Health

Health minister scores Nigeria high in HIV/AIDS fight

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Dr Osagie Ehinare, Minister of Health on says Nigeria is on track in the fight against .

Ehinare who was represented by Mr Araoye Segilola, National Coordinator, Department in the ministry, said Nigeria had made tremendous success in reducing the scourge.

He noted that years back, discrimination against persons living with the disease was very high, saying that today the story had changed.

Ehinare who reiterated calls for more to be done in saving lives, said identifying communities with most infections was imperative for making more progress.

“We need to work with the communities and engage them in order to save them because we do not want them to die,” the minister said.

Earlier, Sen. Chukwuka Utazi, Senate committee chairman on Primary Health care, described World AIDS Day as a day of celebration of the heroes of AIDS.

Utazi reiterated expressed government’s commitment to winning the war against AIDS by ensuring that those on treatment achieved viral suppression in line with UNAID’s 2020 Goal.

He explained that the National Assembly would continue to work in synergy with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), in taking the campaign to the grassroots.

Dr Gambo Aliyu, Director General NACA, restated the agency’s renewed commitment to the fight against AIDS.

Aliyu said that the agency had taken drastic steps by establishing six zonal offices in Nigeria, aimed at penetrating the grassroots.

The NACA boss said that the day was a commemoration of the role communities played in the fight against AIDS.

He listed the communities as people living with , as well as their supporters.

Aliyu commended the community of people living with AIDS for their resilience even in the face of stringent funding.

He reminded the communities of their role in holding government and stakeholders accountable.

NAN reports that the World AIDS Day is marked every Dec. 1.

2019 celebration has as theme: “Communities make the difference.”

Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

Health

2030: FHIS seeks adequate policies to achieve UHC

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Dr Ahmed Danfulani, the Director, FCT Health Insurance Scheme (FHIS), on Thursday advocated adequate policies to drive and achieve the agenda of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) before the year 2030.

Danfulani made the call in Abuja during a rally to acknowledge the effort of FHIS and to gather support towards achieving the goal of UHC before the deadline.

According to him, there is need for adequate policies to ensure that we have universal health coverage in this country, especially for the residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

To achieve this, there must be collective activities by all healthcare providers to ensure that we have quality healthcare services.

More importantly, all of us must come together to achieve UHC by the year 2030, UHC requires that nobody must be left behind, everybody must be carried along and when you carry them along, they must not suffered any financial hardships.

Health expenses must stop, there must be access to quality healthcare and facilities in the shortest bridge of all our communities, people must not travel long distance before they can access quality healthcare.

Adequate policy, adequate fund release, adequate provision of law and order, adequate equipment of human resource and without these sir, we cannot achieve the universal health coverage that we are building,’’ he said.

Danfulani thanked the Federal Government for signing the 2014 UHC Act into law that gave birth to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), adding that it was in the right direction.

He also thanked the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) for playing their role towards the achievement of the goal.

Speaking also, the FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, said that the FCTA was committed to keeping the promise of meeting the deadline of 2030 for UHC for all and sundry in the FCT.

The minister, who was represented by Dr Lazarus Gaza, the Director of Human Resources Management, said that it was necessary for the nation to have healthy individuals for economic progress.

We have a saying that health is wealth, if a nation has healthy citizens; it means that nation is wealthy and it goes to say that health is assets that the nation can have.

If we have healthy citizens, it means the nation can be wealthy and productive, the FCT administration is committed to achieving the UHC by year 2030,’’ he reiterated.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the rally/road walk took off from the FHIS office in the Central Area, down to Area 10 through the Festival road to Area 11.

Edited by: Oluyinka Fadare/Felix Ajide
(NAN)
(NAN)

 

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Health

CMD urges FG to create budget line for research in hospitals

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Dr Muhammad Alkali, the Chief Medical Director, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital (ATBU-TH) has urged Federal Government to create budget line for research in health and educational institutions in the country.

Alkali made the call while addressing newsmen in Bauchi on Thursday during the Maiden Annual Research Day and Conference organised by the hospital.

