Senate Moves To Ensure Quality Healthcare For ‘Poor’ Nigerians

File Photo: The Institute of Maternal and Child Health (Ayinke House) with facilities at LASUTH, Ikeja.

 

The Senate on Thursday began moves to regulate Health Insurance in the country in a way that would allow poor Nigerians access to quality healthcare.

According to the upper chamber, this can be realised by seeking the establishment of the National Health Insurance Commission.

The Upper Chamber while considering a bill For an Act to repeal the National Health Insurance Scheme Act, 2004, said the passage of the National Health Insurance Commission bill, 2019 under consideration by the National Assembly would guarantee the effective implementation of the country’s health insurance policy.

According to Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), the bill “is about every family in Nigeria as it is manifestly clear that it is poised to positively affect all Nigerian families.”

He added that amongst other things, the bill seeks to boost healthcare delivery in Nigeria, provide robust, affordable and sustainable financial mechanisms for health, and reduce the high mortality rate across the country.

Oloriegbe further stated that the NHIS Commission bill, when passed into law, will strengthen the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund provided for in the National Health Act 2014, and enacted by the Seventh National Assembly under the leadership of Senator David Mark.

Read Also: 25 Burnt To Death In Bauchi – Kano Road Accident

“Nigeria’s healthcare system is in urgent need of reform – the system must refocus to ensure it meets its laudable objectives and global best practices,” he said.

“It is time to provide the legal framework for a new policy shift in order to help poor and vulnerable Nigerians access to quality healthcare without any financial impediment.

“The bill as proposed, if enacted and properly implemented in the form envisaged, will make health insurance compulsory, boost the nation’s health indicators, improve productivity and economic well-being of citizens and enable the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after consideration of the bill, referred same to the Committee on Health for further legislative work.

Meanwhile, the Senate also urged the private sector not to leave funding of Nigeria’s health sector to the government alone if the attainment of universal health coverage by 2030 must be realised.

It also urged States in the federation that have not enacted laws on National Health Insurance to do so without further delay.

The resolutions were reached sequel to the consideration of a motion on “The 2019 International Universal Health Coverage Day”, sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North).

Coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, the lawmaker stated that the United Nations General Assembly on December 12, 2012, endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) with emphasis that everyone should have access to quality and affordable healthcare.

He said that the goal of the UHC is to ensure that all people, no matter who they are or where they live, should be able to obtain health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.

Katsina Govt Vows To Improve Health Care Delivery

 

The Katsina State Government says health remains its key priority and it would keep making efforts to improve the health care system in the state.

The Executive Secretary of the State Primary Health Care Agency, Dr. Shamsuddeen Yahaya, said this at the 2019 World Polio Day Debriefing held at the agency’s office, Katsina State.

He said the agency is not only giving priority to polio eradication but other health-related campaigns such as a yellow fever mass campaign, maternal and unilateral tetanus eradication campaign, measles, as well as meningitis campaigns.

According to him, “the last time Katsina recorded wild poliovirus was over seven years ahead of the three years that was recorded in the country”.

He further stated that the agency has been collaborating with partners and other stakeholders to conduct high-quality campaigns aimed at strengthening routine immunisation and making sure that the state remains polio-free.

Yahaya, therefore, called on the general public to continue to avail themselves with a lot of activities and interventions provided by the government so that every child can be reached.

Edo Govt Earmarks N100m To Develop Health Sector

File Photo. A hospital ward.

 

The Edo State Government has earmarked a total of N100 million as counterpart fund for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), to provide responsive, efficient and accessible health care through Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs).

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. David Osifo, disclosed this at a workshop on Health Workforce Registry, held in the state on Tuesday.

Osifo said the contribution is to enable the state benefit fully from the BHCPF of the Federal Government.

He further explained that the Edo State House of Assembly has passed the Health Insurance Bill into law, a development which he says will pave the way for the smooth running of the fund, even as other provisions for the take-off of the state insurance scheme take shape.

The BHCPF is the fundamental funding provision under the National Health Act, signed in 2014.

States are expected to benefit from the fund when they meet the requisite criteria, which includes contributing the counterpart fund.

“To ensure sustainability and ownership of the BHCPF, the states are expected to co-fund the BHCPF, beginning with an initial N100 million as part-expression of interest to implement the BHCPF,” he said.

