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Taming meningitis with immunisation

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Taming meningitis with immunisation

Medical experts have agreed that meningitis is a life- threatening disease. If not treated, this disease can lead to brain swelling and maiming and could as well kill an affected person. According to experts, the most serious form of meningitis is the bacterial type. Unlike other forms of meningitis, bacterial meningitis is said to be very fatal, sometimes even with treatment.
Experts also posit that if bacterial meningitis “progresses rapidly, in 24 hours or less, death may occur in more than half of those who develop it, even with proper medical treatment.”
Other types of meningitis like the viral, fungal and aseptic meningitis are not as dangerous, like the bacterial meningitis, according to experts. But meningitis in whatever guise has a devastating effect on lives.
That is perhaps, the reason why UNICEF has chosen to support the government and people of Cross River State to eliminate meningitis. UNICEF has so far supported government with drugs and other kits for immunisation of children from age nine to 15 years.
But more than just assisting the state, UNICEF discovered that the state is within the meningitis belt of the country, and is susceptible to the disease because it borders Cameroun and with the influx of refugees from that country due to the clampdown on the Southern part by the authorities, the state could be bearing a burden it did not prepare for.
This gesture of the international donor agency has encouraged the Cross Rivers State Government with the Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, saying recently that government would ensure the protection of children between the ages of nine to 15 years through intensive immunisation.
Esu, who spoke during the flag-off ceremony and introduction of meningitis ‘A’ vaccine into routine immunisation schedule at the Chieftaincy hall of Calabar Municipality last week, while appreciating partners, including UNICEF and WHO, among others, said the state government was interested in the wellbeing of children, disclosing that hundreds of healthcare workers have been trained to undertake immunisation across the eighteen local governments of the state.
“Government will attend to the health needs of the children and immunisation remains the best way to secure our children. Meningitis is a devastating disease and Nigeria is one of the countries within the meningitis belt in Africa.
“Cross River State is within the meningitis belt in Nigeria and that is why government continues to ask parents to ensure proper sanitation and avoid crowded room. We admonish parents to also ensure that their children are immunised; and this is free,” Esu told his audience.
He added: “We shall not rest until we have vaccinated all eligible children in the state.”
However, beyond mere promise, the Cross River State Government should back up its promise with action. It will be recalled that in 2017, the state governor Ben Ayade promised to establish a pharmaceutical company that would produce vaccines for meningitis.
At that time, the then commissioner for commerce and industry, Mr. Peter Akam Egbam, who spoke on behalf of the governor said: “The drugs will be produced locally. This is a gigantic project. We have the laboratories where the drugs will pass through all scientific processes; we have department in which packaging will be done. The idea behind this project is to basically reduce, if not eliminate, importation of drugs into Nigeria.”
On how to source for raw materials for the pharmaceutical company, Pakistani Managing Director of Calapharm, Farhan Ahmade Khan, said; “For now, the raw materials, which will feed the industry will be imported because Nigeria does not have most of the chemicals to use in producing most of the drugs. We will import the chemical but we will do all the medical works and packaging here,”
“Our main focus is on mother and child health. We will launch the pharmaceutical company with 40 products initially. We will produce syrups, tablets, syringes and injections. One thing that is not produced in Nigeria is vaccine, which we in Calapharm will produce early next year.”
Since that pronouncement, not much has been heard about the company and its products. The situation has been made worse with the non-appointment of a commissioner since the governor assumed a second term office in May, 2019, to give leadership to the project
Interestingly, this pronouncement was made at the height of the clamour for government intervention after one out of twenty four people who came down with meningitis had died between January and April, 2017.
The former Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong had alerted the public then that; “We have recorded one death but we have tried to ensure that the situation is contained. That is why we have put in place facilities and personnel to ensure that as much as possible, we do not record more cases of death,” she said.
Asibong had disclosed that the deceased, Paul Ogar, 12, was brought from Ogoja Local Government Area of the state with the disease “which eventually led to his death.”
Asibong had given the figure then saying the death toll would have been more “but for the prompt action of her ministry to contain its outbreak, explaining that most of the victims have been treated and discharged from the hospital.”
According to her, the ministry was doing its best to curb the outbreak, adding that Cross River was among the 16 states with the outbreak of CSM in Nigeria.
“Before now, we have actually been having sporadic cases of CSM, but it has been on the increase this year and this is not normal for Cross River.
“We have set our state team in motion and the epidemiology department is currently on top of the situation carrying out surveillance in all quarters,” she said.
Asibong then explained that her ministry had begun sensitising the public on the dangers of meningitis in particular and other communicable diseases in general, saying the state government has given the ministry the needed support to contain the situation.
The commissioner similarly assured residents of the state government’s readiness to do everything to reduce the impact of the disease, saying all those who were currently hospitalised would be discharged.
“We are fighting the outbreak of the disease with everything within our power and the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade is at the vanguard of ensuring that the disease is contained as soon as possible. We in the ministry are mobilising to drastically reduce the impact of the disease. So, we are doing something about the situation,” the commissioner said.
Now that partners have come in to assist the state to keep children secure from meningitis, it is hoped that the governor will revive the initiative of producing the vaccines as well as paying the state’s counterpart funds to enable partners sustain their struggle to keep our children safe.