Alkali explained that the hospital has three mandates – training, service and research.

He, however, added that “one sad thing is that in spite of the fact that research is a mandate of this hospital, there is no funding for it.

“Whatever is being supported is what the management of the hospital is doing and we all know for one to conduct credible research, the funding is beyond the hospital.

“Government should create specific budget line for research because without research, institutions, especially education and health, might go into extinction.”

The CMD said that with research, both health workers and the academia could find out how things were done and know more about diseases.

He said that this would enable the workers to manage their patients better and impart knowledge to those they want to teach or train.

Alkali said that the maiden annual research day and scientific conference would help the hospital to create awareness on the mandates of the hospital.

“This annual research day would provide platform to create awareness about the important mandates of the hospital.

“It would also serve as avenue to disseminate what researches are being done within the hospital and in the national and international scientific community, as well as serve as a form of interaction where we can network and move science to the next stage.” 

Edited by: Johnson Eyiangho/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
(NAN)
(NAN)

 

 

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Health

NGO urges FG to use UHC for advancement of mental health care

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The Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI), an NGO, has advised the Federal Government to use Universal Health Coverage (UHC), as a platform

to advance mental health services in the country.

Founder of the NGO, Mr Zion Ameh, made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , on Thursday in Abuja.

He was speaking on the commemoration of International Day of UHC,

NAN reports that on Dec. 12, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) unanimously endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward UHC.

The idea was that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care as an essential priority for international development.

NAN reports that the theme of the 2019 UHC Day is ‘Keep the Promise’

Ameh said that there was an overall shortage of health services in the country and the provision of mental health services was one of the most scarce areas.

There should be a comprehensive review of how mental health service is provided in the country with the urgent passage of the mental health bill.

It is a bill for an Act to provide for the establishment and regulation of mental health and substance abuse services.

It also encompasses protection of persons with mental health needs and the establishment of National Commission for Mental and Substance Abuse services.

It will contribute to effective management of mental health in Nigeria and other related matters,” he said, recalling that the bill was sponsored by Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe.

According to him, a quick transition from policy to implementation is crucial.

He said that policy makers and other relevant agencies have to use all possible mechanisms to accelerate the passage of the bill becase it would strengthen mental health institutes and train workforce through innovations.

Ameh stressed that the problem of insufficient mental health workforce had to be tackled by strengthening existing mental health institutions and increasing trained workforce with attention to equitable distribution.

He said that the gaps could be filled by innovative mechanisms and the use of other ongoing programmes and community-based engagement in the health sector.

Ameh said that another approach could be the use of the country ‘s strength in information and communication technology.

Our telemedicine potential can help to increase access to mental health services in areas with limited availability of mental health workforce.

This is an opportunity to make provision of disability and mental health services integrated at all steps.

As urban health services are being scaled up, Primary Health Centres are being established.

This becomes highly relevant as there is a high prevalence of mental health conditions in urban settings,” he said.

He advised the government to engage communities in delivery of health services, stating that community-based interventions should become acceptable because they were the core approaches to mental health services.

The linkage between all community-based initiatives of different government programmes needs to be harmonised.

Achieving good mental health in the community requires a lot of preventive and promotive health services.

Opportunities provided in the indigenous system of medicines to address mental illnesses and the possible collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Health and the state health ministries must be explored, harmonised, and the experience documented.

That way, the promotion of other services could be useful,” he advised.

According to him, policy prescriptions are of limited use unless translated into actionable and measurable steps.

Ameh said that there was need to develope a detailed mental health implementation plan as proposed in the bill.

There is need for integration with overall mechanisms for non-communicable diseases programme which could be expanded rapidly to all districts of the country, with an approved roadmap within a time frame.

On funding, he called on the government to increase financial allocation and develop mechanisms to prevent people from becoming poor while accessing mental health services.

Globally, devoting one per cent of total health budget by government for mental health services is an acceptable norm and Nigeria falls below this norm.

This fact is a sufficient justification for rapid expansion of mental health services and increase in the government funding.

