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World Sight Day: Ophthalmologist calls for more awareness on eye care



Dr Zailani Isa, the Chief Consultant Ophthalmologist, National Hospital, Abuja, has called for more awareness to encourage regular eye check by Nigerians.

He gave the advice in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Abuja, as part of activities to commemorate the 2019 World Sight Day.

Isa said that glaucoma and cataract were the common cause of irreversible blindness, which can be managed or treated through early detection.

He also advised pregnant women to always go for antenatal to avoid the risk of congenital cataract and glaucoma.

Isa said congenital cataract and glaucoma are partly associated with child birth and could lead to visual impairment and blindness.

He explained that congenital glaucoma could occur in babies or young children, usually within the first


“ It is a rare condition that can be inherited, or an incorrect development of the eyes drainage system before birth.”

The ophthalmologist said congenital cataract and glaucoma could be treated through surgery and medication when the patient could tolerate anesthesia.

He also advised that eyes should not be treated with herbal medicine, and urged people to always visit eye centres for treatment.

Isa said that sight was very important for daily activities, as such regular check up was also important.

NAN reports that World Sight Day is observed annually on the second Thursday of October to draw attention to causes of blindness and vision impairment, as well as raise awareness on ways to avoid eye diseases.(NAN)


Edited by Maharazu Ahmed


Omo-Agege, Sanwo-Olu call for tough laws against rape, sexual abuse



Deputy Senate President,  Ovie Omo-Agege, on Monday called for tougher laws against rape and sexual abuse in Nigeria .

Omo-Agege who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Electronic and New Media, Lara Owoaye-Wise, made this known at the launch of the campaign against rape and sexual abuse in Abuja.

The event was  organised by Federation of West African Freelance Journalist Association, FWAFJA, in collaboration with National Council of Women Society, National Orientation Agency(NOA), Ministry of women Affairs among others.

Omo-Agege condemned the rising cases of rape, describing it and sexual harassment as ”bestial acts” that should be stamped out of Nigeria.

“The challenge of rape and sexual harassment of the Nigerian child is still very much with us; it seems to me that the problem has persisted either because the laws leave a lot of loopholes or the prescribed punishment is not stringent enough or both.

“Another area of obvious deficiency is in the social issues that surround the subject.

“Many parents and families for that matter are wary of stigmatisation which their child or children may suffer, sometimes for a life time; should it become public knowledge that they have been defiled.

“To this extent, there is non-disclosure of many incidents of abuse of the child,’’ he said.

According to Omo-Agege, such non-disclosures most times do not obviate the psycho-social damage which such predatory acts inflict on the child, sometimes following the victim for the rest of his or her life.

He said that he was of the opinion that Nigeria should go back to the legal instruments that protected the child from sexual as well as other forms of abuses.

This, he said was with a view to strengthening them.

“We at the National Assembly are looking at these setbacks, with a view to making our laws more potent.

“We should also as a matter of national reorientation have a change of attitude with regards to stigmatising victims of child rape,” he said.

Omo-Agege said  stigmatisation should  go to the culprits of child abuse and not the victims in line with the customs of old.

He said further to maintaining the customs, there was need to return to the most prized heritage as Africans, namely, family values.

He also urged parents to take out more time to raise their children to be better citizens.

Also, speaking, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, the wife of Lagos State Governor, said that rape or sexual abuse was a bad act that should be stamped out of Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by Mrs Motolani Ladipo, Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor, said   that the survivors of rape usually face very excruciating difficulty, painful emotions and experiences.

“For us in Lagos State, sexual abuse is an evil that must be confronted frontally, and we are leaving no stone unturned in naming, shaming and sanctioning perpetrators in line with the law.”

Sanwo-Olu said the state established the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, (DSVRT) under the Ministry of Justice dedicated to eradicate sexual and gender based violence in the state.

Amb. Abayomi Runsewe  the founder of the Anti-Rape and Sexual Abuse Campaign, said increase in cases of rape was a cancer that should  be stopped before it consumed all .

Runsewe said that rape and sexual abuse was now a menace that concerned the society at large Nigerians should should join hands to together and fight this disgraceful act.

Edited by Cecilia Odey/Sadiya Hamza

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FG launches National Noma Control Policy document



The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) has joined partners and representatives from Niger

Republic, Benin, Madagascar and others to launch the National Noma Control Policy document approved at the 2019 National Council on Health.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Monday, commemorated the third edition of the National Noma Day with launch of the document.

Nigeria News Agency reports that The National Noma Day is held annually to raise awareness on the non-contagious disease that affects tissues of the face and cause deformities.

Nigeria marked the day on Nov. 20 since 2017, as measure adopted to eliminate the disease.

Noma, otherwise known as Cancrum Oris, is a fulminating, gangrenous infection of the soft tissue around the mouth, predominantly affecting younger persons with poor oral hygiene and predisposing them to serious illness.

NAN reports that the theme for 2019 is ‘Timely Recognition Averts Deformities’.

Ehanire said that the ministry worked in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other stakeholders to develop the National Noma Policy Document and the Triennial Noma Control Action Plan (2019-2021).

