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COVID-19: Nigeria Records 880 Fresh Infections as NCDC Raises the Alarm




The Nigeria Centre for Disease and Prevention Control (NCDC) has raised alarm over   880 additional coronavirus infections reported  in Nigeria from July 2 to  8, though  with no fatalities.

The NCDC disclosed this  via its official website on Saturday afternoon, that the country’s commercial capital city, Lagos State, is driving the nation’s latest COVID-19 surge.

Lagos state, the epicentre of the virus, accounted for more than 90 per cent of the new infections with 750 cases.

The data showed  that the new cases had  raised Nigeria’s infection toll to 258,517, while the fatality toll stood  at 3, 144.

The public health agency stated that about 4,206 people were still down with the virus while a total of 250,388 people were  successfully treated and discharged so far in the country since the outbreak in February 2020.

Apart from Lagos state, a further breakdown of the latest cases showed  that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recorded 45 cases, followed by Rivers  with 40 infections.

Delta  reported 11 cases, followed by Akwa Ibom-11 Kano-five, Nasarawa-four and Plateau one.

The agency said that three states: Abia, Kaduna, and Sokoto reported no cases within the time frame.

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The NCDC said it was  based on the prevailing risk from the virus and the need for religious organisations, community leaders, and Nigerians, in general, to take necessary precautions during the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.

It added that the number of weekly COVID-19 cases had increased globally for the third consecutive week.

The agency said that COVID-19 might  cause severe complications in the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions.

“Take extra precautions to stay safe and avoid crowded places.

Maintain distance from anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, wash your hands regularly,” it advised.

The public health agency said that it was  committed to preserving the health of the citizens.

“We serve even as we battle concurrent public health threats – COVID-19, monkeypox, Cholera, etc. Our interest is not in delivering bad news but in equipping citizens with the information they need to stay safe.

“We are being reminded that COVID-19 has not gone anywhere. I understand the fatigue and urge to return to our normal lives. We can do this whilst staying safe.

“As we continue to celebrate responsibly  and act to prevent a fifth COVID-19 wave,” it said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the much-awaited summer lull in coronavirus cases doesn’t appear to be happening as COVID-19 infections continue to increase in much of the United States.

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An earlier rise in cases this year was driven by the BA.2 Omicron subvariant now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported  that two other subvariant BA.4 and BA.5, constituted more than 70 per cent of new infections in the country.

These sub-variants might  partially escape the immunity produced by the vaccine and by prior infection, though vaccination still likely protected against severe illness.

Meanwhile, The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said the good news was  that the vaccines and boosters continued to provide excellent protection against severe diseases.

NAN recalls that Nigeria was also experiencing an uptick in transmission, as the positivity rate had increased steadily from July 2 to 8.

The NCDC did not state which subvariants accounted for the majority of the country’s COVID-19 infections.(NAN)


Buhari approves 3 Additional Orthopedic Hospitals




President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of three more orthopedic hospitals across the country.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Wednesday at the official inauguration of the Primary Health Care(PHC) Leadership Challenge at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

The event was organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in partnership with development partners.

“The president has approved three more national orthopedic hospitals; one per geo-political zone.

“North-East has one; the North-Central has one and the South-South has one; in Benin, Jos and Jalingo respectively,’’ he said.

On his part, Country Director, Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation, Jeremie Zoungrana, said that the PHC Challenge fund represented a unique opportunity to motivate and publicly recognise ownership and leadership at the subnational level.

He said that the PHC health indicators would be tracked to support the NGF build Governor-level accountability, improve performance management, and enhance investments in critical areas of PHC.

“The challenge fund will also leverage other BMGF investments that focus on improving state level data ownership, analysis, quality, and use,” he said.

The Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, also spoke at the event.

She disclosed that a total sum of N471.9 billioni had so far been disbursed by the Federal government as grant to states under the 1.5 billion dollars World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme.

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Ahmed said that it was gratifying to note that beyond benefitting from the grants, all the 36 states in the Federation had fully domesticated the fiscal reforms in their public financial management system.

