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‘Check Five NTDs, Save $12bn, 23 million Lives’

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Nigeria  is in a position to
save $12 billion just by making deliberate and sustained efforts at controlling or eliminating the five most common Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
This revelation was contained in  new data released recently at an event hosted by the End fund, an international philanthropic organisation, alongside the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, and made available to The Tide. The data, which was  developed by Kigali-based Erasmus University, with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, states that sub-saharan Africa as a whole could save $52 billion from doing same.
This is, however, dependent on if the continent meets the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s 2020 targets of controlling or eliminating the five most common NTDs.
The diseases are: Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis; onchocerciasis (River Blindness); Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia); Soil-Transmitted Helminths (intestinal worms); and Trachoma.
According to the data, if Nigeria is able to meet the WHO’s 2020 targets of controlling or eliminating the five most common NTDs, the country will also avert the equivalent of over 23 million years of life that would have otherwise been lost to ill-health, disability and early death.
The WEF Africa-sanctioned event, convened by the END fund, was aimed at making a case for increased investment in NTD Control in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In her opening remark at the event, the First Lady of Rwanda, Mrs Jeannette Kagame, set the stage for the important discussion.
She noted that meeting the WHO’s 2020 targets could also help Sub-Saharan Africa gain the equivalent of 100 million life-years that would otherwise be lost to ill-health, disability and early death arising from the five most common NTDs.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Chief Executive Officer of the END fund, Ellen Agler, noted that “NTD control efforts offer a return on investment, unparalleled in global health”.
She added that, “ending these debilitating diseases will help reduce poverty at all levels, from families and communities to whole nations”.
Fortunately for Nigeria, though the country is affected by all five diseases, much work is on-going to prevent and treat NTDs.
The NTDs are a diverse group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases that are particularly prevalent in areas with limited access to safe water, proper sanitation, and adequate medical services.

 

Sogbeba Dokubo

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Research Shows Obesity Rising Worldwide

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A new research has shown that more than a billion people are living with obesity around the world as published in The Lancet show.
The figures includes about 880 million adults and 159 million children, according to 2022 data.
The highest rates are in Tonga and American Samoa for women and American Samoa and Nauru for men, with some 70-80% of adults living with obesity.
Out of some 190 countries, the United Kingdom ranks 55th highest for men and 87th for women.
The international team of scientists say there is an urgent need for major changes in how obesity is tackled.
Obesity can increase the risk of developing many serious health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Ranking global obesity rates (the percentage of population classed as obese, after age differences are accounted for), researchers found:
The US comes 10th highest for men and 36th highest for women
India ranks 19th lowest for women and 21st lowest for men
China is 11th lowest for women and 52nd lowest for men
Chart showing obesity data
Senior researcher Prof Majid Ezzati, of Imperial College London, told the BBC: “In many of these island nations it comes down to the availability of healthy food versus unhealthy food.
“In some cases there have been aggressive marketing campaigns promoting unhealthy foods, while the cost and availability of healthier food can be more problematic.”
Prof Ezzati, who has been looking at global data for years, says he is surprised at the speed the picture has changed, with many more countries now facing an obesity crisis, while the number of places where people being underweight is regarded as the biggest concern, has decreased.

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Five Die As Cholera Hits Lagos

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Not fewer than five people are reportedly dead and 60 others hospitalised following a deadly Cholera outbreak in Lagos.
Already the state government is calling for heightened vigilance and adoption of precautionary measures.
The state government in a statement yesterday urged the need to ensure that the disease is not spread, saying that an excess of severe gastroenteritis cases had been reported in Lagos in the last 48 hours.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi disclosed that cases of severe gastroenteritis had been reported in communities around Eti Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu and Kosofe LGA, resulting in about 60 hospital admissions, and sadly five deaths had been recorded mainly from patients presenting late with extreme dehydration.
“We have activated a statewide heightened surveillance and response. The Ministry of Health Directorate of Environmental Health and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) have been alerted to investigate a possible water contamination source in the Lekki Victoria Island axis.

