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‘HIV/AIDS Now Constitutes Social, Governance Issues’

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Contrary to widely held belief that HIV/AIDS is solely a medical issue, it is now seen as constituting both social and governance issues.
Disclosing this during a recent three-day South-South training on the National HIV Self Testing (HIVST) and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Communication Strategy, held in Asaba, Delta State, the State Commissioner for Information, Hon. Aniagwu Charles Ehiedu, said it is beyond a medical issue.
Speaking while declaring the training open, Ehiedu said HIV/AIDS should now be viewed as being both social and governance issue in order to attract necessary attention towards its elimination.
In terms of it being a social issue, he stated that it is not only those in the medical field that requires information on HIV/AIDS in order to check its transmission.


“Before now, when they talk about HIV, we begin to look for doctors and those in the medical profession to talk to. It’s no longer the case again. Now, you have to talk to even those of us who are not in the medical profession.
“The information you take to people in the villages is not also for people in the medical profession, those who are infected that need to come out to access ART are not just those in the medical profession.
“Again,letting people understand that they don’t need to suffer on account of stigma is not just a medical issue, and getting individuals to embrace the HIVST is not a medical issue.
“These are all social issues that need to be addressed”, he said.
On HIV being a governance issue, the Commissioner explained that if those in governance do not understand the intricacies involved in creating the needed awareness on HIV/AIDS, they would be reluctant to fund programmes on awareness creation.


“If those of us in authority don’t understand these (HIV/AIDS) messages and what to do with them, we are not likely going to provide the funding that is needed to be able to drive the sensitisation process”, he said.
He, therefore, tasked journalists in the training on the importance of their role in the HIV sensitisation process, and other international donor agencies, urging all to be on their toes in the implementation of what is expected of them.
In her opening remarks, the South-South Zonal Coordinator, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Uduak Daniel noted that the three-day communication strategy for key stakeholders was the  first of its kind, and was held by the zone.
“ We’re very excited, and because we have an HIV media advocacy platform, we are going to be able to showcase how the programmers and the media can work together, using policy documents to come up with activities that will stand the test of time”, she said.
Daniel expressed the hope that whatever model the Zone will come up with will be the one other zones in the national HIV response will emulate.
On its part, the Lead Implementing partner in Delta State, Caritas Nigeria, expressed its commitment in driving the HIV/AIDS response and other developmental issues in Delta State.
The State Team Lead, Dr. Dorcas Magbadelo, who made this known said, “Caritas Nigeria remains committed to ensuring that epidemic control is achieved in Delta State and across the sister states”.
In attendance at the training were members of the zone’s HIV Media Advocacy Platforms; implementing partners of the zone; and State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA) Programme Managers in the zone.

By: Sogbeba Dokubo

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Expert Seeks Improved Awareness On Lupus Disease

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A Consultant Rheumatologist, Dr. Hakeem Olaosebikan, has called for improved awareness to reduce the burden of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) disease.
Olaosebikan, who works at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, made the call in an interview with The Tide.
He made the call in commemoration of the World Lupus Day celebrated annually on May 10, with this year’s theme as “Lupus: A Challenge to Resilience.”
Systemic lupus erythematosus or lupus disease is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body system attacks its own tissues and organs.
According to Olaosebikan, lupus can affect people of all nationalities, races, ethnicities, genders and ages.
He said that women of childbearing age were also affected more often than men.
The rheumatologist said that diagnosing lupus was often difficult as its symptoms mimic those of other common ailments.
He noted that the symptoms vary among individuals and could range between mild to severe.
Olaosebikan said that common symptoms included joint pain and swelling, fever, chest pain, hair loss, mouth ulcers, rashes, among others.
According to him, although the cause of the disease is still unclear, it can be due to changes in hormones, genetics, environmental issues, smoking, and vitamin D deficiency.
He said that presently there was no cure for the disease, adding that it was treated with Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, immunosuppressants and hydroxychloroquine, among others.
Olaosebikan said that understanding lupus would assist control its impact and ensure that people with lupus are diagnosed and treated effectively.
He called for improved patient healthcare services and increased research into the causes and cure for lupus to enhance treatment of the disease.

