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Nigeria Health Watch

Top Ten News Items on Health out of Nigeria

Business Day, 04 March 2017
FG explains plans to upgrade seven cancer centres across Nigeria

Despite lack of functional cancer machine in most major hospitals across Nigeria, the Federal Government says it is working round the clock to upgrade seven cancer centres across the country to assist people go for early detection and treatment. Isaac Adewole, minister of health, said during an interview in Abuja that the government had advanced talks with the major global manufacturers of cancer machines for upgrade of the centres across the country. The companies approached by the Federal Government, the minister said were: ‘Variant’ and ‘Electra,’ American and Swedish companies, respectively. Adewole said, “What we are doing currently is that we are approaching major manufacturers of the cancer machines globally. One of them is Variant and the other is Electra. Variant is America, while Electra is Sweden. We are talking to them directly and we want to upgrade at least seven cancer centres across the country.” The minister had also explained that there were three main ways to treating cancer – through surgery, drugs and radiotherapy. The radiotherapyy option, the minister explained, is mostly because a lot of cancer cases are advanced, and as he observed further, that Nigerians do not report cancer cases early enough.

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Premium Times, 07 March 2017
Eight years after raising billions, Turai Yar’Adua’s Cancer Centre remains abandoned, overtaken by weeds

Despite securing a partnership agreement with a key organ of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, about eight years ago, and raising billions of naira in cash and materials from public and private donors, the International Cancer Centre Abuja, ICCA, a pet project of a former Nigerian First Lady, Turai Yar’Adua, is in a state of abandonment overtaken by weeds. At the sprawling centre built on 7.3 hectares of choice land donated by the Federal Government of Nigeria, rotting equipment, including about 200 donated mini-buses, scream a sad story of unfathomable waste at passers-by. Last December, investigation by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that burglars stormed the centre strategically located along the Abuja airport expressway and carted away power cables worth millions of naira. It is not known how many other equipment have been pilfered from the locked up buildings that gape at the public from the centre. Mrs. Yar’Adua had in July 2009, two years after her husband, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, took office, flagged off the project with an elaborate fundraising event to mobilise N10 billion for the construction of the centre. The exact amount raised from donors, including public and private officials, was not disclosed. 

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Punch, 09 March 2017
Nigeria loses $1.5bn yearly to maternal deaths – UNFPA

The United Nations Population Fund says Nigeria loses about $1.5bn in productivity to maternal mortality every year. It noted that for a nation with a maternal mortality rate of 576 deaths per 100,000 live births, the nation would save a lot if it invested in maternal health. UNFPA’s Deputy Representative, Dr. Eugene Kongnyuy, stated this at an event in Lagos on Wednesday to mark the International Women’s Day and unveil Nollywood actress, Stephanie Linus, as the Fund’s goodwill ambassador for maternal health in West and Central Africas. He explained that maternal health problems lowered productivity and participation in the labour force, drained household incomes and public budget even as it undermined all efforts towards the eradication of poverty and the achievement of gender equality. He added that overall, the scourge, which he said causes $15bn productivity loss annually, results in missed opportunities for economic growth. He said, “UNFPA is concerned with the scourge of maternal mortality in West and Central Africa, comprising 23 countries because the region has the highest record (33 per cent) in the world. Nigeria that contributes two per cent to world population contributes 12 per cent to maternal mortality in the world.  

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World Stage, 09 March 2017
Minister inaugurates Primary Health Care Supply Chain Revitalization Committee

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has inaugurated Primary Health Care Supply Chain Revitalization Committee to improve the overall health outcomes in the country. Speaking at the inauguration in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister who also commissioned 100 units of power kits donated to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, commended the Executive Director of NPHCDA for keying into solo agenda, while assuring the agencies of it continuous support. “As part of our effort to revitalize of the health system, we recognize that positioning the primary health system is the way forward. “The committee is simply clear to guide and advice government on PHC supply system chain, trending issues including procurement storage distribution and monitoring of commodities, make recommendations to the government on the best way to ensure affordable pricing for PHC commodities, develop strategic and implementation plans to guild capacity development in terms of required human resources and good manufacturing practice to supply chain and logistic information evidence and lessons learned for optimal functions of the 10,000 PHC.'

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Daily Trust, 07 March 2017
Council approves 10 training institutions for medical lab technicians 

The Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) has approved 10 new colleges as training institutions for medical laboratory technicians. A statement from the council said it also gave full accreditation to eight other colleges. They approved colleges are: Aminu Dabo College of Health Science and Technology, Kano; Olivet College of Health Technology, Azuba, Nasarawa North Local Government Area Nasarawa; and Fabotas College of Health Sciences and Technology, Ado-Ekiti, among others. Some of those given accreditation in 2017 include: Medical Laboratory Technician College of Health Science and Management Technology, Aba, Abia State, Medical Laboratory Technician College of Health Technology, Ilese, Ogun State and Medical Laboratory Technician College of Health Science and Technology, Tsafe, Zamfara State. Presenting certificates of approval and accreditation to the schools, Acting Registrar of the council, Mr Tosan Erhabor said the institutions were established to reduce the shortage of middle-cadre manpower in the country, adding that it was in line with government’s policy of making primary health care closer to the people. 

