Tuberculosis: Africa Achieves 26% Death Reduction, WHO Says
By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the African continent was progressing in its efforts to mitigate Tuberculosis related deaths, as it has achieved a 26 per cent success rate so far.
WHO’s Africa Regional Director Matshdiso Moeti, made this known on Friday, in a statement released to mark the 2023 world Tuberculosis day.
“The region is now on the threshold of reaching 35 percent TB death reduction,” she said, adding that the 26 percent reduction recorded was achieved between 2015 and 2021.
However, Matshdiso said seven countries— Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique, South Soudan, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia have achieved a 35 per cent reduction level in TB death since 2015.
Furthermore, Matshdiso decried the challenges in TB prevention and control experienced in the region.
“First, there is a delay in diagnosis and testing. There is still a notable gap between the estimated number of new infections and case notifications of TB – 40 per cent of people living with TB did not know of their diagnosis or it was not reported in 2021.
“One million people are living with TB in the region and have not been detected.
“Second, the link between TB and HIV. Approximately 20 per cent of people newly diagnosed with TB are also living with HIV infection.
“Third, the multi-drug resistant TB. In the African region, only 26 per cent of all people living with multi-drug resistance are receiving the appropriate treatment,” she said.
Albeit, Matshdiso expressed delight that member states are increasing the uptake of new tools and guidance recommended by WHO, resulting in early access to TB prevention and care and better outcomes.
She further noted that in the African Region, the use of rapid diagnostic testing has increased from 34 per cent in 2020 to 43 per cent in 2021, which will improve countries’ ability to detect and diagnose new cases of the disease.
“It is particularly important to find and diagnose cases of TB so that the patients can be treated, and their contacts offered preventive medication. Nigeria is an example of a country that managed to significantly increase national TB case finding by 50 per cent in 2021 using innovative approaches such as the expansion of the daily observed treatment protocols, use of digital technologies, Community Active Case Finding, and enlisting Public Private Mix initiatives.”
She said that TB required concerted action by all sectors: from communities and businesses to governments, civil society, and others.
“We must work together to develop innovative approaches to reach vulnerable populations and ensure that they have access to quality TB care and management,” said Matshdiso.
She further disclosed that the second UN High-level Meeting on TB in September 2023 will provide a rare opportunity to give global visibility to the disease and mobilize high-level political commitment to end TB.
DAILY ASSET reports that World TB Day is commemorated yearly on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of this preventable disease and call for accelerated action to end it.
This year’s theme is “Yes, we can end TB,” highlighting the need to ensure equitable access to prevention and care, in line with the drive towards Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals
Health Professionals Urge Sani to Prioritise Sector in Kaduna
Some experts in the health sector have advised the new Governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani, to prioritise the sector in order to improve the well-being of the citizens.
The health experts spoke on Wednesday in Kaduna.
Madaki Sheyin, Kaduna State Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), urged the new governor to reverse the trend of brain drain that hit the State especially in the last six years.
According to Sheyin, he should prioritise the health sector because of its importance to the masses.
“Emphasis must be made on human capital development; without a good human resource whatever structures built will not bring the needed gain or positive change,” he said.
He added that training and development, career progression and other incentives would attract manpower to the state.
“Kaduna needs to retain its best hands in the sector and attract many more through improved welfare packages.
“Also, attention must be given to capacity building and development with the right kind of equipment and infrastructure put in place.
“A needs assessment should be done and consultations with relevant stakeholders carried out with the stakeholders being carried along in various stages of policy development and implementation.
He added that public private partnership (PPP) was worth looking at, to curb wastage and improve service delivery and efficiency in the sector.
Dr Nuhu Yusuf, another medical doctor, said improved staff welfare, good working conditions should be one of the priorities the governor should have.
He added that the governor should build good state- of- the- art facilities in the state.
“Fully equipped hospitals, like those obtained in developed countries with modern equipment and should discourage increase in medical tourism.’’
