Nigeria Health Watch

Top Ten News Items on Health out of Nigeria

ThisDay, 23 November 2016
$400m Polio funds not stolen, says Health Minister

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has refuted reports that $400 million donor funds to combat and eradicate polio melitus in Nigeria were either stolen or diverted. The minister while speaking at the opening of a two-day hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services yesterday, called for caution in making utterances that are capable of presenting the country in bad light. Adewole however, conceded that the funds might not have been managed properly. The hearing was organised for stakeholders in the healthcare sector on the need to revitalise the Primary Health Care (PHC) system, and avert a health crises. “$400 million polio money was not stolen, and we need to protect our image. When we splash this kind of stories on pages of newspapers, donors withhold funds as they say the monies would be stolen,” he said. Adewole harped on the need for a sustainable health budget in the 2017 Appropriation.

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ThisDay, 23 November 2016
FG, GSK freeze price of Pneumonia vaccines for next 10 years 

The Federal Government in conjunction with a leading pharmaceutical company, GSK, has pledged not to increase the price of pneumonia vaccines for the next 10 years but to rather freeze the price for improved vaccination. The plan, according to the company, would ensure that children in the country do not die of the disease, which is now the number one killer disease amongst children under five. This was made known at the launch of International Vaccines Access Centre’s (IVAC) preliminary findings which was on the occasion marking World Pneumonia Day in Abuja. The findings estimated that about 750,000 Nigerian children died in 2015 and largely from diseases. The report also indicated that “pneumonia is now the leading cause of child deaths in Nigeria, a position previously held by malaria over the years. In 2015, about 17 per cent (127,00 deaths) and 10 per cent (75,000) of all under-five deaths including neo-natal deaths were caused by pneumonia and diarrhea, respectively.”

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Vanguard, 24 November 2016
Lagos records 9,579 fresh HIV cases in 6 months

No fewer than 9,579 persons, of the 616, 318 that attended the HIV Counselling and Testing, HCT, awareness programme from January to June, 2016, have tested positive to HIV. Dr. Oluseyi Temowo, Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State AIDS Control Agency, LSACA, made this known in Lagos, yesterday. Temowo spoke at a briefing in Ikeja to mark the 2016 World AIDS Day with the theme Hands Up for HIV Prevention. The United Nations had, in 1988, declared every December 1 as the World AIDS Day, to honour AIDS victims and focus on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. Temowo said that in 2015, 599,560 people were counselled, tested and received results out of which 15,311 people were found to be positive. The LSACA chief said that 52,803 people living with the virus were currently on antiretrovirals. He said: “These statistics simply means that there are many more people who are not aware that they have the virus. That is why knowing one’s status is very important. 

Premium Times, 22 November 2016
Lagos to begin health insurance scheme 2017

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday said the much-awaited Health Insurance Scheme of the state would commence in early 2017. He expressed the government’s readiness to partner with key players in the sector to use insurance to grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Lagos. Speaking at the commissioning of the new WAPIC Insurance Corporate Head Office on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Mr. Ambode said there was no question about the strategic importance of insurance to any economy, saying that his administration was open to policies and initiatives that would make the sector to thrive in the State. “The insurance business is here to stay and I want to also say that I give our government’s commitment to allow this sector to grow,” said Mr. Ambode. “I will like to partner and also learn how we can grow the GDP of Lagos through your industry. On our part, we know very clearly that early next year, we are going to start our Health Insurance Scheme and I just think that the drivers are the majority of the people who are seated here and it is important that we partner together and also learn together.”

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The Nation, 13 November 2016
Senate probes secret recruitment, lopsided appointments in NHIS 
The Senate Tuesday commenced investigation into alleged illegal recruitment and lopsided appointments of some management staff of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). The probe also covers NHIS expenditure on trainings and travels. Management staff of the scheme led by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Usman Yusuf, appeared before the Senate Committee on Health yesterday to answer question bordering on alleged illegal recruitment, lopsided appointments and expenditure on training and travels. Yusuf told the committee that the new recruits were on “secondment” and not on appointment. Asked if the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who was present at the hearing, was aware of the “secondments” in the NHIS, the Executive Secretary answered in the negative. He said, “No, he (Adewole) is not aware.” The committee queried the NHIS boss why he spent N150 million on trainings and travels between January and June 2016, while the amount spent for the same purposes between July, August and September was between N2 million and N4 million, and the sum of N412 million was spent for the same purposes in October alone.
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Guardian, 20 November 2016
Sokoto deploys 175 doctors, nurses, midwives to PHCs