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CRSG Targets 900,000 Children For Polio Vaccination

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No fewer than 900,000 children between the ages of 0-59 months in Cross River have been targeted for vaccination against poliomyelitis Type 2.
Director-General of Cross River State Primary Healthcare Agency, Dr Janet Ekpenyong, disclosed this shortly after the inauguration of the campaign on Tuesday in Ugep community, Yakurr Local Government Area.
The Tide reports that the inauguration was done by the Paramount Ruler of Yakurr, HRH, Obol Ofem Eteng.
Ekpenyong said that the state was planning to have a 100 per cent coverage of the vaccination
She disclosed that the role of the traditional rulers could never be overemphasised especially in delivering quality and productive healthcare to the citizens.
She employed parents and caregivers to protect the lives of the next generation by granting them the opportunity to get vaccinated within the stipulated time.
She lauded the traditional ruler for always mobilising children within his community for similar exercises, adding that immunisation was a right of a child and the child should not be deprived.
“The state government with support from partner agencies have mapped out strategies to get all children vaccinated, irrespective of weather conditions, topographical challenges as well as other surmountable barriers.
“With the commitment of health workers and strategic leaders like the traditional rulers council, religious leaders, youths and women leaders, the state has remained poliomyelitis-free in spite of panicking figures from some states.
“With the devastating effects of the disease to children within 0-59 months which include economic, psychological and general well-being, there is a need for continuous advocacies and sensitisation in churches, schools and other public gatherings.
“Today, we are officially inaugurating the first round of the outbreak response on poliomyelitis for our children between the ages of 0-59 months because they are the most vulnerable due to their level of immunity,” she said.
The DG noted that due to the outbreak of the type 2 poliomyelitis, the federal and state governments embarked on the quick response to ensure that child mortality rate is lowered.
Speaking earlier, the traditional ruler expressed satisfaction that the exercise of such magnitude was being decentralised to encourage  participation and give a sense of belonging to all communities in the state.
He pledged his support towards raising awareness on the outbreak response on poliomyelitis and other health interventions in order to complement the efforts of the state government and health workers.
On his part, the Director of Public Health, State Ministry of Health,  Dr Iwara Iwara, reiterated government’s commitment towards eradicating vaccine preventable diseases and encouraging mothers to ensure their children are vaccinated.

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Does Red Meat Have Health Benefits? (1)

