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Osinbajo tasks stakeholders on development of pharmaceutical sector

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The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has tasked stakeholders from various sectors of the economy, to proffer ways of accelerating development of the pharmaceutical sector, through research and development.

He made the appeal at the presidential inauguration of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) Health Engagement Education Access Discourse (HEEAD) on Monday in Abuja.

The discourse had “Developing a Robust and Comprehensive Policy to Catalyse Pharma Industrial Development:  Setting the Agenda for the Next Level” as its theme.

The vice president, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Abdullazeez Mashi, said that the expansion of the pharmaceutical sector would ensure national growth, prosperity and address new challenges in the health sector.

He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration made appreciable progress in the healthcare sector, but there were still significant barriers to quality healthcare provision to the population.

He added that “this important meeting by NIPRD is coming at the right time when the present administration has taken several steps toward the achievement of Universal Health Coverage.

“This discourse should therefore focus on expanding the local content value of the nation’s pharmaceutical sector for national economic growth and prosperity.”

According to him, this can be achieved through strategic innovations to achieve the unmet targets of National Drug Policy and address new challenges in the health sector.

Dr Obi Adigwe, the Director General (DG) of NIPRD, said  that the conceptualisation of NIPRD-HEEAD was a direct response to the institute’s mandate to collect, collate and analyse data.

Adigwe said that the approach would ensure robust and comprehensive engagement with seminal and topical issues in a manner that was contextual enough to expeditiously impact on the health of Nigerians.

He noted that the approach would make significant impact on relevant socio-economic variables, while prioritising job creation, knowledge transfer and revenue generation.

The director general said that the discourse would provide platform for researchers to engage the industry, while also being acquainted with its needs and expectations.

He assured that the approach which engage stakeholders, policy makers, such as the Executive and Legislature, to improve governance, better communication and more reactive policy making.

Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, representing Kwara Central Senatorial district, commended the director general over the giant strides achieved in the institute.

He reiterated the commitment of the National Assembly to support the institute.

He, therefore, urged the discourse participants to come up with implementable initiatives which would move the sector forward.

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Group urges budgetary increase for malaria programmes in Niger

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The Association of Civil Society Organisations for Malaria, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN) has called on the Niger state government to increase its budgetary allocation for malaria intervention programmes in the state.

Mr Kolajaiye Olasunkanmi, the State Coordinator of ACOMIN made the call on Monday in Minna while briefing newsmen on some of their activities in the state.

Olasunkanmi said that the measure would go a long way towards tackling the menace of malaria in the state and the country in general.

“We want to use this medium to call on the Niger state government to increase its budgetary allocation for malaria intervention and recruit more human resources for most of its health facilities.

“This will go a long way in tackling the issue of malaria in the state and the country at large,” he said.

He also advised Local Government Councils in the state to come up with budgetary allocations for malaria intervention programmes in order to take the campaign to the grassroots.

The Coordinator said that the group had resolved issues such as stock out of drugs and long lasting insecticide nets in some Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs) in the state.

He also said that ACOMIN had resolved community conflict that was affecting uptake of health services in Global Funding supported health centers across the state.

Olasunkanmi said that in spite of these achievements, ACOMIN was faced with challenges of inadequate funding by the state and local governments as well as insufficient health officials.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Diabetes: National Hospital donates free drugs, health screening to 150 persons

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Dr Ramatu Shuaibu, Consultant Endocrinologist, National Hospital, Abuja (NHA) said over 150 persons benefitted from its free health screening, consultation and drugs as part of activities to mark the World Diabetes Day.

The World Diabetes Day, annually celebrated on Nov. 14 is to raise awareness on diabetes, its prevention, complications and care for people living with the condition.

Shuaibu told Nigeria News Agency in Abuja on Monday that the effort was to enable the public to be screened so as to know their blood sugar, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), as well as consult with doctors and get free health advice.

He said the effort was in collaboration with some pharmaceutical companies.

He added that “people should try and engage in regular screening for blood sugar any chance they get.