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Daily Trust, 05 March 2017
FG to engage 200,000 community health volunteers

The Federal Government plans to engage 200,000 volunteers in primary health care. The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, announced this during talks with the United Nations Children’s Fund country representative, Mohammed Fall, in Abuja. “Currently, Nigeria has about 17,000 voluntary community mobilisers, working to create awareness for active participation in immunization in rural parts of at least nine high risk polio states,” Shuaib said, according to a statement . At least 20,000 graduates under the N-power Health will be posted to primary health centres to help in quality data generation, collation and transmission from grassroots, the statement said. In his speech, the UNICEF Country Representative, Mohammed Fall, emphasized the critical leadership position of Nigeria in Africa and the world at large. Dr. Fall noted with grave concern the enormous health challenges arising from the crisis in the North-East and the importance of UNICEF partnership with NPHCDA, as Nigeria’s health institution with the most effective structures to deliver services.

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Vanguard, 07 March 2017
Disease outbreak: NCDC calls for evidence based prevention strategies 

The Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC,Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has charged the three tiers of government to protect the health of Nigerians through evidence-based prevention, integrated disease surveillance and response activities. Ihekweazu,who spoke through NCDC Technical Assistant, Communication, lDr. Lawal Bakare,, at the 7th Annual Symposium of the Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN),in Lagos said such strategies would reduce the adverse impact of predictable and unpredicted public health emergencies. “Every report of cases makes us get accurate measure of the burden of infectious diseases in Nigeria. “It ensures Nigeria to meet the international obligations as a member of the World Health Assembly. “Last year, we had to go back to Borno to control some outbreak of diseases in the state, and this made us to discover the polio case. “We had to collaborate with all the local governments in the state to be able to detect and respond to all the disease outbreaks in the state,” Ihekweazu said. The Director General posited that the support of every state was needed in order to develop more laboratory service network, to support the detection, prevention and response to critical infectious diseases. 
 
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Daily Trust, 07 March 2017
Too many petitions crippling Kaduna neuropsychiatric hospital
 
The Medical and Health Workers Union of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Kaduna has demanded an end to what it described as unnecessary petitions against management of the hospital. Speaking during the union’s recent congress, chairman of the union, Comrade Emmanuel Atule said it was slowing down the progress and operation of the hospital. Atule advised staff of the hospital to embrace dialogue in settling grievances against their colleagues and management in order to avoid distractions. “The hospital has been tagged ‘petition hospital’ both at the state and Federal Ministry of Health because of the number of petitions from staff. As a result of this petitions, investigations that follow and actions taken, management goes to Abuja every now and then either to the Federal Ministry of Health or to the Industrial Court; and all expenses from the hospital’s coffers. These monies spent on moving up and down settling issues would have been used for better things that can aid the growth of the hospital,” he said. He also warned against writing of petition in the name of ‘Concerned Staff’, saying, whoever writes petition should be bold enough to include his/her name.  
 
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Guardian, 08 March 2017
Health workers begin strike over alleged corruption, unpaid salaries

Allied health workers across the country on Monday began a nationwide strike over alleged corruption in the Federal Ministry of Health. The National President of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Dr. Ogbonna Obinna Chimela, announced the strike at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State. He told journalists that the health ministry had failed to implement the joint agreement it reached with them in 2009. The allied workers involved are physiotherapists, dieticians, medical laboratory scientists, radiographers, optometrists, pharmacists, dental therapists, medical physicists, clinical psychologists and dental technologists. He explained that the strike was ordered after the 30-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government to honour the agreement had expired. Also, workers at the National Orthopedic Hospital, Lagos (NOHIL) yesterday, embarked on a seven-day warning strike over alleged unpaid salaries, arrears and stagnation. The joint action committee involving the Medical and Health Workers Union, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Mid-wife, National Union of Allied Health Professionals and Senior Staff Association of Tertiary and Research Institution accused the hospital’s management of dishonesty to its workers. 
 
Nigeria Health Watch, 01 March 2017
“I banged on the hospital door at 1 a.m. with my daughter screaming in pain” – The difficulty of healthcare access in Nigeria

This week’s Thought Leadership Piece recounts the harrowing experience of Nneoma Wokemba, a mother who found herself fighting to get health care for her child in the middle of the night. Wokemba shared her experience on Facebook a few days ago. As we celebrate International Women’s Day this week, her poignant story reminds us that in Nigeria we still have a long way to go towards providing health care for the most vulnerable parts of our populations, especially women and children, the poor, the underserved, the elderly, those with special needs, and those with recurring health challenges. Her story is republished with permission and has been edited accordingly. "Between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m., while most people were sleeping, I was driving around town, looking for medical care for my daughter who was in the middle of a painful crisis. I’m used to this. I’ve done it for years and it has become reflex. I don’t think twice about rushing out in the middle of night. For some reason, that’s when her crises usually begins or escalates beyond what I can handle.” Nneoma is the mother of two beautiful girls, and works as a legal officer in Enugu. Her younger daughter has sickle cell anaemia, and over the years, Nneoma has learnt to manage this health challenge and put in place checks that will facilitate access to care for her daughter whenever a crisis arises.

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