The World Health Organisation (WHO), says “Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT)” initiative has helped to protect 94.9 per cent infants exposed to HIV by their mothers in Nigeria.
The organisation said this in a statement signed by the WHO Nigeria Officer-in-Charge (OiC), Dr Clement Peter, in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that the initiative was established by the organisation, donors and partners.
Peter said the body achieved this by providing technical support, evidence-based guidance and recommendations to the Federal Government to help eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis in the country.
He said that the organisation had also through the initiative, built the capacity of government to offer quality HIV service delivery.
The WHO Officer-in-Charge, said that the PMTCT initiative was established to help address growing HIV statistics of infants in the country.
He said that the figure obtained from the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) indicated that Nigeria had more HIV-infected babies than any country in the world.
“In 2016, Nigeria accounted for 37,000 of the world’s 160,000 new cases of babies born with HIV.
“However, since 2017, an estimated 94.9 per cent of infants exposed to HIV by their mothers have been saved from infection through the implementation of the PMTCT intervention under the National AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infection Control Programme (NASCP).
“Across the 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory, there are currently a total of 6,301 PMTCT sites.
“WHO Nigeria in March donated a vehicle and refurbished NASCP offices towards strengthening the re-established National Treatment and PMTCT which was launched in Feb. 2018.
“First introduced in 2001 in Nigeria, the overall goal of the PMTCT is to contribute to the reduction of HIV and AIDS incidences.
“The PMTCT aims at ensuring at least 95 per cent of all HIV positive pregnant women and HIV exposed infants have access to effective antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis by 2021,” Peter said.
He said PMTCT also aimed at ensuring at least 80 per cent of HIV positive pregnant women had access to quality infant feeding counselling and 95 per cent HIV exposed infants had access to Early Infant Diagnosis (EID).
Peter promised that the organisation would continue to support the Nigerian government to end the spread of HIV and promote person-centred HIV service delivery as a way to improve service efficiency and impact.
The statement quoted the NACA Director General, Dr Sani Aliyu as saying “Through the PMTCT intervention, prevention of HIV from mother to child has definitely increased.
“However, we still have a large chunk of women who do not go to primary health care facilities to deliver”.
Aliyu said that poverty played a major role in this stating that the only way to address the problem was to engage traditional birth attendants.
The NACA director general said that there was also the need to train them in HIV testing, provide them with self-test kits and give them incentives to bring HIV positive women to primary healthcare centres for proper attention.
Doctors advise against checking health symptoms online
Dr Oluwaseun Ayotola, a General Practitioner at Ajayi Medical Centre, Lagos has advised patients against checking their health symptoms online to avoid anxiety and misdiagnosis.
Ayotola gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Sunday in Lagos.
He said that doctors used to assess and ask patients several questions based on patients reported symptoms, review them holistically before arriving at a diagnosis.
“It has been discovered that most people once they feel sick, the next thing they do is to check on Google the symptoms.
“Most times, they are confronted with misinformation, unqualified opinions and alarmist advice that will induce fear and might even complicate the situation.
“We have seen cases of patients who had ‘headache’ and believed they had developed ‘brain tumor’ because they checked online.
“Just because you share a symptom with a disease does not mean you have the disease, there might be a simple and non-life threatening explanation for your aches,” he said.
He advised people to resist the compulsion of self-diagnosis, but that they should always consult qualified health practitioners and live a healthy life.
Also, Dr David Agboola of St. Raphael’s Hospital in Ikorodu, Lagos State, warned that health information are sensitive, thus they should be handled with care.
“Every time you visit a web page seeking information about a health condition, there is a chance that such data is being collected by a third party.
“Before you know it, you begin to receive tailored adverts and emails proffering treatments and solution to the ailments.
“Using medications that are not prescribed by a doctor can worsen symptoms and lead to complications,” he said.
NYSC DG preaches religious harmony, worships with Christian corps members
The Director General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.- Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, has urged corps members to protect the unity of the country and avoid actions that may jeopardize her corporate existence.
A statement by Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, Director of Press and Public Relations, Ibrahim, quoted the DG as giving the charge while worshipping with National Association of Christian Corps Members during his visit to Borno State Corps Members camping in Katsina.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Borno corps members are having their Orientation at Government Science Secondary School, Batagarawa, Katsina as a result of insecurity in Borno.
The Director General urged them to avoid hate speech, rumour peddling and be cautious while using the social media in order not to cause public disaffection.
He warned them against indulging in social vices that may endanger them and also hurt them in future.
The DG told the corps members that they were no longer allowed to drive vehicles belonging to religious groups.
He advised them to always engage the services of professional drivers, saying that the NYSC cannot afford to lose any corps member to road accidents.
The director-general added that henceforth, all vehicles belonging to religious groups in NYSC must be parked at the State Secretariat under the control of the State Coordinator who will release them on request to safeguard Corps Members from road accidents.
While addressing the corps members deployed to Katsina State in their Orientation Camp, Ibrahim appealed to them to accept their postings in good faith and refrain from lobbying.
He warned that both givers and receivers of bribe were liable to prosecution while advising them to do their best and allow God to crown their efforts.
Edited by Felix Ajide
NGO to make FCT model for breastfeeding
March Health Care Initiative (MHI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, says it plans to make the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) a model for breastfeeding aimed at ending maternal and new born mortality.
Mrs Olubunmi Aiyedun, President, Maternal Adolescent and Reproductive Child Healthcare Initiative (MARCH Healthcare Initiative) said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , on Sunday, in Abuja.
