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Frequent strikes pushing Nigerians to study in inferior universities abroad – Prof Lassa



Frequent strikes pushing Nigerians to study in inferior universities abroad – Prof Lassa: Prof. Peter Lassa, a Professor of Mathematics Education and the first Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), has said that frequent strikes by Nigerian university lecturers are pushing many Nigerians to study in inferior universities abroad.

Lassa, a one-time Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration of University of Jos, said this while reacting to the ongoing strike by university lecturers in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Jos.

According to him, many Nigerians seek admission into universities in neighbouring African countries not because of the superiority of their academic programmes, but the stability of their academic calendars.

He noted that the incessant strikes had affected teaching and learning and had led to the colossal falling standard of education in the country.

The Don decried that the uncertainties in Nigerian universities had denied students the opportunity to graduate as and when due, owing to unnecessary delays occasioned by frequent strikes.

“Frequent strikes have affected teaching and learning and as a result, we are seeing falling standard of graduating students from the universities.

“Strike often forces teachers to condense the time table of courses and rush the students to examination.

“When curriculum says three credit courses require three hours lectures spread over a week for students to assimilate, but when a lecturer condenses a lecture, that leads to half-baked student.

“Today, students in Nigerian universities hardly know when they will graduate and some of these uncertainties make many students prefer universities in neighbouring African countries.

“This is not because of the superiority of their academic programmes, but the stability of their academic calendar. These students go abroad because our universities have failed to meet their aspirations,” Lassa said.

He further decried the psychological effect of the strikes on the students, adding that the consequences usually faced by students and their parents were largely enormous.

He also said that strike actions by lecturers often led to huge economic loss, as bills for services provided were still being paid by government without being adequately utilised.

“During strikes, universities are shut down; the staff demand that they are paid salaries. During the several months they are on strike the universities still run and pay for services, such as power, water, security and also take care of buildings.

“One month strike by a public university is estimated to be a huge loss amounting to billions. This is really not a good for us.

“The students also go through some psychological trauma and the effect is mostly enormous,” the don decried.

He called on the ASUU and government to seek other alternatives of resolving such disputes.  

Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf


Frequent testing, less contact recommended to get Hollywood cameras rolling



Hollywood studios and labour unions have proposed extensive Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and other safeguards to allow actors and crew members to resume movie and TV show production in the United States.

An entertainment industry task force sent dozens of recommendations to the governors of California and New York, two of the largest United States production hubs, and was awaiting a green light to return to sets.

Filming around the world was halted in mid-March to help curb the coronavirus pandemic.

In a 22-page blueprint, the task force urged regular testing for cast and crew, and daily monitoring of symptoms through temperature checks or other measures. Crew members would be told to wear face masks.

Actors, however, would not be able to wear masks or other personal protective equipment while filming.

They would be advised to minimise scenes with close contact or use digital effects to portray intimate moments. TV shows also would be discouraged from filming before a live audience.

The guidelines were developed by a task force that included representatives from Walt Disney Co (DIS.N”>DIS.N), Netflix Inc (NFLX.O”>NFLX.O), AT&T Inc’s (T.N”>T.N) Warner Bros and Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O”>CMCSA.O) NBCUniversal, plus unions including SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Directors Guild of America.

Testing is “the cornerstone” of the recommendations and rapid results will be needed, according to a statement from Directors Guild President Thomas Schlamme and the group’s national executive director, Russell Hollander.

“Without testing, the entire cast and crew would be working in an environment of unknown risk,” the statement said.

Actors and those in closest contact with them should be tested more often, they added, since they will not be wearing personal protective equipment while on camera.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will discuss its requirements for restarting productions in the county, home to several movie studios and sound stages.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) during pregnancy: frequently asked questions for pregnant patients




Q1. What effect does coronavirus have on pregnant women?

Generally, pregnant women do not appear to be more severely unwell than the general population if they develop coronavirus.

As this is a new virus, it is not yet clear how it may affect you. It is expected the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu-like symptoms.

Q2: Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with the disease?

