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Poor funding limiting access to family planning

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Poor funding limiting access to family planning

 

A major barrier to accessing family planning commodities in the country is the out-of-pocket cost of consumables, especially at the local government supported primary healthcare centres (PHCs). But increasing budget lines for family planning as well their timely release would make needed services more accessible. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports

 

Living in Nigeria with a growing population estimated at 198 million by the National Population Commission (NpopC), it is common to hear about advocacy groups promoting the use of family planning to curb the exponential population.
Such advocacies are usually hinged on curbing population growth, which experts said was growing beyond available resources; it is also geared to highlight numerous health benefits that are associated with adopting and using family planning.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines family planning as something that “allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods.”
For instance, pregnancies that are too early, too close, too late or too many carry extra hazards not only for the health of the woman but also for the child. Based on these benefits and more, advocates of family planning raise the current level of awareness in this regard, while speaking positively for the adoption and use of family planning.
The highlighted points above are some of the issues discussed at the World Contraceptive Day 2019 Media Dialogue on Family Planning in Lagos State, which was organised by Pathfinder International Nigeria.
The World Contraception Day is a worldwide campaign observed annually on September 26, with the aim to improve awareness of contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health (SRH).
The media forum sought amongst other issues, to unpack the significance of contraception, drive conversation with key cross-sectoral stakeholders in the Adolesecent and Youth Sexual Reproductive Health (AYSRH) space with a view to securing more efficient funding for AYSRH in Lagos State.
Among family planning experts at the media dialogue were Senior Reproductive Health Officer at the Ministry of Health in Lagos State, Mrs Idowu Okanlawon; Rasheedat Umar who is the Youth Development Officer at the Ministry of Youth and Social Development in Lagos State; the Assistant Reproductive Health Programme Officer at the Primary Health Care Board (PHCB) in Lagos State, Dr. Abimbola Folami; Chairman of Public Health Sustainable Initiative Advocacy (PHSAI), Barr. Ayo Adebusoye; Abiodun Ajayi, coordinator of LPAY in Lagos, among others. The programme similarly had in attendance other key members of PHSAI and members of the Media Advocacy Working Group (MAWG) in Lagos State.
Part of the big issue raised on that day was that if used effectively, family planning could save lives.
For instance, with a maternal mortality ratio at 546 deaths per 100,000 live births (amounting to 40,000 pregnancy-related deaths annually), Nigeria accounts for 14 per cent of the global burden of maternal deaths, 95 per cent of which are caused by seven preventable conditions, including unsafe abortion.
Each year, it is estimated that between 610,000 and 1.2 million abortions are procured by women aged 15 to 44 years. Experts said that if all females who need family planning had access to the commodities, 44 per cent of all maternal deaths in Nigeria could be averted.
However, what plays out in the country is that about 85 per cent of women and 95 per cent of men report that they know contraceptive method, but just 15 per cent were using it.
The unmet need of women willing to stop or delay births but not using contraception is 18 per cent, according to the 2018 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS).
In his presentation, Adebusoye said going by the Lagos State contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) target to increase its family planning uptake from 48 to 74 per cent by 2018, the target of which has now been revised after the 2017 London Summit be effective by 2020, the increase in CPR alone would have saved an additional 657 mothers and the lives of 8,500 children by 2018.
Similarly, Lagos State would have saved an additional N3.5 billion (approximately $10 million) in direct healthcare expenses by 2018.
However, Adebusoye said these achievable targets will not be possible without eliminating current barriers to family planning methods, choice and use, adding that a major hinderance to accessing family planning commodities is the out-of-pocket cost of consumables, especially at the local government supported primary healthcare centres (PHCs).
While family planning commodities including injectables, implants, intra uterine devices (IUD), condoms, among others, are provided free by the Federal Government with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the shortage and sometimes the non-availability of consumables such as cotton wool, gloves, syringes, spirit, plaster, gels, creams, among others, used to administer the commodities on clients, could limit access to family planning uptake.
Demand from most clients of low-income families, as little as N500 usually ended in ‘no-deal’ for most poor clients seeking to use family planning.
These category of women don’t have money for consumables, no matter how little. When such women depart a family planning clinic with the promise to return on a future date because of lack of money for consumables, often they do not go back there.
According to a family planning expert, Dr. Salami Habeeb, when next they are seen at the health facility, they are already pregnant. Habeeb is a consultant obstetrics and gynaecologist and consultant with the Pathfinder International Nigeria.
Poor budgeting and sometimes, delay or lack of budget release have been largely blamed for shortage of consumables. For instance, available records show that the family planning budget at the Lagos State Ministry of Health in 2018 was N103 million. Also, the budget for family planning consumables at PHCB in 2018 was N50 million, but none of the above budgets were released that year.
To prevent delays in release of budgeted funds as well as ensure the provision of improved family planning budget, Adebusoye said PHSAI members have engaged sole administrators of local government council areas in Lagos, heads of local council development authorities, medical officers of health (MOH), and chairmen of community development committees.
Based on findings that many local government council area chairmen lack the understanding of how accessing family planning could be successful, Okanlawon said more frequent advocacy visits to the chairmen of local governments should take place to educate them on the importance of providing funds for family planning consumables.
“If we really want to achieve our objective of getting increased funding for consumables, we should pay more courtesy visits and conduct more awareness campaign to the chairmen,” she said.
On her part, Umar explained that the Ministry of Youth and Social Development in Lagos State where she is a desk officer, has a budget line for HIV/AIDS, but the UNFPA funds most of the ministry’s activities around sexual reproductive health (SRH).
She said: “For my ministry, we have a budget line for HIV/AIDS, but sometimes, we try to inject SRH into it. Hence, we are still trying to find a way of merging both.”
Umar said UNFPA was supporting the ministry by giving providing condoms, adding, “We don’t go beyond giving condoms because we are youth officers.”
Asked what was done when young persons need more than condoms, Umar said they were usually referred to health facilities.
On unfriendly officers, she said: “We are improving on that while ensuring that most officials on that beat were young persons who the youth clients could trust. “This could help to achieve a youth-friendly atmosphere,” she added.
Based on the high risk sexual behaviour among young people, which is responsible for the increased teenage pregnancy, out of school girls, baby dumping, post abortion complication and death in Lagos State, Ajayi called for increased discussion around adolescents and youth SRH/family planning.
In addition, he called for sustained increase in the budgetary allocation for Adolescent Youth and Sexual Reproductive Health (AYSRH) in the 2020 Budget in Lagos. If the highlighted recommendations could be carried out effectively in Lagos and other states, experts and other stakeholders agreed that these could increase uptake of family planning in the country.
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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jordon Charbonneau

