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DFID secures admission for 268 girls in Katsina to read health courses



United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) has secured admission for  268 girls in Katsina  into various Health Training Institutions (HTIs) under the Women for Health Programme (W4H).

Mr Suleiman Abdullahi Saulawa, Chairman, W4H Working Group in Katsina, disclosed this on Thursday in Katsina at the presentation of support to beneficiaries saying the gesture was  part of efforts to reduce infant and maternal mortality.

He  also said the programme was designed to reduce shortage of female health workers in rural areas of Northern Nigeria as a whole.

“It is a five-year programme being implemented in Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and Zamfara States, which started in 2013.

“That will assist to reduce infant and maternal mortality, which is prevalent in the region.

“As part of backstopping arrangement, the W4H agreed to provide another technical support to the working group for another two years, from 2017-2019, as part of process of its gradual disengagement,” he said.

He said the programme was established specifically to assist rural girls to acquire admission into Health Training Institutions (HTIs) to study health-related courses.

“268 girls were admitted into various Health Training Institutions, 107 so far graduated from the institutions.

“52 have so far been employed by Katsina state government, while the remaining 48 are awaiting employment,” he said.

The National Programme Manager, Dr Fatima Lamishi, said the programme recruited young women from rural areas and helped them to get professional training and return to their communities as qualified health workers.

She said that would assist to reduce infant and maternal mortality in Northern parts of the country.

In his remarks, Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina State said the state government would continue to support the programme.

He said that the graduands should be ready to accept rural postings to save lives of mothers and children.(


Expert suggests sensitisation as best approach to curb drug abuse



Mrs Victoria Opakunle, a public nursing officer, on Friday, says  intensive sensitisation is the best approach to curb drug abuse and other vices among youths in Nigeria.

Opakunle, a Head Nurse at Kamwire Medical Centre, IlorinKwara, gave this advice in a telephone interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Friday.

She said that alcohol and other drug abuse had been on the increase in the country, especially among youths; adding that the problem had not been given a deserved attention.

“There is the need for a comprehensive prevention and treatment approaches, aimed at changing the physical, social, legal, and economic environments of communities,” she said.

She noted that the environmental approach recognised that the abuser was influenced at multiple levels such as personal, peer, institutional, community, and policy levels.

According to her, dissemination of information is the first approach and that should be used always.

She said that campaigns area were always aimed at offering information, teaching, psycho-social support, advocacy and research for spiritual growth and social change.

“Advocacy is required to disseminate information about alcohol and other drug abuse in addition to finding solutions to the problem and even taking preventive actions on it.

“Information is power; ensuring a drug-free society should be everyones’ concern.

“The entire society is affected when it comes to drug abuse; this is because the consequences are upon the society.

“This is a task for everybody. Everyone must do all he or she can do to get involved and rid his or her territory of drugs peddlers,” she said.

According to her, most youths, who are abusing drugs do not even know what they are doing, as they are ignorant of the implications of their actions.

“Youths, who indulge in drugs, do it because of peer pressure. They want to indulge in what their friends are doing and these decisions have really affected them and the society at large,” she said.

Opakunle urged youths to do away with drugs and ensure that they had a better life, saying that “illicit drug consumption kills and makes you useless”.

She, however, lauded the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for working against drug abuse and making efforts towards ensuring that the country is vices free.


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Society reiterates cooperation with UNAIDS to attain HIV-free Nigeria



Ms Assumpta Reginald, second Co-chairman of the society, said this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.

Reginald who congratulated UNAIDS on the appointment of a new Executive Director; Winnie Byanyima, expressed confidence in her personality, her experience and commitment to ending AIDS in Nigeria and globally.

“We have no doubt that her coming at a time like this will make the attainment of the UNAIDS global target a reality,” she said.

The official described the coming on board of the new executive director of UNAIDS was heart warming and reassuring.

She hoped that the plight of women and children living with HIV will further receive more attention under the watch of the new executive director.

According to Reginald, the achievements of Byanyima in her previous assignments show that she is a champion of social justice and one who is totally committed to ending the sufferings of people with different forms and levels of vulnerabilities.

She also commended the Country Director of UNAIDS, Dr Erasmus Morah, for giving enormous support to civil societies in indicating Nigeria’s HIV response.

She explained that it was on record that in his time, the civil society voice was not only heard, but made giant strides in the areas of community monitoring, patients’ education, care and support leveraging on IT technology.

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Truancy: Enugu Govt warns health workers



The Enugu State Government has warned health workers in the state against truancy, including absenteeism and lack of commitment to duty.

