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Nigeria Health Watch

Top Ten News Items on Health out of Nigeria

WHO Media Centre, 14 December 2016
Full impact of devastated health services in north-eastern Nigeria revealed by WHO report

One third of more than 700 health facilities in Borno State, north-eastern Nigeria, have been completely destroyed, according to a report released today by WHO. Of those facilities remaining, one third are not functioning at all. "High insecurity, difficult terrain and lack of health workers, medicines, equipment and basic amenities such as safe water are making access to essential, lifesaving health care extremely difficult for people in this conflict-affected area," says Dr Wondi Alemu, WHO Representative in Nigeria. "WHO’s top priority is to help save lives and prevent sickness among the estimated 6 million people who need health assistance in this crisis." WHO has been working with the Borno State Ministry of Health to set up a Health Resources Availability Monitoring System (known as HeRAMS) to collect information on the availability of health resources and services in this humanitarian crisis. The first report from this new system has identified 743 health facilities in Borno State, of which 35% are completely destroyed, another 29% partially damaged and only 34% intact. 

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WHO, 15 December 2016
New WHO Country Representative formally assumes duties in Nigeria

The new World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative(WR), Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu formally assumes duties on 15 December, 2016 with the presentation of his Letters of Commission to Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honorable Geoffrey Onyeama. The presentation which took place in Abuja, was witnessed by dignitaries from the ministry and WHO country office. During the brief ceremony, the minister acknowledged the enormous contributions by WHO over the years towards attaining the highest levels of health by all Nigerians. Visibly impressed by Dr Alemu’s résumé, the minister added that “your pedigree is there for all to see and I have no doubt that you will make a positive impact on the health of all Nigerians”. The minister who regretted the humanitarian crisis in the north east, the unfortunate polio resurgence and disease outbreaks in some parts of the country, stressed that “we look up to WHO to help us break the circle of poor health indicators”, and assured the WR of Government of Nigeria’s full support to facilitate the work of WHO in Nigeria.

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Premium Times, 13 December 2016
Global Fund to invest N1 billion on health in Nigeria – Minister

International financing organization, Global Fund, has arranged to invest about N1 billion in the Nigerian health sector over the next three years, says the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole. The Fund, which as at July, had disbursed $30 billion to countries and communities in need across the globe, has the aim of attracting and disbursing resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The minister disclosed the Fund’s plan for Nigeria during the National Supply Chain Integration Project (NSCIP) retreat, held on Tuesday in Abuja. According to the minister, the retreat, under the theme “Ownership and Sustainability”, was part of the move by the Federal Government to address the constraints and inefficiencies in the country’s supply chain. He said government was investing in the project, because it is the backbone of an efficient health system. “Without supply, there is no health system. When you have an integrated supply chain system, there will be nothing like out of stock, nothing like it has expired, which sometimes happen.” Mr. Adewole said the burden of the triple diseases of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, remains a public health challenge in Nigeria. “In 2015 alone, there was an estimated 214 million new cases of malaria, 438,000 drugs and of which Nigeria accounted for 25% of the total global debt. 

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Guardian, 15 December 2016
NMA suspends 12 doctors for alleged indiscipline

The Nigerian Medical Association has suspended twelve of its members for professional misconduct in flaunting its constitutional provisions that prohibit members from taking to the court rather than explore internal mechanisms for dispute resolution. The National President of the Association, Prof. Mike Ozovehe Ogirima, who made the disclosure while reading the communiqué issued at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Lokoja, Kogi State, said affected the members have the liberty to appeal their suspension internally. Ogirima: “We suspend our members based on constitutional provisions. We have internal mechanisms for disciplining ourselves and if any member has not explored all avenues to resolve issues and jumped to the court of law the constitution stipulates their suspension so that they have more time to prosecute and follow up their cases that is the provision we have just evoked on them. “This is not the first time NMA is taking that measure. However they have an opportunity for an appeal internally to the Annual Delegate Meeting if they are not satisfied with the action taken by NEC.”

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The Nation, December 2016
Borno records 512 new HIV cases in IDPs’ camps

Malam Barkindo Saidu, the Executive Secretary, Borno Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (BOSACA), says 512 new cases of HIV infections have been recorded in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the state. He spoke on Sunday in Maiduguri while briefing newsmen. Saidu said that the cases were recorded after voluntary screening in some IDPs’ camps in the state. He pointed out that two out of the 512 persons were children. “We are currently conducting voluntary screening on HIV/AIDS in IDPs’ camps across the state to determine the status of the people, especially those rescued from the Boko Haram terrorists. “As at last week, we have recorded 512 positive cases, among which two are children,” Saidu said. He said that the state had witnessed rising cases of the disease due largely to the Boko Haram terrorism. “Currently, 2.4 per cent of the population of the state are living with HIV and AIDS, which translates to 108,000 persons, going by the record of the National Population Commission. 