    November 13, 2019 at 12:08 am

    very cool

  2. Pingback: Poor funding limiting access to family planning - New Telegraph Newspaper - Nigeria Cancer Blog

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Health

Don: Nigeria needs N420bn to eradicate malaria by 2030

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Don: Nigeria needs N420bn to eradicate malaria by 2030

Proposes tax to fight scourge

A Professor of Medical Parasitology, Abimbola Amoo, has said Nigeria will require the sum of N420billion to eradicate malaria through total fumigation of the country against mosquitoes on or before the year 2030.

To this end, Amoo, who is a senior lecturer at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, called for the introduction of Mosquito Responsibility Tax to raise the needed funds.

Speaking while delivering the 92nd inaugural lecture of the university in Ago-Iwoye, the don said the proposed tax of one dollar monthly should be imposed on every adult Nigerian.

The lecture was titled: ‘Parasites of animals and man: A dance in the forest of death.”

Amoo explained that the money will be used in surveillance, biological and chemical control of mosquitoes as well as for inter-agency cooperation and research on mosquitoes.

According to him, the scourge of malaria caused by parasite from the female anopheles mosquito is a huge health burden in Nigeria.

He stated that malaria has often been responsible for the increasing hospital visits, hospital admission, anaemia during pregnancy, school absenteeism among children and even deaths.

The professor noted that the treatment of people with malaria and use of insecticide treated mosquito nets have proved inadequate and ineffective in eradicating malaria, hence the need to attack the vector (causative organism) by destruction of mosquitoes.

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Zimbabwe fires 211 striking doctors as economy worsens

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Zimbabwe fires 211 striking doctors as economy worsens

Zimbabwe on Friday fired more than 200 public sector doctors who have been on strike for more than two months demanding better pay to protect them from soaring inflation.

The doctors were dismissed after disciplinary hearings held in their absence, as President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government takes a hard line against a restive labor force, reports Reuters.

Other public workers say they cannot go to work because they have no money. Police on Wednesday blocked a handful of public sector workers from marching to government offices with a petition demanding better pay.

Junior and middle level doctors from state hospitals have been on strike since September 3. They want their pay indexed to the U.S. dollar to stop their earnings being eroded by triple-digit inflation.

The doctors defied a court ruling last month that their action was illegal and they should return to work. Patients are being turned away from hospitals because there are no doctors to treat them.

The Health Service Board said in a statement it had conducted hearings for 213 doctors and 211 were found guilty of being absent from work without proper cause. Only two doctors attended the hearings.

The board plans to call in 516 of the government’s 1,601 doctors for disciplinary hearings.

Tawanda Zvakada, spokesman for Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, said he could not immediately comment.

The association has previously accused the government of intimidation.

The government said last month it had doubled doctors’ salaries. They said that was inadequate, as it would only increase their monthly salary to about 2,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($130).

