An expert in Mother-To-Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV, Dr. Abiola Davies, has called on both Federal and State Governments to institutionalise Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in their healthcare delivery systems as a way of checking MTCT in Nigeria.
Dr. Davies, who made the call in an exclusive interview, noted that the call is necessitated by the fact that given the dependence on TBAs by pregnant woman, it will be safer to work with them.
She explained that pregnant women often prefer TBAs for reasons bothering on stigmatisation and finance, especially in the rural or hard-to-reach areas.
“Since we cannot stop the trend, we should be able to work with them, if we truly want to save our women”, she said.
To achieve this, she said, States should have “a list of all TBAs – map all the TBAs that are available in the State. Then, they should be able to do women form of orientation or training for the TBAs to let them know what is expected of them, and their limitations”.
She continued that they should be taught key skills as how to test pregnant women of HIV, and even be provided with free self-testing kits, with which to test the pregnant women who patrionise them, without charging them.
Davies also stated the need for the TBAs to know when a case is beyond them and hence require being referred to a competent healthcare facility, noting that it will encourage HIV positive women to access such facilities.
She, however, also noted that whenever such referrals are made, and the women end up delivering in the healthcare facilities, the TBAs lose money, adding that this could discourage the TBAs.
To encourage them, therefore, she said, “there should be some form of compensation for them (TBAs) to encourage them continue to refer cases that are beyond them.
“We can’t do without them, so we have to embrace them. We should be able to train them to know their limitations, and be able to motivate them to know that when they have limitations, they should refer them (positive pregnant women)”, she said.
She used the opportunity to state two key challenges to tracking identified HIV positive mothers that are lost to follow-up.
According to her, the challenges are lack of electronic or digitised data on the women, and wrong contacts deliberately given by the affected women to avoid stigmatisation.
She, therefore, called on all stakeholders, including the media, to “preach the gospel”, noting that end to MTCT of HIV can be achieve.
“We just need the right things to be done in the country. Other countries that have less money have done it. It is doable”, she said.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
Safe Motherhood: RSG Raises Alarm Over Birth Outside Health Centres
Rivers State Ministry of Health has raised alarm over the number of births outside medical facilities in the state.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry, of Health, Dr. Utchay Chikanele made the observation during this year’s Safe Motherhood Celebration tagged, “Access to Quality Maternal Care: A Right to Every Woman.”
She regretted that the number of new born babies delivered in medical facilities in the state dwindled last year despite the statistics that registered for antenatal care.
In her words, “Rivers State with a target population of 1,883,706 women of child bearing age, 14,734 pregnant women, 1,712,460 under five children and 342,492 infants, only 14,734 which is 34.4 percent registered for antenatal care in 2021, out of which only 12, 218, which is 3.8 delivered in our health facilities”.
The Permanent Secretary used the occasion to call on mothers to utilise the 386 primary health centres and 18 functional secondary health facilities owned and operated by the state government, as she reiterated the state resolve to curb maternal mortality.
She stated that right to health is a basic human right that every woman should enjoy, as she revealed that about 800 women die daily in pregnancy and child birth and 8million suffer serious pregnancy-related illnesses and disabilities.
Underscoring safe motherhood as one of major planks of the Sustainable Developmental Goals(SDG) Dr. Chikanele observed, “no woman going through pregnancy and child bearing should suffer any injury, loose her life or that of the unborn baby.”
To reverse the trend, Chikanele enlisted the support of local government chairmen, community leaders, husbands and the society at large to encourage mothers to use medical facilities and ensure that their new born are delivered in hospitals with support from medical experts.
She assured that the state government will continue on the quest to boost safe motherhood by engaging in enlightenment campaigns and sensitisation through the media and engagement of stakeholders in the sector across board.
WHOWarns On Monkey Pox …Says It’s Contaminable
The World Health Organisation has warned that the new Monkey pox outbreak is contaminable.
The virus symptoms include a hight emperature, aches, and a rash of raised spots monkeypox can be contained in countries outside of Africa where the virus is not usually detected, the World Health Organization (WHO), says.
Already more than 100 cases of the virus – which causes a rash and a fever – have been confirmed in Europe, the Americas and Australia.
That number is expected to rise coming weeks, but experts say the overall risk to the broader population is very low.
The virus is most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa.
