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FG Establishes Three Test Centres For Covid-19

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The Federal Government has in a proactive measure to prevent the Covid-19 otherwise known as Coronavirus, from the country, established three centres and acquired the necessary reagents to test suspected patients of the disease.
The centres according to the Federal Government, are designated laboratories In Lagos, Abuja and Irrua in Edo state.


Minister of Health, Dr.
Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Coronavirus, found in Wahum, China has spread to the US, Thailand, Japan , South Korea, Canada, Philippines among others.
It is a new strain of virus that has not been previously identified in humans.


The Minister said the reagents were acquired about eight days ago and assured that no case of the virus has been detected in the country or in Africa.


According to the Minister, “Since about eight days ago, we obtained the reagents necessary; we have the machines; they are called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines which we have here for molecular diagnostics; but we didn’t have the reagents.


“Because for every pathogen, you have a specific pathogen that you will use to detect it and that one for Corona virus being a new disease was not very much available but we acquired it about eight days ago.
“And now three laboratories in Nigeria can test Corona virus and in fact, they have tested two cases already which were negative—Lagos, Abuja and Irrua.


“ Irrua, as you know is Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence for this Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers which is the category to which Corona virus and Lassa fever belong particularly.’’
On why the virus had not been reported in Africa, he said that for a disease to enter a place, somebody or something must carry it.


He said that a person could bring a disease while an animal might carry it as in the case of mosquitoes for malaria and rats for Lassa fever.


“As far Corona virus is concerned, it is human to human transmission, maybe we are lucky that no person carrying that Corona has entered our country and none has come here undetected.


“And we are particularly happy that the Chinese Government is conducting what is called exit screening.
“They not only screen those entering their country, they screen those who are leaving; so that if they, themselves see any person who has any sign of being sick or having Corona virus, they will restrain that person from travelling.
“This is helpful to other countries;  so that you reduce the risk of anybody just coming here like that,’’ he said.
He said that he updated the council on the state of preparedness for the trending problem of Corona virus and also the endemic Lassa fever in Nigeria.


Enahire said the frontline was the port health services while the second line of defence was the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.


He said that the level of preparedness at international airports which were the main points of entry into the country—Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano was high.
“And also the fact that all passengers arriving Nigeria are screened by passive camera and it takes your temperature; we look at your travel history to be able to find out where you are coming from and risk you could be carrying.


“Everybody who is coming from that area is given a form to fill; the form contains a number and we also take their numbers; they contact us to let them know if within 14 days of the incubation period, they have any symptoms or not.


“If we don’t hear from them, we call them to find out if they are okay within those 14 days; it is instructive to note that there is no case of corona virus in Nigeria and there is no case in fact reported in Africa.’’


On containing Lassa fever, he said that there had been quite a few incidents that had taken place since 2020 began.
Enahire said that the treatment and reporting had also improved while the fatality rate had dropped to 15 per cent from 30 per cent a couple of years ago.


The minister said that samples had been taken from water in Benue for laboratory analysis in order to detect the cause of strange illness that had taken some lives in the State.

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Health

World Health Day: FG Reiterates its Commitment to Strengthening PHC

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, has reiterated the commitment of the Federal government, through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, (BHCPF), I strengthening primary healthcare delivery system.As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate the 2024 World Health Day,Professor Pate, who stated this in a speech to commemorate the 2024 World Health Day, also noted that through the BHCPF and the Nigeria Health Sector Renewal and Investment Initiative and strategic partnerships, the government is also reaching remote and underserved communities, providing essential healthcare services and promoting health education.

