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Institute acquires machine for cancer research



Institute acquires machine for cancer research
By Jessica Onyegbula
Abuja, Feb. 15, 2019 (NNN) The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) says it has acquired NextSeq 500/550 system machine for cancer research.
The institute said this in a statement issued by the Communication Manager, Mr Dennis Mordi, on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, Prof. Clement Adebamowo, Cancer Epidemiologist, University of Maryland Baltimore, said that the machine will enable researchers understand genes that make some individuals at higher risk to cancer than others.
Adebamowo said that the technology that have been deployed and the training that have been given will empower trainees to sequence the entire human genome.
“You can put the sample of an individual in the machine and it will read and tell us all that a person’s gene contains.
“This emerging trend in cancer research worldwide is still novel in Nigeria.
“Genomes can play a role in whether somebody develops a specific disease or not and even among those that develop the disease, how severe the disease will be,” he said.
Adebamowo said that he has already begun working with several families in the country to discover genetic factors that may increase their risk to breast cancer.
According to him, families at risk can take preventive action based on research results.
He however said that plans are underway to extend the training to researchers in and outside the country.
“When we were planning this training, we received letters from different countries indicating that they want to send people to attend.
“The plan is that IHVN will organise additional courses in future, which will be advertised, and potential participants given enough notice to attend,” he said.
He added that eight laboratory research scientists and clinicians participated in the six-day training facilitated by manufacturers of the equipment – Illumina.
He noted that financial support was received from the US National Institutes of Health through the African Collaborative Center for Microbiome and Genomics Research in IHVN. (NNN)
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola


Lack of budget lines in MDAs undermining fight against malnutrition in Kaduna state –CSO



The Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) says the absence of budget lines in nutrition related Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are undermining ongoing fight against malnutrition in Kaduna State.

Mr Sunday Okoronkwo, CS-SUNN’s Project Manager told the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Zaria, that nutrition is a multisectoral issue that requires a multi-sectoral approach.

Okoronkwo said that the National Policy on Food and Nutrition as domesticated by the Kaduna state government has specified a role for each MDA under the State Committee on Food and Nutrition.

He commended the state government for developing a Multi-sectoral Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition (KDMSPAN), 2020-2024, that sets out nutrition specific (curative) and nutrition sensitive (preventive) interventions with measurable targets.

The CS-SUNN’s Project Manager said that each sector has key activities and contributions to make in the implementation of the high impact; low cost interventions that would reduce and eventually eradicate malnutrition in the state.

Okoronkwo stressed the need for nutrition budget lines for relevant MDAs like heath, education, agriculture and human services among others to successfully implement interventions specified in the policy and plans.

According to him, it is nearly impossible to address malnutrition in the state without nutrition budget lines in these critical MDAs.

“Each of the MDAs need to have a budget line that will enable them allocate adequate resources in their annual budget to enable them implement their mandate as stipulated in the policy and the plan.

“What we currently have in the state is a situation where nutrition budget line is domiciled in Planning and Budget Commission. This poses a serious challenge in accessing and utilising the fund.

“The ideal thing to do, in line with global best practices, is for the line MDAs to have a plan, budget for it and seek release of the fund to undertake planned activities to meet their annual targets.

“Otherwise, what is the sense of having plans that you will not budget for annually? It is not only about creating plans, but also allocating resources to implement to address the target challenges.”

Similarly, CS-SUNN Coordinator in the state, Mr Silas Ideva, appealed to the state government to consider creating a budget lines for nutrition line MDAs to avoid gap in the implementation of the KDMSPAN.

“Beyond creation of budget lines, we also want timely release of the funds to enable the MDAs implement their interventions and programmes,” Ideva told NAN.

On his part, Malam Isa Ibrahim, Nutrition Advocacy Advisor, Save the Children International, expressed disappointed over the state’s reluctance to create budget lines in relevant MDAs for nutrition intervention.

Ibrahim pointed out that nutrition partners in the state had carried out series of advocacy visits to all line MDAs to push for the creation of budget lines.

He said: “to our disappointment, some of the budget lines created in the 2020 draft budget were removed from the final draft submitted to the state’s House of Assembly.

“The budget is the basic source and the foundation of planning and executing plans and programmes, but Kaduna state is not really making much progress in terms of allocating resources to key MDAs.

