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Medical experts want NASS to pass Mental Health Bill

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The Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba (FNPHY), on Wednesday called on National Assembly (NASS) to pass the Mental Health Bill to enhance mental health service delivery in the country.

The Managing Director of the hospital, Mrs Oluwayemi Ogun, told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that the revised version of the bill was awaiting passage by the federal lawmakers.

NAN reports that Nigeria’s Mental Health Policy was first formulated in 1991, while the bill was promulgated in 2003.

Ogun said the country had been operating with the archaic mental health bill inherited from the colonial masters.

She noted that lack of functional regulations on mental health issues was affecting psychiatric practice in Nigeria, thereby depriving practitioners and people with mental challenges of their rights.

According to her, the proposed bill presents an overview information about mental health management which intends to help create or improve mental health services.

Ogun noted that reports from World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that mental health issues were being neglected; and as a result, information about the level of mental health service in Nigeria was hard to come by.

“A consequence of this information gap is the continued neglect of mental health issues, and the large need for service that exists for mental health problems in the community.

“This makes it difficult to identify areas of needs, coordinate activities of advocacy groups, and to make informed decision about policy direction in psychiatric practice.

“No fewer than 20 million Nigerians suffer from mental illness. A good number of them go without professional and medical assistance,” she said.

According to her, the mental health bill provides all the modalities for treatment and management of the mentally ill, which includes access to medical services, the modalities and resources of mental health.

“For example, the issue of suicide is still a punishable crime in Nigeria, as it attracts one year punishment.

“But if there is a functional mental health law in place, it could make provisions for handling suicide cases.

“There will be a way of ameliorating the punishment of people caught in the act, like sending them for treatment at rehabilitation centres, rather than just sending them to the police,” Ogun said.

She noted that everything concerning management of mental health challenges and other related issues were all contained in the mental health bill.

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer, Adicare Rehabilitation Home, an NGO, Mrs Veronica Eze, said that the passage of the bill was pertinent to protect the rights and freedom of persons with mental health challenges.

Eze noted that over time, people with mental illness, particularly those on the streets, had been neglected and segregated from others in the society.

She said the passage and enforcement of the bill would help in bridging the stigmatisation between the mentally sick and the normal persons in the society.

Eze described the bill as an intervention in the state of mental health in Nigeria, urging government at all levels to develop interest and political will to enhance medical care and attention to the mentally ill and their re-integration back to the society.

“The bill and its message is about setting up a commission that will regulate the activities of mental services and institutions.

“In many of our cities today, we see young and old people with mental illness running around the streets, constituting public nuisance, because the government has not come out with a policy to cure or stop such kinds of persons, and re-integrate them into the society,” Eze said. (NAN)


LUC/FLP/WOJ

Edited by Folorunso Poroye/Wale Ojetimi

Foreign

Ethiopia receives Chinese donation of 520,000 masks, medical supplies

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Ethiopia received on Tuesday the donation of 520,000 masks from five Chinese business companies and Dongguan Municipal government.

The COVID-19 medical supplies donation to Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa city administration which also includes a large number of disinfectants, forehead thermometers and respirators is expected to play a critical role in helping Ethiopia’s capital city overcome the challenge posed by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 medical supplies were donated by Dongguan municipal government, Huajian international Light Industry City, Transsion Manufacturing Private Limited Company (PLC), Huawei Technologies Ethiopia PLC and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

Ethiopia has 1,172 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Monday with most of the cases concentrated in Addis Ababa, a city of four million plus population.

At the COVID-19 medical supplies donation ceremony, Tan Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, said China is working to support Ethiopia’s anti-COVID-19 measures with all resources at its disposal.

“Ethiopia is facing the challenging task of containing the spread of the virus… Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on March 13, the Chinese government both at the central and local levels have been assisting Ethiopia by providing medical supplies and sharing lessons learned in an effort to boost Ethiopia’s capacity to handle the outbreak,” said Tan.