In his speech, NGF’s Chairman, Gov. Kayode Fayemi, said the event buttressed the commitment as governors to building a resilient Primary Health Care System.

He said that the Primary Health Care(PHC) Leadership Challenge aimed to address the bottlenecks in the system as it strove to build a robust public health care system.

“As part of our enduring partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates and Aliko Dangote Foundations, we convened a roundtable on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 in Seattle, USA, to reflect on the states’ government development agenda for immunisation, PHC and human capital development.

“This culminated in the Seattle Declaration which restates the commitments of the NGF to strengthen leadership and accountability for the PHC system at the state level.”

According to him, evidence has shown that PHC has the potential to expand attainment of Universal Health Coverage to as much as 80 per cent of the population.

“On our part, then agenda most forum representing the 36 states of the Federation has taken up the challenge we have done In the past with polio eradication and we’re ready to do it again for primary health care system strengthening, especially given our recent experience with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Fayemi thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, UNICEF, the Nigerian National Primary Health Care Development Agency, and the NGF Secretariat  for putting together the challenge.

In the statement of declaration, Fayemi said that following the induction to the Seattle Declaration by 36 governors of Nigeria in November 2019, the NGF affirmed its commitment to strengthen the primary health care system in the country.

“We therefore adopt and confirm our commitment in line with the Seattle Declaration as outlined below.

“Improving the governance of the primary healthcare system as a sub national level by fully implementing the primary health care under one roof policy, and providing active leadership for primary health care through regular engagement with relevant PHC  stakeholders, and quarterly PHC performance review at the State Executive Council meetings

“To promote progressive increase in primary health care funding by ensuring efficient budgeting that is aligned to annual operational plans, promptly releasing approved budget to the state primary health care board, and primary health care facilities and ensuring that there is a mechanism in place for basic health care provision, fund implementation and oversight at the state and facility levels.

“Recruit requisite health workforce to ensure that all primary health care facilities have the minimum staffing requirements appropriate for their level in line with the state’s minimum service package.

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“Institute a culture of use of evidence for decision making, by ensuring that the data quality across all primary health care facilities is progressively improved.

“Develop a state led and state on local government area levels, PHC Leadership Challenge for local government area chairmen, for sustainability and strengthening the commitment of the local government area chairmen to primary health,” he said.(NAN)

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Monkeypox: Ebonyi Residents urge Awareness Campaign on Preventive, Curative Measures




Residents of Abakaliki have called on the Ebonyi Government to embark on intensive enlightrnment campaign on the causes, prevention and cure for Monkeypox.
A cross-section of the people said that the campaign had become necessary in order to contain the outbreak of the disease in the state.
They spoke in separate interviews with the Newsmen in Abakaliki on Tuesday.
They urged the government to take the campaign to the rural communities, markets and public places.

A civil servant, Mr Dennis Essong, said that enlightenment campaign would go a long way toward achieving early detection and prevention of the disease.
A trader at the International Market, Abakaliki, Mr Paul Ude, also spoke of the need to take the campaign to every nook and cranny of the state.
Ude said: “It is difficult to control large crowds in markets and public events.
“There is need for the sensitisation in markets, parks and other public places for people to take precaution against contracting the disease.

A parent, Mrs Ginika Odoh, advised families, hospitals and offices to support the campaign on preventive measures.
Odoh further urged the State Government to strengthen public health institutions and ensure adequate surveillance to forestall an outbreak of the disease.
“God will help us to do the right thing and to keep ourselves and environment clean.
“People feel less concerned and sometimes careless about their health.
“This is the time to exhibit high hygiene,” Odoh said.
Newsmen recall that the Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezuruike, had on Monday confirmed one case and 32 suspected others in the state.
He listed the symptoms of the disease to include fever, headache, general body pain, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), sore throat, rash (appearing from one to three days after fever), amongst others.
According to him, the rash often begins on the face and later spreads to the limbs, trunks, genitelia, palms and soles and intense asthenia (lack of energy).
“Monkeypox is self-limiting, meaning that patients tend to recover on their own over time.
“However, supportive care and management of condition is required and mostly successful,” Umezuruike said.
He urged residents to remain calm and go about their normal businesses.
He also advised the people to ensure strict adherence to public health measures.
“Avoid self-medication and report any suspected case to the nearest health facility.
“Treatment is free and is being supported by the state,” the commissioner said. (NAN)

See also  NCDC Records Two Deaths, 126 new COVID-19 Infections
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Brain Drain: Nigeria may Import Medical Doctors in Future —NMA




The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says the nation’s skyrocketing brain drain wave may culminate in the country resorting to hiring medical doctors to treat local patients in the future.