“It is not too late. We are still appealing to the state government and the House of Assembly to reconsider recreating budget relevant MDAs before the 2020 budget is passed into law.

“Also, most of the funds allocated in 2019 budget were not cash backed and many children under five years in the state are dying while more are becoming malnourished.

“This is because of the law investment in financial and human resource to provide nutrition services,” he told NAN.

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/ Tukur Muntari.

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Family Planning: Stakeholders call for more consumables in Ibadan communities



Mrs Funmilayo Abodunrin, the Head of Facility, Apete Primary Health Centre and

Family Planning Coordinator for Ido Local Government Area, Oyo State, urged government to provide more consumables

to address access to family planning commodities in communities in the state.

Abodunrin made the call in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Friday when the leadership

of the centre went on field trip as part of a media training on Women’s Sexual Reproductive Health Rights organised by

Marie Stopes Nigeria, an NGO in Ibadan.

NAN reports that Marie Stopes, an international NGO which focuses on contraceptives, sensitised nursing mothers and married couples

at the centre on the benefits of family planning.

The sensitisation lecture started with dance and music performance in Yoruba language on the importance of family planning

to the mother, to the family and the society at large.

According to the facility head, the centre needs more consumables to cater for the needs of its clients, as more people now respond

to the call for family planning in the communities.

She said “the family planning method commonly used by women here is the implant, instead of the injectables.

“Government is responding to the provision of medical consumables now than before, but we need more because supply cannot go round.

“Our partner, Marie Stopes, has been very supportive and supplies us with consumables to assist.”

She added that the centre recorded an influx of women for counselling and services on appropriate

family planning methods suitable for them, as well as challenges that might come with usage of the different methods.

She explained that “before Marie Stopes came here, the turnout was not as much as after training, but because of

the mobilisation, we created demand for family planning commodities

“We now have close to 200 or more clients for family planning methods in one month.

“We also get close to 100 new clients that want to access family planning methods and close to 100 revisits.”

She said that the response rate was encouraging, as people from other communities also patronise the various family planning methods they could get from the centre.

Similarly, Mrs Hannah Osoko, the Head, Christ Hope Hospital and Maternity, Osoko, said that the encouraging turnout was an indication

that women could now make informed choices about their reproductive health lives.

Osoko said that the health facility and other members of the community had carried out campaigns in markets to

encourage the use of contraceptives.

She said “we normally mobilise women and educate them on the need to go for family planning.

“And with the health education, the women are now better informed.”

She listed pills, implants, IUCD, vasectomy and female sterilisation- tubal ligation as the various methods of family planning provided.

Hafsatu Bello, a member of the community, said family planning had helped her to pursue her education without fear of getting pregnant.

Also, Ajoke Osinowo, a community mobiliser, said she was an advocate of family planning and encouraged her family and friends to enjoy

the benefits of the various methods.

On his part, Mr Emmanuel Ajah, the Director, Programme Operations, Marie Stopes, said the visit was to enable the media to

have first-hand information about the activities of the organisation, particularly its support on sexual reproductive health to communities in the country.

Ajah said that the NGO was trying to encourage more women to embrace the use of implants as family planning method, which he said had

less side effects and more tolerable to the body.

He reiterated the commitment of the NGO toward helping women to access modern contraceptives, particularly in rural areas,

which he said would enhance national development. ( NAN)

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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State health insurance agencies target 50% coverage in 5 years



Dr Niyi Oginni, the Chairman, Forum of CEOs, State Health Insurance Agencies in Nigeria,

says state governments are targeting to achieve 50 per cent enrollment into health insurance schemes in the next five years.

Oginni told Nigeria News Agency on Friday, on the sideline of the 3rd annual edition of Legislative Summit on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Abuja.

According to him, the eight states implementing the scheme have so far enrolled 1.1 million within a year, representing 0.61 per cent.

He said the agencies that started within a year in eight states had already started providing services to those who enrolled.

He added that “by the time the 36 states of the federation enroll all residents into states’ health insurance schemes, a great percentage of

health coverage would be achieved and within five years, we would be able to achieve 50 per cent coverage.”

The official said that the template for the enrollment would soon be domesticated in states.

