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Mental Health Day: WHO official seeks collaboration to prevent suicide



Dr Memuna Esan, an official of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Lagos, says collaboration among the media, government and civil society will go a long way in preventing cases of suicide.

Esan, who represented the Country Director of WHO, stated this while addressing students and various stakeholders at the commemoration of the 2019 World Mental Health Day, with the theme “Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention.”

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the event, organised by the United Nations Information Centre, in collaboration with WHO and Mental Health Foundation, highlighted the challenges of mental health and advocated for solutions.

NAN also reports that the day is celebrated on Oct. 10 every year for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

It was first celebrated in 1992 at the instance of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organisation, with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.

According to Esan, mental health is intertwined with every aspect of life, adding that civil societies are essential in tackling the menace of suicide.

In her presentation, she described suicide as a global health problem and said that more people die from suicide than war and homicides, put together.

“Goal three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is good health and wellbeing.

“It is the responsibility of all stakeholders to join hands to fight this problem and it starts by identifying the signs of depression in people around us.

“If you’re struggling with something, take 40 seconds to kick start a conversation with someone you trust about how you are feeling,” she said.

Similarly, Dr Funmi Akinola, Chief Consultant Psychiatrist, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba-Oshodi annex, said that suicide prevention required collective efforts.

“Everyone must come together to reduce the problem. We must try as much as possible to preach resilience, which is the ability to bounce back from challenging situations.

“There is more to life than committing suicide or getting worked up about situations we cannot handle,” she said.

Akinola also urged parents and guardians to train their teenagers on emotional management skills.

“Parents must know that no matter how much they try to shield their children, they will still have challenges.

“They should, therefore, equip them with strategies for coping in situations that pose threat to their mental wellbeing,” she said.

NAN also reports that the observance of World Mental Health Day by UNIC is a continuation of World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).

WSPD is an awareness day observed annually on Sept. 10 to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides with various activities around the world. (NAN)


Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq


We need to do more to fight trafficking – NAPTIP




Abuja, Nov. 21, 2019 National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on Thursday

urged stakeholders to put more effort toward the fight against trafficking in women and children.

The Director General of NAPTIP, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, made the call at the 24th National Stakeholders Consultative

Forum (NSCF) on human trafficking held in Abuja on Thursday.

According to her, the support of stakeholders will help in upgrading the country from the position of Tier 2  Watch List to Tier 1 watch List.

The U.S. Department of States Trafficking in Persons Report in June 2017 ranked Nigeria as Tier 2 country in terms

of human trafficking “but our hope is to become a Tier 1 country where the menace would highly be reduced.

“I hope we will sustain efforts and also do more before the next reporting cycle to upgrade

the country to Tier 1.

“We must, therefore, increase the tempo of our current efforts to keep hope alive in support of our vulnerable women and children

across the nation.”

Ms Elisabeth Bayes, the Representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), said that the organisation

would sustain partnership with NAPTIP toward ending trafficking in women and children.

She said that the UNODC  would continue to  support NAPTIP with its  Policy, Prevention, Protection and Prosecution(4Ps) working systems.

“This is our methodology in the fight against human trafficking. We will assist NAPTIP to bring to an end this menace.

“At the moment, we are focusing on prevention. NAPTIP has been our co-partner. We are here in the country as facilitators to government agencies, organisations

particularly on trafficking and illegal migration.”

The British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos,Tim Galvin, said that human trafficking issues  had become a global phenomenon regarded as an international crime.

Galvin said that the fight against trafficking in women and children would be achieved if government agencies from different countries share information.

He pledged the continuous support of the UK Government to assist Nigeria in achieving more results in fighting the crime, adding that NAPTIP had achieved

tremendous result in this direction.

Mr Rafael Molina, the Nigeria Team Leader of  Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM Nigeria), a European Union agency,

pledged the agency’s continued support to NAPTIP.

He said “we would support and provide the agency with whatever we seem necessary to fight human trafficking in line with our core areas of work such as prevention,

protection of victims, investigation, policies and finance.”

Edited /Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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Drug Abuse: Physicians meet to proffer solution



Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria (SOFON) has stressed

the need for collaborative efforts to fight the scourge of drug abuse on families and the nation at large.

Its President, Dr Nnaedozie Obiegbu, said this at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday

ahead of the society’s 22nd Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference that would commence on Nov. 22.

Obiegbu said that the effects of hard drugs had contributed to mental ill-health, poor education, as well as addiction among

youths in the society.

He added that “the leading cause of death among people between 15 and 24 years of age is violence, including accidents,

homicide and suicide; many of these deaths can be attributed to the use of drugs and alcohol.’’

According to him, persons between 18 and 25 years of age are most likely to use illicit drugs, which he described as

powerful indicator of later alcohol and drug problems.

The SOFON president noted that people of all ages, sexes, ethnic and socio-economic groups could engage in drug abuse.

He stressed the role of physicians toward diagnosis and treatment of addiction problems, and charged them to be familiar with

the signs and symptoms of abuse to enable them to provide effective therapy for acute intoxication and withdrawal symptoms.

