The Minister of Health says the Federal Government is committed to eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Health, Senator Adeleke Mamora, gave the assurance on Monday in Abuja at a round table on eliminating NTDs in the country.
The Tide gathered that progress is being made against neglected tropical diseases, a group of 20 diseases that debilitate, disfigure and kill.
About 43 countries have eliminated at least one NTD where 600 million people no longer require treatment.
Some of these diseases that have plagued humanity for centuries, such as sleeping sickness and Guinea worm disease, are now at an all-time low.
Mamora said it was vital that everyone worked continuously even in these challenging times.
He noted that NTDs could cause severe debilitating and lifelong physical and visual impairment, whereas they could be eliminated.
He said the ministry would ensure effective execution of NTD programmes, whilst guaranteeing that the best of the ministry’s team was deployed to the NTD unit in the Public Health department.
“In addition, the ministry will ensure that medical commodities, including drugs donated, are immediately distributed to the last mile where persons who need them can have access to the items,” he added.
Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, said the meeting preceded the “100 per cent Committed Campaign” scheduled to kick off in Nigeria in January 2022.
He added that President Muhammadu Buahari was expected to join other world leaders in endorsing the Kigali Declaration on NTDs as part of the events to mark the World NTD Day and to commemorate ten years of the London Declaration on NTDs.
Oloriegbe, the Chairman of the National Task Team, said the prevalence of NTDs in the country was not new and it was important that Nigerians were involved in efforts to eliminate the diseases in the country.
“It is now time for us to have improved coordination of the efforts at the various levels aimed at eliminating NTDs in Nigeria.
“This will be by increasing oversight on the implementation of NTD programmes and more importantly accelerating the interventions aimed at eliminating the diseases.
“It is also no longer news that NTDs’ are indeed ‘neglected,’ not just globally but within Nigeria.
“It is time to reverse this trend and pay more attention to the alleviation of the sufferings encountered by people affected by NTDs,” he said.
The chairman House Committee on health added that medical commodities for NTDs expiring at the ministry’s warehouses would no longer be acceptable.
He stressed that must be commitment to developing national strategic plans for NTD, which must be implemented.
“Developmental partners must continue to ensure that their support for Nigeria, being the second highest burden country for NTDs, is sustained,
to move Nigeria from second highest burden to being the last in the next five years.
“Partners also have a duty to report any anomaly or challenges noticed in their line of duty to the national task team on NTDs or directly to my office, as the Chair of the National Task Team.
“We need the organised private sector and corporate organisations to mobilise members to urgently contribute towards this elimination drive.
“NTDs affect the quality of life of the citizens and often times cause severe disabilities,” he added.
He said economic modeling undertaken by The Economist intelligence unit showed the productivity gains that could be achieved across five African countries from the elimination of just two NTDs.
He added that it showed that Ethiopia and Kenya could add 3.2 billion dollars and 1.3 billion dollars to their economies respectively.
“Given that Nigeria’s NTD burden is higher than both these countries, the expected economic gains through reaching the WHO targets would be substantial,” he added.
Senator representing Lagos Central, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, said the elimination of NTDs would help improve the productive capabilities of people living with NTDs.
She said it would also improve the wellbeing of those at risk of these diseases, and that this could help sustain economic growth in the country.
COVID-19: WHO Vaccinates Over 1.4bn …Says 15 Countries Now Free From Mother To Child HIV Transmission
A report by the World Health Organisation(WHO) says it has vaccinated over 1.4 billion persons across the globe for COVID-19.
It also said it has given the world’s first malaria vaccine (RTS,S) to over 1 million children, as it hinted of plans to save 40, 000 to 80, 000 lives a year, when used with other malaria control interventions.
The report forms part of its 2020-2021 Results Report tracks of achievements across the globe.
Released ahead of the World Health Assembly next week, the report details accomplishments that include the delivery of more than 1.4 billion vaccine doses via the COVAX facility, the recommendation for broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine and WHO’s response to some 87 health emergencies, including COVID-19.
Between 2020-2021, WHO led the largest-ever global response to a health crisis, working with 1600 technical and operational partners, and helped galvanise the biggest, fastest and most complex vaccination drive in history.
The Organisation spent US$1.7 billion on essential supplies to the COVID-19 response, noting that, “even as WHO has responded to the most severe global health crisis in a century, we have continued to support our member states in addressing many other threats to health, despite squeezed budgets and disrupted services.”
Said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “As the world continues to respond to and recover from the pandemic in the years ahead, WHO’s priority is to invest even more resources for our work in countries, where it matters most.”
He continued, “Ensuring WHO has sustainable, predictable and flexible financing is essential for fulfilling our mission to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.”