Mr Morakinyo Rilwan, National Chairman, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, said the governor should embark on mass employment of nurses and doctors.
“The “japa” syndrome affected health workers in Kaduna seriously and their “japaing” is not to overseas, but to neighbouring states that pay better.
“We congratulate the new administration of governor Sani and our prayers are that God Almighty will guide him to do what is beneficial to the populace.
“However, the expectations of health workers in Kaduna state are not different from what was presented to him during the campaign period when he met with Kaduna state health workers forum and the presentation to the transition committee on May 16.
“So, he should try as much as possible to keep to his campaign promises.
“Hazard allowance should be reviewed upward and we expect him to be workers-friendly unlike his predecessor and dialogue with them on areas that may seem difficult to accomplish.”
He added that health workers, especially nurses suffered in the hands of kidnappers due to lack of security in the hospital and some of these facilities had no perimeter fence.
“Upward review of workers allowances as a motivation for those who are ready to stay back.
“Lastly, he should pay all the arrears of unions and Association check off dues not remitted, to allow professional associations to concentrate on their activities and pay their workers.
“Health facilities should be upgraded with adequate consumables and other working tools,’’ he said. (NAN)
FG Restates Commitment to Increasing Access to Family Planning Programmes
The Federal Government has restated its commitment to enunciating policies that would increase access to family planning programmes for couples.
Dr Boladale Alonge, Director, Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, restated the commitment on Wednesday in Abuja while declaring open the 2023 Annual Family Planning Technical Review meeting.
Alonge was represented by an official of the ministry, Mrs Bako Aiyegbusi.
Ayegbusi said the Federal Government was determined to eliminate challenges militating against the uptake of family planning programmes.
She explained that the meeting would offer opportunities to close gaps existing in family planning advocacy and implementation.
“It is pertinent to note that the Federal Ministry of Health is working to expand access to family planning commodities.
“The Federal Government has developed policies to ensure that every couple has access to family planning programmes,’’ she said.
She expressed gratitude to UN Population Fund and to other multilateral partners for their support and assured that cultural beliefs and other barriers militating against family planning would be overcome.
In her remarks, Mrs Roseline Ode, Practice Area Lead, Family Planning/Reproductive Health Society for Family Health (an international NGO), said the meeting was necessary to scale up services for family planning.
Ode described family planning as fundamental to reducing maternal mortality rate and promoting the production of qualitative children.
She noted that family planning was imperative for couples the world over.
Dr Ejike Oji, Chairman, Technical Management Committee, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, another international NGO, said that progress was being made in the implementation of “Family Planning-2030’’ goals.
Oji affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to achieving unmet needs for family planning, which he said was paramount in realising the 27 per cent commitment by Nigeria. (NAN)
Expert Attributes Pelvic Inflammation in Women to Poor Menstrual Hygiene
Dr Abdullahi Kabiru, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi (ATBUTH), has attributed the cases of pelvic inflammation infection among women to poor menstrual hygiene.
According to him, pelvic inflammation infections are caused by poor sanitary attitude among women, especially the use of unclean sanitary pads.
Kabiru stated this in an interview in Bauchi on Wednesday, saying other infections likely to affect such women are urinary track infection (UTI) and viginal infections.
“Without menstrual hygiene, women are at risk of infections such as the inflammation of the pelvic among others,” he said.
“Communities and parents need to be sensitised on the imperative of menstrual hygiene and management to make women at ease and interact freely in the society,” he added.
“The social, economic and psychological challenges experienced by women during menstruation can led to depression because girls and women are stigmatised,” he said.
He stressed that long-term consequences of the infections could led to issues around pregnancy.
He, therefore, advocated for access to water, disposal items and friendly menstrual toilets in schools to promote good hygiene during the monthly cycles among girls.
He further called for collective effort by the communities and parents towards supporting women to fight all forms of stigmatisation that could lead to depression among them. (NAN)
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