The NMA also warned that if urgent steps were not taken to fix the deteriorating situation, it may lead to total collapse of the health system in the country.

The Oyo State NMA Chairman, Dr.

Ayotunde Fasunla, raised the alarm in Ibadan on Tuesday, at the official opening of the 2022 scientific conference, titled: ‘National Health Authority Act – The Sound Bites’.

The event has as a sub-theme: ‘Industrial Harmony in the Health Sector – A Necessity for Health Sector Growth.

The body also called for a state of emergency in the health sector with a view to holistically addressing the menace of pull and push factors, responsible for mass migration of health personnel to Europe, America, Middle East and other African countries.

Fasunla stated further that the poor state of the government owned hospitals in the country was largely due to poor funding.

He noted that the budgetary allocation to the health sector in 2022 was approximately 4.2 per cent of the national budget.

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According to him, the figure falls significantly below the recommendation of the African Union (AU) at the Abuja Declaration of a minimum of 15 per cent. The situation, he said, was worse at the state level.

He said: “The infrastructure deficit is such that some of our hospitals spend a significant amount of their internally generated revenues on diesel to ensure power supply.

“There is scarcity of funds to apply for equipment upgrade, manpower development or even recruitment of new staff.

“Many of our hospitals are grossly under-staffed. Even the process of replacing migrating staff is bogged down by a rigid and insensitive government bureaucracy.

“It is our plea to the government to commit more funds to the health sector so that the system does not collapse.

“Only healthy people can have the will and strength to contribute to the growth and development of a nation’s economy.

“Therefore, I call on well-meaning Nigerians, philanthropists, and non-governmental organisations to join hands with the government to improve the conditions of the health system in the nation, especially Oyo state. It is obvious that the government cannot handle it alone.”

The Chairman, Medical Advisory Council, University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Dr. Abiodun Adeoye, stated that the brain drain in the health sector should be treated as a national emergency.

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Adeleye, who represented UCH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Abiodun Otegbayo, stressed  the importance of the power of industrial harmony in the health sector towards boosting quality and robust healthcare in Nigeria.

He urged the health sector personnel to shun all forms of rifts that had been considered to be deleterious to the healthcare system.

Also speaking, Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr.Taiwo Ladipo, who represented  Gov. Seyi Makinde, noted that the brain drain syndrome had become an issue that should not be treated  with levity.

He stated that the state recruited about 530 medical and health personnel within the last one year, and 20 among them, including 12 consultants had left the services of the state government.

“We should look inward and ensure that the health system does not collapse,” he said

Chief Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Budo-Egba, Kwara State, Dr. Baba Issa, also supported calls for the declaration of a state of emergency in the healthcare sector.

Issa presented the keynote address of the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, on the theme of the scientific conference,

Oloriegbe stated that since inception of the health insurance scheme, a total of 7,762,034, representing 3.88 per cent of the 200 million population of Nigeria have enrolled into the scheme.

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He said a lot should be done to increase the number of enrollees towards addressing the issues plaguing the country’s health sector.

Emeritus Prof. Oluwole Akande, a former Chief Medical Director, UCH, and chairman of the occasion, said that two factors were responsible for brain drain in the country.

He identified them as pull and push factors, explaining that the pull factor encompasses the incentives being used by other countries to poach the medical and health workers.

“The push factor refers to conditions of service, unfriendly environment, inadequate funding and so on that have been forcing the experts to emigrate to other countries in search of greener pastures,” Akande said. (NAN)

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