Premium Times, 30 March 2017 Nigeria meningitis outbreak: 282 deaths confirmed in five states
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has confirmed the outbreak of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis, CSM, in five states with at least 282 deaths related to the disease. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Chief Executive Officer of the centre, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja. Mr. Ihekweazu said that 1,966 suspected cases have been recorded while 109 have been confirmed and being treated since the outbreak of the disease in February in the country. He said that the centre had deployed a response team to the affected states to vaccinate the residents and control further spread of CSM. According to him, Zamfara has the highest number of confirmed cases of 44, followed by Katsina with 32, Sokoto 19, Kebbi 10 and Niger 4 confirmed cases. He also said that there is an inter-agency response supporting the states to contain the outbreak through the primary mode of vaccination. However, Mr. Ihekweazu explained that a new strand of meningitis called “stereotype C” has emerged in place of the previous known type “stereotype A”, which has disappeared. He regretted that there was not yet commercially available vaccine for this new stereotype “C” meningitis.
Punch, 07 March 2017 NHIS removes 23,000 ghost enrollees from health insurance scheme
The National Health Insurance Scheme says it has removed 23,000 ghost enrollees, who have been enjoying the benefits of the insurance scheme, from it. The Executive Secretary, NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday at the award of ISO/IEC 20000 standard certification to Galaxy Backbone Plc. Yusuf said he had worked in collaboration with three other government agencies, namely: Galaxy Backbone Plc, Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited and the National Identity Management Commission, to remove ghost enrollees who had been enjoying the benefits of the insurance scheme illegally. According to him, this has brought a friction between the NHIS and Health Management Organisations in the country. "I have a crack ICT team and the members have worked with Galaxy Backbone, the NIMC and NigComSat to remove the ghost enrollees. For this, the HMOs are fighting me, but we have to make sure that the right people get the money,” Yusuf added. Speaking at the event, the Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, who presented the certificate to Galaxy Backbone, said Information Technology had a critical role to play in the delivery of government services to the citizens.
NTA News, 30 March 2017 Japan contributes $903,000 to North East emergency programme
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the Government of Japan has contributed $903,000 to assist the organisation in its Emergency Programme in the crisis-affected North-East Nigeria. Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, the WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said the contribution would benefit more than 400,000 women, men and children in the region. Alemu said the funds would be used to provide medicines and medical equipment, integrated basic primary health care services, establishment of effective referral mechanism for severely ill patients and strengthening of the health sector coordination. He said as at March 2017, the on-going conflict in the region and the neighbouring regions of Cameroon, Chad and Niger has left over 10 million people displaced with 1.7 million internally displaced in Nigeria. According to him, approximately 155,000 Nigerians are refugees; the conflict has also resulted in massive destruction of basic infrastructure, health and educational facilities, commercial buildings, private houses and agricultural assets.
Relief Web, 25 March 2017 Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention launches five-year strategic plan to improve surveillance, emergency response and prevention of infectious diseases
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention launched Friday its strategic plan to improve surveillance, emergency response, and prevent infectious diseases on the continent. The plan was reviewed by its experts’ body, the Advisory and Technical Council, before it was endorsed by its Governing Board that includes ten Ministers from the five regions of the African Union on Wednesday. The plan launched at the ongoing Scientific Symposium of the Africa CDC provides a solid framework for the institution to deliver on its mandate. The institution will lead continental efforts to collect and disseminate disease intelligence and to strengthen the ability of public health institutions to detect and control disease threats based on science and policy. To achieve these ends, Africa CDC will work with partners across the continent, including the private sector, and promote innovation. “The strategy provides a clear roadmap for the Africa CDC to deliver on its key mandate to provide timely, actionable, and continent-wide surveillance and disease intelligence data; rapid deployment of coordination and technical expertise to respond to outbreaks, health diplomacy and seamless and well-coordinated regional laboratory and surveillance networks across countries” said Dr. John Nkengasong, the Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Guardian, 27 March 2017 Nigeria, 12 others begin immunisation of 116 million children against polio
Polio vaccinators in Nigeria over the weekend joined more than 190000 of their counterparts from 12 other countries across west and central Africa to immunize more than 116 million children over the next week. The other countries include: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Sierra Leone. Volunteers will deliver bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) to every house across all cities, towns and villages of the 13 countries. To succeed, this army of volunteers and health workers will work up to 12 hours per day, travelling on foot or bicycle, in often stifling humidity and temperatures in excess of 40°C. Each vaccination team will carry the vaccine in special carrier bags, filled with ice packs to ensure the vaccine remains below the required 8°C. The World Health Organisation (WHO), yesterday, in a statement said the synchronized vaccination campaign, one of the largest of its kind ever implemented in Africa, is part of urgent measures to permanently stop polio on the continent. Children under five years of age in the 13 countries will be simultaneously immunized in a coordinated effort to raise childhood immunity to polio across the continent.