“We suspect a possible cholera outbreak; however, samples have been taken for confirmation. As of April 28, 2024, Nigeria reported 815 suspected cholera cases and 14 deaths across 25 states,” he said.
The Commissioner noted that following recent rains, Lagos State has seen a notable increase in cases of severe vomiting and watery stools, adding that urban slums and crowded areas with poor sanitation were particularly at risk.
Abayomi explained that cholera is a highly contagious disease that caused severe diarrhea and could be life-threatening, adding that it posed a significant health burden in areas with poor water treatment and sanitation, and could impact Lagos State.
“Cholera spreads through direct transmission by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, and indirect transmission due to poor sanitation and lack of handwashing. Symptoms of cholera include severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, rapid dehydration, muscle cramps, fever and sometimes collapse,” he said.
According to him, treatment options for cholera include rehydration using Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for mild to moderate dehydration, saying that intravenous fluids is used for severely dehydrated patients given only in medical facilities and supervised by medical personnel.
“To prevent cholera, citizens are urged to ensure safe drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or using bottled water, and avoiding ice products made from untreated water. Maintaining proper sanitation by using toilets, safely disposing of faeces, and avoiding open defecation crucial.
“Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially before eating, preparing food, and after using the toilet, is essential and following food safety guidelines,” the Commissioner advised.
He enjoined citizens to rely on the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and accredited local health facilities for guidance, advice, and updates on prevention, treatment, and management.
He added that suspected cases could be reported via the following emergency hotlines: 08023169485, 08137412348, or by using helplines 767 or 112.

Kevin Nengia

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WHO Raises Alarm Over Viral Hepatitis Epidemics, STIs

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says viral hepatitis epidemics and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are causes of  2.5 million deaths each annually.
According to a new WHO report titled,” Implementing the Global Health Sector Strategies on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2022–2030,” STIs are increasing in many regions.
In 2022, WHO had targetted of reducing the annual number of adult syphilis infections by ten-fold by 2030, from 7.1 million to 0.71 million, but new syphilis cases among adults aged 15-49 years increased by over 1 million in 2022 reaching 8 million. The highest increases occurred in the Region for the Americas and the African region.
Combined with insufficient decline seen in the reduction of new HIV and viral hepatitis infections, the report expressed doubt  to the attainment of the related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“The rising incidence of syphilis raises major concerns”, said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Fortunately, there has been important progress on a number of other fronts including in accelerating access to critical health commodities including diagnostics and treatment.
The WHO DG said tools required to curb these epidemics as public health threats by 2030 are available, but that there’s need to ensure that, in the context of an increasingly complex world, countries do all they can to achieve the ambitious targets they set themselves”.
Increasing incidence of sexually transmitted infections four curable STIs – syphilis (Treponema pallidum), gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis), and trichomoniasis (Trichomonas vaginalis) – account for over 1 million infections daily.
The report notes a surge in adult and maternal syphilis (1.1 million) and associated congenital syphilis (523 cases per 100 000 live births per year) during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, there were 230 000 syphilis-related deaths.
New data also show an increase in multi-resistant gonorrhoea. As at 2023, out of 87 countries where enhanced gonorrhoea antimicrobial resistance surveillance was conducted, 9 countries reported elevated levels (from 5percent to 40percent) resistance to ceftriaxone, the last line treatment for gonorrhoea. WHO is monitoring the situation and has updated its recommended treatment to reduce the spread of this multi-resistant gonorrhoea strain.
In 2022, around 1.2 million new hepatitis B cases and nearly 1 million new hepatitis C cases were recorded. The estimated number of deaths from viral hepatitis rose from 1.1 million in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2022 despite effective prevention, diagnosis, and treatment tools.
New HIV infections only reduced from 1.5 million in 2020 to 1.3 million in 2022. Five key population groups men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender individuals, and individuals in prisons and other closed settings still experience significantly higher HIV prevalence rates than the general population.

By: Kevin Nengi

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