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Health Educator urges Govts, stakeholders to address problem of harmful cultural practices



A Health Educator, Prof. Basirat Oladipupo, has called on the three tiers of government and stakeholders to take an in-depth interest in harmful traditional practices with a view to addressing them.

Oladipupo, who works at the Department of Human Kinetics, Sports and Health Education, made the plea while delivering the 71th Inaugural Lecture of the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, on Tuesday.

Theme of the lecture was: “Goodie Bag of Health with Problem: Health Educator the Town Crier.”

Oladipupo said that the goodie bag of health problems include: disaster, waste problems, harmful cultural practices, adolescent, women and health issues.

“All these problems are continually present in our population, which means many things have to be done to eradicate the problems.

“Government and stakeholders in the health sector should improve human health and protecting it from environmental hazards.

“They should also initiate and implement health hygiene, sanitation and environmental programmes to promote understanding of environmental health principles,” Oladipupo said.

She said that health educators should continue to create more awareness in order to prevent the occurrence of the problems.

“School health education programme can contribute to the successful health of children in the country.

“It has been documented that children perform better in schools and learn better, if they are well nourished.

“It is essential that children receive a good diet to ensure that they grow and develop normally.

“According to Institute of Medicine, (2013) the main goal of institutionalised education has been to develop children’s cognitive capacity in the sense of learning knowledge in academic disciplines,” Oladipupo said.

She said that many factors could influence the decision by adolescents on when, whether and how to engage in sexual relationships or activity.

Oladipupo said that some of these factors include: self image, religious inclinations, socioeconomic background, media, family values, peer influence, among others.

“Globally, adolescents are becoming more socially and sexually sensitive, mature and active much earlier than parents and other adults around them.

“Adolescent boys and girls are confronted with numerous adjustment problems that are peculiar to their age group, owing to the demand of parents, schools and society at large.

“They are faced with social and emotional problems, ranging from health and physical development to courtship, sex and marriage,” she said. (NAN)


Edited by Olagoke Olatoye


Feature: Turks become more willing to quit smoking over health concerns amid COVID-19 outbreak




Turkish smokers have become more willing to quit smoking during the COVID-19 outbreak, as health has become their major concerns, experts said.

Evidence suggests that smokers might be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as their fingers frequently touch their lips, increasing the likelihood of being infected with the virus through their hands.

Smokers may also have lung problems and reduced breathing capacity, which could affect their abilities to battle coronavirus.

“We have recorded a significant rise in the number of people contacting our organization to help them quit smoking during this pandemic,” said Mucahit Ozturk, president of a Turkish anti-addiction group Yesilay (Green Crescent).

He noted that the public health media coverage of the risks of smoking during the coronavirus outbreak has largely deterred smokers.

“People rushed to phones to call us asking for our help in quitting this bad habit, and we are happy to help them as this virus ferociously attacks lungs and may lead to severe pneumonia and death,” said Ozturk, a doctor specializing in lung diseases and psychiatry.

Smokers, according to Ozturk, are 14 times more predisposed to COVID-19 infections than non-smokers, suggesting smokers be isolated like the elderly and those with health problems.

“Using tobacco and tobacco products increases the risk of catching the coronavirus. Therefore, avoiding all addictive substances plays an important role in protecting ourselves against the virus,” he said.

“Smoking can cause damage to the lungs and block the cough reflex, so viruses and bacteria could stick to the airways and lungs, which could lead to serious infections,” the doctor added.

A public hotline set up to help smokers quit was used by more than 27 million people between 2015 and 2018, according to the Turkish health ministry’s data.

The World Health Organization has been urging smokers to stop and seclude themselves to avoid placing the lives of those around them in danger.

Turkey is a country with a large number of smokers. In recent years, the number saw a relative decrease after government health campaigns and high taxes imposed on cigarettes, but a recent survey showed the number of smokers is on the rise again.