The Sokoto State Government says it has deployed 175 Medical Doctors, Nurses and Midwives to Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in Sokoto city and environs. The Commissioner of Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto on Sunday. Kakale said the decision was part of measures to reduce extreme pressure on the state’s Specialist Hospital, as well as the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, in Sokoto. ”The deployed medical personnel comprise 23 Medical Doctors; 152 Nurses and Midwives. ”This excludes the conventional medical personnel who normally man such centres such as the community health extension workers. ”The staff deployed in this direction are not, therefore, taking over the PHCs, but they are just to complement the existing staff,” he said. The commissioner also said that the measure was to bring quality healthcare closer to the people, as well as improve immunisation , maternal health and strengthen primary healthcare.
Premium Times, 20 November 2016
Kaduna partners GE to equip 278 hospitals

Kaduna State and global corporate giant, General Electric, Thursday, flagged-off a programme to equip 278 health care facilities in Kaduna State. This is the biggest ever refit of the public healthcare infrastructure in the state. It represents the Kaduna State Government’s effort to provide a comprehensive solution to the healthcare challenges in the state, including maternal and infant mortality, communicable illnesses and the problems caused by the growth of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. At its first health summit held last year, Nasir El-Rufai, governor of the state, announced the determination of the government to the perils that pregnant mothers and infants face. He said it is a priority to improve health outcomes for ordinary people. To achieve these goals, Kaduna State is striving to improve primary healthcare for all people, while at the same time, improving the quality and readiness of health service delivery by ramping up the supply and quality of health professionals.

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Premium Times, 21 November 2016
Adamawa flags off maternal newborn, child health social protection scheme

The Maternal Newborn and Child Health Social Protection Scheme has taken off in Adamawa State. The programme, supported by the European Union and UNICEF, was flagged off on Monday by wife of the state governor, Maryam Bindow. At the ceremony in Malabu village of Fufore Local Government Area, Mrs. Bindow urged mothers, who are the major beneficiaries, and health workers involved in the scheme to give the intervention their full support. “This event represents a giant stride in our collective efforts towards checkmating all health challenges affecting mothers and their newborn babies. “It is in this regard that I see this intervention by European Union and UNICEF through collaboration with the Adamawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency as not only timely but worthy of commendation,” Mrs. Bindow said. She said the state government was committed to health care of the people of the state, particularly women and children.

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Guardian, 21 November 2016
Teaching hospitals, others seek inclusion in TETFUND Act

Tertiary health institutions have called for the amendment of TETFUND Act 2011 to accommodate funding of tertiary and teaching hospitals nationwide. Speaking under the aegis of Committee of Chief Executives of Tertiary Health Institutions, they argued that “Nigerian universities, polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education have improved their infrastructure, training needs and research through TETFUND. “Tertiary health institutions are also educational institutions and also require upliftment to better the health of the people.” The coalition’s chairman, Dr. Thomas Agan, in a letter to the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions, said: “It is possible that the formulators of the Act were not sufficiently informed at the time. It is, however, not late to address this pathetic situation. The Act should be amended to incorporate tertiary/teaching hospitals. “Thus Section 7(1) sub-section 3 of the Act should read thus: ‘the distribution of the fund shall be in the ratio of 2:1:5:1 among universities, tertiary hospitals, polytechnics and colleges of education.”

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Nigeria Health Watch, 24 November 2016
A Call to Action on Prevention as NACA hosts HIV Conference in Abuja

Nigeria has the second largest burden of HIV on the African continent, with an estimated 3.5 million Nigerians infected and 60,000 new babies born HIV positive every year. With an increased global focus on the need to scale up prevention and fund the treatment and the science behind the fight for a cure, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) is convening a conference on HIV Prevention just in time for World AIDS Day 2016. From Nov. 29 – 30, NACA will host a scientific conference themed, “Hands on for HIV Prevention” to showcase the achievements of the AIDS response in Nigeria. The 2016 HIV Prevention Conference promises to bring together a range of experts to advance knowledge, present new research findings and enhance scientific and community collaborations. There is a growing toolkit available for HIV prevention interventions to reduce HIV infection by targeting behavioral, biomedical, and structural risk factors. Increasing availability of antiretrovirals (ARVs) seems to have distracted from prevention.


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