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Nigeria Health Watch

Top Ten News Items on Health out of Nigeria

UNICEF, 11 October 2016
Massive immunization campaign to reach 41 million children in Nigeria and region to contain polio outbreak

A major health campaign is underway in the Lake Chad Basin area to vaccinate over 41 million children against polio to contain the recent outbreak of the disease in north-east Nigeria. Populations fleeing conflict are on the move within the sub-region, raising concerns that the virus could spread across borders. Nearly 39,000 health workers are deployed across Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Niger, Cameroon and the Central African Republic to deliver the oral polio vaccine in areas at high-risk for the virus during five rounds of coordinated vaccination campaigns across five countries. UNICEF is procuring the vaccines and engaging the public through mass media and grassroots mobilization. “The re-emergence of polio after two years with no recorded cases is a huge concern in an area that’s already in crisis,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “The scale of our response reflects the urgency: we must not allow polio to spread.” The ongoing conflict has now displaced 2.6 million people, devastated provision of healthcare and left more than 4 million people in north-east Nigeria facing emergency food security levels. 

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ThisDay, 13 October 2016
Nigeria losing billions of Dollars to malaria

A recent claim by the Society for Family Health (SFH) that about three billion US dollars is lost to malaria yearly in Nigeria due to out of pocket treatment and prevention cost, has again brought to the fore the amount that could be saved or used for developmental activities if malaria becomes a thing of the past in the country. The said amount, according to SFH, could pay the annual salaries of 2.2 million Nigerians when using the present minimum wage as a template. And if channeled into developmental purposes, could play a big role in the economic revamping of the country. According to SFH, malaria accounts for about six out of 10 out-patient visits and three of 10 admissions in healthcare facilities, adding that malaria accounts for 11 per cent of maternal mortality and three of 10 deaths in children less than five years. This is even as experts have stated that the disease is a major cause of absenteeism in schools, offices and markets, thereby significantly and negatively affecting the economic growth of the country.

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Premium Times, 12 October 2016
Kaduna begins free malaria treatment for all residents

The Kaduna State government on Tuesday launched free antimalarial medication to every resident requiring treatment in a public hospitals. The government also appealed for blood donation, and is expanding the distribution of mosquito nets. Speaking with officials and patients during a visit to the Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital, Governor Nasir El-Rufai expressed his sympathy to individuals and families that have been affected by malaria outbreak. The governor said the state was treating the issue as an emergency, and would extend free treatment beyond children under five, pregnant women and the elderly. Hospital officials disclosed that a lot of the affected children were also anaemic. Mr. El-Rufai appealed to the public to support the malaria containment effort by donating blood. Paul Dogo, the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, described the scale of the challenge. “Up to 1000 cases are reported at various government hospitals daily, but Yusuf Danstoho Hospital has the highest number of cases. For example, between Friday and Sunday, 2500 patients reported to Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital,” he said. Children constitute 1,500 of these malaria patients.

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NTA News, 12 October 2016
Nasarawa state partners Cuba on health care

His Excellency Umaru Tanko Almakura has lauded the Cuban Government for its firm stand on health related issues and expressed the readiness of Nasarawa State to partner Cuba in the areas of healthcare and agriculture. Governor Almakura made this known when he received the Cuban Ambassador Carlos Trejo-Sosa who was in the state for a courtesy visit and discussions on various issues at the Government House Lafia. Speaking on the healthcare collaboration the Governor stated it would have a more positive approach if a research and diagnostic laboratory is set up in Nasarawa State , saying that such an effort would go a long way in stemming the tide of Lasa fever among other diseases. Governor Almakura made it known that aside, the collaboration in health we welcome support towards strengthening the capacity of the Primary Health Care Centers in Nasarawa State through improving the capacity of some categories of health care providers. Lastly, he called on the Cuban Government to explore the Agricultural potentials of Nasarawa State. 

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Vanguard, 11 October 2016
Jigawa spends N573m on health infrastructure
 
Jigawa State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abba Zakari, told newsmen, yesterday, that the state government has spent over N573 million on the construction of 27 primary healthcare centres and 27 midwives staff quarters. According to him, the development is part of government’s determination to bring health facilities closer to the people. He said the new health facilities were provided in each of the 27 local government areas in the state, adding “the gesture was to address the shortage of health care facilities and shortage of manpower in the health sector.” He added that the funds were generated through counterpart funding with the Millennium Develop-ment Goals, MDGs. “The state government will also spend over N98 million to equip the health centres and over N25 million to furnish the midwives staff quarters,” he added. 
 