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For the past 40 years or so, red meat have has a bad press.
Many studies have indicated that red meat was responsible for many health malaise.
Of course, there are many conflicting claims about the impact of red meat on human health. Some believe it can cause harm, while others suggest it is not associated with disease or other ill effects.
Plus, there are ethical and environmental factors to consider (though this article does not delve into those conversations).
This article reviews the evidence on the health effects of red meat, including possible benefits and downsides of incorporating it into your regular diet.
Before discussing the health effects of red meat, it’s important to distinguish between different types of meat.
Red meat comes from mammals and is named such because it is red when raw.
Beef, pork, lamb, venison, and boar are examples of red meat. Chicken, turkey, and other meats from fowl (birds) are considered white meat. They are white when cooked.
Besides: what animal it came from, meat can be distinguished by how it is raised and processed. Here are some key terms to know:
· Conventional meat: Conventional meats are from animals that are usually raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) or “factory farms” that confine animals and provide them with grain-based feeds. Beef that is not labeled “organic” or “grass-fed” is likely conventional and from CAFO cows.
· Grass-fed meat: This meat comes from cows that graze on grass and forage for their feed. They are not raised in a CAFO.
· Organic meat. To have an organic label, meat must come from animals that are given 100 percent organic feed and forage and are raised in a way that accommodates grazing and other natural behaviours. They also do not receive antibiotics or hormones .
· Processed meats: These products are typically from conventionally raised animals and go through various processing methods, such as curing or smoking. Examples include sausages, hot dogs, and bacon.
· Unprocessed meats: Meat that are notcured, smoked, or otherwise heavily processed are typically referred to as unprocessed. That means ground beef and sirloin are considered unprocessed. However, since all meat is processed to some extent to be fit for consumer purchase, the term “unprocessed” really refers to minimally processed meats.
Nutritional value of red mea
Red meat provide a lot of nutrients.
For example, four ounces (113 grams) of 80 percent lean ground beef provides:
Calories: 287
Protein: 19 grams
Fat: 23 grams
Carbohydrates: 0 grams
Vitamin B12: 101% of the Daily Value (DV)
Zinc: 43% of the DV
Selenium: 31% of the DV
Niacin (Vitamin B3): 30% of the DV
Iron: 12% of the DV
The protein in beef is complete, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids that humans must get from food. Your body needs protein for muscle and tissue growth and maintenance.
Beef is also a great source of Vitamin B12 — a water-soluble nutrient necessary for nervous system functioning — and zinc, a mineral tat is vital for the immune system .
How meat is raised can affect nutritional composition. For example, grass-fed beef is typically lower in total and saturated fat and higher in omega-3 fatty acids compared with grain-fed beef.
However, all red meat is objectively nutritious in the sense that it provides protein, fat, and a variety of micronutrients. At the end of the day, the differences in nutritional composition between grass-fed and grain-fed beef are fairly small .
Highly processed meats like bacon and sausages, have a more notably different nutritional profile than less processed cuts of meat. In particular, they are often very high in salt and contain other preservatives.
So, when examining the health effects of meat, it is important to distinguish which kind of meat was included in any given study. Many studies on red meat may group together processed and unprocessed red meats making it more difficult to parse out differences.
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Health effects of eating red meat
The effects of red meat on health have been heavily studied.
However, most of these studies are observational, meaning that they’re designed to detect associations but cannot prove causation (cause and effect).
Observational studies tend to have confounding variables — factors other than the ones being studied that might be influencing the outcome variable (10Trusted Source).
For example, an observational study may find that people who eat a lot of red meat have worse health outcomes.
However, perhaps this group of people may be more likely to smoke, drink alcohol frequently, or engage in other behaviors that contribute to undesirable health effects compared with those who don’t eat red meat.
It’s impossible to control for all of these factors and determine if red meat is a “cause” of any health outcome. That limitation is important to keep in mind when reviewing the research and determining if red meat is something you’d like to incorporate into your regular diet.
Red meat and heart disease
Several observational studies show that red meat is associated with a greater risk of death, including from heart disease
Nevertheless, it appears that not all red meat has the same health effects. Plus, it’s important to remember the limitations of observational studies.
A large study including 134,297 individuals found that high intake of processed meat (150 or more grams per week) was significantly associated with an increased risk of death and heart disease.
However, no association was found for unprocessed red meat consumption, even in amounts of 250 or more grams per week .
Randomized controlled trials — which are considered to be higher quality than observational studies — appear to support these results.
One review of controlled studies concluded that eating half a serving (1.25 ounces), or more of unprocessed red meat daily doesn’t adversely affect heart disease risk factors, such as blood lipids and blood pressure levels.
One of the reasons processed meats may be associated with heart disease risk is the high salt content. Excessive sodium intake has been linked to high blood pressure .
Overall, it’s unclear if, how, and why unprocessed or processed red meats are connected to heart disease. We need more high quality studies to help contextualize the data.
Red meat and cancer
Observational studies also show that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, especially colorectal and breast cancers .
Similar to the studies on heart disease, it appears that the type of meat makes a difference.
Consumption of processed red meats, like bacon and sausage, has been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. This doesn’t appear to be true for unprocessed red meats.
What’s more, a review of studies found that high processed meat intake was associated with a larger increase in breast cancer risk compared with high unprocessed meat intake.
It’s not fully understood how processed meats increase the risk of certain cancers.
However, it’s thought that using nitrites to cure meat and smoking meats can produce carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds. High heat cooking, such as grilling, may also create cancer-promoting compounds.
The way red meat is cooked also affects how it influences your health. When meat is cooked at a high temperature, it can form harmful compounds.
These include heterocyclic amines (HCAs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) .
According to the National Cancer Institute, lab experiments suggest these compounds may change DNA and promote cancer development.
More research is needed, though.
Here are some tips to minimize the formation of these substances when cooking red meat.
· Use gentler cooking methods, like stewing and steaming, instead of grilling and frying.
· Minimize cooking at high heats and don’t expose your meat directly to a flame.
· Limit charred and smoked food. If your meat is burnt, cut away the charred pieces.
· If you must cook at a high heat, flip your meat frequently to prevent it from burning.
· Soak your meat in a marinade, like one made with honey and herbs, before cooking. Marinating may help decrease the formation of HCAs.
Red meat appears to have health benefits and potential downsides.
Unprocessed red meat is highly nutritious and loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals that support bodily functions. But processed red meats, such as bacon and sausage, tend to be higher in salt and may contain preservatives that could have negative health effects.
Some observational studies link red meat consumption to higher risks of heart disease, certain cancers, and death. However, research shows that the type of red meat — and how it’s prepared — seems to influence how it affects health.
Overall, more research is needed into the effects of red meats on human health.
At the end of the day, whether you should eat red meat is personal. Red meat, especially unprocessed red meat, can be incorporated into a balanced diet.

By: Kevin Nengia

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