The available limited evidence suggests that pregnant women do not show a greater risk of acquiring COVID-19 or having severe symptoms compared to other adults. But in general, pregnant women are more susceptible to viral respiratory infections such as the flu.

Also, more severe symptoms appear to be more common in older people, those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions. If you have an underlying condition, such as diabetes or hypertension, you may be more unwell if you have coronavirus.

The risk from immune suppression is not known, but with other viral respiratory infections, the risk for people with HIV getting very sick is greatest in:

  • People with a low CD4 cell count, and
  • People not on HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy – ART).

If you have HIV and are taking your HIV medicine, it is important to continue your treatment and follow the advice of your health care provider. This is the best way to keep your immune system healthy. You should also continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes:

  • Eating healthy foods
  • Getting at least 8 hours of sleep
  • Continuing with antenatal care
  • Reducing stress as much as possible
  • Staying healthy helps your immune system fight off infection should it occur.

Q3: Can COVID-19 be passed from a woman to her unborn baby or newborn?

We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. To date, the virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.

Q4: What are the signs of Coronavirus?

The symptoms (the signs that show that a person may be infected with the virus) are very similar to that of a common cold or flu. It may include signs such a fever, feeling tired, coughing, aches and pains, nasal congestion (also called a stuffy nose), runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea (a runny tummy).

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care. Contact your clinic or doctor or call the Corona Virus (COVID-19) Hotline on 0800 029 999 for further information and advice.

If you feel your symptoms are worsening or if you are not getting better, immediately contact your health clinic or Corona Virus Outbreak 24-hour Hotline on 0800 029 999 for advice and guidance.

Q5: If pregnant women become infected, will they be more sick than other people?

Generally, pregnant women do not appear to be more severely unwell than the general population if they develop coronavirus. However, if you develop more severe symptoms or your recovery is delayed, if you feel your symptoms are worsening, or if you are not getting better, immediately contact your clinic/doctor or call the Corona Virus Outbreak 24-hour Hotline on 0800 029 999 for further information and advice.

Q6: What effect will coronavirus have on my unborn baby if I am diagnosed with the infection?

As this is a very new virus, to date, there is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage.

There is also no evidence that the virus can pass to your developing baby while you are pregnant (this is called vertical transmission).

Expert opinion is that the fetus is unlikely to be exposed during pregnancy. It is therefore considered unlikely that if you have the virus, it would cause abnormalities in your baby and none have been observed currently.

Q7: I am pregnant and have fever, cough, muscle ache, sore throat and headache. Could this be COVID-19?

During pregnancy, appropriate diagnosis of and treatment for flu remains of utmost importance.

Please call your clinic/doctor to report your symptoms or call the Corona Virus Outbreak 24-hour Hotline on 0800 029 999 for further information and advice. If there is a reason to think you may have been exposed to the new coronavirus, they will provide instructions on where you can be tested.

Q8: What can I do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?

  • The most important thing to do is to wash your hands with soap regularly and effectively as soon as you come from public places to your home or workplace.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or tissue. Remember to throw the tissue away in closed dustbin after it was used and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid touching anybody.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay at home when you are sick and try to keep a distance of 1 meter from others at home.

Q9: Can I breastfeed my baby if I have COVID-19?

Yes. If you have COVID-19, you can breastfeed. You should:

  • Wash your hands with soap before breastfeeding or feeding a baby and others.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene during feeding, wearing a mask if possible.
  • Wash your hands with soap before and after touching the baby.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces.

Q10. When do I need to wash my hands?

  • After coughing or sneezing
  • Before, during and after you prepare food;
  • Before breastfeeding or feeding a baby and others;
  • Before eating
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing a baby’s nappy
  • When hands are visibly dirty
  • After handling rubbish or waste
  • After handling animals or animal waste

Download the document [PDF] (

Sources: WHO, UNICEF, CDC, Johns Hopkins Medicine, NHS UK

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Frequent fruits, vegetables intake reduce chronic disease — Nutritionist



Nutrition Officer, Enugu State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Mrs Henrietta Ugwu has said that frequent fruits and vegetables intake could reduce chronic disease in human beings.