He added that the FG is also committed to improving infrastructure to ensure the availability of essential drugs and commodities in health facilities across the country.In a statement signed by the Director of information in the ministry, Patricia Deworitshe, the minister maintained that the Primary healthcare remains the centre of the federal government focus, adding that the administration is determined more than ever before to ensure the delivery of quality, efficient and affordable health care through the Primary Health Care facilities.He stated that while the government continues to invest in improving healthcare infrastructure and services, the responsibility for health ultimately rests with each individual.Professor Pate said Nigerians must take proactive steps to safeguard our health and well-being by adopting healthy lifestyles, prioritizing preventive healthcare measures, and seeking timely medical attention when necessary, adding that it is only through collective action and mutual support that we can achieve the vision of a healthier Nigeria for all.He also reaffirms the ministry’s unwavering commitment to advancing the health and well-being of all Nigerians, noting that the right to health is not just a lofty ideal, but a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.The minister, however, recognizes that there is still much work to be done, noting that challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, healthcare worker shortages, and persistent health disparities continue to impact the health and well-being of our citizens.He reiterated that the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare remains committed to strengthening our healthcare systems, improving health outcomes, and ensuring that no one is left behind.Pate noted that the theme for this year’s celebration, which is, “My Health, My Right,” underscores the fundamental principle that every individual has the right to attain the highest standard of physical and mental health without discrimination or barriers.

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Suicide: Psychiatrist Advocates Increased Mental Health Awareness

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Dr Veronica Nyamali, a psychiatrist with the Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital Yaba, Lagos,  has advocated increased awareness on mental health as antidote to rising cases of suicide in Nigeria.

Nyamali, the immediate past Vice-President, Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), made the recommendation in an interview on Thursday in Lagos.

According to her, there is still high level of ignorance about mental health especially at the grassroots.

“Lack of adequate knowledge on when or where to seek quality mental healthcare is still an issue.”

Nyamali said that suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and the entire society with long lasting effects on the people left behind.

“Mental health condition is a major risk factor for suicide.

“The mental health status of a person is critical to living, as it is a major determinant of choices on how one relates with others.

“It also determines how people handle stress, depression and challenges in life,” she said.

She said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that more than 800,000 people die annually by suicide in the world, with Nigeria ranking among the top 10 countries in Africa.

She added that the Global Health Observatory Data Repository also estimated that 9.5 suicides per 100,000 occur in Nigeria.

The psychiatrist, who emphasised the need for more advocacy, awareness and education campaigns, said if the public are well informed, the rate of suicide will drop.

She called for increased public enlightenment on mental health, depression and how to recognise and deal with it to avoid suicide ideas and other negative choices.

Nyamali explained that campaigns for suicide prevention should emphasise help seeking, reduction in stigma, encourage positive behaviourial change, and availability of resources for treatments among others.

“Depression is a common and serious mental health challenge that affects the way one thinks, feels and acts.

“The more people are aware of their mental health issues, the more they will be able to utilise mental health skills and prevent suicide as well as handle depression,” she said.

She stressed the need for the public, particularly parents and schools, to monitor and recognise early signs when someone is struggling with mental health issues and support such a person faster.(NAN)

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WHO says 4.5b People not Fully Covered by Essential Health Services 

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that at least 4.5 billion people, more than half of the world’s population, are not fully covered by essential health services.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, said this on Wednesday during an online media conference on global health issues.

Ghebreyesus said that two billion people face financial hardship due to out-of-pocket health spending.

“Outbreaks, disasters, conflict and climate change are all causing death and disability, hunger and psychological distress.

“Realising the right to health means passing and implementing laws to ensure that people can access the health services they need, where and when they need them, without financial hardship,” he said.

According to him, as of date, at least 140 countries recognise the right to health in their own constitutions. And yet, around the world, that right is often unrealised or under threat.

The WHO Chief said that there was the need to address the reasons people get sick and die.

“It means the people should get safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing and decent working and environmental conditions.

“And they also require freedom from discrimination,” he said.

Ghebreyesus said that 76 years since the founding of the organisation, WHO remained totally committed to the highest attainable standard of health, as a fundamental right for all people, everywhere.

According to him, April 7 marks World Health Day, the 76th anniversary of the constitution of the organisation coming into force.

He said that this year’s theme is ‘My health, my right’, reaffirming what WHO has affirmed since its birth on the 7th of April, 1948, that health was a right for all people, not a luxury.

“In fact, the WHO constitution was the first instrument of international law to affirm that the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental right of all people, without distinction,” Ghebreyesus said.

He called on all citizens to demand for their health as a matter of their right.(NAN)

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