The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described media as the gateway to the community and useful tools in the fight against polio virus.
Dr Fiona Braka, the WHO Immunisation Team Leader, made the assertion at a Town Hall meeting organised for journalists to kick start the second round of the 2019 Polio Vaccination campaign in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the campaign will begin on June 15 and last till June 18.
It aims at administering two drops of polio vaccine to all children who are below five years of age.
The campaign will hold across the 20 local government areas of the state, using a house-to-house approach.
“In recognition of that role you play, you are gateway to the community; you are gateway to the population at large, because you carry a message that people listen to.
“Also, it is important that the message you carry is accurate and it’s convincing that people will bring their children out for this programme.
“We are in the middle of an outbreak, and we must respond to the outbreak; the outbreak response must be of high quality to interrupt the transmission of the virus,’’ she said.
According to her, Nigeria has made remarkable progress in the fight against polio; we are now 32 months without a wild polio virus in Nigeria.
She said that the outbreak which the country was currently facing was a different trend and needed appropriate response.
Braka said that the main goal of the response was to interrupt that virus, which could only be achieved with everyone collectively to bring out children to get two drops of polio vaccine.
She said the virus had been detected in three canals in Lagos-Makoko, Itire and Maracana, adding that so far this year, seven viruses have been isolated in the state.
Braka said the vaccine was meant for all children to take, irrespective of their previous vaccination status.
“The vaccine that we are going to provide is not the routine vaccine that we have given through the healthcare facilities or outreach services.
“We do not want any child to miss this opportunity, because it also has a defined period within which we are going to provide the vaccine.
“WHO recommends all children to get this vaccine; it is safe, it is effective and it is free of charge,’’ Braka said.
In the same vein, Ms Hayon Nam, the Communication for Development Specialist, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said the media was the most influential in disseminating information.
“We know that many mothers and caregivers do not know much about polio and, therefore, do not vaccinate their children.
“So, we want the media to send the correct information, raise the awareness to the people so that they can make informed decision for their children,’’ she said.
Dr Tayo Lawal, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, said the media was very crucial in the campaign to eradicate polio as well as critical to its successes.
“Definitely, your role as agenda setters, gatekeepers and influencers, analysers of the big data and controllers of a large portion of the market place where ideas are preferred and negotiated is undisputed, hence the reason why we are collaborating.
“Let us work out a strategic plan that is robust and effective in communicating the benefits of immunisation to the populace.
“We will be glad if you can oblige us space and time in your various media to propagate this message,’’ he said.
Earlier, Dr Titilayo Goncalves, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, commended the media for always being there to disseminate information essential for knowledge-based action on the part of other stakeholders.
“You have never let us down in the past, I know that we can still depend on you to take this message to every platform,’’ she said.
NAN reports that at the meeting, Rotary International donated 2,000 aprons to Lagos State Government for immunisation workers as a means of identification.
Edited by Olagoke Olatoye
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
Medic urges Nigerians to embrace lifestyle medicine to live long
Dr Ifeoma Monye, a medical practitioner has called on Nigerians to embrace lifestyle medicine as a paradigm shift from tablets, for long and healthy living.
Monye, the founder of Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONG) made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Saturday in Abuja.
She stressed that lifestyle medicine is helpful as preventive and reversal interventions for illnesses and key to long and healthy living.
Lifestyle Medicine, according to the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM), is “the evidence-based therapeutic approach to prevent, treat and reverse lifestyle-related chronic diseases.
“It is a branch of medicine dealing with research, prevention and treatment of disorders caused by lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical inactivity and chronic stress’’.
Giving an example of life style medicine, Monye said “people are encouraged to drink a lot of water because it helps the kidney, liver and sensitive organs in the body to function well.
“Movement and mobile intensity is very necessary in line with World Health Organisation’s recommendations’’.
The medic, who is also the founder of Brookfield Centre for Lifestyle Medicine stressed that life style medicine is preferable to conventional medicine
She asserted the potency of lifestyle medicine to prevent or reverse diseases including diabetes type two, hypertension, mental health issues, cancer and HIV/AIDS.
Monye, therefore urged the people to always apply lifestyle medicine first before conventional medicine in order to always stay healthy.
She also urged medical practitioners and the public to actively participate in lifestyle medicine for an enhanced wellbeing, irrespective of their history.
Monye assured that SOLONG would continue to encourage people to embrace behavioural changes needed for healthy living.
Editing by Vivian Ihechu, Rotimi Ijikanmi
Advocates call for massive awareness campaign on depression
Some mental health advocates have called for massive awareness programmes on depression and suicide to reduce incidents in the country.
According to them, some of the factors contributing to the incidents included social media, poor parenting, environmental factors and relationship problems, among others.
Miss Chinonye Chidolue, said that social media played a huge role in the incidents of suicide, especially among youths.
Chidolue is an actress, writer, child advocate, and the Founder of an NGO, Child Hero Global Care Foundation.
“Social media gives us that picture of a perfect life; so, people will want to be like those they see and want to live perfect lives.
“It is so unfortunate, because social media has no rules or regulations and so you cannot really curtail how people use social media and what direction they follow.
“Many youths, especially the idle ones get carried away and what is being put up as a perfect picture or image out there puts youths under a state of depression; there is that restlessness, “ she said.
The advocate said one way to break free from the distress that people, especially, the youths found themselves in was through awareness programmes.
Chidolue said: “When you know better, you have to do better for yourself and society. We need to keep teaching society that not everything you see out there is real. “
Mr Toluse Francis, who is the Founder, Min and Health Community, an NGO, urged Nigerians to develop positive psychology.
Francis said most times, people who were depressed were not responsible for the onset of the condition but they could control their reaction toward it.
“Create for yourself an edge to stand and say “things may be bad, but it does not mean that it will always remain like that.
“Let us understand that life is a phase and everything that comes to us will always pass away; depression is real and you cannot bring logic into why a person is depressed, “ he said.
Also, a Business and Marketing Consultant, Mr Benedict Osondu, said the country lacked adequate data and information about depression.
Osondu, who works at a research firm, Benth Plus Consulting, said there was need for government to collaborate with private organisations to conduct qualitative and quantitative research on it.
According to him, such research will help to give better information about the incidence and provide better solutions.
“The essence of carrying out research is to give an analogy about what is currently happening.
“Research exposes you to ideologies, problems, and gives better awareness of what is happening in society and the country will be able to make well informed decisions, “ he said.
Ebonyi Govt. mandates residents to vaccinate dogs, cats against rabies
The Ebonyi Government has mandated residents of the state to vaccinate their dogs and cats against the dreaded rabies disease.
The mandate was contained in a release signed by Chief Moses Nome, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, drawing the residents’ attention to the importance of such vaccination.
“All dogs and cats owners who have not vaccinated their pets should do so immediately by visiting the veterinary centres in the state.
“These centres are domiciled at Abakaiki (Ebonyi north senatorial zone), Onueke (Ebonyi central) and Afikpo (Ebonyi south zone)
“This is to prevent the transmission of rabies through these pets to humans and keep the state free from the disease,” it said.
In a related development, the state government has assured residents of effective containing of the yellow fever disease reported in some parts of Izzi Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
The assurance which was contained in a statement signed by Dr Daniel Umezurike, the state Commissioner for Health, urged the residents to be calm and not panic over the situation.
“The state ministry of health, in conjunction with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), among other partners, is working assiduously to contain and also eradicate the disease.
“The citizens are however enjoined to continue adopting preventive measures on the disease which include: sleeping inside insecticide treated nets and keeping their surroundings clean, among others,’ government said.