He said “the upcoming 22nd AGM and Scientific Conference will help to provide information about help in recognition of

addiction, guidelines for treatment of intoxication and withdrawal of various drug abuse and techniques for brief intervention,

as well as long term care of substance-abusing patients.’’

Obiegbu also advised that the management of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases below 40 years

should be done with lower glucose medication, omega 3 fatty acids and statin usage according to the recent guidelines for risk management.

He added that a new class of drugs for the treatment of diabetes mellitus had also been developed to address co-morbid considerations and to give priority to cardio protective drugs.

The physician, however, stressed the importance of exercise, low saturated fat diet and lipid management and other lifestyle medication as part of treatment.

He said “there is increased recognition of the relationship between substance use disorders and other common chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus.’’

He added that the SOFON conference would provide platform to highlight latest advances in technology, clinical applications and practice for physicians across the nation.

Dr Blessing Chukwukelu, the Chief Consultant Family Physician, Eko Hospitals, Lagos, listed sleeplessness, poor concentration and performance, criminal tendencies, poor behaviour,

improper dressing, shabbiness as some symptoms drug abusers might exhibit.

Dr Musa Dankyau, the Vice President of SOFON, noted that questionnaires and equipment could be used to determine drug abuse among users.

He said “we use questionnaire to find out if one is abusing substances such as alcohol.

“We also use complicated equipment that are used in labs, some are basic and can be taught to police officers to do it when they find someone

driving erratically such as breath test for alcohol, while other test requires urine samples.

“Blood sample, saliva or hair can also be used to test for cannabis, Indian hemp, certain opioids, sedative-hypnotics and others.’’

Dr Achiaka Irabor, the Secretary General of the society, advised parents to be united, communicate more with their children, as well as

encourage them to make right decisions, rather than force their own views on children to curb drug abuse.

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)

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Centre treats 50 VVF patients in Kebbi



The Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF) Centre in Kebbi, in collaboration with Fistula Foundation, an NGO,

treated 50 fistula patients in the state.

The Manager of the centre, Dr Abubakar Dakingari, made this known in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday.

He said that the patients were treated during one week free medical outreach on VVF disease at the VVF centre in Birnin Kebbi.

VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder and the vagina that allows continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal


Dakingari said “our expectations were to treat 50 women but we treated 48 out of the 50 and the two would also be treated.

“We have 15 doctors from Fistula Foundation, as well as nurses and other medical practitioners helping in the exercise.”

The manager said that the drugs and other necessary facilities provided by the state government and the foundation made the exercise successful.

He added that “the patients came from various places within and outside the state, as well as neighbouring countries of Niger and Benin Republics.

“Most patients were affected due to prolonged labour while giving birth and genital mutilation.

“The centre offers free treatment to patients from within and outside the country.

“Many women affected by the condition are from remote villages that lacked roads and functional healthcare facilities.”

He commended the foundation for complementing the efforts of the state government toward improving healthcare delivery in the state.

Edited by Cecilia Odey/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)

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Board Chairman tasks UCH management on international best practices



Alh. Ibrahim Shettima, Chairman, Board of Management, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, has tasked the management and members of staff of the hospital on international best practices to make hospital the leading medical service delivery centre in Nigeria.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Shettima stated this in Ibadan at the award night/dinner marking the 62nd anniversary of the hospital.

Shettima stated that UCH, University of Ibadan and the College of Medicine have a symbiotic relationship and as such, they must collaborate to serve as benchmark in health care delivery in the country.

He lamented on the downward slide in the ranking of the three institutions in Africa as well as the latest ranking by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

“I came here to challenge the management and staffers of these three institutions. I want to let us know that we are in the era of competition.

“You cannot rest on your oars. Your good is not enough and like the saying goes, good is the enemy of great and we have always wanted to be great.

“If you look at our vision, UCH is to be a flagship for West Africa and the first choice in medical services in Africa.

“If you look at our core values, some of them were implemented in collaboration with other parties, but we need to do more so that UI, UCH and the College of Medicine will be leading light in medical services and tertiary education in Nigeria.

“As we are celebrating, we should know that the road ahead is still very rough and we need to guard our loins so that we can forever retain our pride position of leadership for which Ibadan is known,” he said.

Shettima noted that with the research incentives for staff put in place by the management of the hospital and others, he was hopeful that the hospital would be better for it.

He, however, charged the management to faithfully implement the two communiqués, which were based on the core mission and vision of the hospital for a better result.

Earlier in his address, the Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, highlighted his achievements and that of his management team in less than a year in office.

He stated that the hospital got a Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award as the best tertiary healthcare provider in 2019 by the National Healthcare Development Agency.

He, however, solicited for support from well-meaning Nigerians to contribute to the development of the hospital.

Otegbayo stated that the hospital had continued to prioritise quality service delivery and staff welfare.

“We have achieved the following, among others, since we assumed office: renovation of dilapidated staircases in the east wing of the hospital, renovation of Otunba Tunwase Children Emergency Ward (OTCHEW), provision of stainless chairs for patients’ relations and acquisition of new lift,” he said.

