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Nigeria Health Watch

Top Ten News Items on Health out of Nigeria

The Nation, 29 September 2016
FG cancels plan to build 10,000 PHCs

Federal Government may have put off its earlier plan to build 10,000 primary health care centres across all senatorial zones across the country, it was learnt Thursday. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole said the decision to cancel the project was on the advice of Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who felt that the states may not be able to meet up with their contributions. Adewole spoke during an audience with Under-Secretary-General and Executive-Director, United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin in Abuja Absolving the Finance minister of any blame, Adewole said the minister (Finance) had earlier pledged upon assumption of office that the PHCs would be made available by President Buhari-led administration within four years, and that the nation’s health systems would be driven through it.

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Today.NG, 29 September 2016
UNICEF revises humanitarian funding appeal for Nigeria to US$ 115m

UNICEF has revised its humanitarian appeal for Nigeria from US$ 55 million to US$ 115 million to assist an additional 750,000 people who can now be reached across conflict-affected areas in the northeast of the country. As new areas open up to humanitarian assistance, the true scale of the Boko Haram-related crisis and its impact on children is being revealed. An estimated 400,000 children under five will suffer from severe acute malnutrition in three states across the northeast this year. More than 4 million people are facing severe food shortages and 65,000 people are living in famine-like conditions, mostly in Borno, the worst affected state. “Children’s lives are literally hanging by a thread,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes. “We are reaching new areas to provide critical humanitarian assistance but we need greater international support to further scale up and reach all children in dire need,” she added.

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The Punch, 27 September 2016
FG begins free screening for cancer

The Federal Government has commenced a rapid response initiative programme to provide no fewer than 20,000 screenings, 10,000 surgeries and general healthcare for the people within 100 days. The measure is aimed at addressing the adverse health challenges of people who are financially incapacitated. The Director of Medical Services and Chairman Medical Advisory Committee of the National Hospital, Dr. Oluseyi Oniyangi, stated this during the commencement of the exercise with 10 persons. Oniyangi said the programme was targeted at providing healthcare for the poor people in the society, who were unable to access healthcare facilities due to lack of funds. The Federal Government has commenced a rapid response initiative programme to provide no fewer than 20,000 screenings, 10,000 surgeries and general healthcare for the people within 100 days. 

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PM News, 27 September 2016
FG launches first national HIV improvement projects

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, will on Oct. 4, launch the first National HIV quality improvement projects in Abuja. Mr Dennis Mordi, the Communication Manager, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), announced this in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja. According to the statement, the project aims at improving the diagnosis of HIV in babies and that both adults and babies who tested positive are promptly placed on treatment. Mordi stated that the initiative would institutionalise structured process of using data, collected at health facilities, to facilitate informed decision-making at the national level for improved service delivery. “A standard operating procedure (SOP) to guide the implementation of the projects, will be unveiled during the meeting,” he stated. The statement quoted Mrs Chinenye Ugorji, the Project Director of the Nigerian Alliance for Health Systems Strengthening (NAHSS), as saying that the SOP “will increase quick identification of service delivery gaps”. 

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The Eagle Online, 27 September 2016
Report on restructuring of Residency Training Programme submitted to Minister
 
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has received the report on Restructuring Residency Training Progamme from the Ministerial Committee inaugurated by the Federal Ministry of Health in May this year to appraise the previous committees’ reports on the Residency Training Programme and to recommend sustainable uniform Residency Training Programe in Nigeria. The report was presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Wole Atoyebi, who is the Registrar, National Post-Graduate Medical Collage of Nigeria. Receiving the report, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, appreciated the members of the committee for working tirelessly to produce a document that would serve as panacea to the Residency Training challenges in the health sector. Adewole promised that the Ministry of Health would review the recommendations of the committee and take appropriate decision. He said: “We will make copies and circulate it so that those who want to make comments can put it across.
 
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Vanguard, 28 September 2016
Lack of incubators: Tragedy of Nigeria’s premature babies

In Nigeria today, if your baby is born prematurely, that is, before 37 weeks of gestation, you are likely to greet the birth of the child with a mixture of joy and worry. You would be joyful that after waiting for days, weeks and months, your baby has finally arrived. But you would also be worried because the baby is born premature, especially as there are hardly any functional incubators available in most hospitals across the country. Even where they are available, you would need to pay a huge sum for your baby to use one. This was the plight of James and Mopelola Opakunle, who lost their baby in the course of searching for a functional incubator in Lagos State. It all began when Mopelola was rushed to a private hospital following strange abdominal pains at 32 weeks of her pregnancy. On getting to the hospital, and upon examination, it was discovered that she was actually in labour. The news almost caused panic for the couple, but the doctors assured them that all would be well, even though there were no available facilities to take care of such premature cases.
 