He said it was approved at the National Council on Health in August 2019.

He defined Noma as an infectious, opportunistic disease which affects people living in extreme poverty and more prominent in communities with poor nutrition and hygiene.

The minister advised that early detection and treatment were critical in halting progression of Noma, noting, however, that

“the disease generally responds to antibiotics treatment.”

According to him, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says Noma disease can be found anywhere in Nigeria but more prevalent in the North-West region.

He disclosed that the Federal Government embarked on a sensitisation activities in high prone states of Kebbi, Jigawa and Sokoto to raise awareness on the disease.

Mr Philip Aruna of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)- Holland, said that the aim was to create awareness for Noma disease and make sure it was prevented in the country.

According to Aruna, timely identification, treatment and follow-up are critical in the management of Noma disease.

Dr Clement Peter, WHO Officer In Charge, said that Noma should be a disease of the past, not the current generation.

Peter added that Noma disease had disappeared from the developed world but remained in Sub Saharan Africa for reasons related to poor sanitation, malnutrition and others.

The Director General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said that Nigeria could not raise awareness on public health challenges without strong surveillance system.

Chikwe disclosed that NCDC had included Noma disease in the case based surveillance system in the country.

He added that that NCDC would want to start reporting on the progress not just the problems in the country.

Prof. Abdulrazaq Habib of Noma Technical Working Group, said that the disease was associated with deformities and deaths.

Habib said it was mainly a result of weak health system.

According to data by WHO,over 500,000 people are affected and 140,000 new cases are reported each year across the world, while mortality rate is approximately 90 per cent.

An official statement by the ministry in 2018 noted that Noma was mostly found among children below the age of six and predominantly high in the North East

due to insurgency and the lack of good nutrition.

The statement indicated that “though the disease is not contagious, other ailments such as hepatitis, malaria and some childhood killer diseases can

aggravate it.”

Edited by Modupe Adeloye/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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APLS geared toward harnessing potential of 21st century innovations — NPC



The 2019 Annual Population Lecture Series (APLS) is geared toward harnessing the potential of innovations in the 21st century in addressing the challenges of population and development, as well as elicit positive policy change.

The information is in a statement by Mrs Patience Mbagwu, the Director, Population Institute of National Population Commission (NPC) in Abuja.

The theme for this year, the 7th in the series, is “Nigeria’s Population Issues:Harnessing 21st Century Innovation to Achieve Demographic Dividend.”

an initiative in close partnership with UNFPA, NPC, McArthur Foundation and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s population development and management, aimed at creating awareness on issues of population and development.

Mbagwu stated that over the years, stakeholders had transformed into national organising committee for APLS,

announcing that this year’s lecture would hold on Nov. 19 in Abuja “in support of Federal Government

to ensure that the country enjoys the benefits of its demographic dividend.

his could be done through commitment to voluntary child spacing or family planning, investment in child survival and health programmes, as well as prioritising quality education for all, including the girl child.

The director assured that this year’s event would be a paradigm shift and landmark feature.

According to her, Prof. Olanrewaju Olaniyan of the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan,

will be the guest speaker at the event, while the Emir of Shonga, Dr Haliru Yahaya, will be the Chairman of the occasion.

She noted that the role of the Social Media in shaping population issues and management would also be reviewed from a youth perspective at the meeting.

including the office of the Vice President, NASS, SGF, Acting Chairman of NPC, Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin, state legislators, youth representatives, the public, Development Partners, policy makers, among others.

Edited by Cecilia Odey/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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    UK agency offers to help Unilorin upgrade Veterinary Teaching Hospital



    A United Kingdom-based donor agency, the Flaming Fund Foundation, has expressed interest in helping the University of Ilorin to strengthen the capacity of its Veterinary Teaching Hospital in terms of diagnosis and innovation.

    Dr. Ayuba Phillip, the leader of the visiting team, who spoke at the Univerity of Ilorin on Monday, said that the Foundation has decided to help the University to upgrade its Veterinary Teaching Hospital to a world-class standard.

    Phillip observed that 70 per cent of human diseases are contracted from animals, and that when the capacity of the hospital equipment is strengthened, such dangerous diseases will be detected immediately and prevented from becoming dangerous to the workers and society at large.

    “Our visit is to see how we can help the University of Ilorin Veterinary Teaching Hospital increase its capacity and to make sure we advance its laboratory even in diagnosis, equipment and innovation,” he said.

    According to him, the ultimate goal of the intervention is to ensure that the University of Ilorin has a good veterinary laboratory that will compete favourably with its contemporaries across the globe.

    “Diagnosis that are made are usually tentative, we want to increase the capacity for definitive diagnosis.

    “ the capacity of the equipment is strengthened, the results of a research or tests carried out will be instant and accurate and the University and society will benefit a lot from it.

    In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, commended the donor agency for showing interest in the University of Ilorin.

    He described their intervention as a thing of joy to the University management.

    Abdulkareem expressed confidence that the support will further place the Unilorin Veterinary Teaching Hospital on a global map in terms of innovation and standard diagnosis, as well as aiding quality research that will give birth to sound and qualitative education.

