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Utilise Free HIV Services, Banigo Tells Rivers People

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has urged People Living with HIV/AIDS to avail themselves of the free HIV/AIDS services in all 23 LGAs of the state.
Banigo stated this in her goodwill message in Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, to mark World AIDS Day.
According to the deputy governor, the call became necessary in view of the fact that the AIDS control programme has achieved 96% viral suppression for people currently on treatment, adding that Governor Nyesom Wike’s decision to abolish user fees for PLWAs has given succour to both the infected and affected.
The public health physician, who said about 177,524 number of people were on treatment in 116 Anti-Retroviral Treatment Sites, revealed that Anti Retro Viral Drugs are available and free in the state, including Community Testing Services.
The deputy governor, who insisted that HIV/AIDs was not a death sentence, frowned against discrimination and stigmatisation of people living with the virus, stressing that all they need is our love and support.
December 1 has been set aside to mark the World AIDS Day each year.
The theme for 2021 celebration is: “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Every One’s Voice”.
Meanwhile, as the world commemorates the 2021 World AIDS Day (WAD), today, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike, has called on Rivers people to support efforts being made by the state government towards checking the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the state.
Making the call in his WAD message, the commissioner emphasised on the need for everyone to be involved at their various levels.
“I urge you to be an advocate of HIV preventive behaviour in your respective communities and institutions: avoid risky sexual behaviour and encourage pregnant women to register at the health facility nearest to them for antenatal care.
“I call on all citizens of Rivers State to rally in confronting the inequalities that drive AIDS and to reach people who are currently not receiving essential HIV services. Let us all support government efforts to achieve an epidemic control of HIV in our state and the world at large”, he said.
He noted that like the Federal Government, the Rivers State Government has recorded notable progress in checking the pandemic.
“Over the last few years, Nigeria in general, and Rivers State, in particular, has recorded significant progress in the war against HIV/AIDS. A recalibration of the HIV epidemic showed a significant decline in the HIV prevalence from 5.8% in 2001 to 1.3% in 2018.
“Presently in Nigeria, it is estimated that 1.7 million people live with HIV in Nigeria of which 90% are aware of their HIV status, 96% are on treatment, and 84% are virally suppressed.
“Despite the challenges and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the HIV programme in Rivers State continued to record greater successes in identification, diagnosis, treatment, care and support for those in need of these services.
The state health boss used the opportunity to highlight some of the efforts of the state government to strengthen the health sector.
“As we mark this day here in Rivers State, it is pertinent to underscore the huge efforts by government to strengthen health care delivery frameworks for better service delivery.
“His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has shown tremendous commitment in actualising the NEW Rivers Vision of repositioning health sector to meet international best standards.
“The establishment of the state-owned Medical School at the Rivers State University, completion of the Mother and Child Hospital, ongoing Renal Centre and the Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in Port Harcourt are eloquent testimonies of the giant strides of the governor of Rivers State in raising the standards of health service delivery”.
According to the commissioner, the state has made significant progress in confronting HIV/AIDS epidemic in the state by identifying people living with HIV/AIDS, putting them on treatment and ensuring that they are able to live normal lives by achieving viral suppression.
“This has been made possible through innovative user-fee waiver by His Excellency, the acquisition of multiple diagnostic and monitoring equipment, community models of HIV service delivery and differentiated model of care that enables the tailoring of treatment services to patient’s convenience”, he said.
Also, as part of on-going programmes and highlights for the World AIDS Day commemoration, he explained, the State AIDS & STIs Control Programme in collaboration with its supporting partners have already embarked on massive case finding and linkage to care for identified positive persons in all the local government areas of the state.
“Achieving an HIV free generation is a task that this administration is proud to pursue. Working together in solidarity, we are right on track to ending the HIV/ AIDS epidemic, and building a healthier, safer world for all of us”, he concluded.
The theme for this year’s commemoration of WAD is: “End Inequality, End AIDS Through Sustainable HIV Financing”.

By: Sogbeba Dokubo

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8 Simple Tips To Have A Healthy Year