“The way they check their blood pressure, they should also check their blood sugar, even if they do not have any family history of diabetes, they should try and check at least once a year.”

The Endocrinologist further stressed the role of family in assisting persons with diabetes, which she said necessitated the theme for the 2019 day celebration, “Diabetes and Family.”

She explained that “diabetes is an all encompassing disease, you need the support of your family to help your care.

“Sometimes, we ask patients to come with family members so that we can talk to them because it takes a lot from the family, the dietary requirements, care, the drugs.

“We place patients on injectables. So, even if the patient is an adult, they need the support of their family.

“Also, patients with diabetes after some years tend to get depressed, so they need some psychosocial counselling, even their families do too.”

The medical expert, therefore, encouraged the public to engage in regular medical check-up to ascertain their health status, as well as adopt healthy lifestyle.

Edited / Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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Nasarawa among top five states promoting primary healthcare, says Gov. Sule

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Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State says the state has been rated among the top five states promoting primary healthcare activities in the country.

Sule disclosed this while receiving members of the Senior Course 42 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State, who were on study tour to the state, and who paid him a courtesy call at Government House,Lafia, on Monday.

NAN reports that the Governor has just returned from a trip to the United States on the invitation of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Dangote Foundation, where a meeting was held in order to promote primary healthcare.

“I’m happy to announce that Nasarawa State made progress and it is one of the top five states when it comes to promotion of primary healthcare in the country,” Sule said.

He said his administration had been working hard in the area of medical outreach, and invited the team to visit the Dalhatu Araf Specialists Hospital (DASH) to witness the ongoing expansion of the facility for the purpose of promoting it to a Teaching Hospital.

“We have established specialists hospitals in Nasarawa as well as Akwanga that we have been commissioned recently.

“We have bilateral agreements in order to have one of the most sophisticated diagnostic centres also here in Lafia.

“We are also embarking on the construction of rural roads that you will see and we are establishing major roads in some of the areas of investment,” the governor stated.

He further disclosed that a Federal Government team was in the state to commence the construction of a dam in Farin Ruwa in Wamba Local Government Area, for irrigation, as well as for generating hydropower.

The governor informed the team that though Nasarawa may be peaceful, the state was contending with backlash from its neighbours, Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Kwara, Kaduna and the FCT.

He expressed hope that members of the team would use the opportunity of their training to assist Nasarawa State and Nigeria, as according to him, Nigeria needed peace.

“Nigeria needs peace because we have a President that is determined, we have leadership both at the state level and national level that are determined to ensure that citizens of Nigeria live in peace,” he said.

Speaking earlier, leader of the team, Air Commodore Hassan Idris-Alhaji, Director, Department of Air Warfare, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, said the objective of the tour was to familiarise the students with the socio-economic and political issues that were fundamental to the development of the country.

Idris-Alhaji  said that the tour would afford the students with the opportunity to have first-hand knowledge about the prevailing security situation, as well as the political, socio-economic and security policies, programmes and strategies that were operational in the state.

“The students of Senior Course 42 are therefore in Nasarawa State to know in specific terms, the socio-economic development that has made the state outstanding in the areas of governance in the country.

“They are particularly interested in knowing about the policies, strategies and efforts as well as challenges the state government and its local governments are facing in their bid to enhance national security,” he said.

Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf

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College introduces e-monitoring to measure lecturers’ performance

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Foundation donates N9m for treatment of 30 cancer patients

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MedicAid Cancer Foundation, an NGO, on Monday, donated N9,654,725 for

the treatment of 30 cancer patients in National Hospital, Abuja (NHA).

Dr Zainab Bagudu, Founder of the foundation and wife to Kebbi Governor, said that the donation was meant

to support the high cost of their treatment.

She said “this donation is in fulfillment of our last visit and our pledge to support cancer patients’ treatment.

“Beyond this financial support, we want to bring in a facility that can help them to get better.

“We are advocating that cancer care be included in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). We are also

calling for more funding for cancer treatment to be included in the budget.

