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LASUTH, Samsung provide free cataract surgeries to 100 people

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The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in partnership with Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria, has conducted free cataract operations for 100 people to restore their vision.

The Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, disclosed this during the fifth Vision Eye Camp on Wednesday in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that a cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye which leads to a decrease in vision.

Fabamwo said that the free cataract surgery was funded by Samsung and conducted by ophthalmologists from Vision Care, an organisation under the World Health Organisation (WHO).

He said that the institute had continued to achieve landmark feats in medicine due to the support from the Lagos State Government, the private sector and some non-governmental organisations.

“The kind of surgery the Vision Care team did using that particular technique for cataract surgery would have cost nothing less than 35,000 dollars per person.

“The benefit to Lagos State is immense because this means that 100 additional citizens are now seeing and will become more productive in the workforce,” he said.

He commended Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria for its thoughtfulness and humanitarian efforts to restore vision to the vulnerable members of the state.

Fabanwo said that LASUTH had been privileged to have a series of medical missions in the past.

He said that the purpose was to ensure a skill transfer to LASUTH surgeons toward ensuring sustainable healthcare service delivery.

Mr Suh Dongseong, the Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria, said that the cataract surgery intervention was targeted at the most vulnerable people who could not afford the cost toward eradicating cataracts in Nigeria.

He said that data from the WHO had showed that cataracts account for 51 per cent of world’s blindness.

He said that this had made the free cataract operation which the company began in 2014 a worthwhile venture.

Dongseong said that the medical intervention was part of the Samsung’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects in Nigeria.

He stated that it was also part of Samsung’s commitment to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

Also, Milyung Oh, Volunteer Team Leader, Vision Care, said that the organisation was passionate about collaborating on missions that would restore immediate vision to citizens.

AIO/MAM/PAD

Edited by Modupe Adeloye/Peter Dada

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Payment system key to achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria- World Bank

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The World Bank Group, says prepayment system is key to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.

Dr Christoph Kurowski, Global Lead for Health Financing, World Bank Group, said this at a four-day workshop with the theme: “Strengthening Health Financing at the Frontlines’’ in Abuja on Wednesday.

The workshop was organised by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) for 18 states to support health financing arrangement at the sub-national level.

Kurowski said that prepayments would allow funds to be pooled and redistributed to reduce financial barriers for those who needed to use the services they could not afford.

According to him, this spreads the financial risks of ill-health across all stakeholders.

He suggested that prepayment could be derived from taxation, other government charges or health insurance from a mixture of sources.

According to him, such financial risk protection is an instrument of social protection applied to health.

“It works alongside other social protection mechanisms like unemployment and sickness benefits, pensions, child support, housing assistance, job-creation schemes, agricultural insurance and others, which have indirect consequences for health.’’

Kurowski said that government alone would not be able to raise sufficient funds to eliminate excess out-of pocket expenditures for all health services that Nigerians need, adding this was why prepayment arrangements at the sub national level must be encouraged.

According to him, It is therefore a challenge to decide how best to support health within budgetary limits.

He said that the first challenge in moving toward UHC was to define the services and supporting policies needed in any setting, including financial risk protection, the population that needs to use these services, and the cost.

Kurowski said that it required an understanding of the causes of ill-health, the possible interventions, who currently had access to these services and who do not, and the extent of financial hardship incurred by paying out-of-pocket.

He noted that acting on behalf of their populations, governments must decide how to move closer to universal coverage with limited financial resources.

NAN reports that the 19 participating states in the second batch of the health financing workshop are, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Kwara , Enugu, Gombe, Taraba, Imo, Kogi, Yobe, Zamfara, Lagos, Jigawa, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, and Sokoto states.

The workshop is being attended by stakeholders in the health sector.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

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UNICEF reiterates support for Niger Govt.

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reiterated its commitment to continue to give support to Niger government in the five focal sector of its intervention in the state.

Dr Zakari Adam, Chief Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, in charge of Niger, Kwara, Nasarawa and Kaduna states, said this during the 2019 End of Year Review and Planning Meeting in Minna on Tuesday.

He said that UNICEF had achieved great success in the area of its intervention such as health, education, water, sanitation, nutrition, urging the state government to be more committed to attain better results.

“UNICEF will continue to provide technical support to the government especially in area of education and other sectors.

“We are advocating for government to be more concerned and realise the importance of investing in critical sectors that has to do with children’s development,” he said.

He called on the state government to be prompt in payment of counterpart fund to actualise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In his remarks, Alhaji Ahmed Matane, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), commended UNICEF for its intervention in health, education, nutrition and child protection and urged the development partners not relent.

He said that the state government had reflected on challenges of payment of counterpart contribution, adding that a more strategic pathway would be adopted in dealing with the issue.

Matane called on the state planning commission to ensure the attainment of SDGs goals in the state.

Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ismail Abdulaziz

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Sex position, duration don’t determine child’s gender- Expert

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Dr Olatoye Ogundipe, a gynecologist, on Wednesday, says the gender of a child is not determined by the sex position or duration contrary to beliefs by some people.