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US baby born on 9/11 at 9:11 weighs 9lb 11oz

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US baby born on 9/11 at 9:11 weighs 9lb 11oz

A US mother says her newborn daughter is a “little miracle” after she was born on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at 9:11pm weighing 9lb 11oz.

Little Christina Brown came into the world at Methodist LeBonheur Hospital in Germantown, Tennessee.

“She is a new life amongst the devastation and destruction,” said her mother Cametrione Moore-Brown.

Commemorations were held across the US to mark 18 years since the attack, on September 11, 2001.

Christina was born by Caesarean section and operating theatre staff were stunned when the baby’s time of birth and weight were recorded.

“We heard the doctor announce the time of birth 9/11 and then when they weighed Christina, we heard gasps of astonishment when everyone realized Christina weighed 9/11, was born at 9:11 and on 9/11,” said father Justin Brown.

“It was really exciting, especially to find some joy during a day of such tragedy.”

Rachel Laughlin, head of women’s services at the hospital said such a coincidence was extremely rare.

“I’ve worked in women’s services for over 35 years, and I’ve never seen a baby’s birthdate, time of birth, and weight all be matching numbers,” she said.

Christina’s parents say that when she is older they will share with her the significance of her birth, reports the BBC.

The 18th anniversary of the attack saw a moment’s silence take place at various locations, including the sites of the attack, “Ground Zero”, in New York, at the Pentagon, Virginia, and at Stonycreek Township in Pennsylvania.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attack and thousands more were injured.

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Kenya becomes third African nation to introduce world’s first malaria vaccine

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Kenya becomes third African nation to introduce world’s first malaria vaccine

Kenya on Friday added the world’s first malaria vaccine to the routine immunization schedule for children under two, becoming the third country in Africa to roll out the vaccine for the disease that kills one child globally every two minutes.

Malaria is a top killer of children under five in the East African nation, and the vaccine is critically important to its efforts to combat the disease because other measures such as mosquito nets have not proven adequate, the director general of Kenya’s health ministry, Wekesa Masasabi, told Reuters.

“We still have an incidence of 27% (malaria infection) for children under five,” Masasabi said before Friday’s launch of the vaccine in the western county of Homa Bay.

The Homa Bay program was the government’s first step toward creating awareness of the new vaccine, he said.

African nations Ghana and Malawi launched their pilot programs of the vaccine earlier this year. Kenya plans to roll out the vaccine to eight of its 47 counties over the next two years, Masasabi said.

Malaria can be eradicated within a generation, global health experts said in a major report last weekend that was commissioned by The Lancet medical journal. The Lancet report contradicted the conclusions last month of a malaria review by the World Health Organisation , and its experts urged the WHO not to shy away from this “goal of epic proportions”.

Malaria infected about 219 million people in 2017, killing around 435,000 of them, the vast majority babies and children in the poorest parts of Africa.

Due to ongoing transmission, half the world’s population is still at risk of contracting malaria.

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Kenya becomes third African nation to introduce world’s first malaria vaccine

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Kenya becomes third African nation to introduce world’s first malaria vaccine

Kenya on Friday added the world’s first malaria vaccine to the routine immunization schedule for children under two, becoming the third country in Africa to roll out the vaccine for the disease that kills one child globally every two minutes.

