Category Archives: HEALTH

Antibiotic resistance genes in air pose threat to human health- Research


 Antibiotic resistance genes in air pose threat to human health- Research


The earth’s atmosphere is being contaminated by Antibiotic Resistance Genes(ARGs), which pose a threat to human health, according to recent Chinese research.

Led by Peking University, the research collected samples of air from 19 cities in 13 countries and analysed the Particulate Matter (PM) using molecular technology.

The analysis revealed 30 different types of ARGs that make bacteria resistant to seven types of antibiotics.

ARGs resistant to vancomycin, one of the most effective antibiotics, were found in the air of six cities.

Antibiotic resistance is caused by the incorrect use of antibiotics, and it has allowed many bacteria to be resistant to commonly used antibiotics, which means many antibiotics are no long effective to treat common infections.

According to Yao Maosheng, the lead researcher, many countries have adopted plans to tackle this problem,including monitoring the release of ARGs in waste water, pharmaceutical factories and animal husbandry.

“However, the presence of ARGs in urban air has not received enough attention,” Yao said.

The research showed that some regions had seen increasing ARGs in the air in the past decade.

ARGs can also adhere to airborne particles and spread to other regions, including places that use fewer antibiotics, which increases the chance of breeding new drug-resistant bacteria.

The research showed that airborne transmission of ARGs might contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The research serves as a reference for comprehensive and effective prevention and control of antibiotic-resistant infections.

The research was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

DISGRACEFUL: Over 200 children live, eat in C’River dumpsite


•How we survive in the dumping ground– Esther, Mercy, others
•Widows, jobless youth also feed there – Mr. Archibong, Scavenger
•Not residential, strictly a waste dump – DG, Bisong, C’River Waste Management Agency

CALABAR- The stomach-turning odor emitting from the waste-yard engulfs the nostril from over a kilometer away, but bizarrely, this is where over 200 kids have made a dwelling, eke out a living and munch through through at Calabar, capital of Cross River State.
The pile of refuse stretches as far as the eye can see and walking the labyrinth of wastes is a herculean task even to the most physically fit. Located in a place called Lemna at the outskirts of the city, along Dr Goodluck Jonathan Bypass, off Ebrutu Army Barracks, Calabar, many inhabitants know it as Calabar Refuse Dump. It is managed by the Cross River Waste Management Agency.
The mindboggling shacks passed on as habitats are built with discarded woods and the roofs are tattered tarpaulins and corroded metal sheets excavated from the heap of refuse.
Children poking around for food leftovers
When NDV visited the garbage dump, weekend, the location was wet ostensibly because of the torrential down pour the previous night, but the place was abuzz with activity as many of the children were seen digging through the heap of newly dumped refuse by a waste truck rummaging for food remnants.
They horribly stuff the junk into their mouths. While some pick and throw empty plastic cans into filthy bags hung across their shoulders, others stood at the doorposts of their wobbly fleeting lodging watching the dealings from a distance in all probability contemplating how to satiate their famished stomachs.
My uncles chased me away after my father died – 14-yr-old Esther A 14-year-old girl, who gave her name as Esther, from Odukpani Local Government Area in the state, was seen yelling full throat while six boys watched and laughed animatedly.
Questioned by this reporter, she said someone stole her N700 kept in her bag when she went to defecate in the trash dump, muttering, “I am from Odukpani and I am 14 years old. I have been living here for four years. My father died and my uncles said I killed my father and drove me away from the house.”
…Occasionally, we stay awake till 3am waiting for night trucks Esther disclosed that after a refuse truck empties its contents in the dumpsite, they would swamp on the garbage and look for whatever food leftovers may have been brought by the truck and with it they douse their appetite.
She narrated: “Sometimes, we stay awake till 3am to wait for the night trucks to come and we could be lucky because food remnants from events like burial, wedding ceremony or birthday celebration could be dumped into the dustbin and we get them and eat, and if it is much, we keep some for the next meal time.”
I have nowhere to go – Mercy
Another girl, Mercy, from Mkpat Enin in Akwa Ibom state, who claimed to have spent five Christmas festivals in the place, asserted: “My mother sent me away from the house because she could not feed us and I had nowhere to go, so I came here to look for food to eat.”
We have no choice
All the children, who spoke with NDV, said they would have preferred to live outside the place but have no choice or anyone to take care of them.

