Nigeria Health Watch

Top Ten News Items on Health out of Nigeria

Nigeria Health Watch, 16 January 2017
Lassa Fever: NCDC confirms cases in 7 states, advices on preparedness by hospitals and healthcare workers

The Nigeria Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) calls the attention of Nigerians to an increasing number of Lassa fever cases, and advices increased focus on prevention and preparedness. In the last quarter of 2016, the NCDC commenced the implementation of its Lassa Fever preparedness plan ahead of the current dry season to strengthen nationwide capacity to prevent, detect and respond to the anticipated Lassa fever cases. Since the beginning of this current dry season in December 2016, 7 states have reported at least one case of Lassa Fever. 19 confirmed cases and 6 deaths have been reported by these 7 states. NCDC is working closely with affected states to ensure an appropriate response to these cases. Social mobilisation activities and sensitisation of health workers are being scaled up. The outbreak response commodities that were prepositioned in the states by NCDC are being used for the response. Epidemiological response activities such as contact listing and tracing are also going in the affected states. States that had previously identified and resourced isolation units as they were advised are much better prepared to deal with cases.  

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Daily Trust, 17 January 2017
NHIS covers cancer, other tertiary ailments - Prof. Usman

Cancer is covered in patients that are enrolled with NHIS in the formal sectors. Anyone that is enrolled with the NHIS and develops cancer will not be thrown out. This has been the misconception and I’ve had many people calling me to say we don’t cover cancer, but it is not true. If you enroll with NHIS and you have cancer, your case will be covered and I can say that authoritatively. It is very expensive to treat and we know that, the large populations of the patients we treat are mainly primary and secondary healthcare. But I am advocating to the government, the large parts of people we cover are not only federal government employees but primary and secondary. We have the large group on the left side, the poor, the vulnerable, the aged, the IDPs and the prisoners that are not covered because they are not contributing. Remember, NHIS is contributory, you enjoy when you contribute. On the right side are patients who have tertiary illnesses, the cancers, the cardiac illnesses, the dialysis, those that require kidney transplant and I get a lot of those requests from doctors. 

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Premium Times, 18 January 2017
Melinda Gates commends Kaduna Govt on child health, others

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has been commended for his leadership in improving child health. Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BMGF, gave this assessment when she visited Kaduna on Wednesday. Mrs. Gates, whose plane landed at the Kaduna Airport, told the governor that the Gates Foundation also lauded Kaduna State’s drive to improve the range and credibility of data collection. “Your commitment to data collection is really admirable. You can’t make decisions without data. We are pleased to help you with that”. She assured the governor that the Gates Foundation has a joint interest with the Kaduna State Government to reduce infant mortality. Assessing the progress on routine immunisation, Mrs. Gates said the BMGF is impressed by the scale of the polio surveillance mounted by the Kaduna State Government. Speaking further on the healthcare segment of the partnership between her foundation and Kaduna State, Mrs. Gates said that the primary health centres will continue to be supported so that they can offer a broad range of services to patients.

Guardian, 15 January 2017
Borno Government spends N1bn on hospital equipment destroyed by Boko Haram

The Borno Government on Sunday said it spent about N1 billion to procure hospital equipment for 38 secondary health facilities that were destroyed by Boko Haram. Dr Salisu Kwayabura, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Borno State Hospital Management Board (BSHMB), told the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Maiduguri. Kwayabura said that the amount was expended to procure modern hospital facilities to enhanced the quality of health service delivery in the state. He said that the state government had also employed about 4,300 health workers because of shortage of health providers in the last three years. He explained that the health workers included 158 doctors, 1094 nurses and midwives, 29 laboratory scientists, 150 laboratory technicians, 250 community health assistants and 12 pharmacists. The CMD lamented that out of the 16 health facilities in the state, 13 of them were completely destroyed by Boko Haram terrorists. He said the government had already commenced the renovation of the affected hospitals. “Government had laid a solid foundation for the take up of all relevant health project with a view to enhancing good service delivery in the sector. 

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The Punch, 18 January 2017
FG, UCH to provide free treatment to Oyo residents

The University College Hospital, Ibadan will begin free screening and treatment of indigent patients suffering from non-communicable diseases in Oyo State. According to the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, was made available courtesy of funds from the Federal Government under the Ministry of Health’s Rapid Results Initiative Programme, which he said was aimed at providing free treatment for 10,000 indigents suffering from diseases, such as cataract, cleft lip, inguino-scrotal hernia, infantile hydrocele, hypertension and diabetes across the country. The Chief Medical Director of the teaching hospital, Prof. Temitope Alonge, told journalists in Ibadan on Monday that the hospital had been mandated to screen and treat 545 people in Oyo State, adding however that the hospital would be ready to go beyond the figure as part of its corporate social responsibilities. He said UCH was one of the 55 centres designated for the RRI programme which has begun at the Akinyele Local Council area of Ibadan where people would be screened. 