Dr Okechukwu Ossai, the Administrator, Enugu State Hospital Management Board, issued the warning in an interview with the News Agency on Friday in Enugu.

Ossai said that truancy, lousiness, laziness, absenteeism and lack of dedication to work would henceforth attract severe disciplinary actions.

He noted that the major challenge observed in most of the state government hospitals is the absenteeism of health workers.

According to him, laziness, truancy, lousiness and absence from duty by the medical and health workers in the hospitals was eroding the confidence of communities and patient in healthcare service delivery.

The administrator explained that he was mandated by the state government to bring health personnel back on their feet and to work towards re-building citizens confidence in them.

“As the hospital administrator of Enugu State, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has given me the mandate to get the staff back to work and carry out their duties effectively.

“The state government has spent so much resources in providing medical equipments and free maternal and child care treatment as well as training of the health workers in the state,” he said.

Ossai therefore advised the health workers to make good use of the knowledge acquired during their training because acquiring knowledge without making use of it is a waste of time and government resources.

“Try and give back to the society whatever knowledge you acquired in the course of your job and training so as to be relevant to yourselves, the society and to the government that employed and trained you,” he said.

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Community advocates rights for women living with HIV/AIDS in West Africa



President of the community, Astou Diop, made the group’s position known  in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

Diop stated that a meaningful engagement of women and adolescent girls living with HIV in planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes toward checking the spread of the scourge would guarantee women’s right to health.

She urged governments at all levels in West Africa to fulfil the highest attainable standard of health for all citizens, especially women living with HIV.

She noted that governments should ensure that women were consulted to make informed decisions and choice of preference with respect to Anti Retroviral (ARV) regimen.

Diop noted that political leadership, dwindling funding for HIV and AIDS, the lack of patient centred care, respect for human rights were responsible for the region’s backwardness in the fight against AIDS.

She called for strengthened partnership of Joint UN Programmes on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), World Health Organisation (WHO) and Nigeria’s Ministry of Health to support the leadership capacity of Community board members.

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Doctors want new Health Minister to improve on nation’s health sector



Doctors, under the aegis of the Medical Guild, have called on the new Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, to improve on the nation’s health sector and start from where his predecessor, Prof. Isaac Adewole, stopped.

The Guild Chairman, Dr Babajide Saheed, told the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Lagos that a lot needed to be done to improve the healthcare system.

The Medical Guild is the association of doctors under the employment of the Lagos State Government.

“First, the new minister should make sure he finds ways to achieve Universal Health Coverage for the country, which has only covered about five per cent of the population.

“He has to make sure that the primary healthcare system is in place and functional before he goes to the secondary and tertiary healthcare.

“There should be infrastructure development in terms of the secondary and tertiary level of care.

“It has to be developed to the standard where qualitative healthcare will be delivered to the populace,’’ Saheed said.

He said that the policy on immunisation should be made more proactive to ensure that the country was completely free of diseases including polio and to prevent recurrence of the disease.

The chairman said, “The minister should also ensure that the new vaccine on meningitis should be taken more seriously to reduce the incidence of the disease, especially in areas that were mostly affected.”

Saheed said that the key to any health system was a health insurance that was functional.

According to him, a health insurance has to be accessible, affordable and easy for the populace to tap into.

“If all these are put in place, the healthcare system of the country will be developed and it will be better off for Nigerians,” the guild chairman said.

He called for a National Health Summit where all stakeholders in the Federal, State, and Local Government levels would discuss issues affecting the development of the health sector.

Saheed said that there was a need for these levels of government to have policies that would ensure good referral system in the three levels of healthcare.

“If the primary healthcare is functional, it will reduce the burden on both the secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare.

“We should have specialisation at the tertiary level of care and ensure that the teaching hospitals are well developed and equipped.

“Finally, the rivalry among health workers in the country should be resolved; in that way, the health system will be improved,” he said.

Also, Dr Oluwaseun Ayotola, a General Practitioner at a private hospital, Ajayi Medical Centre, said there was need for the minister to address the issue of medical brain drain by creating incentives for health workers to encourage them to stay.

“There is a need to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts and contributions of Nigerian doctors to the health and wellbeing of the citizens; because healthy populations live longer and are more productive,” Ayotola said.

He also urged the minister to employ more health workers, saying that the numbers of doctors, nurses and laboratory scientists were insufficient to cater adequately for the nation’s vast population.

Ayotola urged the minister to evolve initiatives, policies and adequate investment in infrastructure and equipment toward discouraging medical tourism.

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