Govt should rescue these children – Archibong, forager
A scavenger identified as Mr. Archibong, who said he had been around since the time of ex-governor, Donald Duke, who established the dumpsite and the time of Senator Liyel Imoke, revealed some of the kids were taken to schools and those that did well were sent abroad for further education.
“This government should do something for these kids, he said, adding: “The dump has served as feeding place for widows, jobless and street kids who scavenge for food and abandoned items to sell and fend for themselves.”
According to him, ‘They pick plastic bottles and cartons, which they sell to some traders that repackage and send them to Dubai and from the proceeds, they fend for themselves.” Archibong stated that occasionally, Good Samaritans bring food to the boys when celebrating birthdays and other memorial events.
C’River Waste Mgt boss speaks
Director General, Cross River Waste Management Agency, Mr Joe Bisong, said the waste-yard is “strictly for dumping of waste and nobody is allowed to live there, which is why we have a security gate to stop unpermitted people from getting into the place.”

Stock Exchange approves Fidson Healthcare’s N4.5b rights issue


Authorities at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) have approved the plan by Fidson Healthcare Plc to raise N4.5 billion new equity capital through rights issue to existing shareholders of the healthcare company.

A regulatory filing at the Exchange at the weekend indicated that the Quotation Committee of the NSE approved the issuance of 900 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to existing shareholders of Fidson Healthcare at N5 per share.

The rights issue will be pre-allotted on the basis of three new ordinary shares for every five ordinary shares held as at the close of business on July 5, 2018.

Shareholders of Fidson Healthcare had in 2017 approved a plan by the company to raise N6 billion in new capital to boost its working capital and support its expansion plan. At the annual general meeting in 2017, shareholders had authorised the board of directors of Fidson Healthcare to “raise further capital of up to N6 billion through an offer whether by way of public offering, rights issue, private and special placement of shares”.

The meeting also authorised the directors to absorb oversubscription and to convert existing loans due to any person from the company towards payment for any rights or shares subscribed for. Shareholders also increased the authorised share capital of the company from N1.2 billion to N1.5 billion by the creation of additional 600 million shares of 50 kobo each.

Chairman, Fidson Healthcare Plc, Mr. Felix Ohiwerei, said the new capital would be used to boost working capital that had been negatively impacted by the depreciation of Naira.

He noted that the company’s new factory had come on stream at the tail end of 2016 and the company needs additional capital to realise the full potential and utilise the new factory to full capacity.

Key extracts of the audited report and accounts of Fidson Healthcare for the year ended December 31, 2017 showed that turnover grew by 84 per cent N7.6 billion in 2016 to N14 billion in 2017. Cost of sales increased by 91 per cent from N3.6 billion in 2016 to N6.9 billion in 2017. Pfelix-chairmanbefore tax rose from N443 million in 2016 to N1.57 billion in 2017. With this, earnings per share increased from 21 kobo in 2016 to 71 kobo in 2017.

The financial reports showed a 53 per cent increase in total overhead including administrative and selling and distribution expenses, from N3.1 billion in 2016 to N4.7 billion in 2017, which was due to an increase in the marketing and distribution expenses. Finance cost also increased by 45 per cent from N690 million in 2016 to N1 billion in 2017. The increase in finance cost was mainly due to increased working capital to drive growth and a hike in interest rates from financial institutions. Despite the increase in total cost, the company recorded a 127 per cent increase in operating profit which grew from N1.1 billion in 2016 to N2.5 billion in 2017.

The board of directors of Fidson Healthcare however approved a 300 per cent increase in dividend payout for the 2017 business year. Shareholders will receive a dividend per share of 20 kobo for the 2017 business year, representing an increase of 300 per cent on 5.0 kobo dividend per share paid for the 2016 business year. The company had distributed N75 million as cash dividends to shareholders for the 2016 business year.

Developing Africa’s pharmaceutical sector crucial- ECA




The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says there is an urgent need to develop the pharmaceutical sector in Africa to reduce the continent’s dependence on imported pharmaceutical and medical products.

Mr Soteri Gatera, the ECA’s Chief of Industrialisation and Infrastructure Section, said this in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday.