Ugwu stated this in an interview with New Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Enugu.

She said that fruits and vegetables were important for the prevention of illnesses and also provides health benefits to the body.

“Eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day can reduce the risk of chronic diseases in human beings because they contain variety of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,” she said.

She noted that eating of fruits and vegetables could also help in balancing the body Potentials of Hydrogen (PH) level, which is the bases in human blood at which the body functions best.

The Nutritionist noted that vegetables were rich in Vitamins A, C, folate, fibre and potassium, adding that folate-rich food include tomatoes, spinach, bell pepper, among others.

According to her, the folate-rich food helps the body to form red blood cells and it is also important for women of child bearing age to prevent neural-tube defects in babies.

Edited By: Abigael Joshua and Isaac Ukpoju


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General news

Frequent water intake reduces bladder infection – Expert



Dr Harrison Osasogie, a medical practitioner with Faith Clinic Benin, says drinking water regularly helps in reducing bladder infections.

Osasogie made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , in Benin on Monday.

He defined bladder infection as: “An infection in any part of the urinary system, the kidneys, bladder or urethra.

“Urinary tract infections are more common in women. They usually occur in the bladder or urethra, but more serious infections involve the kidney.

“Drinking of water always clears the system of unwanted organisms.

“Drinking of water improves memory and mood, reduces sugar cravings and aid weight maintenance, improves exercise performance, reduce headaches and migraines.’’

According to the doctor, water also helps prevent constipation in children and adults; as well as prevents kidney stones.

“Drinking enough water, or staying hydrated, is the first rule of health and nutrition. Our bodies can supposedly last weeks without food, and yet just a few days without water.

“A good way to check if you are hydrated is by the colour of your urine. Ideally, it should be a very pale yellow.

“If it is clear, you could be drinking too much water, and it if it is darker you need to drink more.

“When checking the colour however, be aware that some medications, supplements and foods such as beetroot can also affect urine colour,’’ he said.

Osasogie said also that poor hydration might increase the risk of developing; or re-occurrence of kidney stones in some individuals.

He therefore recommended the consumption of six to eight glasses or cups of water daily to hydrate and keep the body healthy.

Edited By: Abigael Joshua/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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Fibroids: Expert recommends frequent checks to avoid complications



Dr Mary Kigho, a medical practitioner in Universal Hospital, Benin, has advised patients with Uterine fibroids to go for frequent medical checkups to avoid further complications.

Kigho gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , on Friday in Benin.

She defined uterine fibroids as “non-cancerous growths in the uterus that can develop during a woman’s childbearing years”.

She, however, said that frequent checkups and proper medications without failure would help to manage it.

Kigho said uterine fibroids also called leiomyomas (lie-o-my-O-muhs) or myomas, was not associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never developed into cancer.

“Fibroids range in size from seedlings, undetectable by the human eye to bulky masses that can distort and enlarge the uterus.

“A person can have a single fibroid or multiple ones. In some cases, multiple fibroids can expand the uterus so much that it reaches the rib cage and can add weight.

“The treatment of fibroids includes medication and removal of the fibroid through a surgery,’’ she said.

According to her, many women do not know they have uterine fibroids because they often cause no symptoms at the early stage.

Kigho said women who had symptoms, the most common signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids include, having menstrual bleeding, and menstrual periods lasting more than a week, pelvic pressure or pain.

Others are frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder, constipation, backache or leg pains.

She said preventing uterine fibroids was possible and only a small percentage of these tumours required treatment.

Edited by: Abiemwense Moru/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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NHIS: Enrollees decry non-availability of prescribed drugs, frequent referrals



Some enrollees of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) on Friday decried the non-availability of prescribed drugs and frequent referrals by healthcare providers under the scheme.

The enrollees made the complaints in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.

A  Journalist with NAN, Mr Moses Omorogieva, urged NHIS to direct all Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) to pay their outstanding payments to healthcare providers to encourage them to boost their service delivery to enrollees.

Omorogieva attributed the frequent referrals, non-availability of drugs and poor attitude of NHIS healthcare providers to non- payments of claims to the healthcare providers.