Read Also: Senate Approves N30,000 Minimum Wage For Federal, State Workers

The states are also required to create state Health Insurance Agencies and state Primary Health Care Development Boards to serve as channels through which implementation would be monitored.

Governor Godwin Obaseki had recently inaugurated a 17-member Primary Health Care Board in the state to deepen the revamp of the state’s primary health care system.

He charged members of the board to support the vision of his administration in delivering quality and affordable health care to the people.

SERAP Asks Health Minister To Account For Spending On LUTH, Other Hospitals

Health Minister Suspends Eight Top NHIS Officials
File Photo

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has sent a Freedom of Information request to the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, asking him to urgently provide information about details of actual spending of allocations to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, (LUTH).

SERAP also asked the health minister to provide details of spending of allocations to 20 other federal teaching hospitals and 20 Federal Medical Centres across the country, for the period covering 2010 to 2017.

In a statement on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, SERAP said, “The information should include details of spending on specific projects and facilities at LUTH and other teaching hospitals and medical centres under the direct control of the Ministry of Health”.

The FOI request read in part: “As trustee of public funds, your Ministry has a legal duty to render account on the specific details of spending of capital allocations to LUTH and other teaching hospitals and medical centres under the direct control of the Ministry to the beneficiaries (Nigerians) of the trust, if and when called upon to do so. Any failure or refusal to render account will also be clearly inconsistent with the attitude of a government that has repeatedly expressed commitment to the fight against corruption, and to transparency and accountability.

“As a key agency of government, the Ministry of Health has a sacred duty to ensure that the country’s allocations to the health sector are used solely to achieve adequate access to health care services for all Nigerians and residents.

“This implies providing strong leadership in the efforts to curb public sector corruption, mismanagement and neglect, and to honour Freedom of Information requests on the spending of allocations to LUTH and other teaching hospitals and medical centres across the country.”

It explained that despite huge budgetary allocations, many of the teaching hospitals and medical centres under the direct control of the Ministry had been left to fall apart with many lacking some basic amenities.

The agency further stated that “ordinary Nigerians have derived appallingly little benefit from all of the allocations, in terms of access to basic healthcare, showing a failure to respect and ensure the right to health and human dignity in the country.”

It, therefore, stated that details of the spending on health care facilities should be provided within seven days, failure of which the agency would take appropriate legal actions to compel the Minister to comply with the request.

SERAP said the disclosure of the information requested will give it (SERAP), as well as the general public, a true picture of how the allocations to LUTH and the other hospitals were spent to improve medical facilities and infrastructure in the hospitals.

Dozens Injured In Police Clashes At Nepal Health Care Protest

Nepali police use tear gas to disperse crowds of the Tarun Dal, the youth wing of Nepali Congress Party, during a demonstration against the government in Kathmandu on July 21, 2018.
PRAKASH MATHEMA / AFP

 

Dozens of protesters in Nepal have been injured in clashes with police at a demonstration in support of a hunger-striking doctor seeking better health care in the impoverished Himalayan country.

Thousands took to the streets on Saturday in solidarity with Dr Govinda KC, who has been on a hunger strike for nearly a month demanding reforms in the medical sector and education.

Protestors from Nepal Tarun Dal, the youth wing of the opposition party Nepali Congress, were injured when police fired multiple rounds of tear gas and used batons as they entered a restricted area near the parliament in capital Kathmandu.

Activists on Sunday said they planned more protests following the clashes.

“We are protesting against the government’s authoritarian-like behaviour. They are not listening to the people and to the just demands of Dr Govinda KC,” Bhupendra Jung Shahi, general secretary of Nepal Tarun Dal, told AFP.

Viewed by his supporters as a medical Robin Hood, Dr KC is well known in Nepal for his philanthropic work, travelling to some of the country’s most remote communities to provide medical care and train local health workers.

Dr KC, 61, has gone on hunger strike 15 times over the past six years in an attempt to pressure the government to improve healthcare.

He began his current hunger strike, the longest at 23 days, on June 30 in remote Jumla district and was airlifted to Kathmandu by the government amid protests last week as concerns for his health grew.