Malaria is a top killer of children under five in the East African nation, and the vaccine is critically important to its efforts to combat the disease because other measures such as mosquito nets have not proven adequate, the director general of Kenya’s health ministry, Wekesa Masasabi, told Reuters.

“We still have an incidence of 27% (malaria infection) for children under five,” Masasabi said before Friday’s launch of the vaccine in the western county of Homa Bay.

The Homa Bay program was the government’s first step toward creating awareness of the new vaccine, he said.

African nations Ghana and Malawi launched their pilot programs of the vaccine earlier this year. Kenya plans to roll out the vaccine to eight of its 47 counties over the next two years, Masasabi said.

Malaria can be eradicated within a generation, global health experts said in a major report last weekend that was commissioned by The Lancet medical journal. The Lancet report contradicted the conclusions last month of a malaria review by the World Health Organisation , and its experts urged the WHO not to shy away from this “goal of epic proportions”.

Malaria infected about 219 million people in 2017, killing around 435,000 of them, the vast majority babies and children in the poorest parts of Africa.

Due to ongoing transmission, half the world’s population is still at risk of contracting malaria.

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Health

Kenya becomes third African nation to introduce world’s first malaria vaccine

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Kenya becomes third African nation to introduce world’s first malaria vaccine

Kenya on Friday added the world’s first malaria vaccine to the routine immunization schedule for children under two, becoming the third country in Africa to roll out the vaccine for the disease that kills one child globally every two minutes.

Malaria is a top killer of children under five in the East African nation, and the vaccine is critically important to its efforts to combat the disease because other measures such as mosquito nets have not proven adequate, the director general of Kenya’s health ministry, Wekesa Masasabi, told Reuters.

“We still have an incidence of 27% (malaria infection) for children under five,” Masasabi said before Friday’s launch of the vaccine in the western county of Homa Bay.

The Homa Bay program was the government’s first step toward creating awareness of the new vaccine, he said.

African nations Ghana and Malawi launched their pilot programs of the vaccine earlier this year. Kenya plans to roll out the vaccine to eight of its 47 counties over the next two years, Masasabi said.

Malaria can be eradicated within a generation, global health experts said in a major report last weekend that was commissioned by The Lancet medical journal. The Lancet report contradicted the conclusions last month of a malaria review by the World Health Organisation , and its experts urged the WHO not to shy away from this “goal of epic proportions”.

Malaria infected about 219 million people in 2017, killing around 435,000 of them, the vast majority babies and children in the poorest parts of Africa.

Due to ongoing transmission, half the world’s population is still at risk of contracting malaria.

Continue Reading

Health

Kenya becomes third African nation to introduce world’s first malaria vaccine

Published

on

By

Kenya becomes third African nation to introduce world’s first malaria vaccine

Kenya on Friday added the world’s first malaria vaccine to the routine immunization schedule for children under two, becoming the third country in Africa to roll out the vaccine for the disease that kills one child globally every two minutes.

Malaria is a top killer of children under five in the East African nation, and the vaccine is critically important to its efforts to combat the disease because other measures such as mosquito nets have not proven adequate, the director general of Kenya’s health ministry, Wekesa Masasabi, told Reuters.

“We still have an incidence of 27% (malaria infection) for children under five,” Masasabi said before Friday’s launch of the vaccine in the western county of Homa Bay.

The Homa Bay program was the government’s first step toward creating awareness of the new vaccine, he said.

African nations Ghana and Malawi launched their pilot programs of the vaccine earlier this year. Kenya plans to roll out the vaccine to eight of its 47 counties over the next two years, Masasabi said.

Malaria can be eradicated within a generation, global health experts said in a major report last weekend that was commissioned by The Lancet medical journal. The Lancet report contradicted the conclusions last month of a malaria review by the World Health Organisation , and its experts urged the WHO not to shy away from this “goal of epic proportions”.

Malaria infected about 219 million people in 2017, killing around 435,000 of them, the vast majority babies and children in the poorest parts of Africa.

Due to ongoing transmission, half the world’s population is still at risk of contracting malaria.

Continue Reading

Health

Yellow fever outbreak: Are monkeys of Yankari responsible?

