9 October 2017

Nigeria: Major Health Stories Last Week - Monkeypox, State House Clinic Commercialisation, Others

A viral disease, Monkeypox, has broken out in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, with 13 reported cases.

Three suspected cases of the disease were also reported in Rivers state, and another in Akwa Ibom State.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, and the executive director, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Chinkwe Ihekweazu, called on Nigerians to remain calm as the federal and state epidemiological teams from the health agencies are working vigorously to contain the disease from spreading.

Mr. Ihekweazu said out of the 13 cases reported in Bayelsa, most of them have been discharged, but four are still receiving treatment. No death has been reported.

Monkeypox looks like an extreme case of chickenpox and smallpox, but a little more severe. Vectors of the virus includes squirrels, monkeys and rats.

GOVERNMENT TO COMMERCIALISE NIGERIA STATE HOUSE CLINIC

The management of the State House Medical Centre, SHMC, which currently offers largely free medical services to patients at Aso Rock, Nigeria's seat of government, has said the hospital will be commercialised to offer qualitative and efficient services.

The Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi who was reacting to a media report on the state of the medical centre, said the management will "among other things seek the commercialisation of the centre to boost its revenue and augment the appropriation it receives from the government in the quest for a better qualitative service".

Mr. Arabi said the proposed reforms will ensure that those eligible to use the Centre are NHIS compliant with their Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) or primary health provider domiciled in the clinic and also serve as another way to boost revenue generation at the hospital.

PANEL INDICTS NIGERIA'S NHIS CHIEF

The suspension of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Usman Yusuf, has been extended indefinitely.

Mr. Yusuf has been on three months suspension since July 6, based on the directive of the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, to allow for fair and uninterrupted investigation of the various allegations levied against the NHIS boss.

In a letter to the embattled NHIS chief dated October 5, ‎Mr. Adewole indicated that the committee that investigated Mr. Yusuf has submitted its report and that the committee found Mr. Yusuf "culpable in many areas."

KWARA RECORDS 147 CASES OF MEASLES IN NINE MONTHS

Kwara State recorded 147 cases of measles across 16 local government areas of the state between January and August this year, the World Health Organisation, WHO, says.

WHO's measles Focal Person for Kwara, Wole Adaramola said during a training in Ilorin that about 15,148 suspected cases of measles were reported in 36 states of the country with 3,296 cases confirmed and 108 deaths recorded.

According to Mr. Adaramola, measles is one of the six childhood killer diseases. It is a highly contagious viral disease that kills nearly 800,000 children globally every year.

NATIONAL HOSPITAL CANCER CENTRE READY DECEMBER

The cancer centre at the National Hospital in Abuja will be completed latest December, said the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole.

Mr. Adewole who gave this assurance at the Cancer Summit organised by Cancer Education and Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria, CEAFON, in Abuja described the cancer scenario in the country as frightening, noting that the completion of the centre was part of the government's effort to make cancer care available and accessible to patients in the country.

He added that the government is also planning to revamp the other eight centres across the country; saying two of the centres will be completed and equipped with modern machines before the end of the year.

Other health experts at the summit also urged the government to find alternative special funding to fund cancer treatment in Nigeria.

ZAMFARA STATE TO ESTABLISH TRAUMA CENTRES AT HOSPITALS

The Zamfara State government is set to establish trauma centres in all its hospitals to boost health care services.

The governor, Abdul'aziz Yari, said apart from trauma centres, the government will also provide modern emergency units, theatre and intensive care unit.

He said the aim is to upgrade all the general hospitals in the state to modern standards to ensure effective provision of health care delivery to the people of the state.

EIGHT BABIES DIE IN INDIA HOSPITAL IN 24 HOURS

No fewer than eight newly-born babies died in 24 hours at a government-owned hospital in India's north-eastern state of Assam, officials said on Friday.

The deaths took place at the Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College Hospital in Barpeta district, about 102 km west of Dispur, the capital city of Assam.

Five infants died on Wednesday night and three on Thursday. A health official at the hospital said it is just a coincidence that the newly-born children, aged one day to two months, died within the span of 24 hours as all the children were in critical condition, underweight and were in neo-natal intensive care unit, ICU.

CANADIAN DOCTORS ASSIST 2,000 TO DIE

Nearly 2,000 people with incurable disease were helped to die by Canadian doctors in the first year since the country legalised medically-assisted suicide, says a report published by Health Canada.

The legislation was passed in June 2016; and from then to June 30, 2017, 1982 people ended their lives this way.

Extrapolating the data collected for the first half of 2017, the number of assisted death is expected to rise.

Doctor-assisted suicide in Canada is reserved for adults with serious health problems who want to end their suffering and consists of a lethal injection in a hospital or home.

Most of those who opted for it had cancer.

MEDICAL DIRECTORS WANT HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEME EXPANDED

The Federal Government has been urged to seek ways to expand the coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cover existing primary health care facilities in the country.

A statement signed by the national president of the Guild of Medical Directors, Femi Dokun-Babalola, said government should find indigenous ways to engage the existing primary facilities.

"In the United Kingdom, most people live within a few miles of a well-run primary care facility, with good connections to secondary and tertiary facilities. This should be our overall objective in bringing the objectives of the NHIS scheme to fruition in the lives of many of our country men. It is incumbent on us to find solutions to our own problems that are at once practical and responsive to our peculiar situation," he said.

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