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Society Moves To Streamline Asthma Treatment

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The Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS), says that there is the need to streamline the various treatment options in the management and Asthma in Nigeria to meet international standards and practices worldwide.
To attain the standard, the society has initiated the “Guideline for Asthma Management in Nigeria’’, launched penultimate Tuesday in Lagos.
The National President, National Thoracic Society, Prof. Etete Peters, told newsmen in Lagos that the management of asthma in Nigeria over the decades had involved diverse therapeutic approaches.
“The challenges of managing asthma are still enormous because of the diverse approaches to it by many patients some of whom still adopt unorthodox methods of treatment.
“This gave room for the need to put together a concise method of treatment which was initiated in Uyo in November 2015,’’ he said.
Prof. Gregory Erhabor, Chairman, National Asthma Committee, said that asthma was an inflammatory disease that affects the lungs, causing repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and nighttime or early morning coughing.
Erhabor, a Consultant Pulmonologist and professor of Medicine, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, said that asthma had to do with genetic pre-dispositions.
“If the family had asthma history or allergies, one becomes predisposed to acquiring the disease.
“Asthma is a great killer in the world; annually, about a quarter of a million people die globally from asthma.
“Although we do not have written statistics here, we know that a lot of people equally die from asthma in Nigeria.
“They die because their conditions are poorly diagnosed, under-treated and they do not have the right guidelines for treating their conditions.
“Globally, guidelines are set but they have to be adapted to the local images and peculiarities.
“So, with the Nigeria Asthma Guidelines, what we are trying to get is local peculiarities toward  helping the physician, healthcare providers, pharmacies and even the patient, on the proper way to manage asthma,’’ he said.
According to Erhabor, who is also the President of Asthma and Chest Care Foundation, this will help to reduce the burden of the disease.
On the significance of the guidelines, he said: “Almost every nation of the world has a guideline, but there is a global guideline which we call the Global Initiative for Management of Asthma (GIMA).
“However, we are creating a Nigerian guideline which will be useful to Nigeria and the West African sub-region as there is no other guideline in West Africa; South Africa has one.
“Again, not everything that is done globally for the management of asthma can be applicable to Nigeria because some of the drugs are not affordable and may not even be available.
“Also, some of the drugs have their way of working due to genetic predispositions; so, every year, we will look at what is new and upgrade the guidelines.
“This guideline will be distributed to hospitals, medical centres, medical schools and teaching hospitals; people will now have a way of managing asthma.
“We hope to distribute as many copies as possible, to make it accessible online and also include it in medical journals,’’ he said.
Erhabor said that asthma could be triggered by genetic predisposition and environmental conditions, including house dust, stressful situations, exercise and allergies.
“Some drugs, some occupation, laboratory and climatic conditions can also trigger attack in asthmatics.
“Attacks are common in early mornings and late at nights; if one does not have attacks in the night, then it may not be asthma
“Some symptoms of asthma include cough, restlessness and allergies,’’ Erhabor said.
Also, Dr Emmanuel Alabi, Past Membership Director and Administrative Secretary, NTS, said: “This guideline is one of its kind in Africa, especially in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Most countries like U.S. and U.K. have their guidelines to direct institutions and asthma caregivers on how to manage the disease; this is a written document which is revised from time to time.
“For Nigeria to have one, it is a good and laudable development and I urge all practitioners and caregivers in the management of asthma to adhere to the guidelines,’’ Alabi said.

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Commissioner Lauds Navy On Covid-19 Containment

