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Expert Urges Improved Funding For Stem Cell Tech

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A haematologist, Prof Sulaiman Akanmu, on Tuesday urged the
Federal Government to support and fund the Haematopoietic Stem Cell
Transplantation Technology to facilitate cancer treatment.

Akanmu, who is the Head, Haematology and Blood Transfusion,
Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), gave the advice in an
interview with newsmen  in Lagos.

He said that stem cell transplantation was a medical
intervention that involved taking or harvesting of tissue from one person of
the same species to another person.

According to him, the treatment being offered to cancer
patients are only aimed at palliating the cancer because the cure can kill the
patient.

“One important advantage of haematopoietic stem cell
transplantation is that it gives opportunity for cancer cure. When anybody is
diagnosed with cancer, we do not usually aim at cure.

“We only aim at palliating the cancer,if because we know, if
we aim at cure, we might cure the cancer, but we get the individual also killed
from the treatment that we are offering.

“ Because the cancer drugs, they kill the cancer cells but
at the same time, they kill what we refer to as haematopoietic stem cells in
the bone marrow that is supposed to be producing the blood cells.

“So, if you kill the cancer cells and you cannot produce the
blood cells, the individual dies.’’

Akanmu said that only few cancer patients in Nigeria could
afford to travel outside the country and pay between N14 million and N15
million for the stem cell transplant.

He said that larger percentage of Nigerians died because
they could not afford to raise such huge amount of money for the medical
procedure.

According to him, there is a need to create awareness about
haematopoietic stem cell transplantation in Nigeria and for government to
support and fund the medical intervention.

“Heamatopoietic Stem
Cell Transplantation now here in Nigeria. We needed support, the political
will, encourage our scientists to keep talking about it, to keep going out
there and perfecting the skills and then, equipping our teaching hospitals with
facilities to be able to easily carry out the procedure.

“And the advantage number one is that we are able to give to
Nigerians what they need. Number two it reduces economic drainage from our
country because the huge amount of money that those people who can afford it
move out of Nigeria to have the procedure done, now they can have it done in
Nigeria at a cheaper rate.

“And of course number three advantage is that those of us in
this area of medical practice will feel more competent, feel happy that in our
chosen career, we are achieving results, it boosts our morale.”

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Health

Immunization: Health Board Targets Rural Communities

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Towards ensuring that immunization campaign achieves its target of over 90 percent, the Rivers State Primary Health Care Management Board, says it has provided modalities for trained health care providers to reach the interiors of the state.
Making this known in an exclusive interview, the Health Education / Coordinator, Rivers State Social and Behavioural Change Communication Committee, Dr Daris Nria, said provisions have been made to take the free immunisation exercise to the rural areas of the state.
Because immunisation programe will be running concurrently in all the local government areas, and these areas will be empowered with boats or other means of transport, as well as logistics.
She used this opportunity to call on the public especially parents and women of child bearing age to avail themselves the opportunity of being immunized against tetanus and other diseases.
In another development, the Maternal and Neonatal Child Health (MNCH) Focal Person, Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board, Dr Emen-Jaja stated that the MNCH week slated to commence from 20th – 24th September will provide health care services for children under the age of five years, pregnant women as well as their spouses.
Such services, according to her, include administration of vitamin A, deworming exercise, nutritional screening, general health checks, child spacing and birth registration.
“Both women of reproductive age and their spouses who visit the health care centres would also have free services within the week.

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CSO Wants Cancer Treatment Centres In Rivers

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The Rivers State Chapter of the Civil Society organsation (CSO) has called on the state government to establish cancer treatment centres in the state to address the current growing cancer cases in the state.
Making the call recently, chairman of the organisation, Mr Dennis Otobo, said going by the status among the community of states in the country, Rivers State needs such centres in strategic areas of the state.
He stated that “going by the position of Rivers State among other states in the country, we are over due to have enough cancer treatment centres, especially considering the State Government’s focus on the health of her people”.
According to him, “taking some of our cancer patients to other neighbouring states does not tell well of our health services, no matter how we look at it.
“Government should establish cancer treatment centres in the state, at least a one hub treatment centre in each LGA”, he said.
Otobo explained that for now, about 99 per cent of treatments for cancer and related services are provided by donor agencies and patients are taken outside the state for treatment, which requires a lot of fund that is mostly not available.
“If government can provide cancer treatment centres in the state, it will not only lessen the impact of the ailment in the state but will also alleviate the suffering of patients who cannot afford going for treatment outside the state”, he said.

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To Much Salt Consumption, Bad For Kidney – Expert

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A Nephrologist, specialist in Kidney disease, Dr Manda David-West, says excessive salt consumption is one key cause of kidney disease.
Stating this in a recent interview, she said in-take of too much salt is capable of damaging one’s kidney, in addition to raising blood pressure.
“Too much salt can raise up the Blood Pressure (BP), and once the BP is raised, if you are not on medication, It can damage the kidney over time, she said.
In order to prevent this, Dr David West, who is a Consultant Nephrologist at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) called for limitation in salt in-take.
She further stated that to prevent kidney disease, there was the need to cut down on carbohydrate and callory intake, alongside checking food in-take capable of increasing chances of developing diabetes mellitus.
Dr David West continued that enough intake of fruits and vegetables, alongside exercises with a view to keep fit also prevents kidney diseases.
Contrary to wide spread belief that food supplements are good for the body, Dr David West said too much intake of food supplements is not good for the body.
Accroding to her, besides taking fruits and vegetables, “they should engage in daily exercise, try and keep fit and be active as much.
“Even (food) supplement has not been proven to be good to the kidney, especially when it is taken for a long time.

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