Gatera spoke in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at a meeting hosted by the ECA, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

He said Africa bore disproportionate burden of disease with, for example, more than 70 per cent of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases and 90 per cent of deaths due to malaria raising the need to encourage local production of drugs.

“Non-communicable diseases are also becoming increasingly prominent across the continent given the demographic changes that are taking place.”

He said that non-communicable diseases were predicted to overtake infectious diseases as the leading causes of death in Africa by 2030.

According to him, the situation is made worse by the continent’s significant challenges in accessing high-quality pharmaceuticals, exacerbating a continued high burden of disease.

Gatera also said that the availability of essential drugs in the public sector across the continent had  been reported to be less than 60 per cent.

“The major factor being that Africa is hugely dependent on imported pharmaceutical and medical products.

“It is estimated that more than 80 per cent of Anti-Retrovirals (ARVs) used on the continent are imported from outside the continent with 70 per cent of the pharmaceutical and medical products market being served by foreign imports.

“An international standard, commercially viable pharmaceutical industry in Africa can contribute to improved access to effective, safe and affordable essential medicines and economic development”, he said.

Gatera said that from the health perspective, a key potential benefit was to develop a source of quality assured medicines across products including those for the pandemic diseases (HIV, Tuberculosis and malaria) and the broader range of essential medicines.

He said that through proximity of production, resource-constrained regulators could properly oversee the manufacturing of products produced in the region compared to the level of scrutiny possible for distant suppliers.

According to Gatera, the immense need for drugs presents a potential market opportunity for pharmaceutical companies on the continent.

“For example, the current number of persons on ARV treatment on the continent represents a market opportunity of over one billion dollars.

“This market will more than triple over the next decade as more people are placed on ARV treatment and other uses of ARVs are expanded.

“The total pharmaceutical spending for the continent in 2012 was estimated at 18 billion dollars and it is projected to reach 45 billion dollars by 2020.”

Gatera said that in addition to providing a secure source of medicines and a potentially large market, local production of pharmaceuticals also advance industrial development and move the continent towards sustainability of the health sector response.

Other advantages are reduced external dependency, facilitation of stronger regulatory oversight to curtail counterfeit products, job creation and improved trade balance.

He said it also enabled production of drugs for diseases that primarily affected Africa and could serve as a catalyst to developing a broader manufacturing and knowledge-based economy.

He said some measures had been taken by the AUC and its partners to promote the manufacture of medicines in Africa in line with the accelerated industrialisation initiative for the continent’s socio-economic transformation.

The untapped opportunities lend themselves to a wide array of partnerships for the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

“The partnerships would create higher-skilled jobs, build equitable societies and safeguard the environment, while sustaining economic growth,” he said.

According to the statement, the workshop seeks to validate an ECA report titled: “Review of Policies and Strategies for the Pharmaceutical Production Sector in Africa: Policy coherence, best practices and future prospective.”

The policies and strategies for the pharmaceutical sector in Africa are reviewed with a view to assess the level of policy coherence, capturing best practices and painting future prospects for the sector.

The report provides an overview of the status of pharmaceutical production in Africa and identifies levels and quality of production on the continent.

Bayelsa Community Gets Water Project from Oando, Partners





Oando PLC and its joint venture (JV) partners –  Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC),  have provided good drinking water to the  over 5,000 residents of Agbere community in Bayelsa State, following the inauguration of a 20,000 -gallon water project in the community.

According to a statement by Oando Plc, “the initiative is grounded in the fact that water is a fundamental human need. Each person requires at least 20 to 50 litres of clean, safe water, daily, for drinking, cooking, and simply keeping themselves clean.  Sadly, today in Nigeria there is an alarming dearth of access to clean water, and at Oando, we want to bridge this gap especially in our host communities.”

According to the statement, the laudable water scheme will drastically reduce deadly water-borne diseases in the community such as typhoid fever, cholera, diarrhea, dysentery,  and hepatitis ‘A’.

“The scheme will also reduce the amount of time spent looking for water especially in rural areas, as noted by UNICEF – 19 million Nigerians walk long distances to collect unsafe water from lakes, streams and rivers,” the statement added.

