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NACA launches electronic record for HIV/AIDS patients in Abia



The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme was launched on Friday at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia in collaboration with the Global Fund.

Mr Francis Agbo, the Deputy Director and Coordinator, Global Fund said that Abia and Taraba were chosen as pilot states for the programme.

He said that the EMR system would help to collect patients’ data electronically instead of the old paper-based record.

Agbo said:” Before now, when somebody comes into hospital, information about the person is documented on paper but that has its disadvantages.

“It is not fast and it has challenges with the quality of the data.So this EMR intends to make it better in terms of quality and also speed at which data is collected.

“Those providing the treatment, care and support are also better in managing their clients and patients. There will be no loss of data any longer.”

He noted that the Federal Government, through NACA, planned to cover the entire country with electronic method.“

He said it was essential to report timely and accurately from facility level down to the national level.

“The world is moving digital and we can’t be left out in that aspect.

“So we are trying to computerise most of our facilities in such way that the data being generated at the facility level can also be transmitted to the national centre where it will be collated,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Godfrey Azu, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Abia, expressed happiness for EMR system deployment in the state.

Azu, who was represented by Mrs Maria Okeh, Director for Reproductive Health and HIV Programme, said the deployment would ensure availability of quality data.

Azu said that 23 facilities had been fully installed with the EMR system in the state while 46 staff had been trained to ensure effective utilisation of the technology in the various facilities.

Highpoint light at the launch was the demonstration of the EMR system at the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) clinic of the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia.

Edited by Dada Ahmed


Lawmakers set agenda for achievement of Universal Health Coverage



The three-day Health Summit, organised by the National Assembly, ended on Friday with lawmakers setting out milestones to be met in order to attain the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country.

Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, who presented a four-year Strategic Framework Legislative Health Agenda (LHA), and a 2020 Activity Work plan for the achievement of UHC in the country, said the legislature would among other things ensure passage of an amended law on health insurance.

Olroriegbe said lawmakers would also ensure increase in budgetary allocations to the health sector.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the summit’s theme is “Efficiency in the Health Sector and the Role of Legislators”.

Oloriegbe, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, said that the agenda was to explore ways the legislators could apply their functions in achieving the set goals.

He said the legislators had identified some critical issues affecting the achievement of UHC in the country such as the absence of a health agenda to guide legislative actions towards achieving Universal Health Coverage across the country, among others.

The chairman said that in view of this, the summit resolved to ensure finalisation and implementation of legislative health agenda at national and state levels towards achieving UHC.

He said they also resolved to ensure collaboration between governments, the private sector, development partners, and civil society organisations, towards ensuring that every Nigerian accessed a full-range of health services at all levels.

Oloriegbe noted that the summit also recommended that government should ensure that all financial risks associated with seeking health care were mitigated.

He said that in order to achieve these targets, the summit suggested that the National Assembly should amend relevant sections of the National Health Act and ensure speedy review, passage and assent to the National Health Insurance Commission Bill.

According him, the summit also called for speedy passage of State Health Insurance (SHIS) Bills in states without a health insurance scheme.

Speaking of on the role of the legislative arm, Oloriegbe said that the National Assembly would ensure full implementation of legislative health agenda at national and state levels.

“Ensuring revision of the present Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), guidelines to be in consonance with the Act and providing oversight of operations of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

“Providing oversight to operators of tertiary health institutions and ensuring the BHCPF guidelines reflect the provisions of the Act.

“Monitoring and evaluating implementation and impact of BHCPF; ensuring that government and the private sector are accountable,” he said.

On appropriation, the lawmaker said they would ensure an increased allocation to the BHCPF, and work towards increasing overall Health Budget.

Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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Stakeholders strategise to prevent measles outbreak in Ondo



Stakeholders, on Friday in Akure, embarked on strategies to prevent outbreak of measles through vaccination in Ondo State.

Speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting, Dr Francis Akanbiemu, the Executive Secretary of Ondo State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (OSPHCDA), said that the meeting was necessary to strategise on the introduction of measles-containing-vaccine second-dose (MCV2) in the state.

Akanbiemu, who was represented by Dr Victor Adefesoye, the Director of Disease Control and Immunization of OSPHCDA, noted that measles vaccination, which started on Thursday, had been introduced into regular immunisation (RI) for children between 0 to 23 months.