According to a nationwide health survey published on Friday by the Statistical Board (Tuik), 28 percent of people aged 15 and older in Turkey are smoking on a daily basis, a 1.5-percent rise compared with 2016 figures.

“100,000 people are dying in Turkey each year because of smoking and related health problems. This is extremely high, and the treatment is also very expensive,” a health official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The official said restrictions imposed 10 years ago on smoking in public places and enclosed spaces had led to a drop of smokers, and the bans should be closely monitored these days as Turkey spends 25 billion United States dollars annually on smoking and related illnesses.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a staunch teetotaler, is leading the anti-tobacco campaign.

On May 31, the World No Tobacco Day, he scathed the tobacco industry, saying it entrapped millions of young people into addiction.

In additional to anti-smoking efforts, Turkey banned in February the import of e-cigarettes and related products and also began implementing a new regulation for plain packaging to decrease the attractiveness of tobacco products to smokers.

Water pipe or hookah smoking is another problem in Turkey. Hookah lounges are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but they are generally popular among young people in big cities such as Istanbul or Ankara.

Cevdet Erdol, president of Health Sciences University, sounded the alarm bell on hookah smoking during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nargile (hookah) consumption is particularly hazardous as it can easily infect people within seconds,” warned Erdol, also a former health minister.


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Finnish gov’t strengthens role of public healthcare in reform




Finnish government on Friday announced details of its health care reform that would strengthen the role of public healthcare without change to the current dual system in basic care.

According to the government statement, while the country’s over 300 municipalities have been in charge of public healthcare so far, responsibility should now shift to 21 provinces and the capital Helsinki.

Sirpa Paatero, the Finnish minister of local government, underlined at a press conference that in the future, the public sector would play the main role, while private services would offer supplementary services under public sector control.

Krista Kiuru, the minister of family affairs and social services, said at the press conference that some of the current agreements on outsourcing health care to private operators do not meet the new criteria and would be canceled.

The concept of provincial responsibility was already in the plans of the previous government. The change will require the establishment of a provincial administration and elections for provincial assemblies to be arranged in 2022.

However, the reform will not change the current dual system in Finnish basic health care. Besides the public municipal health care centers, a separate health care system for employees is taking care of some 1.5 million citizens, with no cost for the patient to pay. The employee health care system is financed jointly by employers and the government.

Both systems send patients to same hospitals and higher level care. However, while the employee health care system usually gives same-day access to a doctor, patients using public health centers may have to wait for up to three months, which has been complained about by Finns for a long time.

Kiuru said the government reform wants to “play safe” and will not tackle the future of the dual system. “It will be left for future reforms,” she added.

The current overall cost of Finnish healthcare and social services is 19 billion euros. Kiuru said at the press conference that the reform does not aim at cost cutbacks but better control of the spending.


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Paris police ban protests at United States Embassy, citing health restrictions



Paris police have banned two protests they said were planned for outside the United States Embassy on Saturday.

Police cited coronavirus restrictions that ban gatherings of more than 10 people, as well as the risk of disorder. They gave no further details about the banned protests.

Several thousand Facebook users have said they are “interested” in an anti-racist protest at the embassy on Saturday linked to the killing by United States police of African-American man George Floyd.

Some 20,000 people – according to police estimates – braved a ban to attend a protest in Paris on Tuesday called by the family of Adama Traore, a black man who died in disputed circumstances in 2016 after his arrest by gendarmes in a town north of the capital.

The protest was overwhelmingly peaceful despite the ban, but some confrontations took place towards the end and police made 18 arrests.

France has seen renewed controversy in recent months about alleged police racism, notably a series of alleged acts of police violence in poor suburbs during the recent coronavirus lockdown.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Germany’s biggest health insurer reports rise in prescription drug spending before lockdown




During the week before contact restrictions came into force in Germany in mid-March, expenditure on pharmaceuticals by Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) had already increased by 44 percent year-on-year, the country’s biggest statutory health insurance fund said on Friday.