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Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, has lauded efforts made so far by the Naval Command at Borokiri, Port Harcourt, towards checking the trend of the Covid-19 pandemic in the State.
Making the commendation recently when the naval medical team paid him a courtesy call in his office, the commissioner stated that the state government and Rivers people appreciate the fact that the naval health facility is made accessable to people living in their environment and beyond.
“The  Rivers State Government appreciates all your effort aimed at curbing the spread of the Corona Virus in line with your corporate social responsibility for host communities in the state by making your (health) facility accessible”, he said.
Prof Chike continued that, “the job of every health personnel is humanitarian. Lives of citizens of our country are paramount and should therefore not be compromised”.
While assuring that the state government is doing everything possible to fight the spread of the pandemic, the commissioner stated that he’ll personally pay occasional visits to the naval healthcare facility, and also assured of the preparedness of the state ministry of health to partner with other private healthcare delivery services.
“The State Ministry of Health (MOH) is committed in partnering with other private health facilities in the state to curb the spread of the ravaging pandemic”, he said.
Speaking earlier, the Commander, Naval Medical Centre Borikiri, Navy Captain U. O. Nzeribe-Agbangwu, said the navy health services were not restrained to its personnel but extended to other individuals who need to access the facility for heart care. 
The commander said, “over 70 percent of our patients are civilians, and, in line with our corporate social responsibility, we constructed a borehole for supply of water to the host community”.
Nzeribe-Agbangwu also expressed satisfaction over the support the Naval healthcare facility got from the ministry in the heat of the pandemic in 2020.

By: Sogbeba Dokubo

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Covid-19: Pregnant Woman, 15 Others Die In Edo

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The Edo State Government has confirmed the death of a 33-year-old pregnant woman at Stella Obasanjo Hospital in Benin and 15 other persons across other Covid-19 facilities.
Head of the state’s Coronavirus Case Management, Dr Ebomwonyi Osagie, who disclosed this at the daily press briefing on the virus, however, said that the victims were not vaccinated.
“This particular patient came in and died about three hours after presentation at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital; late presentation is a major issue in managing crisis.
“She is about 28 weeks pregnant, already having pre-eclampsia, so, the debate is actually if it is the pre-eclampsia that killed her or Covid-19.
“The woman has Covid-19, which pushed her more toward developing pre-eclampsia and then death. Some other women have pre-eclampsia and are successfully managed.
“Late presentation is an issue, because the patient died three hours after presentation, which means that there is little that would have been done to manage the situation, so, we are appealing to private hospitals to let patients go very early for treatment.
“So far, a total of 537 samples were collected, with a total of 1,004 confirmed cases, 103 recovered and were discharged and 16 deaths recorded within 48hours.
“We have 70 people in admission, 296 people in home care, 344 discharged and 50 deaths, since the outbreak of the pandemic,” Osagie said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Osamwonyi Irowa, said that the cases were rising, with more people being admitted, just as the state was recording very high mortality from COVID-19.
Irowa further said that vaccination was fighting the pandemic and appealed to residents to avail themselves the opportunity of taking COVID-19 vaccines made available by the Federal and state governments.

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Agency Trains 40 Health Officers On Emergency Response

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The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) on Monday kicked off a two-week capacity building programme in Lagos for Nigerian experts on public health emergency response.
The training seeks to certify the first cohort of 40 participants drawn from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), state-level ministries of health, Nigeria Port Health Services, and  Nigerian military in the Public Health Emergency Management Professional Certification (PHEM PC).
The US-CDC Nigeria Country Director, Mary Boyd, said: “The devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic illustrates now more than ever the importance of ensuring the public health and health care systems can adequately prevent, respond to, and recover from health emergencies.
“Particularly those whose scale, timing, or unpredictability threatens to overwhelm routine capabilities,”  a statement by the mission in Lagos, quoted.
The Tide source reports that PHEM PC training, a first of its kind in Nigeria, adapted from US-CDC Atlanta, equips emergency managers, incident managers, state epidemiologists, first responders, watch managers, and other public health experts with the knowledge, competencies and skill sets they need to respond to public health emergencies.
During the intensive programme, participants will receive specialised training in crisis and emergency risk communication as well as public health emergency management functions and operations.
The PHEM training is part of the U.S. Government’s efforts to support pandemic preparedness globally.
The US-CDC, NCDC, and Georgetown University are collaborating to deliver this training.
In 2019, Nigeria became a Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) partner country committed to achieving GHSA 2024 targets and International Health Regulations (IHR) requirements.
US-CDC supports the Government of Nigeria (GON) to achieve these targets by strengthening workforce development, surveillance, emergency response, and laboratory capacity among other areas.

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