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COVID-19: FG To Establish 100 Oxygen Plants Nationwide

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The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says the Federal Government plans to establish 100 oxygen generation plants across the country to ensure oxygen sufficiency.
He said this on Tuesday in Abuja, during the 17th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration scorecard series where he featured.
According to Ehanire, before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, there were less than 30 functional oxygen plants in the country and the pandemic gave rise to the need for oxygen sufficiency.
He said that many responses to the pandemic came with certain benefits which included the activation of old, moribund oxygen plants and the establishment of new ones.
Ehanire said that some of the responses to the pandemic prompted the setting up and revamping of facilities which were not existent before such as isolation centres and treatment facilities across the country for different diseases.
He added that the Federal Government established molecular laboratories at every federal tertiary hospital, constructed and equipped 10 bedded intensive care units and isolation units in every tertiary hospital.
“ We realised in the course of COVID-19 the importance of oxygen, and that the oxygen plants we had in the country before were less than 30, with many of them not functional, so the first thing we did was to get support to activate the existing oxygen plants and to build new ones.
“The Federal Government built one oxygen plant per state in every one of the federal institutions and later on we were able to get funding from Global Fund and UNICEF to further build more.
“Today we have over 90 oxygen generation plants from less than about 30 functional ones before and we are going to have one oxygen generating plant in every senatorial zone so that we have over 100 functional oxygen plants.
“This is so that oxygen is available throughout the country and we have full oxygen sufficiency both for private and public hospitals and even for Primary Health Care (PHC) centres across the country and the question of oxygen not being available will be a thing of the past.”
On the containment of the pandemic, he said the Federal Government, through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), took several proactive actions to vaccinate Nigerians.
This was to achieve the immunity required to interrupt COVID-19 community transmission in the country.

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Research Shows Obesity Rising Worldwide

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A new research has shown that more than a billion people are living with obesity around the world as published in The Lancet show.
The figures includes about 880 million adults and 159 million children, according to 2022 data.
The highest rates are in Tonga and American Samoa for women and American Samoa and Nauru for men, with some 70-80% of adults living with obesity.
Out of some 190 countries, the United Kingdom ranks 55th highest for men and 87th for women.
The international team of scientists say there is an urgent need for major changes in how obesity is tackled.
Obesity can increase the risk of developing many serious health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Ranking global obesity rates (the percentage of population classed as obese, after age differences are accounted for), researchers found:
The US comes 10th highest for men and 36th highest for women
India ranks 19th lowest for women and 21st lowest for men
China is 11th lowest for women and 52nd lowest for men
Chart showing obesity data
Senior researcher Prof Majid Ezzati, of Imperial College London, told the BBC: “In many of these island nations it comes down to the availability of healthy food versus unhealthy food.
“In some cases there have been aggressive marketing campaigns promoting unhealthy foods, while the cost and availability of healthier food can be more problematic.”
Prof Ezzati, who has been looking at global data for years, says he is surprised at the speed the picture has changed, with many more countries now facing an obesity crisis, while the number of places where people being underweight is regarded as the biggest concern, has decreased.

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Five Die As Cholera Hits Lagos

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Not fewer than five people are reportedly dead and 60 others hospitalised following a deadly Cholera outbreak in Lagos.
Already the state government is calling for heightened vigilance and adoption of precautionary measures.
The state government in a statement yesterday urged the need to ensure that the disease is not spread, saying that an excess of severe gastroenteritis cases had been reported in Lagos in the last 48 hours.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi disclosed that cases of severe gastroenteritis had been reported in communities around Eti Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu and Kosofe LGA, resulting in about 60 hospital admissions, and sadly five deaths had been recorded mainly from patients presenting late with extreme dehydration.
“We have activated a statewide heightened surveillance and response. The Ministry of Health Directorate of Environmental Health and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) have been alerted to investigate a possible water contamination source in the Lekki Victoria Island axis.