Zimbabweans are bearing the brunt of the worst economic crisis in a decade, with shortages of foreign currency, fuel, power and medicines.

The crisis has been worsened by a drought that has left more than half of the population in need of food aid and forced the government to scramble for scarce dollars to import grain.

Mnangagwa has asked for patience while his government tries to fix the economy. But hope has dimmed that he can end years of economic troubles that were a hallmark of the rule of the late Robert Mugabe, who was ousted in an army coup two years ago.

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Family of cockroaches found living inside man’s ear

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Family of cockroaches found living inside man’s ear

This man’s medical emergency will have have you reaching for a Q-tip.

Doctors in China were shocked to discover that a man’s earache was caused by around a dozen cockroaches that had hatched in his hearing canal.

The 24-year-old man — identified only as Mr. Lv — was admitted in October to Sanhe Hospital in the Guangdong Province, where he complained of a “sharp pain” in his right ear, reports New York Post.

“He said his ear hurt a lot, like something was scratching or crawling inside,” Dr. Zhong Yijin, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the clinic, told AsiaWire. “It caused a lot of discomfort.”

Lv also told the docs his family had previously shone a light in his ear to reveal what looked like a large bug inside. The doctor soon confirmed the man’s suspicions after discovering a freshly born brood of German cockroaches — and their mother — in his auditory canal.

“I discovered more than 10 cockroach babies inside,” Dr. Yijiin said. “They were already running around.”

Sanhe Hospital’s deputy head of ENT, Dr. Jiang Tengxiang, told local media outlets Lv had a habit of leaving snacks near his bed while he slept, which likely prompted the insect interlopers to use his ear as an impromptu incubation chamber.

Doctors were able to extract both the babies and their mama — one by one — from Lv’s ear using tweezers.

BTW: This guy got off easy. Experts say the German (blattella germanica) cockroach’s egg case typically contains 30 to 40 eggs.

Lv only sustained minor injuries to his ear, and was discharged the same day with a prescription for antibiotic ointment, according to a statement released by the hospital.

Dr. Tengxiang also provided helpful — i.e. obvious — tips for preventing cockroaches from living rent-free in your head.

“Practice good hygiene, disinfect drains and sewers and use mosquito nets and screens on windows,” he said. “That’ll stop insects from flying or crawling into your noses and ears.”

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‘Herbal drugs don’t work for fibroids’

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‘Herbal drugs don’t work for fibroids’
  • BOF to offer free 5,000 surgeries for indigent patients

 

 

 

In order to end the pain and discomfort of women suffering fibroids, a Family Physician, Dr. Banjamin Olowojebutu has affirmed that herbal drugs could not address fibroids. Olowojebutu who is executive director/founder of Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation (BOF), said surgical removal of fibroids through qualified medical doctors was the way to effectively tackle the challenges of fibroid growths.

 

He made these clarifications during the First Anniversary Dinner of the BOF, which held recently at the Sheraton Hotel Ikeja Lagos, where he announced that the organisation would provide 5,000 free surgeries for indigent patients in 2020, to be accessed in Nigeria and Africa specifically in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

 

The target of BOF in 2019 was to do 1,000 surgeries, but the organisation has so far provided free 1,800 surgeries, facilitated by charitable individuals and with support from the Lagos State Government under the administration of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Olowojebutu, the medical director of Twinex Hospital Ikorodu, established BOF to help indigent people suffering from various diseases such as fibroids, lipomas, breast lumps, hydrocele, and hernias.

 

The BOF has been involved in conducting free surgical operations for indigent persons as a strategy to meet the needs of the poor and less privileged in the society. He said, “One of the reasons we are helping with the free fibroid surgeries is that people still believe these fallacy that they can take some herbal drugs that can shrinks fibroids.” On the contrary, he stressed that drinking herbal concoctions would not shrink fibroids.

 

“The practice is killing people,” he lamented. “When you have symptoms of fibroids, it’s a doctor that you should see; it’s not a herbal doctor that you should see. They are killing you and taking your money from you.”

 

Example is one of the woman we treated who for nine years was taking the faeces of a cow during, which period the fibroid kept growing bigger and bigger until she came to see us and begged us to help solve the problem.

 

”To God be the glory we helped and did the surgery, thereafter she became pregnant with twins. “Fibroid is not a curse; it is not your fathers father following you. It is a problem that can be solved surgically.

 

“If you don’t have help, come to BOF. We will help you. If you are poor and an indigent, we will help you. It is our calling. It is a problem that can be solved surgically.”

 

He listed signs to look out for to include heavy menstrual flow, which may have increased from three to seven to eight days. “If your menstrual flow is having a heavy clot, see a doctor. If your tummy is getting bigger; if you used to wear size 12 and now you are wearing size 16 to 18, it may be a fibroid mass that is growing in your tummy; see a doctor.”