He said that his family members were refused treatment at Gbagada General Hospital in Lagos due to non-payment by their HMO.

According to him, the hospital in recent times no longer pay attention to NHIS enrollees like before.

Omorogieva said that many ailments that were formally covered by the scheme were no longer being treated at  Gbagada General Hospital.

“Most times, you see the doctor, virtually all the drugs prescribed will not be available at the NHIS dispensing pharmacy.

“Common tests that the scheme covered before like X-ray, Scan, and others are no longer covered by the NHIS healthcare provider at Gbagada General Hospital.

“I went there recently and the doctor prescribed some malaria drugs and high blood pressure drugs, but the NHIS pharmacist referred me to general pharmacy to buy as they do not have the drugs.

“I am calling on NHIS management to investigate why HMOs owed their healthcare providers.

“Last year, the same Gbagada General Hospital refused to attend to Managed Healthcare HMO patients because they owed the hospital,” he said.

However, a source in the hospital told NAN that the HMO owed Gbagada General Hospital 2018 bills, hence the hospital refused to treat its enrollees.

Mrs Gabriella Ezenwa,  an Administration Staff of National Orientation Agency (NOA), complained about the low quality drugs given to NHIS enrollees.

Ezenwa said there was the need to improve on the quality of drugs dispensed at NHIS pharmacies.

She expressed regret that NHIS health providers never had drugs prescribed by doctors, but would provide you with a lower quality drug or refer you to buy the drugs outside.

Ezenwa said there was need for the scheme to create awareness on enrollees’ rights as well as the responsibilities of the HMOs, which she said, must be spelt out.

She also called for good relationship and proper monitoring between the HMOs and the healthcare providers.

“The issue of monitoring is very important because sometimes you discover that between the HMOs and service providers, there seems to be missing links,” she said.

She also urged the NHIS management to be more committed to developing an efficient system that would ensure enrollees’ satisfaction.

Reacting to the development, Mr Godwin Ekamen, the Head, Business Retention and Development, Managed Healthcare HMO, said there was an ongoing account reconciliation between the HMOs and healthcare providers to rectify all payments regarding the NHIS services.

Ekamen said that the reconciliation, which started some months ago, would be completed before the end of the year or within the first quarter of 2020.

He debunked the misconception by some enrollees that NHIS drugs were mostly substandard and of low quality.

“There is no substandard or lower quality drug at any NHIS dispensing outfit. Drugs come in generic forms. If NHIS pharmacy did not have the exact prescribed drugs, they can give a branded drug of the same family.

“And if a healthcare provider refers an enrollee outside to buy drugs, it is your responsibility and right to call your HMO or NHIS at the spot so that they can engage the healthcare provider to find out why the referral.

“On no account is an enrollee supposed to be referred outside the hospital to buy drugs even if the drug is not available at NHIS pharmacy, it is expected that the healthcare provider gets it from the general pharmacy,” Ekamen said.

Edited by: Emmanuel Nwoye/Tajudeen Atitebi

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World Diabetes Day : Consultant physician urges examination of child’s frequent bed-wetting




Dr Stanley Ogbonna, a Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist with the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, has advised that children that frequently bedwet should be made to undergo medical examination for diabetes.

Ogbonna gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Umuahia on Thursday, saying that bed-wetting in children might be a sign of diabetes.

He urged parents and other family members not to bully such a children but subject him to proper medical investigation.

“Bed-wetting can occur in children normally. But why we are drawing attention is that type 1 diabetes occur commonly in children.

“This may not show any sign or symptom apart from the fact that the child is bed-wetting.

“Polyuria, which is the passage of excess urine and part of the symptoms of diabetes, might be responsible for the bed-wetting.

“If the bed-wetting happens once in a while, it is normal but if it occurs every day or every other day, then it should be investigated,” said Ogbonna, who is the Secretary, Diabetes Association of Nigeria, Abia.

He said that World Diabetes Day, which is marked on Nov. 14  every year, is a day set aside by the United Nations in collaboration with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) to raise awareness on the disease.