NAN reports that the event featured award of grand patrons to Pastor Enoch Adeboye of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Chief Subomi Balogun and the Etsu Nupe, Dr Yahaya Abubakar.

Other awardees were Sen. Hoses Agboola, Chief Bamidele Dada and some corporate organisations including the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), for their contributions to the development of the hospital.

NAN also reports that some members of staff in both the junior and senior cadres received various awards at the event.

Edited by Saidu Adamu and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Zaria: College BoT chairman harps on character molding above learning



Alhaji Sambo Idris-Sambo, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Muslim Community College of Health Science and Technology (MCCHT), Funtua has said that the college places high premium on character molding above learning.

Idris-Sambo, who is District Head of Funtua, said good character was key to positive values, societal transformation and national growth and development.

This is contained in a statement by the college Public Relations Officer (PRO), Malam Abdullahi Lawal, made available to Nigeria News Agency in Zaria, Kaduna State on Thursday.

The PRO said the BOT Chairman made the disclosure at the 2019/2020 matriculation ceremony of the college held in Funtua, Katsina State.

“The college attaches high premium to character above learning. This is because learning without good character will only lead to destruction of the custodian of such knowledge and the society at large.

“Hence, any conduct capable of corruption and against our collective morality engenders serious undesirable repercussions upon the person in breach,” he said.

According to him, the name of the college underscores the commitment to the societal norms, communal heritage and good cultural practices that constitutes its core values.

He said any infractions of the core values would be decisively dealt with by both the college management and the Board of Trustees.

In his speech, Provost of the college, Alhaji Umar Aminu-Imam charged the matriculating students to accord due priority to culturally accepted dress code.

He assured that the college was striving to promote academic excellence by putting in place measures to encourage achievers and discourage failures.

“In line with our policy of calling a spade a spade, we will not hesitate to withdraw weak students that could not measure up academically and who show no readiness to work hard and achieve academic excellence.

“All institutions of learning aspire to produce graduates that excel in both character and learning; hence, our college embedded Islamic moral values in the training curricula of its students.

“The curriculum of the institution is replete with Islamic moral precept and culturally acceptable values that will help in making the graduates more attuned to our social values,” he said.

Aminu-Imam reminded the new students that the college would prioritise academic excellence, positive character molding and efficiency in service delivery.

He said the college was adequately prepared to offer skilled health workforce to the nation’s health system, adding that it was one of the reasons the college employed the best brains in various fields of endeavour.

The Provost said in line with this, the college provided conducive environment and adequate facilities for effective teaching and learning.

He charged the students to shun vices like drug abuse, cultism and absenteeism in order to positively reap the fruits of their stay in the college.

edited by Emmanuel Nwoye/Ismail Abdulaziz

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NGO promotes demand for nutrition, health services in Kaduna rural communities



Save the Children International (SCI), an NGO, on Thursday said that it had intensified community dialogue and awareness campaign to increase demand for nutrition and health services in rural areas of Kaduna State.

SCI’s Nutrition Advocacy Advisor, Malam Isah Ibrahim, made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Kaduna.

Ibrahim said that the measure was to reduce the burden of malnutrition and child mortality in the state.

He pointed out that poor maternal nutrition and health among young women, as well as poor access to health services were among key drivers of malnutrition in rural communities.

He described the low uptake of nutrition and health services in healthcare facilities in Sambam Ward and other wards in Jaba Local Government Area as “very disturbing’’.

According to him, the development is negatively impacting on antenatal care, child delivery, early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices with accompanying consequences on healthy growth and development of children.

Ibrahim said that to address the problem, the NGO had recently supported a community dialogue and awareness campaign at Sambam Ward to improve the uptake of nutrition and health services in the area.

The advisor said that the dialogue was part of strategies to address the scourge of malnutrition, which was closely associated with poor health status of women and children.

He said that the goal was to get community members and relevant stakeholders in the area to look at the low patronage of healthcare facilities during child delivery in the community.

“The meeting was particularly designed to build a common understanding in promoting individual, family and community action that would improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition in the community.

“Such dialogue provides the opportunity to raise awareness and understanding about critical nutrition-related health issues and mobilise support for action,” Ibrahim said.

He said that responses during the meeting showed that the women were not often motivated to access health services in government facilities because of the cost, attitude of health workers and transportation cost.

“For example, some of the women identified physical and emotional abuses by health workers as barriers that discouraged them from patronising public health facilities for delivery.

“They also identified non-availability of health workers to provide 24-hour services and high cost of the services even when available.

“The women particularly appealed for the recruitment and redeployment of health personnel from urban to rural areas where their services are highly needed.

“This is a good feedback that will enable policy makers take necessary action,” he said.

Ibrahim added that the women were sensitised on the importance of optimal and appropriate feeding of children under two years, through early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding practices.

He described optimal and appropriate infant and young child feeding, access to health services and childcare as “essential elements for the prevention of malnutrition, illness and mortality among children in the state’’.

“High rate of malnutrition pose significant public health and development challenges for the state and the nation in general.

“Stunting for example, in addition to its increased risk of death, is also linked to poor cognitive development, low performance in education and low productivity in adulthood,”  Ibrahim said.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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