 

According to him, the major challenge facing the BOF in the execution of its aim and objective was limited funding.

 

The Chairman Amuodo Local Government, Dr. Valantine Oluwasheyi said based on the huge number of indigent patients trooping out to seek free surgeries, the Lagos Government which is currently partnering with BOF would henceforth provide 30 free surgeries every quarter. From the first week of December, another 30 fibroid patients will benefit from the free surgeries, he said.

 

He said the idea of the free fibroid surgery was sold to governor Sanwo-Olu to free those suffering the challenges from the problem.

 

“There are many surgical operations that can be taken by the government but I picked fibroid operation because many homes have been destroyed due to infertility, some of which were caused by fibroids. Olowojebutu

 

 

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Experts advocate healthy lifestyle to prevent stroke

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Experts advocate healthy lifestyle to prevent stroke

In order to reduce the high incidence of stroke among Nigerians, experts have urged Nigerians to avoid western diet and sedentary lifestyle as part of the general measures to prevent stroke.

The Medical Director of the General Hospital, Ifako Ijaiye, Lagos, Dr. Olusola Amure who observed that four in 10 Nigerians have a risk for stroke, has also urged Nigerians to turn to traditional Nigerian diet.

Amure who spoke shortly after a sensitisation walk, cautioned Nigerians to take cognisance of their health in order not to fall victim of stroke. “Stroke is already becoming a public health issue and we believe prevention is better than cure.

The event was jointly organised by the General Hospital Ifako Ijaye Department of Community Health in collaboration with Ifako Ijaiye Local Government, the Medical Women, Dara Foundation, amongst other partners.

He said, “In neurological disorders; that is the diseases that have to do with the brain, stroke is responsible for 6.5 to 41 per cent of neurological admission in hospitals.”

Speaking in Lagos during the walk to commemorate the 2019 World Stroke Day in Lagos, and to highlight stroke prevention tips to the community, Amure said: “In Nigeria today, our diet and culture is now fashioned towards Westernised culture.

He however advocated a change to healthier diet culture so as to avert the western diet leading to unnecessary deaths. 

Amure therefore called for healthy diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables, engaging in exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week and reduction of the intake of sugar and salt.

Also speaking, the Head of Department Community Health, General Hospital Ifako Ijaiye, Dr. Ime Okon said prominent amongst risk factors for stroke was high blood pressure.

Others include sedentary lifestyle, obesity (BMI above 25, smoking and excessive alcohol).

To prevent stroke, Okon urged people to watch out for warning signs such as face shifting, blurring vision, inability to lift the hands for a long time, speech difficulty, amongst others. Okon who is also the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Chief Protocol Officer, said to prevent stroke, people ought to check their blood pressure regularly.

“To prevent the risk factors because hypertension is a silent killer, she urged people to watch what they eat, go green, avoid processed food, involve themselves in exercise, reduce alcohol intake and quit smoking.”

Dr. Dumebi Owa, vice president of MWAN, Lagos State Branch and current Special Ambassador of MWAN, said everyone is at risk of stroke if one does not do the needful. However, she listed factors that expose people to  stroke as age, being hypertensive, smoking, diabetes, among others.

Owa who also represented Dara Foundation at the event lamented that most Nigerians walk about dangerous because their blood pressure was very high until we tell them. “That is why you will see somebody today and tomorrow he’s gone. That is why we plead with Nigerians to check their blood pressure to keep healthy.”

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A brewing storm at Yaba Neuropsychiatric Hospital

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A brewing storm at Yaba Neuropsychiatric Hospital

For some time now, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos State, Dr. Oluwayemi Cecelia Ogun, has been in the eye of the storm based on allegations from some of her traducers.  The allegations include misappropriation of the hospital funds and a retirement mess. OLUWATOSIN OMONIYI writes on the bickering within the tertiary institution

 

 

Dr. Adeyemi Ogun is alleged to have refused to vacate her office as the CMD despite clocking the mandatory retirement age of 60 years since September 23, 2019.

She was also accused of diverting millions of naira meant for other purposes into her private use.

The allegations in details said that the process of her appointment as a Medical Director of the Neuropsychiatric hospital Yaba in 2017, was twisted to her favour owing to her affinity with the immediate past Minister of Health, Dr Isaac Adewole, who disregarded the rules as advertised,  which prescribed the eligibility criteria of not being above the age of 55 years as at the time of applying for the position of Medical Director.

That is as opposed to the regular standard practice obtainable for the appointment of medical directors across board for other Federal Medical Institutions in Nigeria.

An investigation by New Telegraph showed that some of her colleagues are embittered and have grown louder  in their voices.

