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“90% EMTCT Possible In Rivers”

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The target of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS EMTCT in Rivers State by 90 percent can be made possible, but it will require the commitment of all stakeholders.
A medical epidemiologist and lead consultant for the Rivers State Strategic Plan Project, Dr Urang Joseph, stated this in an exclusive  interview recently at a four-day State Strategic Plan (SSP) workshop in Port \harcourt.
According to him,  achieve the targeted 90 percent EMTCT, every pregnant woman diagnosed to be HIV positive will have to be on anti-retroviral.
To achieve this however, he said government would have to promulgate relevant laws to compel positive pregnant women to access ARV, and everybody should see it as a prority to convince such positive pregnant women to access Antenatal  Care (ANC).
“If government is able to promulgate laws, and we are able to convince all our pregnant mothers to deliver in hospital and do focus ANC, obviously we will be able to cover it, he said.
On measures put in place to track HIV positive mothers so they could deliver in health facilities, Dr Joseph explained that some measures are in place, but plagued by challenges.
One of such challenges according to him is the unwillingness by the women to regularly access ANC up to the point of delivery.
According to him, only 50 percent  of such women access ANC, with the remaining 50 percent  opting for churches and traditional birth attendant (TBA).
Out of the 50 percent that manage to come for ANC, we still lose at least 30  percent, he said.
This, he continued, is also caused by the attitude of health workers, who sometimes are not friendly.
Beyond this, he continued, fund is required to enhance follow-up, ‘because the health workers should not be expected to use their money to buy recharge cards to enable them call the women who abstain from accessing ANC.
The overall thing is to encourage people to have health seeking behaviour. Once we have this, every other aspect will naturally fall into place”, he concluded.
Also speaking, the monitoring and Evaluation officer for RIVSACA, Dr Isaiah K Mac-Moses stated that without the development of SSP, there will be no HIV implementation for the state.
According to him, between 2017 to 2021, it is expected that mother- to-child transmission of HIV will be eliminated.
“The SSP is seen as the Bible of the State.  It is not for RIVSACA alone, but for the entire state which will guide the response in the next five years, from 2017 to 2021”, he said.
Dr Mac-Moses, however, urged participants to put in their best in order to ensure elimination of HIV/AIDS in Rivers State.

 

Sogbeba Dokubo

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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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