“This is a containable situation,” WHO’s emerging disease leader Maria Van Kerkhove said at a news conference early this week.
“We want to stop human-to-human transmission.
We can do this in the non-endemic countries,” she added – referring to recent cases in Europe and North America.
Despite being the largest outbreak outside of Africa in 50 years, monkeypox does not spread easily between people and experts say the threat is not comparable to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Transmission is really happening from skin-to-skincontact, most of the people who have been identified have more of a mild disease,” Ms Van Kerkhove said.
Another WHO official added that there was no evidence the monkeypox virus had mutated, following earlier speculation over the cause of the current outbreak.
Viruses in this group “tend not to mutate and they tend to be fairly stable”, said Rosamund Lewis, who heads the WHO’s smallpox secretariat.
Meanwhile, a top EU health official has warned that some groups of people may be more at risk than others.
“For the broader population, the likelihood of spread is very low,” said Dr Andrea Ammon of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
“However the likelihood of further spread of the virus through close contact for example during sexual activities amongst persons with multiple sexual partners is considered to be high”.
Monkeypox has not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.
Dr Ammon suggested that countries should review he availability of the smallpox vaccine which is also effective against monkeypox.
In the UK, which has now recorded 57 cases, authorities are advising anyone who has had close contact with a confirmed case to isolate for 21 days.
A person is considered at high risk of having caught the infection if they have had household or sexual contact with someone with monkeypox, or have changed the bedding of an infected person without wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
Symptoms, which include a high temperature, aches, and a rash of raised spots that later turn into blisters, are typically mild and for most people clear up within two to four weeks.
Using Water To Heal (2)
In the last edition, I discussed why water is essential to life and health yet many people ignore it. Ignorantly, many people have acquired the habit of sweet tooth of “downing” or pushing down their food with soft drinks and soda.
Not long after acquiring this dismal habit, they begin to experience health maladies such as arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatism and all sorts of ailments.
Once one understands that water is the fluid of life then it becomes easy for one to drink and reap its tremendous benefits. Water and air are two very important things God gave to keep us healthy. In addition to that, water has huge healing powers that only those who have gulped from its rich fountain can attest . It must however be noted that not all water is safe for consumption. Many local sources of water are contaminated, and that is why one should be mindful of the kind of water he or she drinks.
To get the benefits of water drinking, I will suggest one begin by taking considerable steps to make sure ones water is safe for drinking. These steps include boiling and other treatment methods to eliminate germs and other organisms that may harm health.
For effective usage, health experts recommend alkaline water. Alkaline water is the type of water that a PH above 7.0. It made alkaline by its content of natural minerals such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, etc. These minerals confer the alkalinity to the water. There are certain properties associated with this water – it has a neutral taste, has better hydration and delivery of nutrients to the cells.
Latest research has shown that water is used to reduce weight. A study at the University of Michigan Medical School led by Dr. Tammy Chang, an assistant professor of family medicine declared that, “ those who were inadequately hydrated had higher body mass indexes than those who were hydrated”.
It noted that people who took in too little water daily had 50 per cent higher odds for obesity compared to those who consumed enough. That link held even after the researchers compensated for factors such as age, bender and income. The study indicates hydration might impact weight. “What it does show though is that a diet that includes more water whether as a beverage or the water found in fruits and vegetables, is likely associated with healthier weight,” remarked Connie Diekman, director nutrition at Washington University, US.
To prevent ageing and all kinds of maladies one should consume more of alkaline water. The antioxidants in alkaline water neutralise the acid and the free radicals which would otherwise damage the tissues.
Experts believe that lack of water may worsen diabetes. Apart from the production and secretion of insulin by the pancreas to increase in the level of glucose in the bloodstream after a meal, there is another very important function of pancreas. This function of the pancreas is regulated by the amount of water in the body. In a state of dehydration, the amount of the bicarbonate solution is reduced and this can get to a critical level that there is not enough of it to neutralize the stomach content.
Drinking enough water enlivens the skin as well. Those who drink water enoughwater look younger and improve their overall physical outlook. Alkaline water makes the body supple, shine and softens the tone of the skin.
As I earlier asserted, one need to begin gradually by drinking few cups on rising from bed in the morning, since water drives body metabolism. As one grows in the habit, it is easy to hit the target of eight glasses a day as recommended by health experts.
By Kevin Nengia
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