They also allowed their curiosity to be aroused more when the CMD clocked 60-years on  September 23. They expected her to leave but she did not. Hence, the allegation that she  has refused to proceed on terminal leave as expected by them.

This, New Telegraph gathered, generated bad blood amongst her colleagues, who were of the view that the intention to elongate her elapsed tenure was despicable. They therefore resolved to making the hospital ungovernable and unconducive for her.

The CMD has not had any peace of mind since allegations have been raised against her; petitions to different agencies have been flying against her. On several occasions, she has been invited by the  Criminal Investigation Division,(CID) Alagbon, and anti-graft agencies, such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), ICPC, among others for questioning and self defence on allegations leveled against her.

A petition was written against her by the Joint Health Sector Union for gross abuse of office and corruption.

In the petition, she was accused by staff members of outsourcing the account department without going through the necessary procedures, which is strongly against the Financial regulation of the establishment.

It was pointed out that in 2018, she singlehandedly bought a vehicle worth N40million with funds meant for another purpose despite having two functional official vehicles.

Also in the petition, she was accused of having sacked all hospital contractors and suppliers, awarded contracts to her relatives at exorbitant prices far above the amount previous contractors charged.

The Director of Administration, Mr. Adeyinka Antwi and Head of Account, Mr. Bamidele Adeyemi, were also fingered in the allegations. While  Antwi was accused of taking side with the CMD and neglect of his true oversight functions to the hospital, Adeyemi was accused of owning a private company where he directs contracts to himself.

He was also accused of colluding with the CMD in misappropriating funds and directing contracts to themselves.

If the allegations were to be true, it is an act that is in defiance to the Public Service Rules (PSR) 0202810 of Chapter two (2) in relations to retirement, which states, “The Compulsory retirement age for all grades in the service shall be 60 years or 35 years of Pensionable service whichever is earlier, and no officer shall be allowed to remain in service after attaining the retirement age of 60 years.”

However, the Director of Administration, Head of Account and the CMD, debunked all allegations levelled against them.

Antwi rather described the allegations as baseless and mischievous in nature.

“Ordinary, I’m not supposed to speak with you because I’m a public servant. But one thing I can tell is that, the allegations are malicious, borne out of greed, hatred, out of the fact that they have something to cover up. No substance in them. We are entity of government; certainly, the panel of enquiry will be set up where the truth will be revealed,” he said.

Adeyemi explained that it was against civil service rules for any civil servant to own a registered company while in service.

“I don’t have one. I am not a director of any company and the issue of giving contracts to myself would not have arose,” he said.

He explained that since he came on board as acting head of account, there was no hand over note from his predecessor because his predecessor was under EFCC custody.

He rather got direction from the former acting CMD to take charge of the account department. And when he came onboard, he said he set up a unit that never existed for control purposes because prior to that time, one person would initiate a transaction, process it, and pay the transaction.

“This led to restructuring and units were created and people were put in charge of those units to run the units as required,” he said.

He explained that all the processes fall within the 2007 Procurement Acts under which procurement could be made. The CMD is the accounting officer of the hospital, responsible to the government for the affairs of the hospital, while he as the head of account is the sub accounting officer and his responsibility in that regard relates to the financial matters of the hospital but the medical director is the accounting officer of the hospital affairs.

“The government acts has stipulated the limits of what the medical director can approve as per her office and in such situation, she has the authority to approve any amount that has met the requirement,” he said.

Mr. Adeyemi explained that the requirement gives room for competitive bidding that gives opportunity to more than one person to show interest in a work to be done but if it is beyond her limit, there would be need to have the hospital tenders board committee, who has the power to approve up to certain limit- up to the tune of N250 million.

“So far, in this hospital, we have not had any transaction up to N100 million ever. So, you would agree with me that transactions now will fall under the authority of the MD of the Tender board’s committee,” he said.

But if the transaction is above the hospital’s Tender Board Committee, he said that it then goes to the Ministry of Health’s Tender Board Committee, and if the limit is beyond the ministry’s

Tender Board, he added that it goes to the Federal Executive Council, which holds meeting every Wednesday.

That is the highest body of government that can approve any expenditure and so far, it hasn’t got to that stage.

“As I said earlier, we have never gotten a single transaction that is up to a N100million. So, the need to go to the ministry or FEC has not arisen,” he said.

Adeyemi explained further that so far, there has been no contract that has passed through their payment system that has not had more than one organisation or institution bidding for it.

On why they have not had contracts of more than N100 million, Adeyemi, the hospital’s maximum appropriation that they budget for was N37million as at 2017 for the hospital overhead- meaning that, that is the fund to run the hospital throughout the year.

“That is apart from what we generate internally,” he said.