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Yellow fever outbreak: Are monkeys of Yankari responsible?
  • 6m doses of vaccines needed to curb dissease

 

 

Following the outbreak of yellow fever in Bauchi State that claimed lives of four students at the College of Education, WakaBiu  in Biu, Local Government Area, Bauchi State  Government said it needed six million doses of vaccines to check the disease from spreading.

Speaking on the issue, Saturday, September 2019 during a media chat, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed said that his administration was on top of the situation, to ensure that the disease doesn’t spread to other parts of the state.

It would be recalled that victims of the yellow fever contracted the disease during their holiday trip to Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi State.

Mohammed said, the outbreak was as a result of large population of monkeys around the Yankari Game Reserve.

According to him, the state needed six million doses of vaccines to stop yellow fever from spreading, adding that government has requested for the vaccines from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The “yellow” in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients. Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

Yellow fever virus is mainly transmitted through the bite of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, but other mostly Aedes mosquitoes such as the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) can also serve as a vector for this virus.

Governor Mohammed explained that, the yellow fever outbreak was also recorded in Tafawa Balewa Local Government area of the state, apart from Yankari in Alkaleri Local Government his home town. Bauchi is not the only state that has recorded  disease outbreak resulting to some deaths, Lagos State also was in the news recently due to four patients  hospitalised in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idiaraba, Lagos, all diagnosed with menigitis.

One Emma Anya whose son was also diagnosed with meningitis in LUTH, recalled that the young lad of 15 years was admitted in the tertiary hospital for 24 days. He posted his story on the facebook.

Giving details of what Bauchi State was doing to curb yellow fever, the state governor said, “We have already procured some basic vaccines, but we need about six million more doses of vaccines to prevent it from spreading.

“The WHO is ready to give us that very soon and with that we are going to cover everybody in the state in times of immunisation so as to make sure that even with the problem there is a government in place to tackle it.

“Some Development partners have graciously granted us the sum of N6 billion support for the state to fight the outbreak.

“Governor Mohammed said there was no cause for alarm and  people don’t need  to be scared of visiting Bauchi State. “We are on top of the situation; our health officials are working round the clock to curtail the situation.”

As far back as 2005, the WHO had raised the alarm and expressed great concern over serious yellow fever situation in some parts of Africa.  The world body had described as serious, yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This was contained in a release by the Emergency Committee regarding yellow fever convened by WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations in Geneva in 2005.

The Committee said WHO Secretariat had earlier briefed the Committee on the history and impact of the Yellow Fever Initiative, the urban outbreak of yellow fever in Luanda, Angola.

It also briefed on its international spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), China and Kenya.

The committee said following the deliberation on the information provided, it decided that the urban yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and DRC was a serious public health event, which warranted intensified national action and enhanced international support.

The committee, however, strongly emphasised the serious national and international risks posed by urban yellow fever outbreaks.

The committee called to accelerate surveillance, mass vaccination, risk communications, community mobilisation, vector control and case management measures in Angola and DRC.

It also insisted on yellow fever vaccination of all travellers, and especially migrant workers, to and from Angola and DRC.

In addition, it called for the intensification of surveillance and preparedness activities, including verification of yellow fever vaccination in travellers and risk communications, in at-risk countries and countries having land borders with the affected countries.

These international actions geared to tackle yellow fever is in line with events in Bauchi where actions to secure vaccines ware being intensified.

As part of activities to curb yellow fever, the governor Bauchi State called on the people of the state and stakeholders to support his administration to enable him deliver quality health services in line with his campaign promises to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.

On his own part, the Executive Secretary Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed said that his ministry received a report of the suspected cases, which were linked to Yankari Game Reserve after students of the WakaBiu College of Education visited the Reserve during their holiday.

He said, four of them died while twelve were hospitalised.

“Following these reports the state’s rapid response team visited the Yankari Game Reserve on Wednesday and discovered a possibility of a yellow fever outbreak, which is being investigated”.

He said “So far, six samples have been collected from suspected cases for testing at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and at the Regional Laboratory Dakar, Senagal. We are waiting for the outcome of the result.

Speaking  to New Telegraph Samuel Itodo a Resident of Birshi Gandu, Bauchi said he was threatened with the news of the outbreak of yellow fever in Bauchi. According to him, “I was threatened because yellow fever is a dangerous disease; it has killed a lot of people. The recent outbreak has claimed lives of students who came for excursion in Yankari.