The commitment of Oando and its partners was in line with the request of UNICEF Communications Specialist, Eva Hinds, who said:“Improving water and sanitation services as well as basic hygiene practices in Nigeria, calls for strong commitment from all partners-the government, civil society, the private sector and communities.”

He said: “For Nigeria to achieve the global goal of providing access to safe water for every citizen by 2030, it needs to make water, together with sanitation and hygiene, a national priority. This goal is closely linked with three key results for the country-good health, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.”

In order to ensure the water scheme is maintained thereby ensuring it has a long life span and is able to support future generations in the community, the water plant came fully kitted with a 30KVA diesel power generating set with an external diesel storage tank and power connections as well as a shelter for the generator and treatment plant, a cased borehole of about 200m depth and a 10HP submersible pump, 3,000m reticulation / distribution water pipes with 30 fetching taps.

Speaking during the inauguration of the project, the paramount ruler of the community, Chief John Maseri thanked the JV Partners for completing and inaugurating the project. He noted that water was the most essential necessity of life and therefore, with the commissioning of the water project, NAOC JV has made life more meaningful for the people of the Community.

The Paramount Ruler promised that the Community will continue to ensure that a conducive working environment is provided for the company’s operations and Community’s development.


NURHI launches life planning program for adolescent in Kaduna




The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative NURHI, unveils a program for adolescent and youths aimed at providing them with positive life changing information that can help them make informed choices about critical issues in life.

The program, which is the first of its kind in Kaduna by NURHI, will provide a facility for young people to access counselling on issues affecting their lives.

Speaking with newsmen in Kaduna, the program officer at NURHI, Aisha Salihu Waziri explained that, Life Planning for Adolescents and Youths, LPAY, is expected to address the complexities around the lives of adolescents and youths; stressing the need for them to be given accurate and adequate information on life skills including negotiation skills, self esteem and communication skills among others.

According to her, “Adolescents and Youth program is focusing on increasing demand for childbirth spacing knowledge amongst married young persons and promoting sexual responsibility (life planning) amongst them to ensure they make informed decisions about their reproductive health”.

“Kaduna state has a population of 7.8million out of which 3.2 are youths. According to the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), 42.2percent of young people are sexually active in the state while 54.2 percent of girls aged 15-19 have had sex before the age of 20. LPAY therefore integrates a deliberate and innovative focus on adolescents and youth (aged 15-24) in its strategic approach responding to the needs and increase demand for reproductive health information and services among young people”.

Aisha further stated that, life planning skills is about ensuring that girls that are married off before the age of 18 deliver safely and space their birth to help them reach their maximum potentials in life and also their overall wellbeing.

“It is also about ensuring every girl hawking on the street knows how to protect herself against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy among others,” she stressed.

In an opinion sampled by Voice of Nigeria on LPAY, Zarah Mohammed said, the program would help young people live a better life when provided with the necessary tools to guide their lives, ” parents need to also realise the challenges we experience sometimes from childhood to adulthood, the transition can be misleading especially when you have nobody to guide you”.

Another youth, Samuel Zamani, expressed enthusiasm about the program, saying it will help young people in making right decisions.

“These days, most of us rely on our friends or the social media for a lot of information regarding our lives but if we will have people to counsel us just like we use to have the guidance and counselling unit in secondary schools, we will have success stories to tell in future”, Zamani noted.

Aisha said, young people experience maturity at different stages which often affects their emotional, physical, social and psychology well being which may lead them to making uninformed decisions.

The program therefore is expected to involve parents, government, traditional and religious leaders in advocating a better life for young people in the State.

Drugs: Behavioural scientist raises alarm over teenage initiation





A Consultant Behavioural Scientist, University of Ilorin, Dr Alfred Makanjuola has raised alarm over initiation of teenagers into drug abuse in Kwara.

Makanjuola said that children between the age of 10 and 18 got initiated into taking the drugs.

He spoke at the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).

His lecture was entitled: “Drug abuse in Nigeria: Rolling back the woes, shame and sorrows”.

The behavioural scientist lamented that drug abuse has reached epidemic level, rating drug abuse in Ilorin as the highest cross-country.

He said: “Studies indicated that among children ages ranging from 10 to 18 years in Ilorin West.”

Makanjuola also disclosed that from ages 19 to 53, users of Cannabis constitute about 65 per cent, those using tobacco are 42.5 per cent, alcohol 35 per cent while Tramadol users constitute 30 per cent, among others.