The global apex body for health said the global rollout of crucial health materials included nearly US$500 million worth of personal protective equipment; US$ 187 million in oxygen supplies, US$4.8 million in treatments and 110 million diagnostic tests.
However, it pointed out that much remains to be done for the world to get on track for WHO’s target of each country vaccinating 70percent of its population by July 2022. The Results Report reveals noteworthy achievements beyond the pandemic that struck the world in 2020 and 2021.
Among these include the mandatory policies prohibiting the use of trans -fatty acids (a hazardous food compound linked to cardiovascular disease), are in effect for 3.2 billion people in 58 countries. Among these countries, 40 have best practice policies, including Brazil, Peru, Singapore, Turkey and the United Kingdom. WHO’s REPLACE initiative aims for a world free of trans-fats by the end of 2023. This success was attributed to implementation of measures mandated by WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, tobacco use is decreasing in 150 countries, saving lives and livelihoods.
Consequently, due to efforts to scale up life-saving interventions guided by WHO guidelines, 15 countries have achieved elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and or syphilis.
By: Kevin Nengia
Lab Scientists, Key To Effective Medicare – Expert
A prominent medical laboratory expert and lecturer at the Rivers State University, Prof. Barthemeus Ebirien, has underscored the importance of med lab scientists in health care delivery.
Speaking at a one-day Malaria Colloquium organised by Ekpirikpo Erens Health Foundation in collaboration with Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists in Port Harcourt, recently, the professor said any attempt to ignore role of med lab professionals may spell doom for the nation’s health care.
“ Any attempt to ignore them or play down on them is like surviving a ship wreck without a life guard “ Ebirien remarked.
The professor opined that med lab scientists are not adjunct in the health care delivery system but independent professionals whose role is key to health.
As key players in the health care system, he urged medical lab professionals to be proud and ensure their work was done ethically .
Meanwhile, Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area, Hon. Erastus Awortu, has pledged to support medical lab scientists in the operation of the revived General Hospital at Ngo, headquarters of the council.
Hon. Awortu, while thanking the body for the award given to the Andoni Council in fighting malaria scourge, also urged them not to relent in the quest to eliminate malaria.
The Andoni council chairman assured the health professionals that the area was secure and peaceful, as he pleaded for their support to help improve health care delivery in the area.
Using Water To Heal (Pt 1)
Let me begin by reminding you about some familiar things you know about water: Your body is about 70 per cent water. Your muscle is about 75 per cent water. Your brain cells are 85 per cent water. Your blood is approximately 82 per cent water. Even your bones are approximately 25 per cent water.
You can live five to seven weeks without food, but the average adult can last no more than five days without water.
So now you know that water is essentially part of your make-up. Water is the single most important nutrient for our bodies. It is involved in every function of our bodies.
Once your body begins to lack water, or dehydrated; it begins to ration water to some organs and that finally leads to serious system disorder or ailment.
The unfortunate part of this scenario is that many people do not drink enough water. Even me that is writing this, I hardly drink enough water. But the fortunate thing is that I try as much as I can to drink two sachets of our Nigerian,” pure water”.
First, once I wake up in the morning I make sure I drink a sachet and the second one can come during or in between meals. I know that is not enough for my body. And that is why I have decided to write about it.
I see many people jettison water after eating and end up using soft drinks or what we call” mineral” in Nigerian parlance to down their food. The habit is common among market women from my observation. I have equally seen sedentary office workers in the same habit of drinking soft drinks more than water.
So the question is what are the effects? A popular physician, F. Batmangheldj, in his book, “ Water for Health, for Healing, for Life”, pointed out that water is the main lubricant in the joints spaces and helps prevents arthritis and back pain.
Water increases the efficiency of the immune system. Water prevent clogging of arteries in the heart and brain, and thus helps reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. Water is directly connected to brain function – it is needed for the efficient manufacture of neurotransmitters, including serotonin.
Water affects our appearance , making our skin smoother and giving it sparkling luster; it also reduces the effect of aging.
As stated earlier, many people prefer soft drinks and juice to water and end up damaging their system the more. Every sugary juice drain water in the body and makes you more dehydrated. That is why a bottle of your usual “coke” or any soft drink can not quench your thirst. As you drink more, you ask for more.
When once the juice and “ mineral” dominate the body, they begin to unleash many kinds of ailment since they lack the nutrient water provides to the body.
The result is that bodily sickness begin to emerge with more soft drinks. The body begins to ache from your knees, head, back, your blood pressure goes up and arthritis, constipation show up easily.
Water is key to addressing these ailments as we shall see in the next article. Why not begin today by drinking more water, at least four glasses a day.
By Kevin Nengia
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