The Rivers State Government, through the State Ministry of Health will tomorrow commence administering of second dose of immunization against Measles in addition to the routine immunisation schedule.
Making this known to newsmen recently, the State Immunisation Officer, Dr Inwom Joseph Urang, said the target is “to vaccinate every child from 9 to 23 months old”, which, he said, may also include children who had not taken the first immunisation.
“Every child is to be protected against measles. Along the line, we might see some children that had never been vaccinated with even the first dose. We still have to vaccinate them”, he said.
Towards achieving the objective of immunizing all the children within the age limit, Dr Urang said strategies have also been mapped out to take care of the hard-to-reach areas of the state, such as the riverine areas.
For the riverine areas, he said, “we need to do what we call a combing activity. We go through the whole of that area and ensure that every children is vaccinated.
He explained further that such hard-to-reach areas cannot be reached regularly, preparations are made to also immunize children in those areas against other ailments.
According to him, children will be immunized, “not just for measles. We use all antigens available, so that the children in those areas are fully protected, knowing we won’t go there often … logistics are being provided for all of that”.
Dr Urang continued that for such areas, indigenous health workers will be used because they are familiar with the terrain.
Sickle Cell Drug Set To Be Released
England’s National Health Service (NHS) has announced a new “life-saving drug, Crizanlizumab to help people suffering from sickle cell disease (SCD).
Crizanlizumab is expected to be delivered through transfusion drip and “works by binding to a protein in the blood cells to prevent the restriction of blood and oxygen supply that lead to a sickle cell crisis,” NHS said in a statement.
About 5,000 people living in England will be treated with the drug in the next three years.
SCD is common in Africa, where up to 40 percent of a country’s population can carry the mutated gene, though most never get sick, AFP said in a report.
The disease causes episodes of debilitating pain known as vaso-occlusive crises. It could also cause infection, organ damage, acute chest syndrome and stroke.
Nigeria is considered the epicentre of the disease in the world.
The chairman of the Sickle Cell Foundation, Professor Olu Akinyanju, said in a paper published on the foundation’s website that “in sheer numbers, Nigeria has the largest burden of sickle cell disorder (SCD) in the whole world.”
“Although countries around Nigeria also have an S gene carrier frequency of about one in four of their populations, Nigeria’s large population has ensured that over 40 million Nigerians are healthy carriers of the S gene,” Professor Akinyanju said.
“This number of carriers far exceeds the total population of every other affected African country and indeed, of several of them put together. Consequently, about 150,000 Nigerian children are born each year with sickle cell anaemia (HbSS), the prevailing type of sickle cell disorder (SCD) in this region.”
Crizanlizumab is expected to reduce the number of times a sickle cell patient needs to go to A&E (Accident and Emergency Unit of a hospital) by two fifths.
United States’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) said “the only cure for SCD is bone marrow or stem cell transplant.”
But for many sufferers of the disease in Nigeria, accessing curative treatment is extremely prohibitive.
Moreover, CDC said bone marrow is “very risky, and can have serious side effects, including death.”
WHO Raises Alarm Over Mental Health Of Pregnant Women
Almost one in five women will experience a mental health condition during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
The apex world body on health had released the statistics Monday, as part of its report on improving Early Child Health and Development.
Among women with perinatal mental health conditions, 20 percent will experience suicidal thoughts or undertake acts of self-harm.
Ignoring mental health not only risks women’s overall health and well-being, but also impacts infants’ physical and emotional development.
The importance of screening, diagnosis and management of PMH conditions into Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services has been highlighted in the Nurturing Care Framework, the WHO recommendations on maternal and newborn care for a positive postnatal experience and the WHO guideline on improving Early Childhood Development.
This new WHO guide for integration of perinatal mental health in maternal and child health services provides the best available information aimed at supporting MCH providers in identifying symptoms of mental health problems and responding in a way that is adapted to their local and cultural context.
The guide provides an evidence-informed approach for planning integration of perinatal mental healthcare into MCH services and assessing its impact. Effective integration requires for example a core team responsible for overseeing the integration, a situation analysis and needs assessment to identify a feasible package of interventions that meet women’s needs during the perinatal period, and adequate training and supervision of workforce to deliver services.
MCH services during the perinatal period represent a unique opportunity to support women in a respectful and stigma-free environment, leading to increased attendance and better engagement in care for women and their babies and to greater well-being and advancement of society.
By: Kevin Nengia
Health Benefits Of Eating Walnuts
Now is the season of walnuts, the black cranky round nuts common to most rainforests in Nigeria.
Though walnuts are seasonal, it is packed with huge phytonutrients that help to improve health and vitality.
Scientists have found that the nut reduces lipid per oxidation, a process that can damage sperm cells. This form of cell damage harms sperm membranes, which are primarily made up of polysaturated fatty acids.
Walnuts are the only tree nut that are predominantly comprised of these fatty acids- meaning they are uniquely powerful for replenishing sperm cells.
Just one ounce of walnuts contain 13 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids(PUFAs),out of 18 grams of total fat.
The study, conducted at the University of Delaware, gave two groups of mice either a walnut- enriched diet or a control diet for nine to 11 weeks.
One group was made up of healthy male mice and the other was male mice that were genetically predetermined to be infertile.
Researchers found significant improvements in sperm motility and morphology in mice who were consuming 20 per cent of their daily calories from walnuts tequila lent to 2.5 ounces a day for humans.
Even the infertile mice saw an improvement in sperm morphology and both groups experienced a notable reduction in peroxidative damage.
Sperm motility, and form are markers of semen quality, which is a predictor of male fertility.
“What is fascinating is we found that eating walnuts can actually help improve sperm quality likely by reducing peroxidarive damage in sperm cells”, said lead researcher, Dr. Patricia Martin-DeLeon of the University of Delaware, United States of America.
The researchers hope to conduct larger and longer term studies, as well as studies in more diverse male populations, to confirm the mechanism that makes walnuts improve sperm quality.
A couple is said to be infertile if there is no pregnancy after one year of normal sexual activity without contraceptives.
In approximately 40 per cent of infertile couples, the male partner is either the sole cause or a contributing cause of infertility.
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