According to him, most people abusing tramadol drug were predisposed to seizures.

The expert further revealed that there are 54.4 per cent users of tramadol in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

“In the United States, reports there indicated that 70 per cent of ages ranging from nine to 72 years take alcohol, 22 per cent are into binge drinking, 40 per cent use cannabis, 11. 4 per cent use inhalants, three per cent use heroine and 2.3 per cent use injection,’’ he said.

Makanjuola listed some of the drugs abused to include fermented horney, alcohol, caffeine, hallucinogens, nicotine, opioids, petrol, soakaways or latrines, tobacco, shisha and burnt scorpions.

He warned that the effect of drug abuse in the country is alarming as it could lead to deaths, accidents, medical issues, psychological, financial, unproductive youths and decreased GDP, among others.

The scientist however said some natural reward systems like water, food, safety and nurturing could curb drug abuse.

He also called for establishment of more rehabilitation centres across the country, and advocacy to provide and improve social support.

Earlier in his Valedictory speech, Dr Kunle Olawepo, the Chairman of NMA, Kwara Chapter, said the association would continue to crusade against drug abuse in the country.

Olawepo said his tenure has succeeded in strengthening the bond of members, promoted infrastructural development, economic innovation, medical missions and outreach to communities, among others.


Government to engage media to promote exclusive breastfeeding




Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), has said it would engage stakeholders, individuals and media organisations to promote and support exclusive breastfeeding in health facilities, communities and workplaces.

Dr Chris Isokpunwu, Head of Nutrition, FMOH, in a statement in Abuja said the engagement would galvanize the actions of the stakeholders in the commemoration of the 2018 Word Breastfeeding Week (WBW).

Isokpunwu said the annual World Breastfeeding Week, scheduled to hold from August 1 to 7, had the theme, “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life“.

He said the activities lined up for the event would create awareness on the importance of breastfeeding to a child’s survival and how to improve on poor practices of exclusive breast feeding.

“Poor exclusive breastfeeding practices in Nigeria have been associated with inadequate support from husbands, partners and health professionals.

Others include, delayed initiation of breastfeeding, negative peer influences as well as short paid maternity leave for working mothers.

A platform for long-term collaboration of all advocates, activists, decision makers, media, and youths are vital for promoting optimal infant and young child-feeding practices,’’ he said.

Isokpunwu noted that the event would commence on Aug. 2 with a High Level Policy Dialogue and inauguration of ceremony of 2018 WBW by Minister of Health at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

UN Women calls for gender dimension in conflict analysis




The United Nations Women and its partner, Search for Common Ground have emphasised the need for conflict analysts to always evaluate   how conflicts affect women and men differently and avoid making assumptions about the relations, roles, and needs of women and men affected by violent conflict.

The two organisations are concerned that the issue of gender dimension is not considered during conflict analysis, hence the call to focus on gender issues, which should encompass different levels in order to receive a full picture of how violent conflict impacts on gender relations and inequalities.

The views were shared by the UN Women and the non-governmental organisation, Search for Common Ground Nigeria, as it implement the EU funded programme on Promoting Women’s Engagement in Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria, in a one day consultative workshop on the gender dimension of the farmer/herder conflict in Adamawa, Gombe and Plateau States.

They call for a gender analysis of violent conflict to be repeated regularly so as keep up with the changing circumstances and adopt projects and programs accordingly.

Four topics formed the basis for discussions by the participants, who looked at the social impact of farmer-herder conflict on women, the economic impact of farmer-herder conflict on women and their livelihood, the contributions of women in driving the conflict and reinforcing the vicious cycle of farmer-herder conflict and the role of women in conflict prevention, transformation and post-conflict reconciliation – including trauma management in the target states.

Mrs. Tamwakat Golit is the Project Manager, Women and Security, the Search for Common Ground Nigeria, believes women are major actors in fuelling or resolving conflict, hence the need for them to be considered during conflict analysis.

