Niger State Govt. Declares Emergency On Health Sector

Niger State Govt. Declares Emergency On Health SectorWorried by the state of health facilities in the state, the Niger state government on Thursday declared a state of emergency on the health sector with a view to repositioning the sector for better service delivery.

To this end, it has earmarked the sum of two billion Naira to upgrade five out of the 16 general hospitals in the state which have been left unattended to for the past ten years in the first phase of the project.

Briefing journalists after the State Executive Council meeting in Minna, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mustapha Jibrin, said that the government inherited what he called “moribund” health facilities across the state from the immediate past administration in the state.

He disclosed that the immediate past government in the state expended well over N5billion to build three general hospital in Gulu, Nasko and Wuse areas of the state, but only the one in Wuse was functional.

Those that will benefit from the first phase of the hospital rehabilitation project include the Suleja, Kontagora, Mokwa, Kagara and Minna general hospitals, while all the remaining ones would be attended to in the second phase of the project.

The Commissioner further disclosed that following the inadequate health personnel in the state-owned hospitals, and to ensure quick service delivery, the state government has employed an additional 40 medical doctors, 70 nurses and 10 hospital workers since the inception of the present administration.

He described the current situation where one doctor attends to nine patients as unacceptable.

He said that the state government has approved the immediate payment of the 100% salary structure for all categories of all health workers being enjoyed by their counterpart in other states across the country.

Curbing Malaria: Oyo State To Establish Health Insurance Scheme

Oyo State GoveMalaria, oyo state, health, insurance schemernor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has said that the bill for the establishment of the state Health Insurance Scheme passed earlier in the week by the state House Of Assembly, will soon be passed into law.

The Governor disclosed this while kick-starting the distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets across the state at the Government House arcade, Agodi, Ibadan.

He said that the bill would serve as a veritable tool for universal health coverage for residents of the state, especially to cater for the rural populace.

“The government has conducted the re-alignment of the health care service delivery in the state.

“Earlier this week, the state House of Assembly passed the bill for the establishment of the state Health Insurance Scheme.

“This is a tool the Government will utilize to ensure universal health coverage for residents of the Oyo state.

“Equally, the state Primary Health Care Law will soon be promulgated for further coverage of the grassroots in healthcare delivery.”

The Governor commended the United State Agency For International Development (USAID), Federal Ministry Of Health and other partners for their intervention and supportive roles, which according to him had enhanced the wellness of the people of the state.

He said that their noteworthy support over the years had assisted in minimizing the scourge of malaria, as underscored by the reduction in the incidence of the menace by 45% when compared with the 2012 figures.

Governor Ajimobi believes that the state is winning the battle as the incidence of malaria has now reduced by 45% when compared with the incidence of year 2012.

According to him, the regular mass distribution of insecticidal nets, which is currently ongoing in all 33 local government areas of Oyo state, has aided in the fight.

Ajimobi further assured all developing partners that the government would intensify its multi-prong approach aimed at curbing the malaria scourge in the state.

At the event, the representative of USAID, Dr Bolatito Aiyenigba, said that 8,500 health workers had been trained on malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment, adding that mosquito nets, diagnostic tests and antimalarial drugs had been supplied to various centers in the state.

Aiyenigba said that no effort should be spared in the fight against malaria in Africa, stressing that the continent alone bears 80% of the global burden of the disease.

Of this percentage, she said it was regrettable that Nigeria alone accounts for one-third of the burden.

The USAID representative, however, commended the state government for spearheading the fight against malaria in all parts of the state through many safety nets.

Highlighting other key disadvantages, she said “malaria is responsible for one in every ten deaths of mothers due to complications in pregnancy.

“Therefore, no effort should be spared to tackle the scourge at the local, state, national and global levels.

“Your excellency, there is indeed great evidence that shows your commitment and good work to ensure that your people live in good health and in a sound environment.

“Please continue to give the health sector the required priority in your government,” she urged.

Buhari Approves New Appointments In Health Institutions

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of heads of five strategic health institutions in the country.

In a statement issued by the Director of Press and Public Relations in Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Bolaji Adebiyi, the new head of the Centre for Disease Control is the Managing Partner of EpiAfric, a public health consultancy firm that focuses on Africa, Dr. Chikwe Andreas Ihekweazu. He takes over from Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi.

Dr. Sani Aliyu, a consultant in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Cambridge University, U.K. is the new head of the National Agency for the Control of Aids. He takes over from Prof. John Idoko.

The President also appointed Prof. Babatunde Salako as the head of the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research. He was the Provost, College of Medicine at the University of Ibadan before his new appointment. He takes over from Prof. Innocent Ujah.

A professor of Paediatrics and Public Health at the University of Nevada, in the United States, Prof. Echezona Ezeanolue was appointed the new Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency. He replaced Doctor Mohammed Ado.

The National Health Insurance Scheme is now headed by Prof. Usman Yusuf, who until his appointment, was a professor of Paediatrics at St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee in the United States. He replaced Mr Olufemi Akingbade, who was in acting capacity.

All appointments, according to the statement, takes immediate effect.

Kwara State Govt. Signs MOU On Health Insurance

KwaraThe Kwara State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dutch Health Insurance Fund to establish an health insurance fund in the state.

The State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, signed on behalf of the state government, while Mr Kees Storm signed on behalf of the Dutch’s health insurance fund at the Government House, Ilorin.

Speaking at the occasion, Governor Ahmed said that the agreement would ensure the sustainability of the community health insurance scheme.

Governor Ahmed gave the assurance that his government would continue to provide health infrastructure and strengthen partnership with all stakeholders in setting up the fund.

