World Glaucoma Week: Optometrists to establish eye care clinics in rural areas
Abuja, March 12, 2019 The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) says it will establish optometry clinics in some Primary Healthcare Centres to curb the prevalence of glaucoma and other eye disease conditions in the country.
Dr Ozy Okonokhua, the President of the association, announced this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja in commemoration of the World Glaucoma week.
The event is holding from March 11 to 16 with the theme “Focus on Glaucoma”.
Okonokhua, who decried non-availability of eye clinics or optometry centres at the rural areas, identified the gap as a major contributor to the burden of eye diseases and blindness in the country.
He emphasised that the establishment of such clinics at some Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) would go a long way in ensuring early detection and management of glaucoma and other disease condition of the eye.
He further urged the Federal Government to prioritise establishment of eye care centres in every nook and cranny of the society for easier access of the masses and early presentation of any visual challenges.
According to him, such measures will further reduce the burden or forestall avoidable blindness.
“While we are calling on the government to extend eye care services to the rural areas especially in PHCs, NOA is not going to rest on its oars in making sure that the populace in the rural areas have access to primary eye care.
“We are currently drawing up a scheme in collaboration with Essilor International Agency among others to ensure that eye care services is rendered in healthcare centres in rural areas.
“We are working with some partners to set up optometry clinics in the rural areas that will provide primary eye care services and therefore help to detect glaucoma and other types of eye disease condition.
“The project or programme will be rolled out in April in certain states where this partnership can actually work because some states are ready to partner with us in this regard and they have also promised to give us some of their PHCs,” he noted.
The president noted that World Glaucoma week was set aside by the International Agency for the prevention of blindness to draw attention to the blinding disease ravaging most parts of the world.
Okonokhua, who identified glaucoma as one of the leading causes of blindness globally, however said that over the years there has been little attention paid to the disease.
Okonokhua further described it as the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the country.
According to him, the reason for the theme, “Focus on glaucoma”, is to lay emphasis on glaucoma itself by paying more attention to the disease.
“We have over time sensitise the public and government on the need for regular eye check up for the community.
“However, this year we want to lay emphasis on glaucoma itself by paying attention to glaucoma hence we are focusing on glaucoma as a leading cause of blindness not minding the fact that there are other causes of blindness,” he said.
Okonokhua called on the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) to partner with the NOA in its quest to integrate primary eye care into the primary healthcare system.
He emphasised that the association has the requisite manpower to cover the rural areas.
According to him, presently there are few optometrists in some PHCs and this is the initiative of some local government council chairmen.
“We are calling on NPHCDA to ensure that optometrists are posted to all the PHCs in this country.
“So we can use this as a means of mopping up this disease condition and detecting them and sending them to secondary and tertiary healthcare centres where they can also be properly manage for advance cases of glaucoma.
“NPHCDA should make it a policy that in every PHCs you have optometry services that is able to detect this disease condition,” Okonokhua said.
Minister advocates stiffer penalties against perpetrators of gender violence
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Paulen Tallen, has advocated stiffer penalties against perpetrators of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country.
She made the call at an interactive session on Gender Based Violence (GBV) with journalists by UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Abuja on Thursday.
Tallen, who was represented by Mrs Funke Oladipo, the Director, Women and Gender Affairs, Ministry of Women Affairs, said Nigerian women were demanding for capital punishment for perpetrators of GBV.
She said only stiffer penalties would put an end to the incessant bestial attitude of some men against women.
According to her, rape is on the increase and the appropriate measure to check it is through capital punishment.
She commended the UNFPA and other stakeholders for their committed efforts in addressing the challenge, especially in the North East.
Ms Christie Apio of UNFPA restated the commitment of the fund in addressing challenges associated with GBV and outlined the roadmap as “Call to Action”, which she said had priorities of strengthening coordination with major actors in the North East.
She said that UNFPA’s “Call to Action” also had priorities of ensuring access quality services, as well as strengthening and expanding capacity and engagement with local partners.
According to her, funding is imperative, sufficient resources secured through strengthened leadership coordination and advocacy.
Dr Mathew Onoja, also of UNFPA, explained that there had been tremendous success so far in addressing the challenges of GBV.
Onoja said that the success was achieved with partnership of about 44 states and donors who were also determined to help to mitigate the challenges.
NAN reports that the UNFPA “Call to Action” is an initiative designed to transform the way humanitarian actors address GBV emergencies.
The pilot programme for Nigeria begun in 2017 and subsequently in DR Congo.
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)
CONMESS: Anambra doctors says no going back on strike unless…
Medical consultants at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COUUTH), Awka have said there was no going back on the Nov. 30 deadline to embark on indefinite strike if their demands were not met by Anambra Government.
Some of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) members who spoke to newsmen anonymously said nobody should blame them for the impending shutdown and its consequences on the public health sector in Anambra.
It will be recaledl that the MDCAN, COOUTH Chapter, had on Nov. 5 issued an ultimatum that it would embark on indefinite strike on Nov. 30 over non implantation of Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) without further negotiations.
According to the notice signed by Dr Chukwudi Okani and Prof. Obiora Ejiofor, its chairman and secretary, the MDCAN members have shown maturity and patience for four months in spite of being promised that the issues will be resolved
in one month.
The doctors who spoke journalists on Thursday said they were surprised that four months after a panel was set up in July to resolve the issues, there had yet to see the content of the report or its implementation.
“MDCAN has taken a position in the matter, remember there was a promise to increase our salary on April 1, which made it to embark on strike in June but because the government pleaded we had to call it off.
“In July a panel was set up but up till now nothing has been heard on its report, that is why we issued strike notice on Nov. 6, that come Nov. 30, we shall stop work indefinitely.
“That strike is avoidable but only payment of CONMESS can stop it; I am glad the governor is back from travel, I want to beg him to act and help prevent the negative effects this strike will have on public health in Anambra.
“The morale in COOUTH is low, our nurses and other health workers are grumbling over the non-implementation of CONMESS but they are not talking, it is important that the public know some of these things,” the source said.
When contacted, Okani said the Nov. 30 deadline remained and there had not been any communication between MDCAN and Anambra Government since the notice was issued.
He said it would not be correct to say that nothing was being done by the government toward meeting their demands and expressed the hope that the strike would be averted by the implementation of CONMESS.
The chairman said the demand was for better healthcare sector in the state as medical workers and patients would benefit if there were improved working conditions and equipment.
“We have not been communicated but I cannot categorically say that government is not doing anything because I wouldn’t know if they are working underground.
“The hospital is not patient-friendly, we don’t have enough doctors to attend to patients; doctors come and before you know it, they have left,” he said.
Mr C-Don Adinuba, Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, had appealed to the doctors to shelve their threat as government was looking into it.
Adinuba confirmed that the panel report was ready and would received the attention of Gov. Willie Obiano who was out of the country whenever he returned.
“I appeal to MDCAN to exercise patience so that the governor who is out of the country can act on the report when he returns in the next few days.
“There is a report which has been submitted to government for the governor to go through, things like that are not sent by e-mail,” he said.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)
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
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)
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.
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.
“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)
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.
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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