“Due to the position God has placed on the women, she has more of the skills and the power to actually speak with her and also bring the children close to her, which are mostly the youths who are used in perpetrating most of these violent conflict. And by the time she does that, of course peace will reign in our communities. And by the time her skills are built, most especially in terms of mediation and negotiation and then her leadership skills are being built, you will be amazed at how far women can go , because based on the WPS programme, (Women in Peace and Security),the little empowerment that these women got in the area of their skills being built either in leadership positions and then the few who have been included to be part of traditional councils, we can see the amazing  work they do,” said Mrs. Golit.    

The focus of the workshop was mainly on the gender differences triggered by the conflict, such as the new aspects of the conflict, which is the role women and men play in conflict and peace processes and how are they are affected differently.

It also focused on how the life conditions of women and men change often rapidly during the different phases of violent conflict and gender disparities and inequalities often increase.

The Gender Technical Advisor of the UN Women in Gombe State, Mrs. Rhoda Zira-Dia, highlighted what the workshop aimed to achieve.

“We know that this farmer/herder conflict has been a national issue and most times when people report on it, they don’t normally look at it from the gender perspective. So this meeting is a meeting a meeting of stakeholders, including the farmers and the herders themselves, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders. They are here to analyze and tease out those gender dimensions that have to do with the farmer and herder conflict and a lot of lessons learned have been shared by the locals themselves, the issues, how they affect women and girls and all that,” Mrs. Zira-Dia said.   

Also in attendance at the workshop was Mallam Abubakar Idris, a lecturer with the Department of Political Science, Gombe State University, who believes that the women, being major casualties of any violent conflict have a great role to play in conflict prevention, resolution and reconciliation.

“Women have role to play, actually, as mothers in their houses they have to at least encourage their husbands to engage in peace keeping and also for them to engage in peacekeeping. Because if you look at the literatures now, there are limited literatures about the participation of women in peacekeeping and they have role to play, because if you see somebody or a child displaying a bad behavior in the society, it’s from their mothers actually. So you see they have a vital role to play for peace keeping, peace prevention and transformation of conflicts in our society,” said Mallam Idris.

The UN Women and the Search for Common Ground Nigeria say the overall objective of the workshop is to ensure that questions are always asked on how different aspects affect women and men differently.

AMAC unveils Health Centre refurbished by Australian Ambassador





The Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, in the Nigerian Federal capital Territory Administration unveils the renovated Jiwa Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC), with a promise to accelerate creation of conducive environment for efficient service delivery to the people.

The Primary Health Care, PHC, was renovated by the Society for Africa Development (SAEESCO) with the support of Australian High Commission to Nigeria, Amb Paul Lehmann.

With the intervention, the health centre has been given a facelift, with provision of portable water, solar power system, ultrasound scanning machine, 4 outpatient beds and office furniture.

Also, part of the renovation work on the Clinic included the hitherto dilapidated toilets, but now refurbished to take care of the needs of patients and caregivers there.

Speaking during the official handover of the project, Australian High Commission, Ambassador Paul Lehmann, said the intervention was a reflection of their unwavering commitment to improving access to healthcare delivery in Nigeria.

Ambassador Lehmann said that the renovated and equipped Clinic will further boost the health of people especially women and children in the rural area.

While assuring the Council of more support in improving living conditions of the people, the Australian Ambassador thanked the government and Jiwa Emirate Council for paving way for the intervention to become a reality.

In his remarks, after the unveiling of the Clinic, the AMAC Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu Candido, described the intervention as apt and timely contribution towards provision of affordable and sustainable healthcare in the council.

According to him, the Australian government’s intervention was in tandem with the current administration’s focus on safeguarding lives through improved access to effective healthcare services.

Fish oil supplements’ health benefit challenged by New Study




There is little or no effect of omega 3 supplements on our risk of experiencing heart disease, stroke or death, according to a new study released.

A new systematic review by Cochrane, an independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people interested in health, combines the results of 79 randomised trials involving 112,059 people.

These studies assessed effects of consuming additional omega 3 fat compared with usual or lower omega 3, on diseases of the heart and circulation.

Omega 3 is a type of fat.

Small amounts of omega 3 fats are essential for good health, and they can be found in the food that we eat.

The main types of omega 3 fatty acids include alpha­linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA and DHA, collectively called long chain omega 3 fats, are naturally found in fatty fish, such as salmon and fish oils including cod liver oil.

Researchers found that long-chain omega 3 fats had little or no meaningful effect on the risk of death from any cause.

