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Measles: No outbreak in Niger, Plateau, Lagos



 Following reported outbreak of measles in some parts of the country, Niger, Lagos and Plateau states, however, said no case was

recorded in the states.

Suspected cases of the disease were recorded at Wusar Community of Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, where some children died.

Dr Abbas Liman, the Deputy Director, Public Health, Niger Ministry of Health,  said there was no out break of measles in the state in the recent time.

Liman told Nigeria News Agency in Minna that the measles outbreak in Kaduna State made the Niger Government to embark on health education and immunisation to forstall its spread to the state.

He said “routine immunisation from birth to one year is ongoing but in addition to that, children missed out because they were delivered at home are being targeted from house to house at different locations.

“The targeted immunisation begun  in Gbako Local Government and we are going to spread it across the 25 local government areas of the state.’’

The deputy director explained that the state has enough measles vaccine

to ward  off the disease.

The state Epidemiologist , Dr Sheshi Idris, also said that the immunisation started in Gbako area would be done state-wide because Niger is close to Kaduna State.

The story is same in Plateau as officials said no measles case was recorded.

Dr Polycarp Azzuwut, the Permanent Secretary in the state’s Ministry of Health, told NAN that adherence to routine vaccination and the 2018  mass measles immunisation of children from zero to five years was strategic in the success recorded.

He, however, added that mild cases of the disease were reported in hospitals  and primary healthcare centres which were not live threatening because

the children had been immunised.

He revealed that the state’s epidemiology surveillance team  are in the 17 local government areas, surveying for any outbreak and prompt medical attention.

He pointed out that two doses of the measles vaccine is recommended  to ensure immunity in children and to prevent outbreaks.

He explained that the first dose of routine measles vaccine was usually not enough to build immunity in some children and must take a second dose.

Azzuwut said that without sustained  adherence  to  the routine measles vaccination, the gains achieved could be lost as outbreaks could occur.

According to him, measles is a highly contagious and serious disease which leads to death.

He appealed to parents to adhere to the routine immunisation of their children “because it is safe, effective and free.’’

In Lagos State, Dr Bamidele Iwalokun, the Head, Immunology and Vaccinology Research Department, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, stressed the need for adequate planning to check outbreak.

Iwalokun said major activities such as population immunity of the affected and surrounding areas must occur to prevent outbreak.

The second aspect is to determine the percentage of infants aged below nine months with protective maternal antibodies.

He added that “this is one reason why our primary healthcare system needs to be strengthened to offer quality routine immunisation and reactive immunisation services.

“Measles immunisation coverage in Nigeria is currently sub-optimal, with the northern part of the country more affected than the south.

“Before nine months, a Nigerian child is not eligible for measles vaccine. Maternal antibodies are expected to give this protection during this pre-vaccination period.

“Unfortunately, this is not the case for malnourished and infected infant or infants who received protective level of anti-measles antibodies from their mothers.’’

The Permanent Secretary in the state’s Ministry of Health, Dr Titilayo Goncalves, said the ministry had continued to emphasise, through awareness campaigns and education, the need for children to get vaccinated.

She said “we always harp on immunisation and that is why the primary healthcare centres are opened to public at all times.

She advised that children with eruptions should be restricted from playing with others to prevent spread.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said reactive vaccination was done by the state on July 4 for children between the ages of nine

and 59 months, with added vitamin A administration.

UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said outreaches were also carried out to sensitise communities on the importance of immunisation.

“Also, there has been sensitisation on proper feeding and hygiene for children, as well as improved sanitation.’’

“Other interventions include follow up on laboratory results; collection of samples, where necessary, updated line list from local government areas,’’ Hawkins said.

Dr Oluwatosin Olowojebutu, a General Practitioner, said there was need to raise public awareness and ensure vaccine uptake in the country, especially at the grassroots to prevent any outbreaks.

Olowojebutu, the Medical Director of Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation, Ojodu area of Lagos, said that vaccine should be encouraged at every available opportunity.

He added that “immunisation is the only effective preventive measure against measles.’’



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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Nutritionist warns against late dinner, says it affects sleep




By Toba Ajayi

Ilorin, Aug.23,2019 ( NAN) An Ilorin-based Nutritionist, Mrs Dorcas Olarotimi, has cautioned against late dinner, saying it is unhealthy and affects sleep.

She told Nigeria News Agency in Ilorin on Friday that eating late at night may have negative impact on the quality of sleep and caused disruptions to healthy sleep pattern.

She said “eating in the evening hours near bedtime may make your body less prepared to sleep and can have adverse effects on memory, leading to deficit in learning, concentration.

“When the stomach is struggling to digest food while you lie in bed, you are putting yourself at risk, also, late night dinner can lead to weight gain.

“The ability to gain or lose weight does not just depend on food choices but also the timing of your meals and it is very dangerous when you eat more in the evening because of the risk of  higher marker of inflammation.”

She, therefore, advised small, high-protein snack like nuts instead of carbohydrate at night before bedtime.

She stressed that ” people should avoid large meals within a few hours to bedtime. Instead, go for fruits like apple, banana and nuts for good health.”

The nutritionist also advised a two-to- three-hour gap between meal and bedtime to prevent night time reflux.( NAN)




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Task force seals 10 patent medicine shops in Ondo



The Ondo State Joint Task Force on Fake and Counterfeit Drugs on Thursday carried out a raid on illegal patent medicine vendors, sealing 10 shops in Ayede Ogbese and Shasha Market in Akure metropolis.

Mr Olugbenga Lasekan, Chairman of the task force, who led the team to the areas, decried the recalcitrant attitude of most patent medicine vendors who opened premises without recourse to rules of the practice.

Lasekan said that by rules laid down by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) no medicine outlet should be opened without approval by the council, nor be cited in filling stations, markets, motor parks or be operated in containers.

“Medicine shops that open without following laid down rules and are not licensed are illegal, while drugs without NAFDAC registration are fake.

“By the rules of practice, patent medicine vendors have list of drugs they are permitted to sell, which does not include antibiotics, injections and control drugs.

“Hawking of drugs is not allowed because drugs are supposed to be stored under certain temperature which the practice of hawking violates thus making the drugs dangerous for human consumption,” he explained.

The official said that the state had zero tolerance for fake, adulterated and unwholesome products as well as illegal premises and would not rest on its oars until the state was rid of violators.

The chairman warned that the state would not hesitate to prosecute recalcitrant vendors and leaders of patent medicine associations who aided and abetted illegality.

He advised patent medicine vendors in the state to go and obtain their licenses from PCN, to avoid constant harassment and embarrassment.

Lasekan expressed delight at the success recorded during the exercise, adding that the right signal had been sent.

He advised residents to always buy their drugs from licensed patent medicine vendors or pharmacies.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that control drugs found in possession of some patent medicine vendors were confiscated.

NAN also reports that the task force comprised officials of the Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, NDLEA, PCN and the Nigeria Police Force.

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