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PM News, 11 December 2016
Boko Haram: UMTH employs 100 doctors 
 
The University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) has employed 100 medical doctors to boost manpower and enhance quality healthcare services in the state. Dr Ibrahim Kuburu, the UMTH President of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) disclosed this in an interview on Sunday in Maiduguri. Kuburu said medical doctors in various fields, including surgeons, optomologists, pathologist, paediatricians and radiologists, were employed to fill the gap of shortages of health providers. “Some of the major challenges that confronted the health sector were the increasing demands of not only health services but social services in general. “In the past, during the heat of Boko Haram insurgency, the hospital was confronted with the challenges of handling mass casualties with various degrees of injuries from bomb blasts. “The care for such patients is a specialised care that posed a great challenge in the state. But despite these challenges, the ARD have remained resilient and committed to providing efficient healthcare services to the people. “We have conducted some outreach in some orphanage where some 200 children were examined and enrolled into immunisation programmes.
 
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Daily Trust, 15 December 2016
Plateau govt. administers free medicare for elderly 
 
The Plateau Government has organised a free medical check for older persons across the 17 local government areas of the state, an official has said. The state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Rufina Gurumyen, said this on Thursday in Jos. She said that this was part of government efforts to alleviate the financial burden of medical services and ensure their wellbeing. According to her, 85 elders were also presented with welfare packages which include blankets, provisions and other items. “The free medical check is also part of the State activities to mark the Day of the Older Persons celebrated annually on Oct. 1. “With the theme ‘take a stand against ageism’ to ensure their well being and help them age gracefully’’. She said the ministry had continued to raise awareness on various issues that affect the elderly through advocacy to promote the rights and welfare of the disadvantage and vulnerable sectors. Gurumyen expressed concern that majority of the elders were not receiving the emotional care they require. She said that this was because family members and friends do not help them out in some cases leading to their untimely deaths and health challenges.
 
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Daily Trust, 12 December 2016
Stakeholders urge governments to allocate 15% budget to health sector

Stakeholders in health sector on Monday urged all tiers of government to allocate 15 per cent of annual budget to health sector to ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all Nigerians. The stakeholders made the call in Abuja at a road walk to commemorate the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day marked globally on Dec. 12 with the theme: “Act with ambition’’. Dr Ben Anyene, the Chairman, National Immunisation Financing Task Team described the allocation of 4.5 per cent of annual national budget to health sector as grossly inadequate to cater for the health needs of the populace Anyene, who was the former Chairman Board of Trustee Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON), described the UHC initiative as health for all. He however urged the government to give priority to its implementation through the existing legal framework like the National Health Act, among others Anyene , who described making policy without it implementation as baseless, said that giving full health to Nigerians would amount to preventing health challenges. He said that the masses who were faced with diverse health challenge could not survive with such meagre allocation neither could the health of Nigerians.
 
The Nation, December 2016
Three Nigerian labs bag ISO certificates

Three outstanding Nigerian laboratories have been awarded the International Standard Organisation (ISO) accreditation certificates by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN). Mr Tosan Erhabor, Acting Registrar of the council, presented the certificates, known as ISO 15189: 2012, to the laboratories located in Lagos on Thursday in Abuja. The recipients are Clina Lancet Laboratories, 445 Nigerian Air Force Hospital Laboratory and El-lab Laboratories. He noted that the gesture was based on the council’s determination to take medical laboratory services to new heights. Erhabor, however, emphasised that transforming a critical sector like the medical laboratory services required more than “lip service” or“ piecemeal interventions”. He described the accreditation as a milestone, saying it will further help the country to change the prevailing perception of the diagnostic result emanating from existing medical laboratories.

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Nigeria Health Watch, 14 December 2016
Can the ASLM Conference reinvigorate Laboratory Medicine in Nigeria?

As someone who advocates strongly for diagnostic development in Africa, where else would I be in early December but in Cape Town for the third conference of the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM 2016)? I am a member as well as a follower of this Society’s activities, closely watching its challenges and successes. ASLM has turned out to be one of the best of my unfolding dreams. In this dream, hard work produced results, professionals saved lives, institutions have been built, careers have been nurtured and very visible and tangible progress has been made. After ASLM’s conference in 2012, I was full of accolades for the work accomplished in its first year, and actually boasted that laboratory medicine has matured in Africa. At the time, accreditation was rare outside South Africa but an impressive number of diagnostic laboratories had begun Stepwise Laboratory Improvement Process Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA). In my excitement, I presumed we had reached our pinnacle. Now I almost cringe to admit how naïve I was and how low my standards were. Today, dozens of labs are internationally accredited, over 30 outside South Africa. And not just reference labs – some countries can boast of more than one accredited district lab. 

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