Taking more long-chain omega 3 fats, including EPA and DHA, primarily through supplements probably makes little or no difference to risk of cardiovascular events, coronary heart deaths, coronary heart disease events, stroke or heart irregularities.

“The most trustworthy studies consistently showed little or no effect of long-chain omega 3 fats on cardiovascular health.

On the other hand, while oily fish is a healthy food, it is unclear from the small number of trials whether eating more oily fish is protective of our hearts,’’ said the study’s lead author, Dr. Lee Hooper from the University of East Anglia, UK.

Nigerian government urged to improve on nutrition




Civil Societies Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, (CS-SUNN), a Non governmental organization has urged the Nigerian government to improve on nutrition for growth and development.

The Secretary General of CS-SUNN, Mrs Beatrice Eluaka, made the call at the Project Inception Media Roundtable on the Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNS), in Abuja.

She said that malnutrition remains a key contributor to infant and maternal mortality and morbidity, poor cognitive development, increased severity of diseases which adversely affects productivity in Nigeria.

“According to the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2013, more than 5 million new-borns in Nigeria lack essential nutrients and antibodies that would protect them from diseases and death as they are not being exclusively breastfed. The National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHS) 2014, puts Exclusive Breastfeeding rate in Nigeria at 25%. Also, the 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) puts stunting rate at 43.6% as against 32.9% in 2015, wasting in 2017 at 10.8% as against 7.2% in 2015 and Underweight at 31.5% in 2017 as against 19.4% in 2015. 

These negative results indicate an alarming rising trend in Nigeria’s malnutrition burden which will continue to further impede the nation’s economic development if not checked as globally, stunting is currently an indicator for measuring a country’s development”, She said.

The Secretary General also said that the Nigerian Nutrition Sector continues to be bedeviled by numerous challenges such as ineffective coordination of nutrition activities and actors at the national and sub-national levels, inadequate fund allocations and releases for planned implementation of annual workplans geared towards nutrition interventions, lack of visibility of nutrition issues, translation and effective dissemination of research to evidence to spur decision making and informed action in Nigeria.

“Low uptake of preventive measures for combating malnutrition such as: Exclusive breastfeeding and optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices in the country. Lack of transparency of government to fund allocations, disbursement and judicious utilization of such funds and its inability to keep to national and international commitments for funding nutrition. Civil Society Organizations capacity for sustained advocacy is still low due to inadequate advocacy skills and organizational capacity to attract funds for activities. These challenges should be a wake- up call for Government at all levels and relevant stakeholders to scale up and smoothen operations in provision of nutrition-related and health interventions across the country”, She stated.

Mrs  Eluaka noted that to tackle the challenges,  consultations between a Donor/CS-SUNN birthed the Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNS).

“The project is targeted at strengthening the Nigeria nutrition systems to be more Result-driven, Effective, Serviceable, Efficient and Transparent (RESET) in delivering on their mandate. It is also aimed at holding government accountable on commitments made to allocate, release and use transparently funds for implementation of high impact Nutrition interventions in Nigeria through evidence-based advocacy”, She added.

While giving an over view of the PINNS, the Project Manager, Mr Okoronkwo Sunday, said that the project will contribute to a reduction in malnutrition particularly among women and children in Nigeria.

“PINNS is focused on strengthening governance, policy implementation, effective coordination, financing, building the capacity of state actors, generation and effective communication of evidence as promoting accountability”, he explained.

The Civil Society Scaling -Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) therefore urge the media to step up reportage of nutrition issues to attract policy makers and concerned stakeholders to take the right steps that will curb malnutrition in Nigeria.

Adding that no state in the country is free of nutrition issues.

NMA trains personnel on care of Neonates






The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) FCT chapter has  trained 50 healthcare workers in the Kwali Area Council of Abuja to reduce neonatal mortality.

Dr Emeka Ayogu, the Chairman of the Organising Committee, FCT NMA, told newsmen in Abuja that the training was part of activities for the association’s 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) with the theme “Reversing Nigeria’s Health Indices: Role of Stakeholders.”

Ayogu, who stressed the need for health workers to be professional in their responsibilities, added that “training of healthcare personnel in Kwali Area Council to help babies to breath is part of our corporate social responsibility. There is an urgent need to teach medical personnel in rural areas because of high neonatal mortality in such areas. The FCT chapter of the association thought it wise to invite experts to teach health personnel on how best to take care of newborn babies.