Oginni, who earlier spoke on ”Health Insurance Decentralisation’’ during technical session on “Strategic Framework for UHC in Nigeria” at the legislative

summit, said that the journey to decentralise health insurance started in 2014.

He added that the National Assembly committees on health, development partners, civil society organisations and professional associations

in the health sector achieved the drafting of the National Health Act, passed into law and assented to in 2014.

He explained that “the key achievement in the reform is the establishment of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

“BHCPF is to comprise not less than one per cent of Federal Government revenues in addition to donor contributions and funds from philanthropists.’’

According to him, BHCPF is an intervention fund, a panacea to fund the health financing deficit in Nigeria and the principal funding vehicle for the Basic

Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS)

“So far, the single most important social security that can support Nigeria’s aspiration to achieve UHC providing coverage for the vulnerable.

“The purpose of the fund is to increase the fiscal space and overall financing to the health sector to assist Nigeria achieve UHC.”

The chairman said that the National Council on Health adopted the memorandum on implementation of State-Supported Health Insurance

Scheme (SSHI) in March 2015.

He noted that key resolutions from the council included: “health insurance must be mandatory for all; SSHIS should create a budget line to

cover those who cannot afford to pay premiums under an equity fund.

“Also, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will develop a model legal template to be partly or wholly adapted by states.

“State laws must align with NHIS Act and the National Health Act 2014 should facilitate collaboration and composition of SSHIS boards to

include stakeholders such as NHIS, civil society.”

Oginni, who is the Executive Secretary, Osun State Health Insurance Agency, however, made some recommendations to achieving efficiency in

the implementation of SSHIS in Nigeria.

The recommendations are that NHIS should be proactive in its responsibility of providing technical support and capacity building for SSHIS.

“There is an urgent need for NHIS to convene the ICT summit for UHC.

“There is urgent need for the National Secretariat of the BHCPF to review its implementation to allow seamless alignment with SSHIS and the original purpose.

Edited by Shittu Obassa/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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PCN seals off 577 pharmacies, patent medicine shops in Anambra



The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has sealed off 96 pharmacies and 481 patent medicine shops totalling 577 medicine premises in Anambra for various offences.

The PCN’s Director, Inspection and Monitoring, Mrs Anthonia Aruya, made this known in Awka on Friday while addressing newsmen on the council’s efforts at sanitising the sector in the state.

Aruya said that a total of 779 medicine premises were visited after which 19 of them were issued compliance directives for various offences.

According to her, the offences range from poor handling of controlled substances, sale and dispensing of prescription drugs without the supervision of a pharmacist as well as unhygienic environment and poor documentation.

“The enforcement was in fulfilment of its mandate as stated in PCN Act, Cap P17, LFN, 2004 and also in line with the National Drug Distribution Guide of the Federal Government.

“The activities are geared at streamlining the drug distribution value chain to promote safe, effective and quality medicine distribution along registered and licensed premises.

“Pharmacies that opened at will without recourse to the Council cannot be guaranteed to have standards that will maintain the integrity of the products within such facilities, ‘’ she said.

Aruya said that the council and other regulatory agencies were working to relocate all open drug markets to coordinated wholesale centres for proper regulation.

The director advised the public to always seek registration status of facilities where they access medicines to safeguard themselves from patronising quacks.

Edited by Adeleye Ajayi

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Legislative Health Summit: N1bn Cancer Fund not enough – Panelists



Panelists at the ongoing Legislative Health Summit in Abuja, on Friday,

urged legislators and stakeholders to increase the N1 billion Cancer Fund proposed by the Senate Committee on

Health toward tackling the spread of the scourge in the country.

The panelists, however, commended the initiative as announced by Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on

Health at the summit with the theme “Efficiency and Effectiveness in Nigeria Health: The Role of Legislators in Decentralised Democracy.”

Oloriegbe said the proposed N1 billion in the 2020 budget “is the starting point”, adding that stakeholders should discuss ways

to expand resources and manage the fund so that the poor and vulnerable could benefit from it.

Panelists who spoke at the Plenary Session of the summit on “ Innovative Financing for Non-Communicable Diseases in Nigeria – Setting up

Catastrophic Health Fund, said it would take combined effort of the three tiers of government, private and well-meaning Nigerians to make the fund efficient.

