particularly doctors, nurses, other health care workers and sometimes transportation of health commodities to area where they are needed is affected by the crisis. It is concerning because people who respond to the vulnerable populations should not themselves become attacked. So, we are hoping that going forward  health care workers and facilities are protected so that the health sector can continue to deliver the support required by the people.

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Global campaign lifts millions out of poverty

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Global campaign lifts millions out of poverty

A s part of preparations for Nigeria to host ‘The Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream’ campaign in Nigeria that is expected to lift millions of the nation’s population out of poverty, its organisers, Global Citizen, in partnership with Teneo, have convened a forum in Lagos and presented its benefits.

The campaign was unveiled to stakeholders from Nigeria’s public and private sectors, civil society and the media in Ikoyi, Lagos last week.

According to the organisers, the10-hour global media event taking place in Nigeria on September 26, 2020, will showcase simultaneous festivals in Lagos and New York’s Central Park — as well as satellite events in Seoul, Korea, and to be announced cities in Latin America and Europe  — and will see the worlds of pop, policy , and business unite to create unprecedented change and lasting impact.

The most recent Global Citizen festival in South Africa secured financial commitments of $7.2 billion. The campaign in Nigeria aims to exceed this, by mobilising billions in commitments for Nigeria, according to the organisers.

Specifically, $2 billion of the money allocated to Nigeria for the event will be used to impact the lives of millions of impoverished women and girls. The campaign will feature a series of events throughout 2020, culminating with the global events on September 26, 2020.

The policy forum was attended by Tunde Folawiyo, Chairman, Global Citizen Nigeria, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Vice- Chairman, Global Citizen Nigeria, Mick Sheldrick, Co-Founder, Global Citizen, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Dr. Paulin Basinga, Country Director, Gates Foundation, Mr. Oscar Onyema, CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mrs. Solape Hammond, Acting Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Lagos State Government, Yebeltal Getachew, Manging Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria and Olakunle Oloruntimehin, General Manager, Cisco Nigeria.

Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream was launched by Global Citizen, in partnership with Teneo, during the UN General Assembly in New York on September 26, 2019.

Speaking at the launch of Nigeria 2020, Folawiyo, said: “Achieving Nigeria’s pledge to lift 100 million people out of poverty in the next decade will only be possible if the public sector, private sector and civil society collaborate closely. A co-ordinated, multi-stakeholder approach is essential.”

Aig-Imoukhuede, said the government alone cannot deliver the resources  needed  to win the fight against extreme poverty.

Global Citizen Co-Founder, Mick Sheldrick, said: “The world needs $350b annually if we are to end extreme poverty and achieve the Global Goals in the 59 poorest countries by 2030, hence the need to work with the Nigerian government to help drive progress toward the goals.

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NAFDAC cracks down on substandard edible oil marketers

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NAFDAC cracks down on substandard edible oil marketers

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said it would deal decisively with marketers and distributors of unhygienic and unapproved vegetable oil.

The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye who issued the warning at NAFDAC stakeholders meeting with marketers and distributors of vegetable oil in Lagos last week, similarly alerted the populace that there was health risks in the consumption of unhygienic products.

Adeyeye who was represented by Simidele Onabajo, NAFDAC’s deputy director in charge of Food Registration and Regulation Directorate, lamented the high level adulteration of vegetable oil, especially palm oil which was on going in the country, saying it often resulted in health challenges among the populace.

Adeyeye said using soap and water to  wash used chemical containers, tanks and jerrycans for the sale and storage of vegetable oil was not acceptable, stressing that the rising cases of kidney problems in the country could be linked to the kind of foods people consume.

Urging the marketers to desist from practices that were injurious to health, Adeyeye said: “We have called you for this meeting so that you know how to give quality and safe vegetable oil to consumers. You need to change your mindset and think about safety first.”

The meeting, which brought together marketers and distributors of vegetable oil across the various states of the federation, was geared to educate affected persons on the standard procedures of handling the products to achieve safety standard.

Also, speaking during the event, NAFDAC’s Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition  (FSAN), Mr Olagunju Sherif said the consumption of unhygienic products could lead to diseases like cancer, the damage of internal organs including the kidney, which may result in fatality.

Sherif said NAFDAC would no longer tolerate the sale and distribution of edible oil that was not fortified with Vitamin A.

He explained, “We have a lot of issues concerning people who are selling these products.  You know vegetable oil is a special product and it is one of the vehicles through which the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) was using to resolve vitamin A deficiency we are having in the country.

“So vegetable oil is required to be fortified with vitamin A before it can be sold. So, all vegetable oil sold in Nigeria needs to be fortified with vitamin A.”

He also warned against the transportation of products with any type of truck or plastic containers aside from the ones approved by the Federal Government.

Sherif further raised the alarm over the adulteration of palm oil saying that some distributors and marketers adulterate palm oil with artificial colouring.

He said, “We are trying to tell them that they should not artificially import colours in the oils, especially colours that are not food-grade colours some of which could cause cancer, liver and kidney damage.

