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HIV/AIDS: Society Laments Over Slow Pace of Viral Suppression

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The first Co-Chairman of Coalition of Civil Society Network on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CCSNHAN), Mr Ikenna Nwakamma on Friday said the rate of viral suppression among people living with HIV is slow, and urged people with the condition to adhere to their medication.

Nwakamma told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the call became necessary because many people living with the virus patronise faith-based organisations for treatment.

He explained that religious organisations had continued to compromise the curative intervention of
government and agencies because people living with the virus abandon their medications and wait for miracle healing.

He lamented that “we can’t accept a situation in which government and donors spend huge amount of money to keep people alive while some faith-based organisations ask such people to believe in prayer healing alone.

“While undergoing such faith-based healing process, many of them abandon their medical treatment and at that point, viral suppression becomes slow.”

The society co-chairman warned people on HIV medication never to stop taking their drugs even when undergoing prayer healing, emphasising that “there is no cure for the condition yet, and that is why people with the virus develop complications when they abandon their drugs, believing that they have been healed.”

He said that when such people come down with complications, government and donors would have to
spend more money in managing the consequential crisis.

NAN reports that UNAIDS has 90:90:90 target for vision 2020, which stipulates 90 per cent HIV awareness,
90 per cent treatment and 90 per cent viral suppression. (NAN)

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Burna Boy Did not Pay all UPTH patients’ Bills, Says Spokesperson

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The University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) has faulted reports that musician, Burna Boy, covered all medical bills for patients during a recent visit to the hospital.

The hospital clarified that the music icon only settled the bills of selected patients at the facility, contrary to claims of covering all outstanding bills.

Mrs Elabha Meni, the institution’s spokesperson, made the clarification in a statement released in Port Harcourt on Friday.

“We commend Burna Boy’s kindness in financially assisting select patients in our hospital to offset their bills during his visit on June 11.

“However, contrary to reports stating that all patients bills in UPTH were paid during the visit, only selected patients received cash gifts or donations.

“The hospital did not receive direct payments from the musician and his team on behalf of patients to support this worthy course of reducing healthcare cost,” Meni clarified.

Meni lauded the musician’s charitable act in helping those in need in the society. (NAN)

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WHO Announces Global Resurgence of Cholera

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The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a spike in cholera in several regions of the world, with almost 195,000 cases and over 1,900 deaths reported in 24 countries since the start of this year.

The agency’s Eastern Mediterranean Region reported the highest number of cases, followed by the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the Southeast Asia Region, and the European Region.

WHO, in a statement on Thursday, stated that there are no reported cases in the Western Region, according to its bulletin released on Wednesday.

The UN health agency said it exhausted its global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) by March but was able to exceed “the emergency target of five million doses in early June for the first time in 2024.

Yet, the supply of the vaccine does not equate to its demand.

WHO reported that since January last year, 16 countries requested 92 million doses of OCV – almost double the 49 million produced during that time.

WHO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners are working together to use resources to find long-term solutions for cholera.

On the positive side of health news, WHO announced on Thursday that Chad successfully eradicated “sleeping sickness” as a public health problem.

The agency applauded the Government and people of Chad for eradicating the gambiense form of human African trypanosomiasis, (also known as sleeping sickness).

“I congratulate the government and the people of Chad for this achievement.

“It is great to see Chad join the growing group of countries that have eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease (NTD),” Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said.

In eliminating the disease, Chad joining some 50 others globally that have succeeded in this endeavour.

“The 100-country target is nearer and within reach,” Ghebreyesus, added, referring to the target set out in the road map for address neglected tropical diseases by 2030.

Sleeping sickness can cause flu-like symptoms initially but eventually causing behaviour change, confusion, sleep cycle disturbances or even coma, often leading to death.

Improved access to early diagnosis and treatment, as well as surveillance and response has proven that countries can control and eventually eliminate transmission. (NAN)

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No Confirmed Cholera case in Abia says Health Official

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Abia Government says that there was no confirmed case of cholera in the state, though it recorded 109 cases of stooling and vomiting in six of its 17 Local Government Areas.

Dr Orie Agomoh, Director, Public Health and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health confirmed this on Tuesday in Umuahia.

Agomoh said that the 109 cases of stooling and vomiting suspected to be cholera outbreaks were recorded between January and June.

She noted that two earlier samples collected and tested using Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT) showed positive results.

However, a repeated test of the samples sent to the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, were confirmed negative for cholera.

She said that one case each was recorded in Ohafia and Osisioma local government areas, while Arochukwu, Umunneochi, Bende and Ikwuano recorded 42, 39, 17 and nine cases respectively.

“The State Ministry of Health emphasizes that Abia State has not recorded any confirmed positive case of cholera within the period under review.

“Nevertheless, because of ongoing outbreak reported in some states, the Ministry has instituted response measures towards prevention and identification of any suspected case and appropriate treatment.

“As part of the intervention, citizens are advised to continue to observe preventive measures to stay safe,” the director said.

The preventive measures, she listed, included ensuring access to safe drinking water, practicing sanitation including proper hand-washing and maintaining personal hygiene.

Others are handling food safely, washing fruits and vegetables properly before consumption and cooking food properly before eating same.

The ministry also warned residents to avoid roadside foods and drinking of untreated water.

The director urged citizens to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of cholera while promising further updates where necessary.

She supplied the phone and email contacts of Dr Orie Agomoh, Director Public Health and Disease Control and Mr Elezuo Elezuo, State Epidemiologist, for residents to reach out to the ministry.

The phone numbers and email addresses of the officials are as follows Dr Agomoh – 08168440992, email: drprincessorieagomoh@gmail.com and Mr. Elezuo Elezuo, 08030960031 email : eoelezuo@yahoo.com.(NAN)

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