A key sticking point has been a medical education bill registered in the parliament earlier this month seeking to overturn an ordinance by the previous government that met Dr KC’s demands to regulate doctor training and curtail commercialisation in medical education.

Dr KC has demanded a withdrawal of the bill before sitting down for talks with the government.

Another hundred supporters also joined Dr KC in a hunger strike on Sunday to pressure the government to respond positively.

“Until the government responds to his demands we will continue to protest peacefully and draw the attention of the government,” said Dinesh Prasai, a professor who had joined the fast.

Revenge Of A Forgotten Medical ‘Genius’

 

 

It’s not an uncommon fate for a pioneering scientist: languishing unrecognised in his time before dying in obscurity. But as his 200th birthday approaches, the life-saving work of a Hungarian obstetrician is finally getting its due.

Decades before Louis Pasteur won widespread acceptance for the germ theory of disease, Ignac Semmelweis was battling his peers to accept what is today medical orthodoxy — doctors should thoroughly disinfect their hands before treating patients.

Born on July 1, 1818, Semmelweis joined the obstetrics department of Vienna’s general hospital in 1846 and was immediately struck by the extremely high maternal mortality rate in the wing where student doctors trained: it stood at more than 10 percent, at times going up to almost 40 percent.

By contrast, in the neighbouring wing where midwives trained, the rate stayed under the contemporary average of three percent.

“This disparity troubled Semmelweis enormously and he started a thorough epidemiological study,” says Bernhard Kuenburg, president of Vienna’s Semmelweis Foundation.

A commemorative plaque for pioneering scientist Ignaz Phillip Semmelweis stands in the garden of the General Hospital (Allgemeines Krankenhaus, AKH) in Vienna on June 28, 2018.
ALEX HALADA / AFP

 

In 1847, the penny dropped when a colleague died of septicaemia after carrying out an autopsy: Semmelweis surmised that dead bodies must hold invisible but potentially deadly “particles”.

“At the time, medical students went directly from an autopsy to assist with a labour without disinfecting their hands,” Kuenburg told AFP.

With soap not being enough to fix the problem, Semmelweis imposed a more rigorous regime of hand-washing for five minutes with a harsh chlorinated lime solution.

With this “very simple method” Semmelweis slashed the mortality rate “to almost zero,” Kuenburg says.

Fiery disposition

But instead of plaudits, Semmelweis suffered the wrath of the grandees of Vienna’s medical fraternity and in 1849 his contract was not renewed.

“The self-estimation of the doctors was very high back at this time. Of course they were offended because they didn’t like the idea that they were guilty of causing this terrible mortality rate,” Kuenburg says.

Moreover, it would still be a quarter of a century before Pasteur was finally able to prove the existence of “microbes”.

Other doctors demanded evidence, according to Kuenburg.

“They said: ‘No, Mr Semmelweis cannot be right. He cannot show us the pathogens so something is fishy with this theory.'”

And Semmelweis’s fiery disposition and lack of tact didn’t help — he did not shrink from calling colleagues “killers”.

Towards the end of his life his mental health deteriorated and he died in an asylum in 1865, at the age of 47.

 

A commemorative plaque for pioneering scientist Ignaz Phillip Semmelweis stands in the garden of the General Hospital (Allgemeines Krankenhaus, AKH) in Vienna on June 28, 2018.
ALEX HALADA / AFP

100 deaths a day in the EU

At the end of the 19th Century Semmelweis’s reputation began to be rehabilitated after the discoveries of Pasteur, Robert Koch and Alexandre Yersin bore out his theories.

In 1924 the French writer Louis-Ferdinand Celine dedicated a medical thesis to him and hailed him as a “genius”.

Today he is considered the father of modern theories of hospital hygiene and sterilisation.

But even though disinfecting hands is accepted as common sense for medical personnel, the practice still isn’t as systematic as it should be, according to Professor Didier Pittet, infection control expert at the World Health Organization (WHO).

Worldwide, the practice is only adhered to “in 50 percent of cases on average, even though it can prevent 50 to 70 percent of hospital infections,” he told AFP.

Some 3.2 million people are affected annually by hospital-acquired infections within the EU, resulting in 100 deaths every day.

Pittet estimates the global figure for such deaths to be between five and eight million year Hungary.