“We suspect a possible cholera outbreak; however, samples have been taken for confirmation. As of April 28, 2024, Nigeria reported 815 suspected cholera cases and 14 deaths across 25 states,” he said.
The Commissioner noted that following recent rains, Lagos State has seen a notable increase in cases of severe vomiting and watery stools, adding that urban slums and crowded areas with poor sanitation were particularly at risk.
Abayomi explained that cholera is a highly contagious disease that caused severe diarrhea and could be life-threatening, adding that it posed a significant health burden in areas with poor water treatment and sanitation, and could impact Lagos State.
“Cholera spreads through direct transmission by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, and indirect transmission due to poor sanitation and lack of handwashing. Symptoms of cholera include severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, rapid dehydration, muscle cramps, fever and sometimes collapse,” he said.
According to him, treatment options for cholera include rehydration using Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for mild to moderate dehydration, saying that intravenous fluids is used for severely dehydrated patients given only in medical facilities and supervised by medical personnel.
“To prevent cholera, citizens are urged to ensure safe drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or using bottled water, and avoiding ice products made from untreated water. Maintaining proper sanitation by using toilets, safely disposing of faeces, and avoiding open defecation crucial.
“Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially before eating, preparing food, and after using the toilet, is essential and following food safety guidelines,” the Commissioner advised.
He enjoined citizens to rely on the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and accredited local health facilities for guidance, advice, and updates on prevention, treatment, and management.
He added that suspected cases could be reported via the following emergency hotlines: 08023169485, 08137412348, or by using helplines 767 or 112.

Kevin Nengia

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WHO Raises Alarm Over Viral Hepatitis Epidemics, STIs

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says viral hepatitis epidemics and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are causes of  2.5 million deaths each annually.
According to a new WHO report titled,” Implementing the Global Health Sector Strategies on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2022–2030,” STIs are increasing in many regions.
In 2022, WHO had targetted of reducing the annual number of adult syphilis infections by ten-fold by 2030, from 7.1 million to 0.71 million, but new syphilis cases among adults aged 15-49 years increased by over 1 million in 2022 reaching 8 million. The highest increases occurred in the Region for the Americas and the African region.
Combined with insufficient decline seen in the reduction of new HIV and viral hepatitis infections, the report expressed doubt  to the attainment of the related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“The rising incidence of syphilis raises major concerns”, said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Fortunately, there has been important progress on a number of other fronts including in accelerating access to critical health commodities including diagnostics and treatment.
The WHO DG said tools required to curb these epidemics as public health threats by 2030 are available, but that there’s need to ensure that, in the context of an increasingly complex world, countries do all they can to achieve the ambitious targets they set themselves”.
Increasing incidence of sexually transmitted infections four curable STIs – syphilis (Treponema pallidum), gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis), and trichomoniasis (Trichomonas vaginalis) – account for over 1 million infections daily.
The report notes a surge in adult and maternal syphilis (1.1 million) and associated congenital syphilis (523 cases per 100 000 live births per year) during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, there were 230 000 syphilis-related deaths.
New data also show an increase in multi-resistant gonorrhoea. As at 2023, out of 87 countries where enhanced gonorrhoea antimicrobial resistance surveillance was conducted, 9 countries reported elevated levels (from 5percent to 40percent) resistance to ceftriaxone, the last line treatment for gonorrhoea. WHO is monitoring the situation and has updated its recommended treatment to reduce the spread of this multi-resistant gonorrhoea strain.
In 2022, around 1.2 million new hepatitis B cases and nearly 1 million new hepatitis C cases were recorded. The estimated number of deaths from viral hepatitis rose from 1.1 million in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2022 despite effective prevention, diagnosis, and treatment tools.
New HIV infections only reduced from 1.5 million in 2020 to 1.3 million in 2022. Five key population groups men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender individuals, and individuals in prisons and other closed settings still experience significantly higher HIV prevalence rates than the general population.

By: Kevin Nengi

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