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This year is already on to the second month and its moving at a speed that may take many off balance as they push for the rat race, and how to have the best year possible.
Unfortunately, many people put health behind, thinking that life will take care of itself but that never happens. Normally, health priority number one should be taking care of oneself.
Below are shared health tips to help you make the most of this 2023:
1. Get a Check-up
When you visit your doctor or the hospital for your annual check-up, he or she should screen for the vitals like: high blood pressure and cholesterol and abnormal glucose(Sugar levels) or lipid levels. Your doctor will also make sure you’re at a healthy weight and up-to-date on your immunizations and check for potentially dangerous skin lesions.
2. Stop Smoking
Smoking not only damages your lungs, it also increases your risk for heart attack, bladder cancer and even erectile dysfunction. Talk to your doctor about options to help you quit smoking, including medications, patches or a smoking cessation.
3.Avoid Too Much but Embrace Early Morn Sun
The benefit of early morning sun is  Vitamin D and to improve mood. However, too much sun can be damaging. Try getting early morning sun at least twice a week from 7-10am.
4. Get Moving
If you haven’t adopted a routine of regular exercise, this year is the time to do it. Commit to exercising at least 30 minutes, 3 days a week to help keep your weight controlled, reduce your stress and stay healthy. You don’t have to be an extreme athlete; choose to take the stairs instead of an elevator, do stretches during the commercials of your favorite TV show, or go for a walk around your neighborhood.
5.Watch What You Eat
Take a new look at healthy eating by thinking about all the food you can eat, not what you “can’t” eat. Make sure you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables, calcium, whole grains and lean protein in your daily diet. Experiment with cooking old favorites in a different, healthier way, like baking chicken instead of frying it or grilling fish instead of sautéing it.
6.Commit to Better Sleep
Getting good quality sleep, and enough of it, plays a big role in your overall health. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours a night and try to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. Create a bedroom that’s conducive to good sleep by making it dark and quiet and removing electronics like televisions, computers and cell phones.
7.Adopt a Hand-washing Routine
In this period of Covid and other contaminables regular hand washing is the number one way to protect yourself against illness. Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, before preparing and eating foods, after blowing your nose or coughing, when you are around someone who is sick and after caring for animals. Make sure you’re using warm water, lathering the soap and scrubbing, rinsing and drying.
8.Make Time for a Break
Simply put rest most often. These days we’re all moving a mile a minute, and “multi-tasking” is a popular buzz word. Taking short breaks from work throughout your day can reduce stress on your mind and body. So, get up from your desk and take a walk around the office; do some light stretching at lunch; or take a break to chat with a coworker around the water cooler.

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WHO Raises Alarm Over Fake Drugs On Children

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The World Health Organisation(WHO) has made an urgent call  to countries to prevent, detect and respond to incidents of substandard and falsified medical products on children.
Over the past four months, it said many countries have reported of several incidents of over-the-counter cough syrups for children with confirmed or suspected contamination with high levels of diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG).
It said,”The cases are from at least seven countries, associated with more than 300 fatalities in three of these countries. Most are young children under the age of five. These contaminants are toxic chemicals used as industrial solvents and antifreeze agents that can be fatal even taken in small amounts, and should never be found in medicines.”
Based on country reports, the world apex health body issued three global medical alerts addressing these incidents.
WHO’s medical product alerts were rapidly. disseminated to the national health authorities of all 194 WHO Member States.
These medical product alerts requested,  the detection and removal of contaminated medicines from circulation in the markets, increased surveillance and diligence within the supply chains of countries and regions likely to be affected,  immediate notification to WHO if these substandard products are discovered in-country.
It called on various key stakeholders engaged in the medical supply chain to take immediate and coordinated action.
Calling on regulators and governments to detect and remove from circulation in their respective markets any substandard medical products, WHO urged  that all medical products in the respective markets are those approved for sale by competent authorities and obtainable from authorised/licensed suppliers.
It urged the appropriate authorities to improve and increase risk-based inspections of manufacturing sites within their jurisdiction in accordance with international norms and standards.
Further stressing increased need for market surveillance including risk-based targeted testing for medical products released in their respective markets including informal markets;it emphasised the need to enact and enforce, where relevant and as appropriate, laws and other relevant legal measures to help combat the manufacture, distribution and/or use of substandard and falsified medicines.

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NGO Trains Healthcare Workers On Effective Handling Of SGBV Cases

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The Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls (AEIG), an NGO, trained no fewer than 40 healthcare workers and members of Community Development Committee (CDC) on effective handling of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases in their communities.
The Tide source reports that the participants were drawn from various primary health care centres in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and Bwari Area Council of the FCT.
The theme of the training is; “Strengthening the Capacity of PHCs and Ward Development Committees on SGBV Case Management and Access to Efficient Healthcare Service Delivery.”
Mrs Abiodun Essiet, the Executive Director of AEIG, said the training was aimed at improving the knowledge of  healthcare workers on how to effectively manage cases of SGBV in their centres.
She added that “the training focuses on proper documentation, management and non-tampering of evidences, which will assist in the prosecution of perpetrators.
“Healthcare workers are frontliners that manage SGBV cases and other people interact with them to share ideas with them, so, it is important that we re-orient them about their position and how they can handle these cases.
“Our project goal is to strengthen traditional justice system to effectively combat SGBV, and so far, we have done that across the area councils last year.
“What we are doing now is to train healthcare workers who will be interfacing with community development committee members in the various communities.
“These are issues of paramount concern to communities where most of the original inhabitants of the FCT are, as it is only the primary health centres that they can access care.
“So we want to work together with the healthcare facilities and ensure that the original inhabitants of the FCT are better served.”
Dr Laz Eze, the Founder, Make Our Hospital Work Campaign, stressed the need for primary healthcare facilities to be accessible and affordable to the people.
Eze, who spoke on; “Promoting Health Care Delivery: The Role of Primary Health Care”, added that PHCs were important in the areas of education, prevention, as well as physical and psycho-social response to SGBV survivors.
He added that drastic measures must also be taken by communities to ensure that SGBV cases were reported to the right authorities.

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