According to her, maternal and new born health has become paramount which has led counties globally to adopt nutrition as one of the solutions in ending maternal and new born child health mortality.
Aiyedun explained that the organisation has commenced a project called STRAPMAN project, an intervention which stands for sustaining, teaching, advocacy, research for breastfeeding practices and maternal nutrition.
“This is the first intervention we are embarking on since its inception about two years, with an intention to make FCT a model for breast feeding that would spur other states to emulate.
“We know that when nutrition is gotten right especially among new born and under five then basically more than 50 per cent of disease burden would be taken away.
“Because if a child has malaria or pneumonia the respond of a child that is well and adequately nourished will differ from the responds of a child that is malnourished,’’ she explained.
Aiyedun said as an organisation which is health focused, they have realised that there are gaps between the health clinician, health institutions, the communities and available policies.
She noted that the FCT has all the key stakeholders in health sector, which cuts across the six area councils, ranging from primary health care, secondary health facilities then to tertiary health facilities.
Aiyedun said that there are also colleges of nursing and midwifery which produces more than 100 nurses, midwives and healthcare professionals are situated in the FCT area councils.
She further added that the FCT, where law makers, ministers, senators are all based was yet to promote optimally early initiation of brestfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding for children.
“Currently in the FCT early initiation of breastfeeding stands at 29 per cent and exclusive breastfeeding stands at 52 per cent.
“However the FCT government is looking at extending it to 100 per cent in the next two years with zero water campaign.
“In collaboration to that, the STRAPMAN project would help strengthen health facilities by building capacity of healthcare professionals, and students of health institutions,’’ she said.
Aiyedun said the project was also aimed at ensuring health facilities promote, support and protect the nutritional value of the mothers and children as well developing the right attitude and interpersonal communication.
She said the capacity building would equip health professionals and the students with the knowledge and skills to support early initiation of breast feeding within the first 30 minutes to one hour after delivery.
Others include exclusive breastfeeding for six months and complimentary breast feeding for at least two years, also to ensure crèches are available in all government and private organisations.
Also ensuring job aids such as maniques, mama breast, are available for demonstration during training as well as counselling rooms and breast examination done during anti natal clinics.
Aiyedun however stated that if these gaps are bridged, FCT would be a model for breastfeeding in the country and would go a long way in promoting nutrition for under five.
Edited By Ekemini Ladejobi
Yellow fever: Enugu govt to sensitise public health workers to observe precaution
The Enugu State Government has concluded plans to sensitise its public health workers to the need to observe universal precautions against yellow fever to check the spread.
Dr Okechukwu Ossai, the Administrator, Enugu State Hospital Management Board, stated this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Enugu on Saturday.
Ossai said that Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.
He said it could result in sudden bleeding from the nose, mouth, ear and stomach.
He stated that while most infections could be resolved some could lead to death.
According to him, in mild cases yellow fever causes a fever, headache, nausea and vomiting.
He, however, added that it could become more serious, causing heart, liver and kidney problems along with bleeding.
““Up to 50 per cent of people with the more-severe form of yellow fever die of the disease,” he noted.
As a preventive measure, Ossai said in addition to getting the vaccine, one could help protect oneself against yellow fever by protecting oneself against mosquitoes.
He said to reduce exposure to mosquitoes one must avoid unnecessary outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active.
“Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you go into mosquito-infested areas and also if your accommodation doesn’t have good window screens or secured ventilation, use bed nets.
“”Not just ordinary nets but mosquito nets that have been pre-treated with insecticide offer additional protection.”
He said the transmission of the disease was usually sustained through blood contacts and health workers were always at risk being usually the first contact by those infected.
“Yellow fever is sustained through blood contacts an those who are at risk of being infected are the health workers.
“This is because on daily basis, they have one thing or the other to do with blood,” he said.
He added that it was imperative that the state government should do its best in protecting its health workers through sensitisation programmes.
Gov. Ikpeazu inaugurates hospital, electricity project in Ibere community
Speaking at the event, Ikpeazu said that the improvement of healthcare access and power supply in rural communities was essential to achieving even development in the state.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Ude Oko-Chukwu, added that the health facility and electricity project would improve the state government’s developmental efforts.
He charged the leaders of the community to evolve strategies that would be utilised in protecting the projects against vandalism.
Ikpeazu directed the state ministry of health and the state Primary Health Development Agency to expedite action in ensuring that medical personnel and supplies were sent to the hospital.
The governor appealed to political office holders to collaborate with relevant agencies to facilitate dividends of democracy to their constituencies.
In his address, Onuigbo said that the projects would, no doubt, improve the welfare of the people of the community.
Although the lawmaker said that the hospital was built in 1984, he, however, added that it had degenerated to a state of gross dilapidation owing to long years of neglect.
Onuigbo said that in the past, people of the community used to travel to neighbouring community to access healthcare services.
He expressed delight with the efforts made in rehabilitating the hospital, adding that it would address the healthcare delivery gap in the community.
Earlier, Chief Sam Eke, National President, Obuohia Development Union, said that he was delighted with the inauguration of the projects which, he said, would improve the wellbeing of the people.
Eke appealed to the state government to expedite action in providing relevant resources for the optimal operation of the hospital.
He assured that the community would do everything possible to protect the projects from vandalism and make maximum use of them.
Edited by Olabisi Akinbode and ‘Wale Sadeeq