However, he said that the overhead appropriation was increased in 2018 by N5million based on complaints from various CMDs, coming to a total of N42million and their capital proposal was increased to N134million but by the time they got the approved budget, their overhead remained at N42million that was proposed, a ceiling given to them by the ministry while their capital dropped to N94million for six projects.

He said: “Out of the N37million that was appropriated, only N22million was released to the hospital for overhead in 2017. While in 2018, out of the N42million overhead, N23illion was released and this is a hospital with annex. NEPA bill alone consumes N5milliom both here (Yaba) and Oshodi annex. So far, for this year, we have only got five releases for overhead of about N3.5million each.” 

He added that as a matter of fact, most of the figures appropriated are not released.

On the IGR of the hospital, Adeyemi said the hospital generates about 75-80 per cent of its revenue from drugs, which is used to restock drug and there is a committee who oversees to it, to ensure that the hospital does not go out of drugs as government does not fund drugs; while the rest revolves around laboratory services which is equally important for the diagnoses and treatment of patients.

The bone of contention, according to Adeyemi, was when he was appointed. But he suspected that it started when he was invited by EFCC, Abuja to come along with certain documents. Hence, he was forced to log to the system where he discovered some anomalies against his predecessor in the past.

He said he was asked to come along with the name of staff, file numbers and account numbers.

“I discovered transaction being paid into companies accounts but has like tax is being paid but when you probe further, you look at the bank and account number. Note that government TSA policies started September 2015, and we are talking about transaction that occurred 2016 and tax is being paid to commercial banks. So many shenanigans were discovered, hence, I had no option but to take the report along to EFCC and they affirmed that they already had all the reports but want to see if I would shield him. They said they are acting on intelligence that what was being done before, we are continuing it,” he said.

Certainly, the relationship between Adeyemi and his predecessor became soured. As  such, he changed the team working with him because he believed he wouldn’t have their cooperation working with him, thence, there became no love lost between them again.

However, the CMD debunked all the allegations, that they were borne out of hatred and fear of who she is- ‘Margret Thatcher.’ She told New Telegraph that what she is after is the image of the hospital. She said she is going through EFCC. She said she has received all sorts of threats and blackmail calls.  “Some fictious people claiming to be members of EFCC even called me to ask for N2million.

“Some fictitious journalists and people, claiming to be members of ICPC even called me to ask for N2million to kill the case. By the time we found out, the sim card was a fresh sim card and I was the only one the card has ever called,” she said

The CMD said that all the trouble she is facing is borne out of the facts that they never wanted her there-as the CMD.

“The fact is that there was a corrupt system and they never wanted me there because they know my antecedent as no nonsense person. Again, because I’m a woman.”

She said she had no affinity with the former Minister of Health but due process saw her through. She explained that there was an interview conducted in Abuja by the Federal Ministry of Health where she came first and was appointed as the CMD.

On the issue of retirement, she explained that her appointment was a presidential one, which means that it was a tenured appointment, where she is bound to finish that tenure.

“I had retired according to a circular by the Head of Service in 2010 that stated that if you want to take up a tenured appointment, and you know you will be 60 before expiration, you retire. And this I did in 2017 when I took up the appointment. And according to the civil service rule, once you retire, you can finish your tenure but presidential appointment is presidential appointment which even overrides that. But I had gone ahead to retire at the inception of my appointment, so I can finish my tenure,” she said.

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Exercise boosts blood vessels health

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Exercise boosts blood vessels health

Researchers in the United States (US) said that engaging in exercise could result in improved health of blood vessels in the heart, even for those who had experienced heart failure.

These are the findings of a new study published in ‘Journal of Applied Physiology’.

The finding is based on a study looking at swines, which have very similar blood vessels and heart muscles as humans.

Craig Emter, associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, studied three different groups of swine with heart failure: one group was inactive; a second group exercised using intervals with a higher level of intensity for short periods of time intermixed with periods of lower intensity; and the third group exercised with a constant lower level of intensity.

Emter found that regardless of exercise intensity or duration, any level of exercise resulted in improved health of blood vessels in the heart. “People with heart failure cannot do everything that a healthy individual can, so the question becomes how much exercise they can handle and what type of impact will it have on their health,” Emter said.

“We found that regardless of intensity level, some type of physical activity was good for heart health compared to no exercise at all.

Emter explained that stiff blood vessels can block or impair blood flow to the heart and can lead to a variety of cardiovascular issues.

“We now have a better understanding of how blood flows in the heart, the stiffness of blood vessels and the impact that exercise has on heart health,” Emter said.

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Nigeria’s health sector, a work in progress – Ehanire

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Nigeria’s health sector, a work in progress – Ehanire

Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said the nation’s health sector, especially the primary and secondary levels of health care delivery, were still a work in progress.