“Disinfecting the hands with an alcohol solution is cheap and simple and has an immediate impact on infection rates,” including for multi-resistant organisms, Pittet says.

But despite this, “it’s an act which isn’t taken seriously enough, notably by doctors themselves” Pittet says, adding that some seem to think worrying about sterilising their hands is somehow beneath them.

However, the WHO’s “Clean Care is Safer Care” campaign, launched together with 19,000 hospitals worldwide in order to raise awareness of the importance of hand sterilisation, is starting to pay off.

Following the lead of a programme piloted by Pittet in Swiss hospitals in the 1990s, rates of hand disinfection in Australia and certain Asian healthcare facilities are at almost 85 percent.

“Twenty years ago the rate of hand disinfection was only around 20 percent. Now it’s becoming one of the sexiest topics in medical literature,” says Pittet.

“In a way, it’s Semmelweis’s revenge.”

AFP

Yobe Government Places 110 Medical Students On Payroll

Gaidam

 

Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has approved the placement of 110 medical students on salary Grade Level 07.

This was disclosed in a statement by the governor’s media aide, Abdullahi Bego,  on Thursday.

“The 110 student doctors will join 389 others who have already been placed on the government’s payroll and have been receiving their salary on monthly basis,” the governor said.

He added, “The Yobe State Government designed the 07-salary grade level take-home pay as an incentive to the medical students and get them to return and serve in the state after completing their MBBS degree training.

Bego hinted that the state would spend over N41 million on a yearly basis for the additional students added to the government’s payroll.

The governor also reiterated his administration’s commitment to improving the health care delivery system in the state.

This, he noted, was aided with the establishment of a new Medical College at the state university and a new Teaching Hospital.

Ogun To Rehabilitate 57 Primary Health Care Centres

ogun
Ogun Health Commissioner, Ipaye

The Ogun State Government has reiterated its commitment to improving the quality of life to the people of the state.

State Commissioner for Health, Mr Babatunde Ipaye made this known while defending the 2018 budget proposal of the State Primary Health Care Development Board before the State House of Assembly.

To this end, he said 57 Primary Health Care Centers across the Local Government and Local Council Development Area in the state will be rehabilitated.

The commissioner said the proposal would ensure quality health service delivery in all the Local Government of the state.

Also to be considered by the board is the emerging population in the Mowe and Magboro axis, to ensure fairness in terms of needs.

He further disclosed that the state had received support for the renovation of Ijebu Igbo Primary Health Centre through a development Partner.

Mr Ipaye also said that equipment had been purchased to the over 200 Primary Health Centers (PHCs) in the state.

According to him, they would be distributed as soon as possible to health centres across the local councils in the state.

NOA/UNICEF Encourage Women To Adopt Essential Family Practices

The National Orientation Agency (NOA)/ United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have called on women in the Southeast to contribute meaningfully towards the development of their families and communities.

The Abia State Director (NOA) Dr Mrs Ngozi Uduma who was speaking at a women’s gathering at Oguduasa Ogboro-Isuikwuato Local Government Area of the State, urged women from all walks of life to use the avenue to strengthen and enforce decisions that concern their development.

Dr. Uduma charged the women to take serious, issues such as antenatal care, immunization of children, exclusive breastfeeding, hand washing and proper excreta disposal for the general wellbeing of the family.

“I want to urge all the women sitting here to teach others that are not here the need to embrace essential family practices for the well-being of your families.

“We would continue to sensitize women in the communities on the essential family practices, as we pledge to continue to diffuse the message, we want you to encourage compliance among the women folk for a better healthy Nation,” she stated.

Lagos Govt Upgrades 40 Health Care Centres

The Lagos State Government has upgraded 40 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the state to cater for all sexually related cases.

The move is coming as the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Primary Health Care Board, stepped up efforts to implement the already launched the Sexual Assault Standing Order and Sexual Assault Evidence Examination Kit also known as rape kits.

Coordinator of DSVRT, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi who spoke at a recent training session for health workers of PHCs, explained that the Centres have been empowered to render 24-hour service, laboratory testing, HIV Counselling and Testing, and Maternal and Child Health Services.

