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Lassa Fever: NCDC Registers 1 Death, 15 New Cases in 1 Week

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has reported one death and confirmed 15 new cases of lassa fever within one week across the country.

The NCDC said this in a situation report for week 13 published on its website on Friday.

Reports says that lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents or contaminated persons.

Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and, in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

The NCDC noted a decrease in the number of confirmed cases from 25 cases in week 12 to 15 cases in the reporting week, although the number of suspected cases increased compared to the same period in 2023.

Cumulatively, from week one to 13, the country recorded 806 confirmed cases and 150 deaths, with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.6 per cent, higher than the CFR for the same period in 2023 (17.5 per cent).

“Twenty-five states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 125 local government areas in 2024.

“Sixty-two per cent of all confirmed cases were recorded from Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi, with Ondo State accounting for 24 per cent, Edo 22 per cent, and Bauchi 16 per cent,” it said.

According to the report, no health worker was infected in the reporting week, and individuals between the ages of 31 and 40 were predominantly affected by the infection.

The NCDC said the National Lassa Fever Multi-partner, Multi-sectoral Incident Management System had been activated to coordinate response at all levels at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

The NCDC highlighted some challenges in the fight against lassa fever, including the late presentation of cases leading to increased CFR and poor health-seeking behaviour.

It attributed the latter to the high cost of treatment and clinical management of lassa fever, as well as poor environmental sanitation and awareness in high-burden communities. (NAN)

Health

Reps Call for Urgent Upgrade of Jos University Teaching Hospital

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The House of Representatives, has called for the urgent upgrade of the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), to enable it deliver qualitative healthcare services.

The lawmakers, led by Rep Amos Magaji, Chairman of the Committee on Health Institutions, made the call during an oversight visit by the members to JUTH, on Tuesday in Jos.

Magaji, the lawmaker, representing Zango-Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency, who decried the decaying facilities in the hospital, said the institution was in dire need of upgrade especially its equipment and infrastructure.

“It’s very unfortunate that this gigantic hospital has so many obsolete and nonfunctional equipment.

“Its disheartening that this hospital doesn’t have a functional MRI Machine; the CT scanning machine it has is also obsolete.

“In today’s modern medicine, diagnosis is key for effective health care delivery.

“Unfortunately, this cannot be attained without modern and functional equipment and radio-diagnostic tools.

“My committee has seen that the hospital is in dire need of attention for the upgrading and replacement of its obsolete equipment, as well as the renovation of its structure,” he said.

According to him, the hospital’s funding is grossly inadequate, a situation that the committee will look into with a view to addressing the issues appropriately.

The chairman, commended the management and staff of the institution for being proactive in executing their duties in spite of the daunting challenges.

Magaji, said the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions of the 10th National Assembly, was poised to revamp the health sector and also reverse the trend of medical tourism.

He said that the committee’s oversight functions were in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration, aimed at ensuring better life for all citizens.

“Since we have very skilled and qualified medical personnel in this country, we must see to it that the health sector is revamped to enable the personnel work under a conducive atmosphere.

“It’s very saddening that most medical professionals abroad are Nigerians, but we are poised to do everything we can to reverse the trend.

“We will do everything to make the Nigerian hospitals a choice destination for medical and healthcare services for other countries.

“This would in turn make Nigeria a medical tourism destination country for people from other climes.

“This would also address the exodus of healthcare personnel,” Magaji said.

Dr Pokop Bupwatda, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of JUTH, commended the committee for visiting the hospital.

Bupwatda, said that he was grateful that the committee had visited and seen the challenges confronting the hospital.

The CMD expressed optimism that those challenges would be addressed as soon as possible for better healthcare delivery services to the people.

“Iam glad the committee has seen our challenges in JUTH and its budgetary allocation over the past years.

“We are optimistic that the visit will address our plight and improve the funding of the hospital in 2025 .” he said.

The CMD, noted that JUTH had very skilled and qualified human capital to give the best healthcare services, but would need urgent replacement of its obsolete equipment.

He also commended the management and staff of the hospital, for their cooperation and putting in their best, in spite of the strenuous working conditions. (NAN)

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Psychiatrists Demand Decriminalization of Attempted Suicide 

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By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja 

Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN) President, Prof. Taiwo James Obindo, has asked for the decriminalization of attempted suicide in the country.

He made the call at a stakeholders meeting organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Specialty Healthcare on the need to prioritize and implement the Mental Health Act.