Ehanire who made this known during the weekend in Abuja, when the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ), paid him a congratulatory visit on his appointment as minister, noted that the numerous challenges bedevilling the health sector was further worsened by the large population and the neglect of the Primary Health Care (PHC) in past years.

He explained that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari  was committed to creating a balance in the health  sector by providing health services to all Nigerians, especially those living in rural and inaccessible areas through the revitalisation of PHC’s in every political ward across the country.

While noting that PHC’s were the responsibility of local governments, Ehanire revealed that the federal government was committed to ensuring that they operate round the clock with constant power and water supply, have adequate human resources, and an electronic mobile health management to improve access and quality of health care delivery at the rural areas.

In his words: “In the past years, a lot of focus went into building large hospitals in the city. Not that it was wrong because even though we have many large hospitals we still need some more, but it was at the cost of small hospitals in rural areas which were largely ignored or neglected.

“Many of them are already there but because they were neglected, they all fell into disrepair and they are being revived and modernised. The standard of a PHC now is that it should have the capacity to operate around the clock both day and night, have power either from grid electricity backed by generator or solar, water supply, human resource for health and digital presence in form of electronic mobile health management there.

“The Nigeria health sector is a work in progress. We know that there are many things there to be done correctly like in the PHC, many of the general hospitals are not functioning very well so we are encouraging the states to revitalise them. In that way, we shall be able to take care of many of the disease types that occur and the ones that kill many children like malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia.”

The minister who charged journalists on accurate reporting, insisted that contrary to the reports in the media recently, he never said the country was going to import doctors to Nigeria as a means to address the growing issue of mass exodus of doctors to foreign countries in search of greener pastures.

“It is important that the news is reported accurately. In the reality of was never said at all. When we were at the committee of the house and they asked what we were going to do about medical tourism, we said we need to improve the confidence of Nigerians in the health sector and by so doing we intend to work with Nigerian specialists abroad to come home whether a week or a month to come and render some service.

“We also want to bring if possible, volunteers and foreign doctors who are specialised. Many of them have retired and are looking for what to do who can also bring their expertise to mentor our specialist doctors in our teaching hospitals, show them the latest cutting edge technique and perhaps even equipment. That was what turned into importation that is a classical poor reporting.”

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Cancer can be treated, cured – Temiye

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Cancer can be treated, cured – Temiye

Cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths in Nigeria every year, with an estimated 102,000 new cases of cancer annually. Late presentation, poor adherence to treatment, out-of-pocket payment for care, denial are some of the factors driving the high death rate of  cancer patients in the country. In this interview, a Haematology Oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof.  Edamisan Temiye called for regular cancer screening, saying early detection and treatment could improve treatment outcome as well as turn the tide in cancer care. APPOLONIA ADEYEMI reports

 

A lot of people don’t know that children have cancer. How is it possible?

It is very possible that children could have cancer even a new born baby. So, cancer could occur from the womb to the tomb; from the youngest to the oldest. Although, cancer is common in adults it also occurs in children.

Challenges of treating cancer

What makes the treatment of cancer to be challenging is the huge cost of treatment and the length of time it could take to manage the ailment.

In some cancer you treat them for up to three years before it can stop; the shortest most time are six to nine months are due to intensive treatment and on expenses, it is very expensive to treat cancer.

In our environment where poverty is prevalent, many family’s  cannot pay or afford to pay for the treatment of cancer. Even those who can afford it, at the end of the treatment they become poor and so we need a lot of support for those families managing the ailment for their relations.

In most development countries , most  families affected by cancer don’t bear the cost of cancer treatment because it is enormous and we need to change that  in Nigeria so that more people can be treated and so that we can get expected result that could be obtained in other parts  of the world.

How do we change our ways? 

One of the things we do is that we waste a lot of money on unnecessary things like throwing parties for our grand-fathers that are dead before we are known. We also waste millions of naira on it; we buy fleets of cars and you could also find some individuals building fifty houses. Then you wonder what they want to do with it when they are not meant for businesses.

In developed countries you see people donating freely to the care of the less privileged; whereas, it is a challenge in Nigeria. In fact, some of our companies that are expected to be doing cooperate social responsibilities (CSR) prefer to sponsor dancing competition than to support those who are in need of treatment. They will say that they won’t be seen. they forget that  cooperate social responsivity is taken care of by that tax collectors but that is not what they want.  They want to be seen, hence, they organised 20 dancing competitions in Lagos that is what they are interested in and it is very sad

Can a person be free from cancer for life?

After treatment, children especially can be free from cancer for life. There are a lot of children treated aboard where they have a lot of record. So, after treatment these children are contributing to the society effectively and to the economy of the society. Therefore, cancer can be treated, cured while the person lives normal life .

So how available is cancer treatment centres in Nigeria?