Ogbonna said the theme for this year’s celebration, “Diabetes and the Family”, with the sub-theme, “Diabetes : protect your family”, underscored the role of the family in preventing the scourge.

He advised people to engage in at least 30-minute regular exercise and eat healthy diets to avoid diabetes.

“When family members know the signs and symptoms of diabetes, it will be easy for them to detect when a particular person probably has diabetes,” he said.

Ogbonna said that the diabetes pandemic was getting worse in middle and low income countries, including Nigeria, because of increasing urbanisation and Westernised lifestyle.

Quoting the report by IDF, he said that diabetes was responsible for four million deaths globally in 2017.

He, therefore, urged early detection, adding that diabetes left untreated or unmanaged, could lead to life-changing complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.

(Edited by Sam Oditah)







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Physician advise ulcer patients against frequent use of painkillers



A general physician, Dr Christian Udofia, on Monday advised people with peptic ulcer to avoid frequent use of painkillers to avoid further complications.

Udofia, who is also the Medical Director of Noble Hospital, Okota in Lagos, told the Nigeria News Agency that pain relieving drugs could lead to severe pains in ulcer patients.

NAN reports that peptic ulcer or stomach ulcer is a break in the lining of the stomach, first part of the small intestine, or occasionally the lower esophagus.

He said that painkiller was also known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

“An ulcer in the stomach is known as a gastric ulcer while that in the first part of the intestines is known as a duodenal ulcer.

“The most common symptoms are waking at night with upper abdominal pain or upper abdominal pain that improves with eating, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, passing excessive amounts of gas.

“The pain is often described as a burning or dull ache. Other symptoms include belching, vomiting, weight loss, or poor appetite.’’

The physician said that aspirin was just one of many NSAIDs, which could cause serious damage to the digestive system if taken too often.

“Other members of the NSAIDs class include: the over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen, and many other prescription drugs.

“When such drugs are abused or taken constantly, it may lead to further complications like bleeding and perforation through the walls of the stomach, complicating the ulcer symptoms.

“Patients living with peptic ulcer should always use painkillers that are duly prescribed by doctors with the necessary dosage given,’’ he said.

Udofia further advised people to always wash their hands to prevent infection, saying that most ulcers were caused by a type of bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori.

He urged the ulcer sufferers to maintain a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables, saying that these would provide sufficient vitamins to aid healing of peptic ulcer.

Udofia said that the ailment occurred when there was over-production of gastric acid in the stomach.

“Excess acid production from the gastrin producing cells in the small bowels (duodenum) or pancreas results in Gastrinomas, which are rare tumors.

“Gastrin is a hormone that controls the amount of acid in the stomach. Acid helps to digest food.

“Over-production of this gastrin reduces the quantity of mucous that protects the stomach from acids or infection with an organism.

“Gastric acid is secreted normally to help the process of digestion; when there is over-production of this gastric acid in the stomach, it will cause a peptic ulcer,’’ Udofia said.

He, therefore, advised the public to ensure regular medical checkup for early and proper diagnosis of ailments particularly ulcer, saying that Endoscopy and Upper Gastrointestinal series diagnosis could be used to detect peptic ulcers.


Edited by Maureen Atuonwu


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Kidney disease: Expert advises for frequent checks to avoid complications



Dr Mary Kigho, a medical practitioner in Universal Hospital, Benin, has advised patients of chronic kidney disease to go for frequent medical checkups to avoid further complications.

Kigho, who gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Benin, defined kidney disease as “a gradual loss of the kidney function”.

She, however, said that frequent checkups and proper medications without failure would help to manage the disease.

“Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood which are then excreted in your urine.

“When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body.

“Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause,” she said.

Kigho said chronic kidney disease, also known as kidney failure could progress to end-stage, which could be fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.

She further advised patients with kidney failure to monitor their blood pressure, kidney function with urine and blood tests during regular checkups.

She said that signs and symptoms of kidney disease were often nonspecific, adding that such signs and symptoms could also be caused by other illnesses.

“Kidneys are highly adaptable and able to compensate for lost function; signs and symptoms may not appear until irreversible damage has occurred,” she said.

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