Obindo said the establishment of the National Counselling Centers all over the country in an attempt to address mental health was like putting the cart before the horse, because suicide attempt was still a criminal offense in both the Criminal Act and the Penal Code.

 

“Hence the first step would be a move to decriminalize attempted suicide.

Criminalizing  attempted Suicide has proven to be a major barrier for suicide prevention intervention service uptake. 

“The archaic law, inherited from our Colonial masters, in an attempt to stop the act of suicide did not address the thoughts and social determinants of Suicide. Significant evidence showed that 90% of those who take their lives through suicide had a background history of Mental Health Conditions; out of which 80% are attributable to Depression due to various bio-psycho-social aetiologies. 

“Why do we, as a Nation, then punish individuals who are ill and need medical attention rather than prosecution? It will shock you to know that Nigeria, the giant of Africa, is lagging behind as quite a number of our neighbouring nations have abrogated that law.

“Establishing a Counselling center, without abrogating this archaic law would put, even the counselors at risk because the law also prescribes penalties for those who are aware of the plan but did not report,” he said.

The psychiatrists Association President called for the implementation of the Mental Health Act, which he said was a product of legislation that went through rigorous processes by the legislature, assented to by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2022, and has been gazetted as a law in the Country. 

This, he said, would address the “many years of neglect of this important aspect of our nationhood.”

Obindo said a requirement for the effective implementation of the Act was the establishment of a Mental Health Services Department in the Federal Ministry of Health. 

“It will shock you to hear that, more than a year later, the department is yet to be established. Most of, if not all, the items in your plan are meant to be supervised by this department in obedience to the rule of law! Hence, the establishment of the department is germane to the success of all your plans,” he said.

He said the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria was an umbrella body of all Psychiatrists in the Country and other allied Practitioners. 

He said they have been at the forefront of campaigns and advocacy for global best practices.

He lauded the Committee for the initiative, saying when well-implemented, would positively impact the hitherto neglected Mental Health, persons affected by Mental Health Conditions, and Mental Health Practitioners. 

Chairman of the Committee on  Special Healthcare, Dr Alex Egbona, said all stakeholders must partner to address mental health challenges and other related health cases.

The lawmaker said the committee was created to provide the requisite legislative frameworks for improved healthcare delivery in Nigeria.

He said the session was a collaborative initiative of the committee to share its mandate and planned activities with identified relevant institutions and organisations.

“I, therefore, solicit the support and partnership of all stakeholders, our development partners, international NGOs, and CSOs, you are all urged to take interest in building the capacity of the committee members and staff to enhance the efficacy of the committee.

“Consider our five thematic areas of Mental Health, Trauma and Obstetrics Fistula, Oral Health and ENT, Blood Transfusion, Blood and Management, Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine and engage the committee for maximum impact,” he said.

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WHO Expresses Concern over Monkey Pox Outbreak in DRC

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25,318 suspected cases of monkey pox, including 1,204 deaths, have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since the declaration of monkey pox outbreak in December 2022.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday.

According to the latest report, the outbreak, which was declared by the DRC Health Ministry on Dec.

16, 2022, was prompted by a notable surge in cases and fatalities associated with monkey pox as well as a fast spread to non-endemic provinces.

Since the beginning of 2024, a total of 5,133 suspected cases, including 321 deaths, have been reported, according to the WHO report. It warns that the current situation of the outbreak in the DRC is of “grave concern” due to the sustained increase in suspected cases compared to previous years.

It added that with a significant burden in younger populations, particularly children under 15 years of age, who constitute the majority of both suspected cases and deaths.

In April 2024, a high-level emergency regional meeting on monkey pox in Africa was convened in DRC capital Kinshasa, gathering 12 health ministers of regional countries, aiming to develop common strategies to prevent and intervene effectively in the face of monkey pox in Africa.

“We must prevent the DRC from becoming the source of cross-border transmission, and our partnership must prioritise the health of those affected,’’ said Jean Kaseya, the director general of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) at the meeting.

“Over the years, monkey pox has become a real public health problem for our communities in the DRC, a regional threat and ultimately a global problem.

“We must now mobilise to resolve this crisis,” said Roger Kamba, DRC minister of public health, hygiene and prevention, said at the meeting.

Monkey pox, first detected in laboratory monkeys in 1958, is assumed to be transmitted from wild animals such as rodents to people or from human to human (Xinhua/NAN)

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