According to them, there is need to build the capacity of medical practitioners to manage equipment and support the private sector to complement

the efforts of stakeholders.

Dr Bello Abubakar, a Consultant Oncologist, National Hospital, Abuja, said cancer kill more people than malaria, tuberculosis and HIV combined.

He said “Nigeria, with a population of more than 180 million, will require 180 radiotherapy machines but we have only four of such machine


“Also, the country requires 3,000 clinical oncologists to be able to manage those machines and administer chemotherapy.

“We have 70 clinical oncologists, out of the number, 10 left the country in the past three months for greener pasture.”

According to him, the situation is a serious one as patients cannot afford treatment, and 99 per cent of patients use out of pocket expenses to treat cancer.

“So, we must find a way to fund cancer treatment because the proposed N1 billion Cancer Fund is inadequate.’’

Dr Rahmatu Hassan, former National Coordinator, National Cancer Control Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, said the fund would not be

enough for treatment and to build the capacity of personnel handling the cases.

Hassan said the Federal Government should have trained and built the capacity of the medical personnel to handle the cases a long time ago.

She added that “without the requisite personnel on ground, we would not be able to provide the kind of treatment that should be given to cancer patients.

“We should have expanded the coverage of national health insurance to accommodate more patients.

“We should have had a special fund that would be used for investigation, treatment and routine check because all of these are expensive.

“Now that we are late, such fund should be created and stakeholders should contribute to provide treatment for cancer patients.”

While sharing his experience, Rep. Dachung Bagos, a member representing Jos South/East Federal Constituency of Plateau in the House

of Representatives, said he lost his mother to cancer.

Bagos said the experience made him to establish a foundation in honour of his late mother to create awareness and support cancer patients.

He advised Nigerians to go for routine check-up every six months, stressing that “cancer is deadly than and that is why we are

supporting the establishment of Cancer Fund; it is not about us, it is about the generation to come. Cancer is real; it here and we need to

address it.”

The summit is the 3rd annual edition of Legislative Summit on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), bringing both national and state lawmakers

to discuss and take decisions toward ensuring that all individuals and communities receive health services they need without suffering

financial hardship.

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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No plan to stop Basic Healthcare Fund — Senate



Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, says there is no plan to stop the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund as rumoured by some stakeholders in the sector.

Oloriegbe gave the assurance when he co-chaired a panel on ‘’Innovative Financing for Non-Communicable Diseases in Nigeria- Setting Up of Catastrophic Health Fund’’ at the ongoing 3rd Annual Legislative Summit on Health in Abuja.

The theme of the summit is “Efficiency and Effectiveness in Nigeria Health: The Role of Legislators in De-centralised Democracy.”

The lawmaker said legislators had to look at what the constitution and the Guideline on the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) stated on modality for accessing the fund to enhance proper disbursement.

“ The executive proposal for 2020 budget has N44.5 billion for Basic Healthcare Provision Fund but our proposal to Committee on Appropriation is to make it N55 billion.

“For emphasis sake, we are not scraping and we are not stopping the fund,’’ he said.

He explained that the committee members had to consult with the stakeholders and the two health ministers on the grey areas to see that the guideline did not contravene the law.

“The guideline cannot contravene the law of the land and we are still waiting for reviewed guideline.

“What we are doing is to see that Basic Health Provision Fund work better and our function is to correct any flaw.

“I am encouraging you to get the law and the guideline online and read them.

“For instance, the five per cent we are talking about emergency, what did the law say? Section 11 and Sub Section 5 says five per cent emergency shall be spent by a committee set up by the National Council.

“But the guideline says that money will be in the Department of Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health,’’ he said.

He said that N27.5 billion had been approved for disbursement and the money was still in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

“Once we have the draft, we will call National Council, that is what the law says. This is our position on Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.

“ National Assembly didn’t stop it and we want it to be efficient, effective and in line with the law,’’ he said.

He explained further that the Federal Government provision for healthcare was supposed to be the tertiary care, adding that most of the money was in the recurrent budget.

“The money for recurrent – payment of salaries for staff of the teaching hospitals in the country, and we have 54 of them, and 10 specialised hospitals in the country,’’ he said.

Edited by Joseph Edeh/Wale Ojetimi

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