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Medical Guild champions preventive health for civil servants

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Medical Guild champions preventive health for civil servants

As part of activities to prevent both old and new infections among Lagos civil servants, doctors under the auspices of Medical Guild recently provided not less than 1,000 Lagos State Government staff free medical screening.

The exercise, which took place at the Lagos State Government Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, benefitted all those that trooped out to access available health services.

The one-day medical mission,  attracted civil servants from six different ministries in the state, to access medical care. The civil servants similarly benefited from free treatment, and counseling.

Medical Guild is an association of doctors under the employment of the Lagos State Government.

Partipants were exposed to various health screening including for hypertension, diabetes, malaria, dental care, communicable diseases like hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, among others.

According to the Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Babajide Saheed, the medical mission was to bring healthcare delivery to workers as part of activities to mark the Medical Guild’s 2019 annual general meeting (AGM).

Saheed said the exercise was to identify hidden health challenges among workers, provide free medications, counseling and referrals to appropriate general hospitals or primary health centres (PHCs) for further treatment to those who require it.

He said, “Workers work from Mondays to Fridays do not have time to visit the hospitals to check their health status because of the nature of their job.”

“In the last few years, we have heard about cases of people who slump and die in their offices and because we do not want that in Lagos State, that is why we have come to check their health status.”

According to Saheed, there was a need for people to be conscious about their health status through regular medical check-ups to prevent health deterioration and emergencies.

He disclosed that the Guild had in the past conducted medical missions to ensure a healthy society.

Speaking in the same vein, Chairman, Organising Committee for the 2019 AGM, Dr. Adeleke Dankuwo said that the screening and treatment was to ensure fitness and vitality among workers.

Dankuwo expressed satisfaction at the turnout of the workers, saying that it showed the importance that they attached to their health.

One of the beneficiaries, Mr Tosin Adeleke of the state Ministry of Infrastructure, expressed gratitude to the guild for the exercise, saying that he was sick, and on his way to the hospital for treatment when he saw the banner publicising the free medical mission, adding that he simply walked into the venue and got free treatment and medications.

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NHIS decries rising cost of medications

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NHIS decries rising cost of medications

The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Mohammed Sambo, has raised concerns over the persistent increase in the price of drugs in Sub-Sahara Africa, especially in Nigeria.

He said though the rising costs of drugs for treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases has become a global phenomenon; it is rife in Nigeria and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Delivering his remark at a two-day NHIS strategic engagement with pharmaceutical manufacturers and companies recently in Abuja, Prof. Sambo maintained that drug administration for the treatment of ailments was central to the entire essence of health insurance.

In order to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the NHIS boss, noted that the rising cost of drugs must be contained by putting in place cost-containment strategies to ensure drugs were not only available, but accessible and affordable.

In his words: “It has been proven that pharmaceutical cost containment strategies have had some success in reducing drug costs for the end users.”

While noting that the Scheme after completing the review of both professional service charge and NHIS drug list,  introduced new drugs and products in the list, the NHIS boss explained that NHIS supports and encouraged the use of generic drugs over brand-named drugs to help it live up to its mandate of providing easy healthcare services to all Nigerians at an affordable cost.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has called on donor partners and the NHIS, to develop relevant frameworks and sustainable mechanisms to enable Nigeria deliver the expected outcomes of the UHC in the right measure and quality.

According to him, UHC still remains the only panacea that could guarantee people’s aspiration to enjoy quality, affordable and available healthcare without financial inhibitions.

While noting that achieving UHC was one of the targets the nations of the world set when adopting the SDGs in 2015 to which Nigeria subscribes with great commitment, he maintained that it has become imperative to mobilise all available support for the scheme in a coordinated manner.

“I want to urge the stakeholders and donor partners here to use this opportunity to develop the relevant framework, parameters and a sustainable coordination mechanism that will ensure that we get value for every effort to position NHIS properly for the attainment of UHC in Nigeria.”

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High therapeutic values in cocoyam

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High therapeutic values in cocoyam

Cocoyam used to be an ordinary stable in Nigerian homes in the past. Then we went to school and became ‘educated’. The result is that we lost interest in our local food and developed a taste for processed foods. When you buy, and eat such processed food, you are regarded as ‘educated’ and ‘high class’. If you eat cocoyam, or tell people that you love eating cocoyam, be ready to be labelled as a ‘bushman’, ‘ajepako’, ‘village man or woman’ and all sorts of names. As a result, farmers hardly cultivate cocoyam, and now it has become a scarce food, even in the village.

On the contrary, cocoyam possesses high nutritional values when compared with others like cassava and yam, with substantial vitamins, minerals and proteins contents. For me, the leaves of cocoyam are the most useful part of the plant. The fact that cocoyam leaves are edible often comes as a surprise for those who have only known this plant as a tuber. The leaves are not just a good food product, they are also able to provide you with plenty of useful vitamins and minerals. Like any leafy green vegetables, cocoyam leaves are as healthy and helpful for your body, especially for those who want to lose fat and improve their health condition.