Although, the people of Borno State who were victims of the yellow fever issued a press statement but the management of Yankari tried to deny the report, saying it was just a mere rumour to smear the image of their organisation, instead of them telling the truth. We thank God the truth has come out.”

Samuel said, “Though, help is on the way, people should complement government efforts by keeping their environments clean, with clean environment most sicknesses would not be there. The state government has taken a drastic step to address the outbreak by the ongoing spraying of the whole of Alkaleri Local Area”.

According to him, he was not scared living in Bauchi because of the proactive measures of the state and people should not be afraid to visit the state.

In a similar vein, a resident of Wunti Bauchi Huruna Mohammed said that he was shocked receiving the news of the yellow fever outbreak something people have forgotten about it long ago. It is shocking because this is not what we anticipated before , you know Yankari area has a lot of monkeys. I am glad that government has taken proactive measure to address the abnormality.

On his part, a Professor of Virology and Former Vice Chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, Oyewale Tomori while corroborating the importance of vaccines in curbing yellow fever among at-risk population, said, “We know that your vaccine during infection protects you for the rest of your life.”

Also, Tomori highlighted that the limitation of diagnostic facilities was a challenge. However, he said it was important making diagnostic facilities available so as to reduce the time spent in getting diagnosis done. If diagnostic facilities were available, there would be no need taking samples all the way to distant locations for before diagnosis would be made.

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Ogbolu: Depression, largest contributor to suicide

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Ogbolu: Depression, largest contributor to suicide

Dr. Raphael Ogbolu is a consultant psychiatrist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, Lagos and coordinator, Suicide Research & Prevention Initiative (SURPIN) domiciled in LUTH. In this interview, he discusses factors driving depression, the need to enact Mental Health Law, tackling stigma around depression and suicide, among others. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports

 

 

 

You highlighted the global increase in depression. What is the trend in Nigeria?

The WHO’s Global Health Observatory, states that in Nigeria, the estimated rate of depression is 3.9 per cent of the population as at 2015. If we are using the last estimated population size of before 2015 which was about 180 million, we should be talking about seven million Nigerians have depression. However, we do know that it is more than that because most of them go undiagnosed. There have been local studies that said it is 3.1 per cent.

What are the causes of this depression?

We all have neuro-transmitters in our brains; they are like chemicals. They regulate our moods. For some people the level of those neuro-transmitters would drop. Once the level drops to a certain point that is when the symptoms of depression manifest. Most of the medicines try to raise the level back to where they should be.

Other things that could make the levels low could be traumatic life experiences including childhood abuse, traumatic experience early in life, chronic medical conditions, poorly treated diabetes, poorly treated hypertension, chronic medical conditions are stigmatising like epilepsy, HIV, people suffering cancer who feel that life is no longer worth it can go into depression.

Also, depression could be hereditary. However, we want to sound a note of caution that even if you inherit the genes, it does not mean that you must come down with depression; you may never become depressed in life.

However, if you inherit the genes and live’s problems now impact you, it will bring out that genetic vulnerability and the fellow can now become depressed. Also, we do know that some treatment can make some people who are predisposed to come down with depression.

Some of the drugs we use to treat hypertension could reduce the level of transmitters in the brain.

Also, people who are on long duration of treatment of steroids could put them at risk of depression. A study in Europe found that oral contraceptives for some women can put them at risk of depression because they are steroids, too.

Also, drug abuse, especially people who are struggling with drug abuse  can come down with depression. Each time they fail in their attempt to stop, they feel that they are failures; they feel that the drug has ruined them and that their lives are not going on well. Hence, some of them would now become depressed.

Cases of depression has been on the increase. Why is this so?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) decided in 2017, to make depression the theme for the World Health Day and the reason is that the world body had observed that there has been a global increase in the rate of depression, which had increased more than 18 per cent over a 10 year period between 2005 and 2015. It was also the greatest cause of disability worldwide and that has steadily been increasing as a result of the global disease burden.

What it meant was that people with depression were disabled to the point that they could not be productive and that this would impact on global economies, beginning with the income of the household. That is why the WHO felt that it was time to begin to break the silence and for people to begin to talk about depression because it is something that is not too difficult to diagnose.