    The V-C said that such intervention will also afford the University the opportunity of realising its dream of rendering more effective community services in fulfilment of the third leg of the University’s tripartite mandates.

    Edited by Saidu Adamu/Felix Ajide

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    Pharmacist advises consumers to check expiry dates on drugs, cosmetics, others before purchase



    A Jos-based Pharmacist, Mrs Rotkang Okunlola, has advised consumers to always check the expiry date on drugs, beverages, packaged foods and cosmetics, before purchase.

    Okunlola, who gave the advice in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Jos, observed that most people never cared to check expiry dates on items upon purchase, adding that such attitude could be risky.

    She said all drugs had unique formulations consisting of active and inactive ingredients geared toward treating specific diseases.

    “Once a drug is developed, manufacturers determine the length of time the drug would last without deteriorating; if the medication is used within its shelf-time, maximal efficacy and safety of the drug are expected.

    “When such drugs are expired, most of the time, the chemical composition of these drugs changes after the expiry period, and so the said products are no longer the same.

    “This means the individual is consuming a rather different product, which would be toxic, whereby some of the drugs metabolites end up damaging some vital parts in the body,” she said.

    The pharmacist also said that expired beverages and canned foods were highly harmful, if eaten, as the preservatives used in those foods could become toxic and harmful to one’s health.

    She, then, cautioned people against purchasing expired cosmetics as such products could also inflict harm on users.

    She also advised that people should not purchase any item that had its production and expiry date tampered with.

    NAN sampled the views of some people on expiry dates on items before purchase and found that some of them hardly checked such details.

    Mr Adam Musa said he hardly checked expiry dates on items before he purchased them, stating that he was unaware that expired items could be harmful to him.

    Similarly, Grace Pam said she hardly checked the expiry details on items before she purchased them.

    But Ayuba Bitrus  said he usually checked the expiry dates on any items before purchasing them as he was aware that once an item expired it had lost its efficacy.

    Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf

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    Foundation offers free medical care to 1,000 patients in Zaria



    A Non Governmental Organisation, Waziri Foundation on Sunday offered free medical care to cover over 1,000 patients suffering from different ailments in Zaria, Kaduna State.

    Its founder, Dr Aliyu Dahiru-Waziri, who is also a Consultant at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, made the disclosure in an interview with Journalists in Zaria.

    The Nigeria News Agency reports that Dahiru-Waziri spoke on the sideline sidelines of the exercise held at Bello Aliyu LGA Primary School, Kofar Doka, Zaria.

    He said: “Our target is to treat more than a thousand today and to also do free genotype test for more than 100 people and after the genotype testing, we will follow it up with counseling, so that we tell them the implication of even having the sickle cell gene in them.

    “This is a community outreach, which we try to organise in order to reach out to indigent patients whom we know that genuinely cannot afford some medical drugs.

    “Also, some cannot genuinely even transport themselves to health facilities, so, we prefer taking the healthcare facility to them to be able to make diagnosis and treat them appropriately.”

    The medical practitioner said the focus was on patients suffering from all forms of sicknesses, ranging from hypertension, diabetes, malaria among others.

    Dahiru-Waziri said the exercise gave special attention to those suffering from sickle cell.

    “We gave them special treatment with medications and everything, and for those patients we cannot treat at this point, we referred them to the nearest health facility for them to get the best of treatment,” he said.

    He said the foundation was primarily established to look into the issues of health and education in the society with a view to complementing government efforts in ameliorating some of the challenges.

    According to him, the ultimate goal of the foundation was to ensure that people get the necessary care to live healthy and pursue their daily activities.

    On education, he said the foundation was stepping efforts to reduce the illiteracy level especially in Northern Nigeria.

    “That’s why we are also involved in other activities like quiz competition, debate and public lectures and other related areas.

    “Our hope and aspiration is to extend the gesture to other areas, however, our main problem is finance, as you can see, the programme we are holding today didn’t happen just like that.

    “It occured as a result of collaboration with various quarters, including Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) who donated some drugs.

    “We also have Frontier Hospital Kaduna, Sickle Cell Foundation, Sickle Cell Aid and Ahmadu Bello University Medical Students Association. They all came together, assisted us in making sure the programme is successful,” he noted.

    He said that the foundation was unable to provide some needed drugs to the beneficiaries due  to financial constraints.

    “But in terms of expertise, we have all sort of Doctors from Consultants to the most junior Doctors, everybody is here. My appeal is for wealthy individuals of the society to come in and assist.

    “Our door is always open, they should come and partner with us so that collectively we can complement government efforts towards serving the society better,” he pleaded.

    The Nigeria News Agency reports that patients started trooping to the venue as early as 7:00a.m. to access medication.

    A cross section of the patients interviewed said they decided to come very early in order not to miss the opportunity as they had no money to visit hospitals.

    They appreciated Waziri Foundation for what they described as gigantic humanitarian gesture targeted at the less privileged members of the society.

    Edited by Saidu Adamu/Maharazu Ahmed

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