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End Fistula Day: Expert advocates free treatment for victims

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Dr Nathaniel Adewole, a Consultant Gynaecologist, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, has called for more involvement of individuals and corporate bodies to make the repairs of fistula free and easily accessible.

Adewole made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja in commemoration of this year’s International Day to end obstetrics Fistula.

The UN set aside the day since 2013. The day is meant to raise awareness of this issue and mobilise support around the globe.

The theme for 2019 is: “Leaving no one behind: Let us commit to ending fistula now!”

According to him, obstetric fistula is a medical condition in which a hole develops in the birth canal as a result of childbirth.

He said it can be between the vagina and rectum, ureter or bladder and it can result in incontinence of urine or faeces.

The expert said its complications may include depression, infertility, social isolation and poverty.

Adewole said other common types are Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) and Rectovaginal Fistula (RVF) or combination of the two.

“The health system must be strengthened with appropriate trained personnel like at least midwives in Primary Healthcare Centres and doctors in health centres with good referral system.

“This would minimise the issue of prolong labour which is the main cause of obstetric fistula.

“There are a quite a number of NGOs already assisting in psychological support and repairs of the fistula,” Adewole said.

He said community advocacy cannot be overemphasised to avoid stigma and rejection, adding that it can help in rehabilitation and reintegration of affected individuals.

“The psychosocial effects of this are enormous. The continuous dribbling leads to smell, rashes, loss of confidence and self esteem.

“The rejection by spouse and the family is more than enough trauma. One of the cardinal approaches is education and empowerment of the girl-child.

“This will reduce the possibility of too early marriage and empowered to seek appropriate medical help when pregnant or in labour,” he said.

He said Nigeria was contributing about 150,000 cases out of 2 million cases of obstetric fistula worldwide, adding that it is time for holistic approach to end the menace.

Adewole said obstetric fistula was the most devastating of all long standing obstetric disabilities with great psychological trauma.

He said men must not be left out, especially in avoiding harmful cultural practices.

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

Health

Accelerated R&D key to eliminating malaria -WHO

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The WHO said accelerated Research and Development (R&D) in new tools for malaria prevention and treatment is key if the world is to eradicate the disease in the foreseeable future.

According to information in WHO’s official website, today, less than one per cent of funding for health R&D investment goes to developing tools to tackle malaria.

WHO also soareheads the urgent need for progress to advance universal health coverage and improve access to services, and better surveillance to guide a more targeted malaria response.

It said that the findings emerged in a report from WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication (SAGme).

According to Dr Marcel Tanner, Chairperson of the SAGme, efforts should be geared toward effective strategies to effectively tackle the malaria scourge.

“To achieve a malaria-free world we must reinvigorate the drive to find the transformative strategies and tools that can be tailored to the local situation.

“Business as usual is not only slowing progress, but it is sending us backwards,” he said.

He added that the group had published the executive summary of its report ahead of a WHO-hosted forum on “Rising to the Challenge of Malaria Eradication” to be held in Geneva on 9 September 2019.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said that a malaria-free world would be a great feat for public health.

“Freeing the world of malaria would be one of the greatest achievements in public health, and with new tools and approaches we can make this vision a reality,” he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that SAGme is composed of 13 leaders and scientists representing a range of disciplines and geographies.

They are supported by representatives from WHO collaborating centres, WHO staff and other key stakeholders.

Over the past three years, the SAGme has considered the biological, technical, financial, socio-economic, political and environmental factors that underpin malaria.

Its final executive summary presents a set of findings and recommendations to WHO.

KAE/SH

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Doctors advise against checking health symptoms online

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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.

 

 

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NYSC DG preaches religious harmony, worships with Christian corps members

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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.

KAE/AFA

Edited by Felix Ajide

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NGO to make FCT model for breastfeeding

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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.

TIM/EAL

Edited By Ekemini Ladejobi

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Yellow fever: Enugu govt to sensitise public health workers to observe precaution

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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. 

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