TK’s expenditure on pharmaceuticals totaled about 104 million euros (117.6 million United States dollars) during the second week of March, said the insurer.

The number of prescriptions, which included an unusually large number of large drug packages, was 10 percentage points higher than in the same week last year, according to the TK.

Patients in Germany had “stocked up on prescription drugs before the so-called lockdown, this applies in particular to insured people with chronical diseases,” said Jens Baas, chair of the TK’s Board of Directors.

The sharp increase in expenditure on drugs shows that the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany are currently difficult to estimate, according to the TK.

During March, expenditure on pharmaceuticals per insured person increased around 26 percent, but returned to the level of the previous year in April, according to the TK’s initial evaluation.

“Due to the economic consequences of the pandemic, enormous slumps on the revenues side are already apparent for the entire statutory health insurance system,” said Baas.


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Health secretary in Brazil’s Sao Paulo metropolitan region shot at amid COVID-19 outbreak



The Health Secretary of Osasco city in Brazil’s Sao Paulo metropolitan region was targeted in a shooting attack on Thursday night, the state Department of Public Security said on Friday.

The department added that the Police were investigating whether the incident was related to his efforts to fight the novel coronavirus.

“The victim, a public server of the city, had his vehicle hit by gunfire, but he was not injured,’’ the public security secretariat said, identifying him as Fernando Machado Oliveira.

Brazil’s TV Globo network reported that Oliveira told the Police that he had received audio threats on his messaging app WhatsApp.

Osasco city had registered 3,965 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 343 deaths by June 3, data from the city hall showed.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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CONMEBOL says players’ health will be guaranteed upon restart




The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has vowed to take no risks as it prepares for the sport‘s return after the coronavirus stoppage.

Football in the region was suspended in mid-March and officials are only now discussing its resumption through a series of video conferences involving players, coaches, physicians and fitness experts.

“There will be a coordinated, homogenous and responsible effort made to ensure that football returns with the maximum guarantees for everyone,” CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said during the latest call on Thursday.

He added that the entity would prioritize the health of players, coaches, staff, match officials and stadium workers by following the recommendations of authorities.

CONMEBOL development director Gonzalo Belloso reaffirmed the governing body’s wish to restart the Copa Libertadores – South America‘s premier club competition – in September.

But he said a final decision was dependent on the pandemic‘s trends and how quickly member nations and regions were able to restart their competitions.

CONMEBOL also hopes to commence its 2022 World Cup qualifiers in September. The first two rounds of the tournament were initially scheduled for late March before they were postponed indefinitely.


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COVID-19 pandemic still threatening Canadians’ health, Trudeau says




Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned on Thursday that the COVID-19 pandemic remains serious in Canada.

The rise in infections has slowed across all age groups and in most regions of the country, but Trudeau said the situation remains serious in some regions where large numbers of new cases are still being reported, as well as in places like long-term care homes.

“I want to be very clear. We’re not out of the woods. The pandemic is still threatening the health and safety of Canadians,” Trudeau said at a press conference on Thursday.

“While we start loosening some restrictions, we also have to strengthen other measure… And as people head back to work, it’s even more important that we keep a two-meter distance from others, wash our hands, and wear a mask when physical distancing is not always possible,” Trudeau added.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam warned that Canada could see “explosive growth” in new COVID-19 cases if reopening is not done with caution.

According to new short-term federal modeling released by Health Canada on Thursday, as of June 15, the country could see between 97,990 and 107,454 cases, and between 7,700 and 9,400 deaths.

“These models all tell us that if we relax too much, or too soon, the epidemic will most likely rebound with explosive growth as a distinct possibility,” Tam said.

As of Thursday afternoon, according to CTV News, Canada reported 93,700 cases of COVID-19, with 7,636 deaths and 51,685 recoveries.

There are big regional disparities in the way the pandemic is affecting Canada, Tam said.