Tan further emphasized China’s anti-COVID-19 partnership with Ethiopia is not restricted to medical supplies donation, rather part of a comprehensive strategy that works both ways.

“I wish to emphasize that the support between our two countries is mutual, not one way or one country at a receiving end. We support each other, we will stand by the great country of Ethiopia, stand by the great city of Addis Ababa in the fight against COVID-19,” said Tan.

Takele Uma, mayor of Addis Ababa, said the COVID-19 medical supplies donations will be of vital assistance to his city’s fight against the pandemic.

“We want to give thanks to the assistance given by the Chinese people, Chinese institutions and Chinese government and we hope they continue extending their assistance in our ongoing struggle against the virus,” said the mayor.

We Ethiopians are always able to overcome our difficulties and we will overcome this current difficulty; we will see new horizon eventually. I call on all of us to work towards this path together,” said Uma.

(XINHUA)

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Medical Council validates 4 COVID-19 test kits – Registrar

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The Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) says it has validated four Rapid Test Kits to determine their suitability for testing SAR-COV-2  infection popularly known as  COVID-19  in the country.

The Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of MLSCN, Dr Tosan Erhabor disclosed this in a video posted on the official twitter account of the council @MedLabNigeria.

Erhabor said the council placed an advert in four National Daily Newspapers on March, 30, requesting for submission of COVID-19 test kits by manufactures of their sales representatives in the country.

“A total of eleven 11 in-vitro Diagnostics; one Polymerase Chain Reaction based kit, nine Rapid Test Kits (RTKs) two Antigen based seven Antibody based kits and one Viral Transport Medium (VTM) were received.

“They were received for validation at MLSCN Public Health in-Vitro Diagnostics Control Laboratory, Yaba, Lagos.

“However, out of the seven Antibody based RTKs submitted for validation, only four of the RTKs met validation inclusion criteria; the validation of PCR based and Antigen based Rapid Test Kits are ongoing,’’ he said.

According to him, the results from validation show that four COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits validated, fell below the generally acceptable minimum for Intro-Diagnostic (IVD) Sensitivity of 95 per cent.

“Therefore, none was approved for the purpose of diagnosis and surveillance in Nigeria.

“It became clear from the standardised validation done by MLSCN that manufacturers’ claims as contained in the product insert about sensitivity, specificity and accuracy are not always correct.

“In this case, we observed a significant standard deviation, an indication that Rapid Test Kits that are not validated poses higher risks of providing false positive and negative results.

Though, all the Rapid Test Kits validated, fulfilled the requirement to perform laboratory test without the need of equipment and were able to produce results in less than two minutes,* he said.

However, the registrar said for a rapid test to be deployed for disease surveillance and diagnosis, it should be able to detect a disease-causing agent when it is present and to return a negative result if the causing agent is absent.

“In order words, it must possess good sensitivity so it can detect the presence of disease.

“It must also possess good sensitivity so that no interfering substances can lead to a false positive instead of negative results in the absence of etiological agent of the disease.

“Therefore, for a kit to be considered reliable for laboratory diagnosis and disease surveillance, the kit should have a high sensitivity and specificity.

“A kit performing very well in one of these characteristics without the other renders it unsuitable for diagnostic testing, It is also unsuitable if both characteristics are low,’’ he said.

In addition, Erhabor said the kits did not meet the expected performance characteristics of sensitivity and specificity to qualify their deployment for the purposes of testing in disease surveillance and routine diagnosis.

“The four rapid test kits validated so far are not approved for the purpose of diagnosis and surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Nigeria.

“They are therefore not approved for marketing in Nigeria; No SARS-COV-2 Rapid Test is currently approved for use in Nigeria.

“We are using this opportunity to caution against the use of any non-validated Rapid Kits for COVID-19 testing in Nigeria as this will attract sanctions in accordance with the law,’’ he said.

According to him, validation of other Rapid Test Kits for SARS-COV-2 infection is ongoing, as Nigerians will be informed when suitable test kits meet minimum validation requirements.