Both actions will help reduce ‘out of pocket expenditure’ by people and can prevent people from falling into poverty because of health related expenditures,” he advised.

NAN recalls that in 2014, the UN started to observe Dec. 12 as UHC Day to commemorate the date on which the General Assembly officially recognised the importance of UHC.

Edited by: Ephraims Sheyin
(NAN)
(NAN)

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Health

Health promotion begins with every individual – Expert

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Dr Akanji Benjamin, a Public Health expert based in Abuja says health promotion should begin with every individual, as it calls for collective action to implement existing policies, using available resources.

He made the call in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on the occasion of the International Day for Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Benjamin said that togetherness could also lead to the achievement of UHC.

NAN reports that on Dec. 12, 2012, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) unanimously endorsed a resolution, urging countries to accelerate progress toward UHC.

The idea was that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable healthcare as essential priority for international development.

UHC was, therefore, first celebrated on Dec. 12, 2014 to commemorate the date on which the UN General Assembly officially recognised the importance of UHC.

NAN reports that the theme of the 2019 UHC Day is “Keep the Promise.”

Benjamin said that UHC was highlighted in the Agenda of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals under Goal 3 (SDG3).

It calls for ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages by leaving no one behind.

UHC is not new. It is not rocket science. We have the policies and structures, but we aren’t doing what we ought to do.

There is need for a call to action as we celebrate UHC day.

The expert said building social cohesion by pooling resources under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was one way of subsidising hospital bills to I prove access to Medicare.

Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
(NAN)
(NAN)

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Kwara governor’s wife tasks stakeholders on drug abuse

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The wife of the Kwara governor, Mrs Olufolake Abdulrazaq, on Thursday, urged all stakeholders to help stem the tide of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

Abdulrazaq made this call during her visit to Olorunda Trado-psychiatrist Home in Asa Local Government Area of the state, Ilorin.

She said the call became imperative, as the United Nations office on Drugs Control, named Kwara as a pilot state to drive the campaign against drugs abuse in the North Central states and Abuja.

”Visiting this psychiatric institution at this time of the season brings to the fore government’s concern about the welfare of all citizens irrespective of their status.

”There are concerted efforts being made by the present administration, and my office to ensure that there is increased advocacy and awareness to stem the use of hard drugs and other depressive tendencies.

”These habits are strongly associated with mental illness, and awareness about it will go a long way in reducing mental illness in our society.

”You will recall that my office, Ajike People’s Support Centre and NDLEA during the International Day Against Drug Abuse, held a sensitisation programme to educate our youths on the dangers inherent in hard drugs.

”Similarly, we have held advocacies to address the issues surrounding illicit drug use and trafficking.

”It is in view of this that I urge all stakeholders to lend their voices toward stemming the tide of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking, which brought some of these inmates here,” she said.

The governor’s wife said the causes of most mental disorders were unknown, and charged parents and guardians to be vigilant and conscious of what their children and wards were doinginvolve themselves in.

”Mental illness has destroyed families, aborted lofty dreams and caused the government a huge cost in the area of rehabilitation and keeping the mentally retarded off our major streets.

Mental health may also be caused by a reaction to environmental stress, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these.

”Although the causes of most mental disorder are not fully understood, some biological, psychological, and environmental factors have been identified to contribute to the development and progression of mental disorder,” Abdulrazaq said.

She lauded the manager of Olorunda trado- psychiatric home for providing an atmosphere to complete the healing process for the mentally challenged.

The governor’s wife promised to renovate the Home to a befitting structure by providing toilet facilities, perimeter fencing, borehole among other things.

Earlier, the Founder of the Home, Folorunsho Olori, urged the state government to make the place more conducive for the patients.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mr Abdulganiyu Opeloyeru, lauded the state government for finding it worthy to visit the home.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the patients were presented with food items and toiletries such as rice, beans, semovita, yam, bathing and washing soaps, as well as tissue papers

Edited by: Chidi Opara/Yemi Idris-Aduloju
(NAN)
(NAN)

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