Ogundipe, who spoke with the Nigeria News Agency in Ilorin, said that most couples had been misled in believing that there were certain sex positions to adopt to have a baby boy or girl.

“This is erroneous and misleading, the formation of a child is more than just sex by the couple, a lot goes on in the body.

“I hear some traditional healers say a lot of things about conception, some say; do not have sex when the sun is high.

“Others say there is a particular time of the menstrual cycle to conceive in order  to have a boy or girl; these claims are not medically proven.

“What medicine says is that sperm carries the X or Y chromosomes while the female egg is X. If the sperm carrying Y meets the egg first, it results to XY which is a boy and if it is X, it becomes XX which is a girl.

According to him, some men are still not knowledgeable of the fact that the gender of a child is determined by them and therefore, the woman is not to blame.

“It is time we humans understand that the cycle of life is dependent on both the man and the woman; we cannot continue to wish for baby boys alone, then, who will carry future pregnancies.

“We need women too. They are important too. The birth of a baby girl is a blessing to the human race, so is a boy.

“However, the sex position, duration or timing cannot determine a child’s gender, otherwise, until such a claim is proven medically,” he said.

Edited by Modupe Adeloye/Yemi Idris-Aduloju

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Bomb blast victims: Red Cross rehabilitates 608 amputees in 3 years – Official

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International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Nigeria delegation, says it has rehabilitated no fewer than 608 amputees of bomb blast and other explosions from the North-East since 2016.

ICRC’s Ortho – Prosthetist, Ms Idah Kadyamatimba disclosed this to Nigeria News Agency correspondent, who visited ICRC Prosthetic and Orthotic Centre at National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dala (NOHD), Kano on Wednesday.

Prosthetics and orthotics are clinical disciplines that deal with artificial limbs (prostheses) for people with amputations and supportive devices (orthoses) for people with musculo-skeletal weakness or neurological disorders.

Kadyamatimba said the centre had rehabilitated the amputees referred from the North East through the provision of artificial limbs and or legs to assist them live normal life.

She said ICRC, under its Prosthetic Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), had been partnering with NOHD, Kano, to rehabilitate people with disabilities who were affected by arm conflict and some accidents victims.

Cue in audio (Idah on amputation)

“They (NOHD) gave up this section of the department and we use it to rehabilitate people with disabilities mainly from the North East of Nigeria.

“Our teams (health teams) in North East, Maiduguri the people who were amputated, after they are completely healed, they are referred here for rehabilitation; we provide them with prosthetics or orthotics devices so that they can continue to do their activities of daily life.

“Since 2016 to date, we have assisted 608 individuals which have come through this centre and since January, 2019, we have helped 227 people with disabilities and of the 227, 48 of them female and 35 children.

“They come with different types of disabilities, mainly lower limb amputations and upper limb.

Cue out audio 1 

According to her, the centre receives maximum of five amputees from North East weekly for rehabilitation.

“We have even gone a step further to empower some of them because life could be difficult after suffering that kind of disability.

“ In ICRC, we look at holistic approach to rehabilitation, whereby we address the physical need, we provide prosthetics and we also look at how we economically support these people,’’ she said.

Some of the beneficiaries, who shared their experiences with NAN were grateful for the support given to them to walk again and to get back to their sources of livelihood.

Mr Alamin Inuwa, a civil servant, who was affected by the January 10th, 2019 bomb blast in Maiduguri, narrated his experience.

“I was going to 33 Barracks in Maiduguri from my house when an explosion occurred and my right limb was affected. I spent three months in the ICRC Surgical ward at Maiduguri Specialist Hospital.

“I came to Kano on Monday to start the rehabilitation process. I appreciate the effort of ICRC for supporting me and the way they took care of me when I was in the hospital,’’ he said.

Similarly, Ibrahim Umar, a tailor, who had an accident in Maiduguri seven years ago, had lost hope of walking again after he lost the right limb.

“I gave up hope in life and I am happy with the artificial limb, I will be able to go back to my tailoring work,’’ Umar said.

In addition, Sadiq Muktar, a 12-year-old student, who lost his right limb in January 2019, got it fitted back with artificial limb.

Muktar, a Primary School student said he had gone back to school and would like to become a Medical Doctor in future to give back to society the support he had received from ICRC.

Also, Binta Usman, a 23-year-old woman, who lost her legs to Polio at the age four years, was excited that she could walk now and even ride tricycles with the support given to her at the centre.

Usman, a resident of Kano, who studied Health Science worked as a part time job staff in medical dispensary, administering drugs and even injections to patients.

“I am happy that I am back to work. I will like to go to back for my degree and study Pharmacy. I can go far in life with this support and my dream will be achieved,’’ she said.

Mr Suleiman Isa, a Prosthetist in the centre said Usman was supported with orthotics devices to support her weak limbs so that she can walk again.

NAN reports that the ICRC, established in 1863, works worldwide to ensure humanitarian protection and assistance for people affected by conflict and armed violence.