Hence if we talk about it at community level even people in the community would be able to identify the signs of depression among people around them and among themselves.

Depression is treatable and it is the single largest contributor to suicide, it means that if we can address depression we can also help to reduce suicide.

What are the signs people should look out for?

If the person experiences low mood, that is sadness that occurs every day or some of the days for at least two weeks.

The personal experiences loss of interest in the things he/ she used to enjoy doing,, but suddenly finds that when he does those things now, he does not derive pleasure from doing them anymore.

Such persons will begin to experience loss of energy; they are always tired, fatigued and it is always as if their energy is sapped. When you have at least two of these signs in someone for at least two weeks, it is the first warning sign of depression.

Similarly, when you have the core symptoms of depression together with other symptoms of depression, which include a change in sleep pattern, usually insomnia; the person no longer gets enough sleep. He cannot fall asleep or when he falls asleep, he wakes up earlier than he used to, most times it is excessive sleep, but sometimes, it is less sleep.

There is also change in appetite, usually less appetite but most times, most people begin to eat more. With the loss of appetite there is also a loss of body weight.

The fellow will also feel that he can no longer concentrate; the fellow will be reading the same page over and over because it does not sink.

The person will also begin to feel worthless, helpless and feeling unduly guilty about things he had done in the past and all of a sudden he will begin to feel that it had just happened.

Also, the person begins to feel pessimistic about tomorrow and when that hopelessness comes, the next thing is suicidal thoughts, that is, feeling that life is no longer worth it.

Once anyone has any of the first three I mentioned and any two of the other two, definitely the person has depression. These are signs we can easily see in people around us. Such people should seek help for depression.

Does the poor economic situation has any role in the depression of some Nigerians?

Yes, when I talked about stressors, it includes financial stressors. There are also relationship stressors, medical stressors arising from medical conditions. The irony is that in the majority of those we have seen that have attempted suicide, financial problems are not the most prominent cause. The most prominent cause that we have seen in those that commit suicide are relationship issues: marital or other relationship issues – have featured prominently even more than financial problems.

What are the challenges we face in addressing depression?

We need to have a Mental Health Act. We don’t have Mental Health law. What has been operating since is the Lunacy Act, which has been in place before the 1920s. Obviously, that kind of law cannot cater for today’s problems.

The body of psychiatrists in Nigeria has been pushing for the National Assembly to pass the Bill on Mental Health Law. If we don’t have that theres nothing to guide the issues of addressing mental illness including depression in the country.

Also, we need to create awareness about depression  and maintain our mental health practitioners to practice in the country. Unfortunately, our doctors and nurses are leaving the country in droves, but among doctors leaving, psychiatrists are very attractive outside the country.

Meanwhile we never had enough; we have less than 300 practicing psychiatrists for our population in Nigeria and many of them are leaving every year.

We also have to insist that things like suicide attempts should be de-criminalised. Suicide should not be a crime because people who attempt suicide and don’t succeed will not come for treatment because of fear of being arrested.

One of the biggest risks that somebody will die by suicide is if the fellow had previously attempted it. So, anybody who had previously attempted suicide needs to be treated, but they can’t come forward because it is a crime in Nigeria, which attracts one year imprisonment.

WHO has been pushing for countries around the world to de-criminalise suicide; there are not many of us left.  Criminilisation of suicide is negatively affecting suicide prevention.

What’s the way forward?

The way forward is to try and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Once we are able to do that, more people will come forward to seek help. That is why I am happy that more people are calling the HELPLINES of LUTH’s Suicide Research & Prevention Initiative (SURPIN): 0908-021-7555; 0903-440-0009; 0811-190-9909; and 0701-381-1143, seeking clarifications on issues of depression.

That is one way forward. The hotline is providing them an avenue to anonymously call and come to seek help, but because of the stigma, most people will not come forward.

The more we create awareness it will go a long way to help. The more we discuss it, the more people will understand that it is not a crime to suffer depression.

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Advocates seek increased family planning patronage by young persons

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Advocates seek increased family planning patronage by young persons

How to make young persons, especially adolescents in age bracket 10 to 19 years to increase the use of family planning services, was one of the high points of a recent field visit Apapa Local Government Council.

