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Rapid Response Team Supporting Benue to Tackle Strange Disease – NCDC

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Benue State Governor Ortom
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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has said that the National Rapid Response Team is supporting the Benue State Ministry of Health to investigate a strange fatal illness in Oye Obi, Obi Local Government Area of the state.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of NCDC, said this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday in Abuja, while giving an update on the yet to be diagnosed disease in Benue State.

Oye Obi was three weeks ago ravaged by the strange disease which resulted in the deaths of four people.

The senator representing Benue South Senatorial District, Abba Moro, had disclosed on the floor of the Senate that 15 persons died from the strange disease while 104 were hospitalised.

Ihekweazu said that infective causes, including the known Viral Haemorrhagic Lassa Fever, had been ruled out.

He, however, said that water samples were tested for possible chemical poisoning.

According to Ihekweazu, the last known death from the affected area was reported on Feb. 7.

He disclosed that NCDC was working hard with the federal ministries of Environment and Water Resources, to identify the cause and respond accordingly.

“We are closely monitoring those who have contracted the disease. We tested for Lassa fever and Yellow fever and the results were negative. So, we are waiting for the final results,’’ Ihekweazu said.

NAN, reports that the Benue government had said it would likely take samples of water, sand, fish and plants in Oye Obi for examination abroad.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Sunday Ongbabo, however, said local investigation was ongoing using water, sand, plants and fish of the area.

Ongbabo also said water laboratory analysis being carried out at the Enugu Teaching Hospital was yet to be concluded.

Health

Lassa Fever Claims 10 Lives in Ebonyi

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The Ebonyi Ministry of Health disclosed that Lassa Fever killed 10 persons in the state from Jan. 4 to Feb. 16, 2024.

The Disease Surveillance Notification Officer of the ministry, Mr Sampson Orogwu, made the disclosure in a statement issued in Abakaliki.

Orogwu stated that 25 persons were infected, including two healthcare workers.

He added  that “16 out of the 25 infected persons are males, while nine are females.

“The dead include a pregnant woman and two children.

“The affected local government areas include: Onicha, Ikwo, Ezza North, Ebonyi, Izzi, Ohaukwu and Abakaliki with Hausa quarters and Nkaliki areas in Abakaliki recording the highest number of cases.

He, therefore,  urged residents to report suspected cases to the ministry as treatment is free.

The State Epidemiologist, Dr Ogbonna Nwambeke, also in the statement, said the state government had been collaborating with relevant partners to check spread of the disease

He said “we call for the provision of logistics to increase surveillance and community engagement against risk factors.

“People are also advised to stop bush burning, avoid eating rats and not to touch any surface touched by an infected person.

“We also advise people to maintain high level of personal and environmental hygiene such as covering their food and utensils properly.

Nwambeke appreciated the state government’s provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to health workers at the National Obstetrics Fistula Centre to secure their lives and to save others.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses.

Humans usually become infected with Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats.

It’s common in West Africa. Most people get mild symptoms, like fever and headache. (NAN)

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Hospital Creates Toxicology Ward to Address Mental Health Issues in Kaduna

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The Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Barnawa Kaduna said it has created a toxicology ward to address mental health issues in the state..

Its Medical Director, Aishatu Yusha’u-Armiya’u disclosed this on Sunday in Kaduna.

She said the ward allowed the separation of psychiatric patients diagnosed with various forms of psychiatric conditions from those with substance use disorder.

The medical director said, ” This permits the design of a clear plan for the management and rehabilitation of people with substance use disorder.

NAN reports that a toxicology unit identifies, quantifies and determines the amount of) drugs, alcohols, and poison in biological samples such as blood, urine or tissue.

Yusha’u-Armiya’u added that drug information and pharmacovigilance units were also created in the Pharmacy Department.

” These units are responsible for the provision of drugs related information and creating awareness on the presence of dangerous and substandard pharmaceuticals to both staff and patients within the institution.

” The pharmacy department has been provided with a functional and equipped compounding unit which is responsible for the production of all the relevant consumables needed in the hospital.

“In my first year in the office, I ensured that all the consumables needed in the hospital were produced by the pharmacy department,” she said.  (NAN)

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International Condom Day: AHF distributes  condoms, to launch STIs clinic in Benue

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

As part of activities marking the 2024  International Condom Day, AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Nigeria, on Tuesday,  distributed thousands of  condoms to both young and older people in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

Furthermore,  AHF has concluded arrangements to build STIs clinic in Benue State and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja to cater for the treatment of sexually transmitted infections in Nigeria.

Addressing journalists at the end of a road walk and distribution of condoms and flyers, the AHF  Advocacy and Marketing Manager in Benue State, Steve Aborishade explained that the International Condom Day is usually celebrated on February 13th as a global event, a day before Valentine’s Day in a bid to promote prevention of STDs, including HIV and unwanted pregnancies through free condom distribution, safer sex awareness events and HIV Testing Services.

He said AHF is aware of what happens among young people during Valentine’s day, hence  to share love, and in sharing love, there is a lot of sex.

Dr. Aborishade stated AHF always advice young people to abstain from sex  but a situation whereby they are not ready to abstain they should always use condom  and use it properly.

 He disclosed that there  rising cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections(STIs) and cases of HIV among the young generation, adding that it is important to give the right education and right information about safe sex.

“That is why the Internatioal condom day is to reach out to the people and to educate the young people to use condom when having sex. Again we also encourage young people to abstain from sex which is the best decision but majority of young people can’t and that’s why we are encouraging them to  use the condoms properly and frequently”.

“We  are partnering with, Apin, Bensaca, Network of youth organizations to create awareness . The theme of this year celebration i is “Just use it” . These condoms are being distributed today in 7 states. We are  also starting an STI clinic in June at AHF in Makurdi and Abuja and it is strictly for STI treatment.

 “Some people have STI and they dont know they have it but with the establishement of the clinic, people would have opportunity to be attended to”, he said.

In her remark, the state Commissioner for woman affairs and social development, Mrs. Ann Itodo commended AHF for creating awareness about safer sex and the need to control STIs  amongst youths in the State.

Mrs. Itodo who was represented by director of women in the ministry, Mrs. Magdalene Doo  said everyone must be involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other STis in the state .

She assured that the ministry is ready to collaborate with AHF to educate and enlighten the people of the State and call on the organization to join the ministry to celebrate this year’s Internatioal women’s day in order to create more awareness about STIs in the State. 

Also speaking, the AHF prevention coordinator Benue state, Mrs. Amina Iyaji, maintained that the rate of STIs has reduced drastically due to activities of the organization and assured that they would continue to create more awareness about safe sex.

On her part,  the head of link unit, Apin public health prevention initiatives, Mrs. Lucy Tembe, they would continue to partner with AHF to eradicate STIs in the State.

She maintained that Apin has be able to  render services to prevent diseases among youths in the State and called on other stakeholders to promote safe sex in the State.

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