There are few centres that are treating cancer in Nigeria and those centres are expected to be properly equipped. However, cancer cantres are not still properly equipped; there are few centres that have treated cancer successfully.

Many of the teaching hospitals are engaged in cancer treatment for adults and some for children. For example the  Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) is providing cancer treatment for children while the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) is providing cancer treatment for children. Similarly, the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital is doing the same for children.

Assessment of cancer treatment outcome

Well, we are doing our best to the extent that some of the cancers can be treated in Nigeria. We are also joining others cancer treatment centres in the world to gain more experience in managing cancer. So far, more children that go through treatment in the country are surviving cancer

How can we possibly prevent cancer in children since prevention is better than cure?

Prevention is better than cure. However, cancer is mainly common in children or adult and the best solution is to continue to screen for cancer in both adult and children. For example there are some cancers that you can easily detect early. So, when cancer is detected early, it is easier to cure than when it is discovered late. For example the cancer of the eyes that we called intraocular melanoma in children is highly preventable.

A common symptom of this particular cancer is the observation of a light reflection shining in eyes of affected children within the age range of one year to two-year. When this is observed in any child, parents and caregivers are advised to visit an oncologist, who is the best medical specialist to make a diagnosis at that time and then collaborate with other health care providers.

Cancer cannot be treated by a doctor, but a group of doctors. When someone sees a swelling, the fact that the swelling isn’t painful doesn’t mean it is not dangerous. That person should approach a doctor who will be able to diagnose and state whether this swelling is dangerous or not.

Those swellings that develop suddenly can cause cancer. These swellings usually develop slowly and not painful initially but when it becomes painful the cancers have spread.

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‘Herbal drugs don’t work for fibroids’

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‘Herbal drugs don’t work for fibroids’
  • BOF to offer free 5,000 surgeries for indigent patients

 

In order to end the pain and discomfort of women suffering fibroids, a Family Physician, Dr. Banjamin Olowojebutu has affirmed that herbal drugs could not address fibroids.

Olowojebutu who is executive director/founder of Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation (BOF), said surgical removal of fibroids through qualified medical doctors was the way to effectively tackle the challenges of fibroid growths.

He made these clarifications during the First Anniversary Dinner of the BOF, which held recently at the Sheraton Hotel Ikeja Lagos, where he announced that the organisation would provide 5,000 free surgeries for indigent patients in 2020, to be accessed in Nigeria and Africa specifically in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The target of BOF in 2019 was to do 1,000 surgeries, but the organisation has so far provided free 1,800 surgeries, facilitated by charitable individuals and with support from  the Lagos State Government under the administration of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Olowojebutu, the medical director of Twinex Hospital Ikorodu, established BOF to help indigent people suffering from various diseases such as fibroids, lipomas, breast lumps, hydrocele, and hernias.

The BOF has been involved in conducting free surgical operations for indigent persons as a strategy to meet the needs of the poor and less privileged in the society.

He said, “One of the reasons we are helping with the free fibroid surgeries is that people still believe these fallacy that they can take some herbal drugs that can shrinks fibroids.”

On the contrary, he stressed that drinking herbal concoctions would not shrink fibroids. “The practice is killing people,” he lamented.

“When you have symptoms of fibroids, it’s a doctor that you should see; it’s not a herbal doctor that you should see. They are killing you and taking your money from you.”

Example is one of the woman  we treated who for nine years was taking the faeces of a cow during, which period the fibroid kept growing bigger and bigger until she came to see us and begged us to help solve the problem.

”To God be the glory we helped and did the surgery, thereafter she became pregnant with twins.

“Fibroid is not a curse; it is not your fathers father following you. It is a problem that can be solved surgically.

“If you don’t have help, come to BOF. We will help you. If you are poor and an indigent, we will help you. It is our calling.  It is a problem that can be solved surgically.”

He listed signs to look out for to include heavy menstrual flow, which may have increased from three to seven to eight days.

“If your menstrual flow is having a heavy clot, see a doctor. If your tummy is getting bigger; if you used to wear size 12 and now you are wearing size 16 to 18, it may be a fibroid mass that is growing in your tummy; see a doctor.”

According to him, the major challenge facing the BOF in the execution of its aim and objective was limited funding.

The Chairman Amuodo Local Government, Dr. Valantine Oluwasheyi said based on the huge number of indigent patients trooping out to seek free surgeries, the Lagos Government which is currently partnering with BOF would henceforth provide 30 free surgeries every quarter. From the first week of December, another 30 fibroid patients will benefit from the free surgeries, he said.

He said the idea of the free fibroid surgery was sold to governor Sanwo-Olu to free those suffering the challenges from the problem. “There are many surgical operations that can be taken by the government but I picked fibroid operation because many homes have been destroyed due to infertility, some of which were caused by fibroids.

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