Guardian, 30 March 2017 AIDS survey committee inaugurated
Committee members to spearhead the National Population Based AIDS Indicator Survey (NPAIS) have been inaugurated by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole on Monday, March 27, 2017. The inauguration, which was held in Abuja, has among the Steering Committee members, key stakeholders who will be saddled with the responsibility to effectively manage Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) Survey and ensure that objectives are met. Director General (DG) of the National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu, stressed that in “our quest to end AIDS, if there is no accurate collection of data then there are no targets; no plans and sourcing of funds become ineffective.” Aliyu noted that without absolute data on HIV, it will be difficult to record the success made so far as a country in the fight to end AIDS by 2030. Speaking further, the DG NACA said there is an urgent need to fill the data gap, which will guide programming for the United Nations ambitious 90-90-90 strategy. It is understood that the NPAIS will be a cross sectional, representative, population based survey of adults and children from birth and upwards, to inform the HIV response in Nigeria.
World Health Organization, 24 March 2017 Nigeria equips primary health care centres with GeneXpert Machines to accelerate TB case finding
In keeping with the 2017 World Tuberculosis (TB) Day slogan of ‘Accelerating TB Case Finding and Treatment’, Nigeria is scaling up availability of GeneXpert machines country-wide in order to start reversing the country’s unflattering position of having highest burden of TB in Africa. Launching the machine at Kuchingoro Model Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) today in Abuja to commemorate the 2017 event with the theme of “Uniting to End TB”; the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole noted that government would leave no stone unturned in finding and treating all cases of TB. He highlighted that 5 in every 6 TB cases are currently not being diagnosed and appealed to all present and the community at large, for a concerted partnership in creating awareness on the need to find all those who cough for more than two weeks, with or without blood, for free TB diagnosis and treatment at nearest PHCs like Kuchingoro. According to him, citing the GeneXpert machine in a PHC where the masses can have easy equitable access falls squarely in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Vanguard, 24 March 2017 Katsina Govt releases N700m for hospital equipment
The Katsina State Government says it has released N700 million for the purchase of equipment for some general hospitals in the state. The state Commissioner for Health, Hajiya Mariatu Usman, disclosed this in Katsina on Friday during a media summit for private media organisations in the country. Usman said the equipment would be installed at laboratories, theaters, dental units, x-ray units, special baby care units, intensive care units, accidents and emergency and wards. She said that the equipment would be installed at general hospitals in Katsina, Daura, Funtua, Kankia, Musawa, Baure and Jibia local government areas of the state. The commissioner also disclosed that the government had released N60 million for the purchase drugs and commodities for the general hospitals in the first quarter of the year. According to her, 10,000 delivery kits and 1,000 caesarean kits have been purchased and distributed to the hospitals for free delivery and caesarean section. She said the ministry would ensure the supply of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computer Tomography Scanning machine (CT-Scan). “The machines have been successfully installed at Gen. Amadi Rimi Specialist Hospital, Katsina,’’ she said.
The Nation, 31 March 2017 Relief as Abia council gets hospital
Their ordeal was quite remarkable. Expectant mothers travelled far to be delivered of their babies. Patients suffering common and severe ailments had to make do with medical services provided by personnel of missionary hospitals or private facilities. In many cases, patients from rural areas died not from complications but because it took too long to find a health facility. Now redemption has come, thanks to the state government which has just built and inaugurated what has been referred to as a state-of-the-art hospital at Mgboko, headquarters of Obingwa Local Government Area of the state. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu flagged off the hospital. A resident of Obingwa narrated a telling experience, saying he lost his wife who had gone to deliver their baby in one of the clinics in their community. She developed complications in the midnight because the staff at the facility could no longer handle the matter. Before they could ferry her to another hospital in Aba, she gave up the ghost on the road. This was one of several experiences the people of Obingwa were passing through until Governor Ikpeazu ensured that the Obingwa General Hospital, attracted to the area by former governor, now Senator, Theodore Orji, was completed.
Nigeria Health Watch, 29 March 2017 “Does Leadership Matter” in the Nigerian health sector?
The greatest challenges and the greatest opportunities that any unit in society has begins with its pattern of leadership. Who makes those decisions that create ripples, trickling down into the lives of the people, and in whose interest are those decisions made? Leadership occupies a pivotal role from the domestic sphere of the family to the public sphere of companies and organizations, to industries, and ultimately the nation. Our first Health Watch Forum for the year 2017 will focus on leadership and whether it matters. The change in the leadership of five institutions in the Nigerian health sector in one fell swoop last year led to a rise in the expectations of many Nigerians, including health sector professionals, NGOs working in the health sector, and the international donor community. No doubt the question on everyone’s mind included: Who are “The Five”, do they have the capacity to change anything, what plans do they have to transform their institutions, and how will this affect the lives of millions of Nigerians? At the time little was known about the majority of the new leaders, none of whom were already in the Nigerian public service. And perhaps it was this novelty that seemed to inject a burst of fresh air into a health sector that was full of expectation and frustrated at the fail-starts of the past.
EpiAFRIC is a health sector focused consulting group working to improve
population health through expert research and data analytics, project
design and evaluation, health communication, advocacy and training. Our
non-profit arm is Nigeria Health Watch.