“This is because patients pay out of pocket and we know how expensive it is to get treatment.”

Dr Jafaru Momoh, the Chief Medical Director of NHA, who received the cheque for the donation, thanked the foundation

and promised to use the money judiciously.

He said “cancer is not a respecter of persons and the scourge is across all geo-political zones. And since we are at

the centre of excellence for cancer care, we get referrals from all over the country.

“The challenge is funding their care, especially in chemotherapy, so, this donation will go a long way in assisting

patients.”

Edited /Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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2019 WAAW: NCDC, WHO, others walk to raise awareness about AMR threat

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Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) on Monday

organised a walk to mark World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW).

The Director General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, told Nigeria News Agency that the walk was to raise awareness

about the threat of antibiotics resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotics prescription.

The awareness walk was carried out in partnership with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD),

Federal Ministry of Environment (FMOE), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other stakeholders.

NAN reports that WAAW is marked yearly in November to increase global awareness of antibiotics resistance and to encourage

best practices among stakeholders to avoid further spread of antibiotics resistance.

The annual event set aside by WHO is to create global awareness of antibiotics resistance toward promoting behavioural change

and rational use of antibiotics.

The 2019 theme is “The Future of Antibiotics Depends on All of Us”.

The NCDC director-general said that many reasons accounted for the increasing spread of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

He said that the misuse and abuse of antimicrobial drugs in the medical and agricultural sectors was rapidly worsening the development and spread of AMR.

Ihekweazu added that whenever antibiotics were used, they could cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance, which he described as

one of the most urgent threats to public health.

He noted other factors that led to poor infection control practice like the lack of good hygiene, especially, appropriate hand washing practices and the lack of new antibiotics being developed.

He added that the commemoration of the Day was a perfect time for Nigerians to become antibiotics guardians, and to only use antibiotics when necessary.

The NDCD boss explained that the centre was committed to its role as the national secretariat for AMR surveillance in Nigeria.

He assured that the NCDC was collaborating with key private sector and civil society organisations to raise awareness on misuse of antibiotics in the country.

He said “more than ever, there is a strong need for stakeholders to work together to advocate for proper procurement and responsible use of antimicrobials.”

He announced that as part of the global commemoration, NCDC and partners were inviting Nigerians to participate in the National Antibiotics Awareness

Week from Nov. 18 to Nov. 24, 2019.

He noted that the walk was to raise awareness on the threats from antibiotic resistance, and to encourage best practices among key audiences: the public,

health workers and policy makers.

He added that “an awareness walk in Abuja will bring together partners and stakeholders to spread the word on antibiotic use in Nigeria.

“A twitter chat on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will also be taking place on Monday, Use the hashtag #AMRactionNG #WAAW to get involved.

“There will also be a policy dialogue on AMR for policymakers, health workers and food safety groups in the human, animal and environment sectors, taking place on twitter #AMRactionNG #WAAW

“Also on Nov. 21, 2019, there will be a Secondary School Debate for students taking place in Abuja.

The NCDC boss said that the NCDC and its partners were leading an extensive campaign to increase awareness on the threat of antimicrobial resistance among Nigerians.

He urged the general public to engage with these activities in their communities.

NAN recalls that a global action plan to tackle the growing problem of resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines was endorsed at the 68th World Health Assembly in May 2015.

A 2014 review on AMR commissioned by the United Kingdom Government with the final report published in 2016, predicted that there will be as many as 10 million deaths annually by 2050, with failure to address this issue.

This is higher than predictions for cancer at 8,200,000, resulting in infections accounting for 40 percent of deaths up from 7 percent.

Furthermore, the estimated cumulative economic cost is around 100 trillion USD.

Presently, 700,000 deaths occur annually due to resistant infections according to the WHO.

AMR is now on the list of the WHO’s top 10 threats to global health and urgent coordinated actions involving everyone is needed to combat it.

Editing by Oluyinka Fadare/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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