“Even though we had organised such training in the past, we are training 50 health workers today from different healthcare facilities in Kwali Area Council. We hope to cover all the area councils in the FCT with this form of training because we believe it will go a long way to reduce the prevalence of neonatal mortality.’’

One of the training facilitators, Dr Eyinade Olateju, a Consultant Paediatrician with University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, said “Nigeria has the highest neonatal deaths in Africa and we are second in the world after India and some of the causes of these deaths are treatable and preventable. Some of the leading causes of these deaths are premature birth, fascia and infection.’’

He explained that premature birth was when babies were born before 37 weeks of gestation,
fascia was when a baby failed to breathe at birth and infection or sepsis, which could also cause neonatal death.

Another cause, he said, was severe neonatal jaundice, which may damage the brain and
lead to death.

He stressed that many health workers lacked the skill to treat babies born with such challenges, hence the need to train them for improved care and services.

He commended the FCT branch of the association for the training, saying it would go a long way in improving services in health facilities.

Kebbi state partners with Pharmaceutical Society to stop drug abuse





The Kebbi State Government says it will partner with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) to address the menace of drug abuse and circulation of fake drugs in the state.

The state Head of Service, Alhaji Abubakar Idris, made this known when he received officials of the society led by its National President, Alhaji Ahmad Yakasai, during an advocacy visit in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital.

“We will work closely with you in order to address the menace of drug abuse and circulation of fake drugs in the state,” he said.

Idris expressed dismay over the proliferation of traditional herbalists as well as medicine stores manned by unprofessional traders in the state.

He assured the officials of the state government’s commitment to work with them towards enhancing their profession and promoting the health sector in the state.

Yakasai had earlier advocated for the setting up of a committee that would address the menace.

He assured that the society would not relent in its efforts to ensure the development of the health sector and curtailment of fake drugs in the state.

“The society is ever ready to partner with state governments to address the menace of drug abuse and fake drugs in our markets and pharmaceutical stores,” he assured.

NPHCDA to establish academy




The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says it will establish a Leadership Development Academy to be affiliated to world-class universities.

Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of NPHCDA, made this known during the inauguration of its Technical Support Programme (TSP) on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him, the fellowship was completely different from the fellowship that was awarded by the National Postgraduate College of Public Health.

“This is a three to four months programme, but at the end of three or six months programme the participants are fellows in public health. What we are looking for is the collaboration between the agency and academic institutions; we want to deepen such collaborations. Once a doctors or other health workers went to academic institutions for fellowship or masters’ in public health they may have an opportunity to come to NPHCDA and spend some months additional experience on PHC. At the end of the day, we have professionals that know what happens at health facilities and have gotten their hands dirty on how to provide better health services at PHCs,’’ he said.

The executive director said the agency in collaboration with Solina Health with funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation developed a structured and coherent technical support programme.

He added that the programme would enable the agency to effectively deliver the required technical support to states to address gaps in the delivery of primary healthcare services.

Inaugurating the TSP, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said the National Council of Health had approved the establishment of the programme within the NPHCDA and states healthcare development agencies as part of the efforts to address challenges in the health sector.

He added that the TSP was meant to strengthen the NPHCDA to effectively coordinate the delivery of technical support to the state healthcare boards.

He said the TSP would also allow state governments to have structured and more responsive platforms for effective technical support from the NPHCDA.

Adewole said the two elements of TSP aligned with core objectives of the health sector, adding that they are also in tandem with the technical needs of the state governments and human capital agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The minister said TSP also empowered NPHCDA to establish leadership academy to build a team of highly skilled personnel in-house, adding that the skilled personnel will be able to lead and coordinate the delivery of assistance to the states in short term.

Adewole said the academy would also serve as a pool of NPHCDA staff are adjudged as model employees and change agents in the NPHCDA.

He added that the academy would ultimately evolve into a PHC development centre that would build the capacity of the health workers in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The minister said the institute would also train postgraduate fellows and others in public health and management.

“This, I believe will facilitate the emergence of skilled workforce which are of critical requirement for attainment of Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria,’’ the minister said.