To this end, the State Coordinator, Life Planning for Adolescents and Youth, Abiodun Ajayi consequently urged service providers in that area to generate the data of young persons that seek reproductive health services in Apapa with a view to improve access to family planning services and their uptake.

These came to light during the field visit to Ijora Flagship Primary Health Centre (PHC) by members of the Media Advocacy Working (Group) in partnership with Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative (PHSAI). Both groups are supported by Pathfinder International Nigeria, a global non-profit organisation that focusses on reproductive health, family planning, HIV/AIDs prevention and care, and maternal health.

Ijora PHC is one of the facilities under Apapa Local Government Council (LGC)

Based on investigation that the number of young persons who seek family planning services from Apapa was very low, Ajayi who is also the assistant secretary of PHSAI said, “There should be a separate record to show how many young persons come for reproductive health services. Some of them are sexually active and they need contraceptives to prevent unintended pregnancies.”

According to data from the National HIV & AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey (NARHS) 2014, the median age for sex debut in Nigeria is 17 years. Available data also shows that there was initiation of sexual intercourse, sometimes at the age of 10. “Most sexually active adolescents do not practice contraception with the resultant effect of high level of unwanted pregnancy and illegal abortion.

Based on this background, Ajayi advocated using family planning champions under Apapa to reach out to many young persons in the area with a view to educate and counsel them on abstinence from sex and the use of contraceptives by sexually active persons to prevent unintended pregnancies and illegal abortion.

According to the Medical Officer of Health in Apapa, Dr. Kehinde Ososanya who was represented by Dr. Folashade Iyanda, there was robust family planning services under Apapa including Ijora community. “The turn up of clients accessing available services was high and family planning commodities are available.”

On the role of the Lagos State Government, he said the Apapa Local Government provided N10,000 imprest with which consumables were bought. Some of the consumables purchased with the imprest include Jik, savlon, cotton, injection needles, among others. Although, the imprest was not provided monthly and available fund was not sufficient to purchase sufficient consumables that would last for a month, the officer in charge of Apapa often stepped in to fill the gap by lending the PHC N10,000 whenever there was a shortage of consumables.

On her part, the Family Planning Manager of Ijora PHC, Mrs Patience Ihejirika said to avert shortage of consumables, a factor that hindered steady access to family planning services, the Apapa Local Government Council needed N50,000 monthly to enable it provide uninterrupted consumables. “At the Ijora PHC alone, providers saw an estimated 300 to 350 clients monthly in the four PHCs under Apapa, suggesting that an estimated N200,000 was needed for consumables in the four PHCs under Apapa LGC.

Furthermore, Ihejirika said challenges arising from complaints by clients that experience side -effects, were promptly addressed for those that turn up at the PHCs.

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LASUTH cardiologist records another medical feat

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LASUTH cardiologist records another medical feat

medical team comprising of an Interventional Cardiologist and other medical doctors recently carried out a lifesaving surgery by using improvised methods in the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja on Friday, September 6, 2019.

According to the Chief Medical Director of the institution, Professor Adetokunbo O. Fabamwo, there is a dire shortage of skilled manpower and equipment in this branch of emergency medicine. However, despite this challenge, doctors at LASUTH saved the life of a patient recently.

In his words, “Pulmonary Embolism is a form of medical emergency happens when a clot is lodged in the pulmonary artery of the individual.  Globally, a medical condition which the fatality rate is quite high, urgent intervention is needed to dislodge and remove the clot, in order to save the life of the patient who would have succumbed to heart attack.”

“In order to carry out this procedure safely, a Catheterisation laboratory (Cath Lab) is required, which costs about 150 million naira, to set up. Even though, LASUTH does not, as of now, have a cath lab but we are excited that our interventional cardiologist and other doctors recorded another feat in this area of medicine using improvised methods. This was indeed the second time this team would successfully carry out this kind of high profile procedure in LASUTH.”

Professor Fabamwo is optimistic that there are lots of medical possibilities in LASUTH if more facilities were made available to the team of medical experts across all branches of medicine in the institution.  He urged more philanthropic organisations to partner with the hospital in order to make such medical facilities available to Lagosians.