Vanguard, 29 September 2016
Nigeria contributes 10% to worlds maternal mortality – UNFPA

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Department for International Development DFID, have said raised alarm that Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate has risen to 10 percent where about 111 women die on daily basis. These were submissions by the Executive Director of the UNFPA, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin and the Permanent Secretary of the UK’s Department for International Development, DFID, Mr Mark Lowcock at a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja on Wednesday. Osotimehin who was a former Minister of Health in Nigeria however said that UNFPA had a plan to restart a national programme to reduce the rate of maternal and child mortality in Nigeria, especially in the North. He said the new initiative, if well implemented, would drastically reduce the incidence of maternal deaths. He said, “Nigeria constitutes 2% of the world’s population but contributes 10% of the world’s maternal mortality. “The UNFPA in partnership with the DFID is proposing a programme that will ultimately reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria by 30% through a child spacing and family planning initiative.’’ 

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Premium Times, 28 September 2016
Kaduna pursues affordable healthcare through contributory scheme

A scheme to guarantee universal access to basic healthcare is to be introduced in Kaduna State. The state government is already providing free health services for pregnant women, children under five years and the elderly. The proposed scheme is designed to widen the net of coverage, and ensure that all residents of the state, including the poor and vulnerable, have access to healthcare without incurring out-of-pocket expenditure. The Kaduna State Executive Council on September 26 approved the establishment of a Contributory Health Scheme that will provide access to quality healthcare packages to all residents of the state. This scheme removes the financial barriers to healthcare that often exclude the poor and vulnerable who cannot afford the out-of-pocket expenditure hospital treatment currently requires. The objective is to make healthcare accessible and affordable for all. Paul Dogo, Commissioner of Health and Human Services, says that a bill setting out the legal framework for this programme will be sent to the State House of Assembly, as directed by the State Executive Council.

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Leadership, 28 September 2016
University of Uyo Teaching Hospital doctors to suspend strike

Resident doctors of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, UUTH, Akwa Ibom State, on Wednesday said they would call off the two months’ old industrial action over their salary arrears. The doctors, who spoke under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors, on Wednesday in Uyo, the state capital, stated that the hospital’s management had agreed to pay their full entitlements starting from the end of September. The association’s president, Dr. Christian Adeneye, explained that their desire to suspend the strike followed series of meeting with the Medical Director, Prof. Etete Peters, promising to remunerate them their salary arrears in full. Adeneye stated that the matter had before now been presented to their congress, which the doctors unanimously agreed to resume work judging from the position of management to pay them their full entitlements. Speaking on other issues like call meals, the doctors said management had awarded a contract to a firm for its full implementation. He added that the call meals will only be effective once the doctors resume activities at the hospital. His words: “We are calling off our two months old strike over our salary arrears. 

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Nigeria Health Watch, 27 September 2016
One Tech Expert’s Eagle Eye view of the Nigerian Health Sector

Our Future of Health Conference 2016, themed “Health meets Tech”, held last week at the YarAdua Centre in Abuja. For many it was an unusual dynamic; the health sector, traditionally rigid, slow-moving, and full of protocol, sitting in the same room as the tech sector, known for its openness to innovation, experimentation, and antipathy for the status quo. We at Nigeria Health Watch knew that this was a conversation that needed to happen, that this was ice worth breaking… We didn’t quite know what to expect, especially from the side of the techies, but our vision was that this meeting could, would, become something more. Emeka Afigbo, who is Facebook’s Products Partnerships Manager for the Middle East and Africa, was one of our A-list speakers at the Conference. An avowed techie, he reflects in this stirring piece about how his view of the issues facing the health and other sectors in Africa, has changed, and his determination to advocate for more engagement by the tech sector to help solve these problems. Admittedly, most of our readers come from the health space rather than tech, but pieces like this one show the critical need for both sectors to understand each other, for the ultimate change we seek in the health sector to begin. The piece first appeared on Emeka’s Facebook page and is reposted here with permission.

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