MLSCN assures the Federal and State Ministries of Health and indeed the government of Nigeria of its commitment to ensuring quality healthcare delivery as enshrined in the statute books,’’ Erhabor said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) is a Federal Government Statutory Regulatory Agency established by Act 11 of 2003.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

 

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Nepal faces shortage of vital medical supplies over surging COVID-19 cases

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Nepal’s Department of Health Services said it does not have a single ventilator in store for the hospitals if critical COVID-19 cases surge amid rapidly increasing cases recently.

Ventilator is the life saving equipment vital for the survival of critically ill patients, which the Himalayan country lacks in various hospitals.

“We don’t have any ventilator at our store at the moment. We are initiating the process of procuring 10 new ventilators,” Bhogendra Raj Dotel, director of Supply Management section at the Department of Health Services under the Ministry of Health and Population, told Xinhua early this week.

According to the Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population, the nation currently has only 840 ventilators across the country.

Although the Health Ministry planned to buy 235 new ventilators, hardly any of them have arrived, according to Adhikari. “We also have not received ventilators from foreign donors who have supported us with surgical masks, personal protective equipment and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test kits, rapid test kits among others.”

The ministry said in its Health Sector Emergency Response Plan against the COVID-19 pandemic unveiled last month that there are 840 ventilators, 26,930 hospital beds and 1,595 beds with intensive care unit facilities in 194 hospitals.

“As these facilities, particularly impatient beds and ventilators, are being used for other conditions or impatient care services, we assume only one third of it could be available for COVID-19 cases,” the Health Emergency Response Plan states.

With a record-high 239 new cases on Monday, the total count of COVID-19 in Nepal has reached 1,811. After a slow start, almost all cases had appeared in the last one month, according to the ministry.

The Himalayan country has already witnessed eight deaths from the pandemic. As the number of cases is rising rapidly, Adhikari said the rise in serious cases that require ventilator support could not be ruled out.

In the worst case scenario, Nepal expects over 10,000 cases of COVID-19 with a requirement of keeping over 500 patients at intensive care units and over 1,500 at the hospitals with oxygen support, according to the Health Sector Emergency Response Plan.

Along with the rise in the number of cases, the Nepali government is also struggling to manage enough the PCR test kits and the Viral Transport Mediums (VTMs) which are used to collect throat swab samples for testing.

“There are just over 50,000 PCR kits while the number of VTMs is just over 10,000,” according to Adhikari. “As PCR kits are in constant supply, it may not be a problem,” he said. “We also hope to get VTMs from local manufacturers too, which will offset the current shortage.”

(XINHUA)

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Chinese medical team exchanges experiences in fighting COVID-19 with Sudan’s health emergencies committee

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A visiting Chinese medical team on Monday met with members of Sudan’s Higher Committee for Health Emergencies to exchange experiences in combating COVID-19.

“The Chinese medical delegation made field visits to get acquainted with the health conditions and the challenges facing the country with regard to fighting COVID-19,” Hiba Ahmed, member of the higher committee, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Sudan Ma Xinmin, stressed in a statement the continued cooperation between China and Sudan to confront the coronavirus.

China is seeking to support Sudan in the best possible way through exchanging and sharing the experiences in monitoring and controlling COVID-19, Ma said.

The Chinese medical team arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Thursday from Algeria after ending its two-week anti-coronavirus mission there.

China has offered help to Sudan in its fight against COVID-19.

In late March, the Chinese Embassy in Sudan donated over 400,000 surgical masks to the Sudanese government.

On April 23, Chinese medical experts held a video conference with Sudanese counterparts to share China‘s experiences in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Sudan’s Health Ministry on Monday announced 147 new infections with COVID-19 and 12 deaths, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 5,173 and the death toll to 298.

(XINHUA)

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Defence/Security

Nigerian Army Medical Corps gets new Acting Corps Commander

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The Nigerian Army Medical Corps gets a new Acting Corps Commander, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The handing and taking over ceremony was held on Monday at the Headquarters, Nigerian Army Medical Corps, Bonny Camp cantonment, Lagos.