Ontario and Quebec have accounted for more than 90 percent of national COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days.

There has been no community transmission in Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, and no cases have been reported to date in Nunavut, the only Canadian jurisdiction that has remained COVID-free so far.

The numbers showed COVID-19 is still disproportionately hitting Canadians in long-term care and seniors’ homes. While outbreaks in these facilities represent 18 percent of all cases, residents of long-term facilities and nursing homes represent 82 percent of Canada’s COVID-19-related deaths, she said.

Hospitals, correctional facilities, meat and poultry plants, work camps and shelters represent the other most important outbreak settings, Tam said.

Canada’s largest outbreak occurred at the Cargill meat-processing plant in Alberta with 1,560 cases among workers, household and community members, she added.

Strict public health measures in these settings are an absolutely vital aspect of controlling outbreaks, Tam said.

“I think the collective amount of global information but also in Canada shows in closed crowded places, close contacts lead to what we might call these bigger or larger clusters or sometimes what we call super-spreading events,” the health officer added.

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Benue Assembly grants Ortom’s request to obtain N2.5bn loan for healthcare



Benue House of Assembly has approved Gov. Samuel Ortom’s request to obtain a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) loan facility of N2.5 billion for healthcare delivery upgrade in the state.

The approval followed a correspondence sent to the house by the governor and read during plenary on Thursday.

In the letter, Ortom informed the house that the CBN had introduced a health sector intervention fund to finance the building and expansion of healthcare facilities and acquisition of medical equipment across all states of Nigeria.

He pointed out that the global healthcare system had been overstretched by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic with the developed countries struggling to cope with the magnitude of the crisis.

The governor stated that the healthcare system in the state needed to be repositioned for a post COVID-19 delivery system that could effectively handle cases of infectious diseases across the state.

He informed the house that Access Bank PLC, as a participating money deposit bank, had submitted an offer for a facility of N2.5 billion at five per cent interest rate.

The governor further said the loan was with a 12 months moratorium and thereafter at nine per cent interest rate and 0.5 per cent management fee.

“The facility is offered at concessionary rate with a maximum tenure of 10 years,” Ortom added.

He urged the house to grant his request to access the N2.5 billion loan, saying that the CBN intervention fund was in the public interest.

The governor said its purpose was consistent with his administration’s vision for a healthcare delivery system that completely met the needs of Benue people.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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COVID-19 – Nestlé donates PPE to Health Ministry



The Nestlé Nigeria has donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth N30 million to the Lagos State Ministry of Health, in continuation of the company’s contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

The donation of the 13,000 N95 face masks is to support the efforts to ensure the safety of medical personnel and volunteers on the frontlines managing the COVID-19 situation.

Dr Segun Ogboye, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, received the donation on Thursday and on behalf of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, a statement by Nestle said.

Ogboye commended Nestlé Nigeria’s continued support for the efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19.

He particularly appreciated the company for providing N95 masks for medical personnel in Lagos State, saying that they would go a long way to ensure their safety as they carry out their duties.

Mr Mauricio Alarcon,   of Nestlé Nigeria, reiterated  Nestlé’s commitment to host communities, which is to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future.

“In these unprecedented times when our communities need us more than ever, it is important for us at Nestlé, to do everything we can to support the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 while mitigating its impact.

“It is our hope that the PPEs will help enhance the safety of medical personnel on the field.

“ As we continue to support and work together with all stakeholders including the medical personnel who are on the frontlines of the fight, we are confident that we can defeat this common enemy, together,” Alarcon said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nestlé Nigeria had earlier donated food and beverages worth N106 million to Lagos State during the lockdown to stop the spread of  COVID-19.

Alarcon said this donation of PPE is part of over N700 million that Nestlé contributed to the response efforts.

He said this comprises food and beverages to various states and N250 million in cash to the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Fund toward the procurement of medical supplies and PPE.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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