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News 24 Nigeria, 19 January 2017
Resident Doctors begin nationwide strike
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has declared a 7- day warning strike starting from Wednesday January 18, through Midnight of Tuesday ,January 24, 2017. The doctors cited Federal Government negligence and failure to meet the lingering demands of its members as the reasons for their action. Rising from the National Executive Council ( NEC) meeting held at the National Trauma Centre, National Hospital Abuja on Wednesday, the association laid the blame on the federal government’s insensitivity and arrogance towards it demands. The association said that all members across 52 federal and state tertiary healthcare centres would join the warning strike, Heath Pilot reports. The association directed its members across public hospitals in the country to suspend services from Wednesday, directing that hospitals are to remain shut till next week Tuesday to pressurise government to meet its demands.
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Vanguard, 20 January 2017
FMC Owerri: Labour threatens to shut Health Minister’s office
LEADERS of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and their Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterpart, have petitioned the Minister of Health, threatening to occupy his office from January 26, over his alleged reinstatement of the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State. NLC and TUC in a petition dated January 17, titled “Notice of intention to occupy your office”, expressed surprise that instead of removing the Medical Director, who Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, allegedly established a prima facie case of corruption against and arraigned before the High Court in Owerri on October 11, 2016, the Minister ordered her reinstatement using the police. The petition by Ayuba Wabba and Bobboi Kaigama, President of NLC and TUC, respectively, read in part: “As you very well know, Dr. Angela Uwakem was sent on suspension on July 29, 2015, following allegations of acts of serious corruption, to enable unfiltered investigation. “The EFCC at the end of its investigation established a prima facie case of corruption against the Medical Director and arraigned her before the State High Court in Owerri on October 11, 2016. “The case was however shifted to November 15, 2016 following the absence of the presiding judge during the October court date.” 
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Premium Times, 17 January 2017
Doctors threaten not to treat Nigerian police officers, their families

The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Shaba Alkali, has pleaded with doctors to rescind their decision of withdrawing medical services to police and their family members in the state. Mr. Alkali made the plea in Gusau, while reacting to the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, directive to its members to withdraw medical services to the Police. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Tijjani Abubakar, Chairman, and Mannir Bature, Secretary of the association, on Monday directed the doctors to immediately withdraw medical services to the police. They said in a statement that doctors would not attend to any policeman in the state following the alleged assault on a doctor who was on official duty in August 2016. Mr. Alkali said the doctors’ action was too harsh, adding that they did not discuss the issue with him. “Since they know I am new in the state, they should have come for a discussion before taking any action, more especially when women and children are involved,” he said.
Leadership, 19 January 2017
2017 Lagos State health budget and impact on sector

The 2017 Lagos state budget which was tagged the “The Golden Jubilee Budget” because it coincides with the state’s 50th anniversary, has indeed attracted a lot of praises as well as condemnation. Though, the 2017 budget was increased by N150 billion from the 2016 budget and it is the biggest budget ever for any state of the federation according to some Lagosians who expressed shock over the drastic reduction in the amount appropriated for the health sector. Though the state government promised to fully implement the Medical Health Insurance Scheme and deploy e-Health/ e-insurance Health Service solutions, and then complete the on-going upgrading and extension work in the State General Hospitals and Ayinke House in Ikeja, stakeholders still believe that the reduction will cause more harm than good. It would be recalled that the Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, in December, presented the 2017 Lagos state budget proposal of N813 billion to the state House of Assembly. Although the entire budget increased by N150 billion when compared to the 2016 budget of N662.6 billion, the health budget reduced from N64 billion which represents 9.76 percent of the total budget in 2016, to N57.29 billion, representing 7.05 percent in 2017. 

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Nigeria Health Watch, 17 January 2017
Will revitalization of Primary Health Care lead to ‘BETTER HEALTH FOR ALL?’

President Muhammadu Buhari last week commissioned the newly revitalized Kuchigoro PHC. The event also served to flag off the start of the Primary Health Care Revitalization Programme, the flagship programme of the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole. This, according to Adewole, is the first step in achieving his short-term goal of revitalizing 110 PHCs across all the senatorial districts in the nation leading up to his overall target of 10,000 revitalized PHCs. A clearly recurring theme in this programme is the word revitalization. Used as a term to describe the Federal Government’s efforts to improve the provision of basic healthcare package for all Nigerians, revitalization here would mean to revive or infuse life into an already existing system. How important exactly is the PHC system to the sustainability of a community’s health and to the nation as a whole? Primary Healthcare as an ideal model of healthcare was adopted in the declaration of the International Conference on Primary Health Care held in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan in 1978, known as the “Alma Ata Declaration“, and became a core concept of the World Health Organization’s goal of Health For All.


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