Please be warned: cocoyam leaves cannot be eaten raw. They contain a toxin that irritates the throat if not properly cooked. This is why the leaves should be soaked in cold water for about 10 to 15 minutes before they are cooked. Cocoyam has more calories than potatoes. 100 g provides 112 calories. Its calories mainly come from complex carbohydrates known as amylose and amylopectin. However, the roots are very low in fats and protein than cereals and pulses. Their protein levels can be comparable to that of other tropical food sources like yam, cassava, potato, banana, etc.

Cocoyam, however, is free from gluten. They feature high-quality Phyto-nutrition profile comprising of dietary fibre, and antioxidants in addition to moderate proportions of minerals, and vitamins. They are one of the best sources of dietary fibres. Together with slow digesting complex carbohydrates, moderate amounts of fibre in the food help gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

Cocoyam contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and various other phenolic antioxidants which help to boost the immune system and help eliminate dangerous free radicals from our system. Free radicals are the dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism that may result in healthy cells to mutate and turn into cancerous cells. By eliminating these free radicals, our general health is improved. Cryptoxanthin, which is found in cocoyam, is said to protect against both lung and oral cancers.

Cocoyam is very beneficial for overcoming rheumatoid arthritis because low levels of vitamin B6 are related to increased signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Several researchers conclude that people with rheumatoid arthritis comparatively need more vitamin B6 than healthy people because they experience constant muscle aches and joint pain due to chronic inflammation. Vitamin B6 benefits include curbing pain and can be useful incontrolling aches in the muscles and joints due to arthritis.

Cocoyam consists of a considerable amount of potassium, which is considered an essential mineral to remain healthy and efficient. Potassium not only enables good fluid transfers between membranes and tissues throughout the body but also helps to relieve stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries. By relaxing the veins and blood vessels, blood pressure can be reduced, and stress on the overall cardiovascular system is reduced.

Cocoyam plays an essential role in boosting the immune system. Vitamin C is found in cocoyam roots, which helps the immune system to create white blood cells that help to defend the body from foreign pathogens and agents. Additionally, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which moderately prevents the development of conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

Consuming high-potassium foods is directly related to decreased muscle cramping and improved muscle strength. Muscle cramps are one of the common side effects of low potassium levels.  This happens when an athlete becomes dehydrated and don’t consume enough potassium-rich foods before and after exercise.

Cocoyam also plays a vital role in digestion because it consists of a high level of dietary fibre.  Fibre is very important for supporting our gastrointestinal health. Fibre improves bowel movements, thus helping food move through the digestive tract and facilitating improved digestion. Apart from that, it can help to prevent certain conditions like excess gas, cramping, bloating, constipation and even diarrhoea. A healthy, regulated gastrointestinal system can significantly boost overall health and reduce chances of various types of cancer.

Cocoyam consists of Vitamin B1, which is also known as thiamine and is a crucial vitamin for increasing focus, energy, fighting chronic stress, and for preventing memory loss. Several pieces of research have linked thiamine deficiency to difficulty in learning and retaining information. As we have previously mentioned, Cocoyam is loaded with several antioxidants, like beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants can also help to improve vision as well, by preventing the free radicals from attacking ocular cells and causing macular degeneration or cataracts.

Phosphorus, which is essential for both bone health as well as maintaining teeth and gum health, is present in cocoyam. Calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus, all play a crucial role in the formation and maintenance of dental hygiene by supporting tooth enamel, jaw-bone mineral density and holding the teeth in place, too — therefore, these minerals and vitamins can also help heal tooth decay.

Apart from proper bowel movement dietary fibre can also help lower the chances of developing diabetes because it helps to regulate the release of insulin and glucose in the body. If you consume sufficient amount of Cocoyam in your regular diet, then you can manage your glycaemic levels and lower your chances of developing diabetes. If you have diabetes, then fibre-rich foods like cocoyam can help prevent the spikes and plunges in blood sugar that can be so dangerous.

The presence of iron and copper in Cocoyam makes it an important food to prevent anaemia and boost circulation throughout the body. Both Iron and copper are essential for the production of red blood cells that carry the all-important oxygen to our body’s systems and cells. By decreasing the chances of anaemia (iron deficiency) and boost the flow of blood through the body, you can speed overall metabolism, the growth of new cells, and general oxygenation of the body that is always good to keep the organs and systems functioning properly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rare disease

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

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

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

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

Lucky to be alive

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

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

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

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

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

What is calciphylaxis?

Calciphylaxis is a rare, but serious, kidney complication.

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

Calciphylaxis is also called calcific uremic arteriolopathy.

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

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

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

Symptoms of calciphylaxis include:

fatigue

weakness

cramps

depression

body aches

If you have any concerns, see a GP immediately.

Source: Healthline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another quarter of patients suffered bruises and abrasions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Health

Doctors revive woman after six-hour cardiac arrest

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Doctors revive woman after six-hour cardiac arrest

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

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