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Daily Trust, 13 Otcober 2016
Reps query Kano hospital over N59m IGR, tax

The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has queried the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dala, Kano State over N59m fund for tax and internally generated revenue. The committee’s query was based on the report of the Auditor General of the Federation covering years 2011 to 2013. At a session yesterday in Abuja, the committee chaired by Rep Kingsley Chinda (PDP Rivers), said based on the AGF’s report, the hospital ought to have paid withholding tax to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in 2012 out of N21 million, but did not. The committee also said N38.3m IGR being proceeds of bills from patients was not remitted to the consolidated revenue account in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007. However, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Salihu Muhammad, said the hospital had issues in obtaining Tax Identification Number (TIN) from FIRS that year, which made all the taxes paid to bounce back, but that the problem was later rectified and the taxes were paid accordingly. He said the hospital informed the AGF’s office about the development, but a representative of the AGF’s office said they never received any document from the hospital to that effect.  
 
Daily Trust, 12 October 2016
When will Zuba Cottage Hospital be opened? Residents ask FCTA 

Over five years since the completion of the multi-million naira Zuba Cottage Hospital and nine months after the FCT minister, Bello Musa Muhammad, ordered that medical services should commence at the facility, it is yet to be opened. Though Aso Chronicle gathered that there have been some additional construction works at the site, while some workers have already been deployed, the centre is yet to be opened to patients. The hospital which is meant to serve several communities, including Zuba, Tunga Maje, Dei-Dei and Giri, has remained locked years after it was completed, and is overtaken by grasses. The situation, residents said, has made them lose hope in the possibility that it would be commissioned anytime soon. They said the delay in its commissioning was contrary to their expectations thus subjecting them to perpetual dependence on private hospitals for their medical needs which comes at exorbitant rates. Some of the residents who spoke to Aso Chronicle expressed concern over the challenges they undergo in accessing medical attention, saying they pay heavily for their sick ones in private hospitals or travel to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada for medical attention.  

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Guardian, 13 October 2016
UITH suspends payment of resident doctors salaries over strike

The University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) has suspended the payment of salaries of the striking Resident Doctors in the hospital. The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Prof Abdulwaheed Olatinwo, who disclosed this in Ilorin recently, urged medical doctors operating under the aegis of National Association of Nigeria to be more focussed on their training programmes rather than embarking on incessant strikes over delayed payment of allowances. He hinted that the Federal Ministry of Health has directed the management of the hospital to enforce the immediate implementation of ‘no work no pay’ policy. The UITH chapter of NARD is presently on strike over unpaid allowances of its members. However, the local chairman of the association, Dr Ade Faponle has vowed that members of the association would continue with the over one month old strike over non payment of similar allowances enjoyed by doctors in some sister Teaching Hospitals in the country. 

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The Guardian, 12 October 2016
CMD tasks striking UBTH doctors to call off strike

Members of the Association of Resident Doctors at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) have been urged to call off their two-month old strike. The Chief Medical Director, Prof Michael Ibadin, said the appeal became necessary to save the lives of patients.He urged them to uphold the sanctity of their oath as professionals by giving attention to patients at all times. Ibadin described the strike as an ominous sign that some desperate resident doctors were working to undermine the efforts of the hospital’s management to provide patients with quality and sustainable healthcare service delivery. He said it was unpatriotic for them to embark on strike when the management was working to ensure that their demands were met.The CMD urged them to come to the negotiating table with management, while refuting recent newspapers reports which he alleged were meant to discredit his leadership. 

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Nigeria Health Watch, 11 October 2016
Strong response to polio in the North East, stuttering response to health and nutrition

Following the detection of three new polio cases in Nigeria, The Nigerian government and its partners have mounted a massive, largely well-coordinated response. The Nigerian Government rapidly released an unprecedented N9.8B to support the response. Together with support from several international partners, this will fund an intensive outbreak response which includes five rounds of vaccination and the strengthening of surveillance. This will hopefully put Nigeria on the path to eradication again after the country had been declared free of polio for the past two years. Thousands of Nigerians have been again mobilised to support the response, being done in collaboration with the Armed Forces in parts of the country where access is still a problem due to conflict and insurgency. All the neighbouring countries, members of the Lake Chad Basin, have been asked to synchronise activities for a massive regional response. 

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