The ceremony witnessed by Col. S. J. Adama, the outgoing Acting Corps Commander, who handed over to Col. I.B. Solebo.

The new Acting Corps Commander said that his vision was to have a highly regimented, professional and accountable Corps in the delivery of its services.

“You will agree with me that the amount of financial resources devoted to and already expended by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on healthcare infrastructure in our medical establishment is enormous.

“The Corps is unparalleled in the recent history of the Nigerian Army. As such, there is no gainsaying that to whom, much is given much is expected.

“By extension, performance, excellence and efficiency in the delivery of prompt and enviable healthcare to our officers, soldiers and their families is therefore not an exception, but the norm henceforth,” he said.

He said that regimentation was the bedrock of military indoctrination and panacea for victory at warfare and success in peacetime administration.

Solebo implored all personnel to reflect on the ethics, customs and tradition of the military and abide strictly by the rules therein, if we are to foster an enviable Corps for the future.

He urged all corps commanders to ensure that all military personnel in their various units engaged in physical activities as stipulated by the Nigerian Army to improve the performance at work.

According to him, to improve the performance at work, a physically fit body and mentally alert mind are essential.

“As such, all commanders are to ensure all military personnel of the Corps in their respective units actively participate in physical activities by way of morning physical training.

“And also evening games as stipulated by the NA except while on duty as the current COVID-19 pandemic settles.

“Participation in this activities are to be reflected in the PER’s of all personnel by their respective directors and commanders.

“All officers and soldiers of the Corps will also work to maintain their body mass index prescribed by the ASA.

“There would be special focus on health care deliver in the North East including the Reference hospital in the AOR.

“With the goal of reinforcing and bringing clinical, and surgical expertise closer to the location of injured amongst troops.

“Such that intervention is faster with the expected effect of further reduction in morbidity and mortality,” he said.

Solebo also said that all medical units would benefit from declaring their average drug usage on a monthly or quarterly basis.

According to him, drug availability on the NHIS in our hospitals and the scourge of fake drugs had become a topical issue.

“All medical units would benefit from declaring their average drug usage on a monthly or quarterly basis. This would aid budgeting and efficient use of primary funds including capitation and fee for service.

“A drive towards centralisation of drug procurement from a few validated sources would be urgently explored, whilst our drug manufacturing unit continue to explore capacity building and expansion to meet the drug consumption need of the NA,” he said.

Solebo, however, thanked the COAS for counting him worthy of steering the affairs of the Corps, saying that all his efforts would be channelled toward swiftly achieving the vision of the COAS.

He also thanked the outgoing Acting Corps Commander on the effort made to reposition the Corps thus far.

Present at the event include all Headquarters Directors, Commandants Nigerian Army School of Medical Science, Chief Medical Director 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Yaba.

The MD, Nigerian Army Drug Manufacturing Company Limited, the Ag Chief Medical Director Military Hospital Port Harcourt, Heads of Departments and Principal staff officers.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Foreign

Chinese medical experts awarded by Serbia for assistance in fighting COVID-19

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Another three members of a six-strong Chinese expert medical team to Serbia were awarded on Monday with military memorial medals for their assistance in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The medals were awarded by Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin to the three members, who arrived on May 4 to replace their colleagues.

Following the award ceremony, Cheng Shouzhen, a member of the Chinese medical team, said the team has toured many places in Serbia, such as COVID-19 hospitals, elderly care facilities, and child care centers.

“We shared our experience gained in China and especially in Wuhan. We openly exchanged suggestions and opinions in line with the current epidemiological situation about treatment of patients, abolition of the state of emergency, gradual return to work and restarting production, as well as opening borders,” she said.

Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo congratulated the country on excellent response to COVID-19, adding that the joint battle against the pandemic strengthened ties between the two countries.

