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HIV/AIDS: Expert Identifies Solutions To MTCT Elimination Barriers

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Towards the elimination of barriers to prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, an expert has proferred solutions.
The expert, Dr Ijaodola Olugbenga, who is the Assistant Director, National Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS Lead of the National AIDS and Sexually Transmited Infections (STIs) Control Programme in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), identified four key solutions.
Stating the solutions in his presentation, “Overcoming Barriers Towards Elimination of MTCT of HIV”, in a recent media dialogue to reinvigorate and produce a workplan for journalists reporting PMTCT, Dr Olugbenga said the first among the four solutions is to get accurate data on PMTCT and use such data to plan all programmes on PMTCT implementation.
In doing so, he said, there should be clear evaluation of PMTCT programmes, establishment of infant surveillance system to measure impact on ongoing basis, using the findings for continuous improvement in quality; and the need to map out all the facilities delivering Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N), particularly from the health facilities that have not been reported.
He continued that there’s also the need to link all data sources to the National Data Reposition (NDR), including District Health Information 2 (DHI 2), due to the urgent need to incorporate PMTCT data on the NDR.
There is also the need to conduct Data Quality Assessment to improve on what he called “numerators”, knowing that serious data quality issues exist both nationally and sub-regionally, as well as strengthening of Monitoring and Evaluation capacities and coordination of data systems at federal and state levels.
The second solution, Dr. Olugbenga said, it is to “Strengthen Compliance and Standardisation of Care Packages as well as quality of care across all partners”.
This, he said, will take the form of integrating HIV into RMNCAH-N in order to strengthen collaboration with the National Health Primary Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Family Health Division, as well as optimisation of the 4-prongs of PMTCT.
The 4-prongs of PMTCT are approaches aimed at enhancing the achievement of the objectives of PMTCT.
They are: Preventing HIV in women of reproductive age; Preventing unintended pregnancies in women living with HIV; Preventing HIV transmission from mother to child; and Ensuring treatment, care, and support to women living with HIV, their children and families.

By: Soibi Max-Alalibo

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‘Research, Key To Better Health National Dev’

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Rivers State Head of Service, Barrister Rufus Godwins, has underscored the need for more research to end disease pandemics and other health related challenges in the country.
He gave the recommendation while delivering the 39th and 40th Convocation lecture of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education(IAUE) , yesterday in Port Harcourt.
Barrister Godwins who spoke on the topic, “Nigerian Universities and the Challenges of National Development” noted that the recent Covid-19 pandemic that ravaged the world uncovered the nations near absence of research in the face of a threatening health situation.
The HOS submitted that universities should be centres of research to help the nation confront any health challenge, but that last year it failed because there was nothing on ground.
Godwins reasoned that the efforts made by academics in the University of Oxford England by Prof. Sarah Gilbert and her team to produce the Astra Zeneca vaccine should serve as a lesson for government and corporate bodies to fund health related research.
He added, “to date it is estimated that two billion dozes of the Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Oxford University and Astra Zeneca have been released to more than 170 countries, including Nigeria.”
The Head of Service advocated for the use of university in making and implementing the nations policies and programmes, arguing that failure to do so will only lead to stagnation.
Urging the nation to learn from the Covid-19 pandemic, Godwins observed that the shortcomings witnessed should spur researchers to evolve effective methods to improve health of the citizenry.
He carpeted the use of politicians in areas that require technocrats and experts, such as those in health related fields, as this can strengthen the system and better health care.
Against this backdrop, he challenged both government and private bodies to improve their funding to universities, to boost research that will contribute to society and better the lives of the people.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Your Ear Lobe And Your Health

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In Chinese medicine every part of the body is used to connect to another part. For instance, in acupuncture the foot is used for massage to heal other parts of the body like the liver, kidney and heart, so also is the palm and the eyes.
In natural medicine, the eye is used to mirror the body. It is believed that the eyes reflect the condition of the internal organs.
When the eyes are pale, one is said to be anaemic or suffering from liver problem like hepatitis. A sparking eye ball can also indicate strong health and life.
As regards the ear lobe, that soft edge of your ear can indicate how healthy you are as well. Its is one of the body’s early warning signal of an impending stroke attack. This insight from Chinese medicine may sound  archaic or perhaps phony but has been proved right on many occasions.
Sometime in 1973 an American doctor called Dr. Sanders T. Frank confirmed this belief. Hence today, it’s called “Frank Sign” in medicine.
Dr. Sanders was of the view that the ear may indicate whether someone has heart problems. Naturally, the ear lobe is robust and fluffy when there is no problem in sight.
But when the feathers are about to start flying, the ear lobe begins to dry up and to curl inwards. That is because enough blood is not getting into the lobe, and perhaps, other parts of the body, including the brain.
Though some doctors have flayed” Frank Sign” on many occasions, studies have confirmed that 75 percent of stroke patients have creased lobes presented.
An Israeli study affirmed this claim as the examined 241 patients with acute stroke and discovered that 198 of them  had diagonal crease in their ear lobes.
Today many doctors have adopted the ear lobe “Frank Sign” diagnoses because it is a possible marker of other ailments in aging process.
Other tell tale signs of an impending stroke are sudden numbness or weakness in the face,hands or legs and to one part of the body. Sometimes vision may be lost abruptly. Energy may also drop.
Dr. Yaqoob Bhat, a clinical director for stroke medicine at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in South Wales, England lists aging process ailments associated with Franks Sign to include diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart diseases and peripheral heart disease.
Many people do not know that diabetes can lead to heart attack or stroke. Diabetes thickens the blood and slows flow. This causes scanty oxygen delivery to the cells and delayed evacuation of wastes in the body.
Diabetes may also cause clotting of the blood. Blood clots are known to obstruct blood flow to the heart, to the brain where increased pressure may cause blood vessel to burst. This burst would spill blood on the surrounding tissue of cells and may lead to stroke.
It’s therefore important for one to often pull his or her earlobes once in a while to rule out the occurrence of “Frank’s sign”. To be alert and alive is key to health.

By Kevin Nengia

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World Malaria Day: NGO Wants Special Funding For Malaria

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A non- governmental organisation ,Erens Ekpirikpo Health Foundation has tasked both the State and Federal Government to create special funding and agency to tackle malaria.
It also disclosed plans says  to tackle malaria menace in two rural communities of Ngo and Edoha in Rivers State.
Founder and President of the foundation, Erens-Spiff Ekpirikpo gave the indication during a special colloquium to mark the World Malaria Day Monday in Port Harcourt.
He said the target is to reach 1000 persons in the first phase, as many people in the rural areas are faced with the challenge of poor enlightenment and lack of resources to tackle malaria.
Mr. Ekpirikpo stressed the need to enlighten the rural populace, distribute mosquito repellent nets, and free medicals as key measures to be adopted by the body.
Government on the need to create special funding for malaria, Ekpirikpo observed that if the attention that was given to Covid19 was given to malaria, by now the death rates from malaria would have been reduced drastically.
On his part, an expert in Haematology and lecturer in Rivers State University, Dr. Azunwo Obiomah in his paper, “Facts and Myths of Covid19” stated that more people die from malaria than Covid19.
Dr. Obioma said the target of eradicating malaria by the federal government will be a mirage as poor funding, lack of testing kits coupled with ignorance from the populace are still high.
As far as he was concerned malaria kills more than Covid19, and as such should be given serious attention.
The university lecturer urged the populace to take measured steps in preventing malaria scourge, and eschew from taking concoctions that do not cure malaria.

By: Kevin Nengia

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