She said participants at the training were drawn from 10 areas including Agege Local Government Area (LGA), Orile Agege Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Ajeromi Ifelodun LGA, Ifelodun LCDA, Apapa LGA, Apapa Iganmu LCDA, Badagry LGA, Olorunda LCDA, Ibeju Lekki LGA and Lekki LCDA.

Adeniyi further stated that the continuous trainings and upgrade of health facilities was in furtherance of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s desire to ensuring that all survivors of sexual assault, irrespective of class or means, can receive comprehensive medical care at no cost.

She recalled that the rape kits, also known as Sexual Assault Evidence Examination Kits were launched in 2016 and are currently available at all comprehensive PHC Centres.

“The Rape Kits contain the necessary instruments used for evidence examination some of which include microscope slides, saline water, swabs, materials for blood samples, comb, paper sheets for evidence collection such as clothing fibres and hairs, nail pick, gloves. The documentation forms which include the consent form and Patient History/ Sexual Assault History are also included in the rape kit,” Vivour-Adeniyi said.

She expressed optimism that the training would ultimately improve the quality and documentation of evidence collection for sexual assault patients.
According to her, the training was organised by the Lagos State DSVRT with technical support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

“In the unfortunate case of a sexual assault, members of the public are advised to go to the closest comprehensive Primary Health Care Centre to receive optimal care,” the DSVRT Coordinator said.

Medical Association Tasks Govt. On Improved Healthcare Delivery

medical doctorsThe Nigerian Medical Association, Imo State Chapter, has urged both the Federal and State governments to be more committed to creating programmes and policies that would aid effective delivery of quality healthcare for the people.

The chairman of the association in Imo State, Dr. Darlington Akukwu, made the demand during the official flag-off of free medical outreach and services to the people of Ehime Mbano, Ihitte Uboma and Obowo Local Government area of Imo state.

While lauding the initiative by the government, the NMA chairman says it is necessary for the government to put in place a permanent structure that would enhance quality healthcare delivery.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Isaac Oyewole, has said that the Federal Government, through the Millennium Development Goals office, have contributed meaningfully to ensuring quality healthcare delivery.

Over 3,000 indigenes of the area benefited from the free medical services, as about 200 health workers including doctors and nurses have been drafted to carry out this assignment.

The Minister, who was represented by a Director from the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Christopher Ugboko, said the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health and the Millennium Development Goals office has done a lot in delivery quality healthcare to Nigerians even though the government will still do more for the people.

The government says ongoing discussion with the country director of UNICEF, shows that the agency is willing to partner with the Imo State government to ensure that the free medical outreach is replicated across the 27 local government areas of Imo state.

While commending the initiative, the NMA chairman urged the government to invest more in the health sector and put in place a permanent and lasting structure that would be to the benefit of the people.

Kaduna Govt., NOUN Sign MoU To Train Prison Inmates

Prison Inmates, Kaduna, Health Care, MOUThe Kaduna state government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to train prison inmates in skills and vocational education.

Following the MoU, prison inmates across the state will now be trained on some vocational skills that would make them self-reliant after serving their jail terms.

At the ceremony, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna state, Bala Bantex, signed on behalf of the state government while the Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria, Professor Abdalla Adamu, signed for the institution.

Under the partnership, the state government will provide the startup packs for the training, while the university will provide the manpower and facilities.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the event, the Kaduna State Deputy Governor said that the programme is aimed at rehabilitating and empowering prison inmates who are serving their jail terms with the necessary skills that will enable them to become useful to the society upon completion of their jail terms.

The Deputy Governor also hinted that the state government is also partnering with the state prison command to ensure that prisons across the state are decongested and given a face lift in line with global best practices.

The Vice Chancellor of National Open University of Nigeria, Professor Abdalla Adamu, while commending the Kaduna state government for initiating the training programme, called on other states across the country to take a cue from Kaduna.

He disclosed that the training would be free of charge and added that the university is also offering free university education for prison inmates across the country.

On his part, the Kaduna State Controller of Prisons, Yazid Alhassan, commended the state government for the gesture, which he said would help in reducing the level of crime in the society.

Kaduna is the first state in the Nigeria to initiate such programme aimed at reducing crime in the country.

At least 700 inmates across the state are expected to benefit from the training programme.