“The Chinese expert medical team to Serbia became a symbol of the friendship between our two countries,” Chen said.

Defense Minister Vulin thanked the Chinese experts for their help. “We learned from you as doctors, but also as human beings. You have demonstrated discipline, endurance and diligence,” he said.

The Chinese medical expert team has been assisting Serbia in fighting the COVID-19 since March 21. On May 6, Serbia lifted the state of emergency, and opened borders for passengers recently.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Chinese medical experts in Sudan hold video conference about COVID-19

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Chinese medical experts in Sudan on Sunday held a video conference with Chinese people in the country over the prevention of COVID-19.

Workers from Chinese companies and Chinese people living in Sudan participated in the video conference, during which Chinese medical experts answered questions related to the coronavirus and introduced the personal protection measures.

The Chinese medical team arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Thursday from Algeria after ending its two-week anti-coronavirus mission there.

“We are paying attention to the collection of questions and give more video exchanges in recent days,” Zhou Lin, the expert team leader, told Xinhua.

On May 30, the medical experts were divided into two groups for the anti-coronavirus mission in Sudan. One of them provided an on-site training for the Chinese doctors from Omdurman Friendship Hospital of Sudan.

The other group went to an office of a Chinese company in Sudan to give an on-site training to the staff.

China has offered help to Sudan in its fight against COVID-19.

In late March, the Chinese Embassy in Sudan donated over 400,000 surgical masks to the Sudanese government.

On April 23, Chinese medical experts held a video conference with Sudanese counterparts to share China‘s experiences in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

(XINHUA)

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Health

COVID-19: NIMR lauds firm for donating medical equipment

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The Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba in Lagos, says it has received donation of medical equipment from a firm toward the fight against novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Prof. Babatunde Salako, the Director-General of the institute, made this known on his twitter handle on Sunday in Lagos.

Salako commended the Unique Instruments and Science Company Limited for donating the equipment saying that it would boost the institute’s COVID-19 testing capacity.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the institute started a drive through testing of COVID-19 on March 30, in partnership with Lifebank, led by Temie Giwa-Tubosun.

”We received yesterday a donation of Taqman 2019nCov reagents by Thermofisher Scientific from Unique Instruments & Science Company Limited.

“This definitely will improve our laboratory’s capacity to do more tests.

“We thank Unique Instruments & Science Company for this kind gesture,” Salako twitted.

NAN reports that NIMR was established in 1977 to conduct research on diseases of public health importance in Nigeria.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Foreign

UNICEF dispatches medical shipment to Yemen’s Sanaa to confront COVID-19

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Yemen’s health authorities controlled by the Houthi militia Sunday confirmed the arrival of a medical shipment dispatched by the UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the war-ravaged country.

A UNICEF‘s plane loaded with essential medical supplies to respond to COVID-19 landed at Sanaa Airport on Saturday and our teams will supervise distribution to the hospitals,” one official of the Houthi-controlled Health Ministry in Sanaa told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

According to a brief statement released by the UN, “a UNICEF chartered plane landed at Sanaa airport on Saturday with lifesaving supplies to help curb the spread of the disease in the conflict-hit country.”

It said that the supplies are a range of medical assistance, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items such as aprons, boots, face masks and gloves for frontline health workers.

It added that the PPE items will help at least 1,600 health workers in primary health centres, hospitals and isolation units across Yemen to provide safe primary health care and nutrition services for a period of three months.

“These supplies will allow our courageous partners the health workers, who are working around the clock, to safely and more effectively address the spread of COVID-19,” said Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF Representative in Yemen.

The UN agency noted that the outbreak of COVID-19 has created an emergency within an emergency in Yemen where only half of health facilities are functional and with almost every child in Yemen (over 12 million in total) already in need of humanitarian assistance, including nearly half a million suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Yemen’s Health Ministry on Saturday confirmed 27 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total tally of infections to 310 with 77 deaths in the country’s provinces controlled by the government.

The government called on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.

(XINHUA)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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