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Nigeria Health Watch

Top Ten News Items on Health out of Nigeria

BBC, 07 June 2016
Nigeria's Buhari 'broke promise to end medical tourism'

A leading Nigerian doctor has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of reneging on a promise to end "medical tourism" by seeking treatment in the UK. Nigerians spent $1bn (£690m) on foreign medical trips in 2013, most of which was unnecessary, said Dr Osahon Enabulele. Nigerian politicians were mostly treated by Nigerian doctors in the UK, he added. Mr Buhari flew to London on Monday to be treated for an ear infection. It is unclear where the 73-year-old would be treated for what his office described as a "persistent" infection.Dr Enabulele, vice-president of the Commonwealth Medical Association, said it was a "national shame" that Mr Buhari went to the UK for treatment when Nigeria had more than 250 ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists, as well as a National Ear Centre. Mr Buhari should lead by example by using Nigerian doctors and facilities, and ensure government officials do not go abroad on "frivolous" medical trips, he added.

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Premium Times, 07 June 2016
NMA reacts to Buhari’s foreign medical trip, says Nigeria has ENT specialists to treat president

The Nigeria Medical Association has said the country has very competent Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists who can treat President Mr. Muhammadu Buhari’s ear infection. The general secretary of the association, Tanko Sununu, said there are competent ENT surgeons who can take care of the president’s recurring ear trouble. He spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday following public outrage over Mr. Buhari’s latest trip to the United Kingdom to treat an ear infection, after his administration had banned medical travels for public office holders except in cases that cannot be handled in Nigeria. Mr. Sununu however said that the medical body could not take a definitive position regarding the president’s decision to travel until it received details of the president’s health.

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Vanguard, 07 June 2016
Resident doctors to begin nationwide strike on June 9 

The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) will start a nationwide strike on Thursday, June 9, the National President, Dr Muhammad Askira, has announced. Askira told newsmen in Kano on Tuesday that the decision was taken at the ordinary general meeting of the National Executive Council of the association held between May 30 and June 5 in Jos. He said “16 out of 58 federal tertiary institutions or centres were exempted from the initial centre based strike for the commitment of the Chief Medical Director of the hospitals to implement the Federal Government’s directives.’’ He said if by midnight of Sunday, June 19, their demands were not met, all the members of the association, including those exempted, would join the indefinite nationwide strike.

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Daily Post, 09 June 2016
NARD strike: Dogara intervenes, members who have been paid fully to suspend strike for one week

Following a meeting between the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara and the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, NARD, the proposed indefinite strike by the doctors scheduled to commence on Thursday June 9, 2016 has been suspended for one week to allow the House intervene in the issues between them and the Executive. The meeting will be personally be convened and presided over by the Speaker, according to a statement issued by his spokesman, Turaki Hassan, in Abuja. The suspension came after an intense appeal meeting between the association’s executive members and Dogara as well as chairmen of relevant House Committees in his office. Speaking to them, Dogara asked the resident doctors to grant the House one week to meet with the Minister of Health and fashion out ways to meet their demands and address lingering grievances.

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Punch, 03 June 2016
Doctors begin indefinite strike over salary in Nasarawa
 
Medical doctors in Nasarawa State have embarked on an indefinite strike over payment of salaries. Dr. Friday Omolei, Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association and Secretary, Dr Peter Attah, said at a news briefing on Friday in Lafia. The doctors said that the strike was due to alleged government’s failure to correct their salaries in tandem with the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the association had issued a one-week strike notice to the state government on May 26. Omolei said the association took the “painful” decision, as the government had failed to respond to the doctors demand since 2014. The chairman said that the association was open to dialogue, but would not return to work until its demands were met.
 
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Punch, 08 June 2016
Buhari’s wife seeks improved awareness on tuberculosis
 
The wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has raised the alarm over the increasing cases of tuberculosis in the country. Buhari, represented by the wife of the Vice-President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, spoke at the opening ceremony of a two-day conference organised by the Stop-TB Partnership Nigeria and the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme in Abuja. She also called for a concerted effort to tackle the disease urgently, saying, “It is responsible for several untimely deaths in Nigeria.” According to her, the Federal Government cannot tackle the TB burden alone hence the need for assistance from development partners. Buhari, who is an ambassador for the “Stop TB campaign”, lamented that Nigeria had a high TB burden due to poor awareness on the symptoms of the disease and late diagnosis.
 
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All Africa, 07 June 2016
Only 2,500 Primary Health Facilities Operational - Akingbade

Only 2, 500 of the 30,000 primary healthcare facilities across the country are functioning, the Acting Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr Olufemi Akingbade, has said. He said in Abuja yesterday when he led some senior officials of the agency on a visit to the Nigerian Communication Satellites Limited (NIGCOMSAT) that the 27, 500 facilities which should cater for more than 100 million poor Nigerians were without any health official and the facilities there were rotting away. The implication of this, he said, was that many poor people who should be enjoying health care services from the government facilities had been cut off. This is also hindering the universal health coverage programme of the federal government, he added. The implication of this, he said, was that many poor people who should be enjoying health care services from the government facilities had been cut off.

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Today, 02 June 2016
HIV prevalence rate below 2% in Nigeria – NACA

The National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) says Nigeria has done well with funds it received from the World Bank Assisted Project towards the elimination of the HIV/AIDS virus which presently stands at below 2% prevalence rate. The Director, Partnerships Coordination of NACA, Emmanuel Alhassan, gave the statistics in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, at a HIV Programme Development Project retreat (HPDP 11) held by staff of NACA. NACA staff from various departments and units gathered to look at the work plan that it has with the World Bank Assisted Project towards ensuring that it meets the project development objectives within the timeline it has. And with just about eight months to the end of the timeline, appraisal on how the funds were utilized towards eradicating the virus became necessary. According to Alhassan, the retreat would help team members rebuild strategies on how to provide better services to infected patients and possibly get a zero prevalence rate latest by 2030 if the intervention from World Bank is renewed.

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Leadership, 08 June 2016
UNICEF, Canadian Govt begin free healthcare project In Taraba

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Canadian government in partnership with Taraba State Primary Health Care Agency yesterday commenced a free healthcare project tagged, ‘Hard To Reach.’ The project aimed at offering free medical services to children, women and the less-privileged in rural communities, with special focus on immunisation, polio, nutrition, malaria and community mobilisation on health matters was flagged off at Suriwa village, near Jalingo. UNICEF head of field office in Bauchi, Alhaji Abdulahi Kakai at the launch of the programme said his office and the Canadian government had provided enough drugs for the exercise in all rural communities in the state. Kakai disclosed that 450 medical and health workers had been employed and trained for the project on how to work in places with difficult terrains that had no health facilities.

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Nigeria Health Watch, 07 June 2016
Extraordinary Humans – The Hospitals For Humanity Team visits Abuja

Reading Nigerian newspapers, or browsing the plethora of social media platforms, it is easy to think that the country is doomed. On some days, this feels especially so in the health sector. There seems to be no end to the list of things that are not working for Nigerians when it comes to their health. Today, we have allowed ourselves to look beyond the headlines, to explore just a bit further, and what we have found are extraordinary stories of people that keep the country working, despite everything. They are everyday heroes, who insist that our country must survive and grow. They are working hard on small, and sometimes big challenges, quietly defining the society into the one that we desire.

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