He explained that MCV2 was a second dose of measles vaccination to be taken when a child clocked 15 months.

The executive secretary asked the stakeholders to dialogue with members of the public so as to spread the information on vaccination.

According to him, the participants should have total grip of the information in order not to misinform the public.

He expressed appreciation to all the supporting partners, saying that without them, the successes so far recorded would have been difficult.

Akanbiemu also thanked all the stakeholders, saying that they had done brilliantly well even when there was no money to mobilise them.

In his remarks, Dr Samuel Abiona, the Director of Community Health Services and Education of OSPHCDA, described measles as a great cause of economic loss, saying that 17,000 cases were being reported annually in Nigeria.

According to him, no fewer than 246 children die of measles daily in the world, with Nigeria contributing majorly to the figure.

Abiona said that vaccination was one of the most effective ways of preventing the disease.

The director noted that MCV2 was necessary, because it was discovered that 15 percent of children taking MCV1 could resist it, hence the need for second dose of the vaccination.

He added that MCV2 was another opportunity for children who missed MCV1 at age of nine months.

Abiona explained that MCV2 was not meant to replace MCV1, adding that the vaccination was free and safe.

“Measles is dangerous and can cause serious complications such as blindness and hearing problem; it can also affect the brain and eventually cause death.

“But the joy of it is that it can be prevented, while its vaccine is safe and free.

“The vaccine may cause mild reaction, but not complicated, and within a short time, it will go,” he stated.

Mr Adetunji Adeoye, the state Coordinator of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA), explained that 70 percent of measles cases were among those who missed MCV1, hence the need for introduction of MCV2.

Adeoye said that health workers had been trained to be polite and compassionate with the children taking the vaccine.

Edited by Jane-Frances Oraka and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Sokoto Govt. releases N6m for free treatment of indigent patients



The Sokoto State Government on Friday disbursed N6 million to 12 health facilities it engaged to offer free treatment to indigent patients in the state.

Chairman, Zakkat and Endowment Commission, Malam Muhammad Maidoki, disbursed the money in Sokoto to the special committees set up by government to manage the grant.

“Today like all other months, we are disbursing the sum of N6 million to our various partners for the treatment of needy patients across the state.

“As such, I want urge our partners in the hospitals and pharmaceutical shops committees to remain committed in ensuring proper utilisation of the funds allocated to them,” he said.

Maidoki appealed to wealthy individuals and organisations to complement government effort in bringing succour to the needy, especially those requiring urgent medical care.

He commended Gov. Aminu Tambuwal for sustaining the free healthcare initiative and urged the committees to utilise the money judiciously.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Kware Psychiatric Hospital and Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital got N1 million each, while Specialist Hospital Sokoto and Wamakko Orthopedic Hospital received N500,000 each.

Maryam Abacha Hospital, Iman Hospital and W.C.W.C Hospital committees got N300,000 each, while Binji and Zumunci pharmacies committees each received N500,000.

Other beneficiaries include the committees for Rauda and Iman pharmacies, N400,000, and Maigobir pharmacy, N300,000.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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2020 Budget: Ganduje proposes N30bn for health sector – Commissioner



The Kano State Government has allocated over N30 billion to the health sector in its 2020 budget proposal presented recently to the State House of Assembly for approval.

The state Commissioner of Health, Dr. Aminu Ibrahim-Tsanyawa told newsmen after he appeared before the Assembly to defend the proposed budget estimate for the sector.

He said that the proposed budget for the ministry represents 15 per cent of the over N197 billion proposed for the state by Gov.Ganduje.

According to him, out of the proposed budget, the State government plans to upgrade four general hospitals to the status of specialist hospitals cross the recently established four Emirates.

He explained that the emirates recently established are: Gaya, Bichi, Karaye and Rano, adding that the plan is to reduce the challenges of coming to the city hospitals to see a specialist.

Ibrahim-Tsanyawa said that upgrading the four hospitals would also assist in decongesting the specialist hospitals in the town as well as encourage the doctors to work effectively.

He said that the hospitals would be upgraded to a high standard with modern facilities to accommodate about 400 patients at a time.

“In the next coming year (2020), we are setting aside part of our budget to ensure that all our health facilities across the 44 Local Government Areas are working effectively,” the Commissioner said.

Edited by Jane-Frances Oraka/Tukur Muntari.

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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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