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Health

10,000 get free medical services

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10,000 get free medical services

In an effort to alleviate the health challenges of villagers including farmers and Fulani herdsmen who couldn’t afford medical bills, the Chairman of Qua’an-Pan Local Government Council of Plateau state, Hon Isaac Kwallu, has offered a one week free Medical Services to over 10,000 rural beneficiaries.

The free medical services also provided an opportunity for the team of medical expert to carry out successful surgeries to 500 persons which include children, women and the old from the various villages of the Local Government Council as well as neighbouring LGAs.

New Telegraph gathered that the free comprehensive medical and surgical services which started on the 2nd to 7th of  September 2019 held at the Cottage Hospital Kwalla was as result of the divine mandate of the Administration of Qua’an-Pan Local Government Council in collaboration with Eden-compassion and Health Mission International (ECHM).

The Council Chairman Hon. Kwallu while Addressing beneficiaries at the end of the free Medical service said his desire to help humanity and touch the lives of the villagers, the down trodden mases medically at the grassroots which necessitated his action to organise the free medical and surgical services including free eye surgery,  eye glasses,  eye consultations and treatment,  screening of hepatitis B&C, hypertension, diabetic Mellitus, Malaria test,  hepatitis B vaccines amongst others.

“Our people have a lot of medical and surgical problems including eyes cases, which is a major problem in our communities and I took up the challenge to help rescue and reduce the disease burden through the medical services as the Council Chairman and my dream is always to give back to the society whenever I have the opportunity.

The Council Chairman also disclose that one of the public health problems affecting the farmers is the issue of snake bites which has sent many villagers to their early graves, saying he would establish a snake bite treatment centre, which would be first of it kind to take care of neighbouring Local government areas.

Team Leader of the Medical expert who carried out the free medical services and surgeries Dr. Longbap Dinfa said the major surgeries conducted to includes, uterine fibroid, appendix, hernias, hydrocele and herniorhaphy. Others are lipomas, goitre and eye surgeries.

He also mentioned that other services include eye glasses distribution,  medical consultations and treatment,  laboratory investigations amongst others.

The Medical expert commended the LGA boss for the demonstration of outstanding qualities of a leader to alleviate the health challenges of the villagers.

On his part the Paramount Traditional Ruler of the Local Government and the Long Pan, His Royal Highness NDA Emmanuel Dabang appreciated the Council Chairman with his entire cabinet for the free medical services carried in eight District of the Local Government.

“You have really exhibited not just the role of Council Chairman, but that of a true leader who is desirous of nursing his own people by putting smiles on their faces through this elaborate health services”.

Patience Nobad is 27 years, a beneficiary of the free Medical surgery while speaking to New Telegraph at the Cottage Hospital Kwalla describes the Council Chairman as saviour to her, “God has actually save my life through this chairman,  he is actually a God sent to us in Qua’an-Pan because i have been having pains as result of appendix and my parents cannot afford to take me to hospital for operation, but thank God today iam free, May God bless Hon. Kwallu”.

Another beneficiary Austin Joseph told New Telegraph that the Council Chairman has demonstrated love for humanity,  “I was operated as result of Appendix and now and feeling happy, we are poor,  but we thank the Chairman for assisting us”.

Also another beneficiary, Pricila  Dapan commended the LGA boss  for saving her the cost of paying for treatment at hospital. “This is more than the medical outreaches people have been doing here. They check my blood pressure, took my blood, gave me drugs and food. “If I had gone to hospital, I will spend  so much money but  I got everything for free,”.

A fulani herdman and a  beneficiary Adullahi Ahmed said he was tested and diagnosed  of malaria and typhoid and was given drugs, he commended the LGA chairman and the APC government for the gesture.

Meanwhile the Former Commissioner for Women Affairs in Plateau State who hails from the Locality  Hon. Rufina Gurumyen commended the initiative by  Hon. Isaac Kwallu said is unprecedented and will go a long way in alleviating the long suffering health conditions of the rural dwellers

She said Medical intervention will brings succour to the people of Qua’an-Pan to enable them give their best to the development of themselves, community and Plateau state at large.

However the Council leadership has practically demonstrated as the saying goes “Health is wealth” by touching the lives of the poor, young and old, male and female,  the able and disabled, the depressed,  the afflicted,  the blind, the crippled and all the inhabitants  of  villages to have access to free medical and surgical services including various treatment.

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