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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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Ogun Seals College’s Nursing Department Over Illegal Operations

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The Nursing Department of the Harvarde College of Science Business and Management Studies in Abeokuta has been shut.
The department was sealed yesterday for operating without accreditation from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN).
The enforcement team comprised  officials of enforcement team of the Ogun Ministry of Health and members of the State Nursing and Midwifery Committee (SNMC).
Speaking during the enforcement exercise, the Permanent Secretary, Ogun Ministry of Health, Dr Kayode Oladehinde, said that the private institution had been offering a degree programme in Nursing Sciences.
He added that this had been going on for about six years without accreditation from the regulatory body.
Oladehinde, represented by the Acting Director of Nursing Services, Mrs Serifat Aminu, said that such unauthorised programme contributed to quackery in nursing and posed a threat to public health.
According to him, the nursing department of the institution will remain sealed until fully accredited.
He described a degree in Nursing obtained from Harvarde College and similar institutions without NMCN accreditation as worthless, stating that graduates would be unable to obtain a valid license to practice in Nigeria and other parts of the world.
“We have discovered that many institutions, including Harvarde College, offer nursing degrees to unsuspecting students.
“Our mission is to clamp down on such institutions because they end up producing quacks in the nursing profession.
“This is dangerous for society. Unfortunately, most students are unaware that their time is being wasted,” he said.
The permanent secretary advised parents and candidates desiring to pursue nursing or related programmes to conduct due diligence by checking the NMCN website for a list of accredited institutions, saying the regulatory body updated the list yearly.
He warned parents to be cautious of institutions making false claims, assuring that the Ogun government would continue to work diligently against quackery in both the education and practice of the nursing profession in the state.
Responding, a 300-level student, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed shock at the institution’s lack of accreditation, regretting the amount of money her parents had spent on the

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WHO Proposes New Health Regulations On Equity

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations with discussions on equity.
WHO member states had commenced discussions on proposals to amend the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005), during which the importance of their work to future global security was highlighted.
The/ seventh meeting of the/ Working Group on Amendments to the IHR (WGIHR)/ was held February 5-9, 2024, and discussion will resume on March 8 next month.
“This Working Group will define the next 10 years of global surveillance and of collective security when it comes to health emergencies and particularly high-impact epidemics,” said Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme.
During the latest discussions, governments focused on refining amendments to articles and annexes that were at an advanced stage of negotiation. They also held substantive dialogue on the public health alert – public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) – pandemic continuum.
In the final public session, Co-Chair Dr. Ashley Bloomfield reiterated that the WGIHR is a Member State-driven process and the final package of amendments would be agreed by consensus.
Additional issues that are also being considered by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB), which deal with equity, collaboration, capacity building and financing, will be addressed by Member States on 8 March 2024, when the seventh meeting of the WGIHR will resume.
Proposed amendments to provisions related to governance, and foundational articles of the Regulations, will be addressed when the WGIHR meets for the eighth time in April 2024 to finalize the package of amendments for consideration by the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly in May 2024.

Kevin Nengia

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Natural Methods To Manage Hypertension

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Every 17th day of May is observed as World Hypertension Day. In this article, I will x-ray some effective methods confirmed by health experts on how one can manage hypertension.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure.
Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries.
In fact, getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, can help lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
Additionally, some research suggests that doing more exercise than this reduces your blood pressure even further .Walking just 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. Getting more exercise helps reduce it even further.
Reduce your salt intake
Salt intake is high around the world. This is largely due to increased consumption of processed and prepared foods.
Many studies have linked high salt intake with high blood pressure and heart events, including stroke .
However, other research indicates that the relationship between sodium and high blood pressure is less clear .
One reason for this may be genetic differences in how people process sodium. About half of people with high blood pressure and a quarter of people with typical levels seem to have a sensitivity to salt .
If you already have high blood pressure, it is worth cutting back your sodium intake to see if it makes a difference. Swap out processed foods with fresh ingredients and try seasoning with herbs and spices rather than salt.
Most guidelines for lowering blood pressure recommend reducing sodium intake. However, that recommendation might make the most sense for people who are sensitive to the effects of salt.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of several chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure (9).
While some research has suggested that low to moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart, those benefits may be offset by adverse effects.
In the United States, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink per day for females and two drinks per day for males. If you drink more than that, it might be best to consider reducing your intake .
Drinking alcohol in any quantity may raise your blood pressure. Therefore, it is best to moderate your intake.
Eat more potassium-rich foods
Potassium is an important mineral that helps your body get rid of sodium and eases pressure on your blood vessels.
Modern diets have increased most people’s sodium intake while decreasing potassium intake.
To get a better balance of potassium to sodium in your diet, focus on eating fewer processed foods and more fresh, whole foods.
Foods that are particularly high in potassium include:
Vegetables, especially leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
Fruit, including melons, bananas, avocados, oranges, and apricots
Dairy, such as milk and yogurt
Tuna and salmon
Nuts and seeds
Beans
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium, can help lower blood pressure.
Some studies have suggested that getting too little magnesium is linked with high blood pressure, but evidence from clinical studies has been less clear.

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