ICRC has been working in Nigeria for more than 30 years, operating in 20 states to alleviate the sufferings of people affected by conflicts and armed violence.

Edited by Felix Ajide

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NGO advocates SRH education for adolescents to access services

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An NGO,  AVAC 2019 Fellowship, has stressed the need to integrate Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) education in the school curriculum to enable adolescents access available services.

Mr David Ita, AVAC fellow for the organisation, said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a round-table on integrating SRH education in the school curriculum and age of consent to access SRH.

The conference was organised by the New HIV and Vaccine Microbicides Advocacy Society in collaboration with GADO Agency LTD Nigeria and AVAC 2019 Fellowship.

The  AVAC 2019 fellowship programme  is a community centered advocacy programme focused on empowering adolescents  and young persons through training and mentorship to make significant changes in communities.

The organisation also creates awareness on Sexual Reproductive Health and Right(SRHR) while addressing HIV prevention needs of community members.

Ita said that the organisation also worked with policy makers in Lagos State and Federal Capital Territory to create a path way to reduce age of consent for adolescent’s use of SRH services without parental consent.

According to him,  the HIV prevalence in Nigeria is stabilising but new HIV infections continue to rise among adolescents and young people.

He said beyond HIV and AIDS, adolescents and young persons had the greatest concerns and needs of preventing unwanted pregnancy.

”This is of high priority to them because of its visible negative impact and associated stigma in the community.

”Women are (most)  affected by both pregnancy and HIV infection. It is therefore important to reach out to adolescents and young persons to address both the HIV needs…,’’ he said.

Ita said that the organisation would  create awareness on the adolescent sexual and reproductive health needs, rights and independent access to HIV and sexual reproductive health services among health care providers, advocates and adolescents.

” There will be improved adolescents access to HIV tests and their negotiation skills for condom use,  prevention of unwanted pregnancy and their awareness and demand for PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) .

”AIDS is the leading cause of death among young people (aged 10-24) in Africa, and second  leading cause globally

“Young women are twice as likely to acquire HIV as young men.

”A youth bulge in Africa threatens to increase new HIV infections further; unprotected sex is the most common route of HIV infection among young people.

”Low HIV and sexual health knowledge is a key barrier to reducing HIV infections among young people.

”A ‘life-cycle’ approach to HIV prevention can help respond to the changing challenges people face at different ages,” he said.

Ita said that there was an absence of youth friendly services to address the needs of young people as very few centres existed in the country.

Edited by Chukwudi Ekezie

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NYSC, catalyst of national development- Gowon

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Retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, a former Head of State and Founder, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has described the scheme as “a catalyst of Nigeria’s socioeconomic development”.

Gowon gave the commendation on Tuesday, when the Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, in a statement quoted Gowon as saying that the scheme was “a catalyst of Nigeria’s socioeconomic development”.

Gowon recalled that the scheme, which was initially rejected at inception, had turned out to become the largest youths mobilisation agency in Nigeria.

He commended the management of the scheme for grooming successive batches of corps members for national development.

Gowon also lauded the NYSC management for providing youths with necessary platform to contribute to the national development through health, education, infrastructure, agriculture and other national assignments.

He said that the security architecture that was provided for corps members during their recent participation in the Bayelsa and Kogi elections was laudable, noting that there was no casualty involving any of the corps members.

The former Head of State said the introduction of Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme into the orientation course content was another feat recorded by NYSC management.

He described it as an effective tool for youths empowerment and direct answer to youths unemployment.

Gowon lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry and other stakeholders that had assisted enterprising corps members with loans.

He said the loans had helped the corps members to establish their businesses, thereby transforming them into wealth creators and employers of labour.

While briefing Gowon, the director-general said that NYSC management had intensified efforts aimed at sanitising the scheme’s mobilisation process.

Ibrahim said that this was to eliminate the prospects of unqualified Nigerians from being mobilised for service.

He added that some of the unqualified graduates that were arrested during the 2019 Batch ‘B’ Orientation Course had been handed over to the law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

The NYSC boss further disclosed that during the last verification of credentials of foreign-trained graduates, out of over 20,000 that uploaded their certificates, only 3,420 showed up for the exercise.

Ibrahim attributed the non-presentation of these graduates to having been forewarned to steer clear of the exercise if they paraded questionable credentials.

He added that the scheme had also intensified efforts at sensitising the various tiers of government on their obligations to NYSC Scheme, particularly in respect of establishing NYSC State Governing Boards.

The director-general said that the scheme had enlightened state governments on the need for provision of befitting orientation camps and regular maintenance of the facilities, which would ensure hitch-free orientation course.

He hinted that awareness was also being created on the NYSC Act and the need for qualified foreign and Nigerian-trained graduates to make themselves available for service immediately after graduation as enshrined in the Act.

The NYSC director-general said that he would like to leave behind a scheme that the generality of Nigerians would be proud of and happy to identify with.

Edited by Oluyinka Fadare/Olagoke Olatoye

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