He promised to extend the community health insurance scheme to all parts of the state with a view to improving access to healthcare delivery in the state.

Governor Ahmed thanked the Dutch government, Hygeia and Pharmaccess for their support to Kwara State health sector.

Imo Health Workers Decry Poor Treatment From Government

health workersLabour Union and public servants in Imo State have accused the State government of alleged intimidation and harassment of workers, especially in the health sector.

This allegation is coming after workers of the Imo State Specialist Hospital, Umuguma, in Owerri, the state capital in Southeast Nigeria complained of being forcefully evicted from their offices by members of the State Security Agencies without any prior notice.

Workers in the state argued that the concession policy of the State government was not a bad idea, but should take proper procedures.

They also maintained that all outstanding salaries owing to eight months should be paid, insisting that workers involved should not be sacked.

The Imo State government debunked the allegations stressing that no worker was forcefully evicted, intimidated or harassed, knowing well that the Okorocha led administration is worker-friendly and concerned about the welfare of its people.

The Chairman, Committee on Health Policies to Imo State Government, Dr. Edward Ihejirika, maintained that the concession policy meant well for workers in the state.

He added that the policy was aimed at ensuring that non-productive parastatals in the state is more effective and efficient, so as to generate more revenue for the state.

Mr. Ihejirika further said that he had several meetings with the Chief Medical Director of the hospital about the renovation of the premises.

On the eight-month unpaid salary, he said the process was ongoing, stating that the verification of workers was also ongoing.

Obiano Commissions Drug Quality Control Laboratory In Anambra

ObianoAnambra State Governor, Wilie Obiano, has commissioned a state of the art Drug Quality Control Laboratory and Drug Information Center in Awka, the state capital.

Governor Obiano, said during the commissioning, that his intervention in the health sector with regard to quality drugs and medical supplies will not only guarantee improved health for the citizenry, but would also reduce capital flight as a result of huge cost of treating diseases without result.

Being the first of its kind in the south east region of Nigeria, the governor said the Laboratory would ensure that the drugs that go the various health institutions in the state both private and public would be duly tested and certified safe for the people.

He also assured the people of the state of his commitment towards providing quality healthcare, noting that it would be unequalled having earmarked millions of naira for the upgrade of the 37 General Hospitals in the state.

Fifteen of the hospitals have been selected and are already being reconstructed in the first phase of the upgrade to be completed in the next six months.

Governor Obiano also inspected the knee replacement surgery ongoing in the State Teaching Hospital, sponsored by an abroad based doctor from the state.

He then commended the sponsor and called on other indigenous citizens to bring their profession and expertise home for proper development.

He further revealed his plans for the sustenance of an healthcare delivery in the state, which includes the establishment of adequate infrastructure, improved welfare for patients and also training and welfare of doctors and nurses.

The State Health Commissioner, Dr. Joe Akabuike, and the State Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr Sule Momodu, both maintained that the project commissioned was a proactive step to quell the spate of diagnostic and treatment failures, despite the efforts of the regulatory agencies to curb the circulation of fake drugs.

Governor Obiano also expressed optimism that with all the measures in place, the era of fake drugs and unnecessary deaths in the state will be brought to an end.

Health Workers Union Threatens To Commence Industrial Action Thursday

NMAThere appears to be no end in sight for the crisis in the health sector in Nigeria, as the Joint Health Workers Association has threatened to down tools from Thursday.

The union told reporters on Wednesday that the planned strike was called to press for the implementations of agreements reached between the union and the government two months ago.

The chairman of the union, Dr Wahab Ayuba, complained that the government had failed to implement court rulings and agreements over salaries harmonisation, promotions and the imposition of consultants in teaching hospitals who they claim now usurp administrative roles in the hospitals.

Patients in most government hospitals across the country would be subjected to hard times as the strike would result in an end to major medical services in government hospitals across Nigeria.

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) had in August suspended a nearly two months strike, after it said it reached an agreement with the government.

The issues in the sector were thought to have been resolved after the NMA called of the strike, but the health workers’ planned strike raises fear that it has not ended.

NAFDAC Destroys Illicit Drugs Worth N50 Million In Kaduna

nafdacThe National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has reiterated its commitment to ridding Nigeria of counterfeit and unwholesome drugs towards  ensuring  the protection of lives of the citizens.

This resolve was re-echoed on Tuesday by the agency, as it destroyed expired pharmaceutical products worth 50 Million Naira in Kaduna State, north-west Nigeria.

The Director General of NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii restated that there would be no sacred cows in the fight against counterfeit drugs and substandard food  products.

Speaking after  setting the contraband products ablaze, Dr Orhii who was represented by the director, Special Duties in the agency, Abubakar Jimoh, said the agency was fully prepared to restore  sanity in the health sector and maintain zero tolerance in the fight against counterfeit drugs in Nigeria.

Though the various strategies employed by NAFDAC have resulted in seizures of smuggled containers of fake, substandard cosmetics and food products at the borders, Nigerians have also been advised to remain alert, to stop patronising street hawkers, whom they call merchants of death and to always check the labels of all consumables, which, when expired, can destroy the human organs.

According to the agency, statistics of counterfeit drugs have reduced from over 40 per cent in 2005 to 6.4 per cent in 2012, a feat that was achieved through collaboration with sister security agencies and the general public.

The agency also stated that it was making arrangements to regulate the manufacturing of orthodox medicines  to ensure that they do not constitute a threat to the health of Nigerians.

The Kaduna State commandant of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, appealed to Nigerians to join hands with the agency towards ridding the country of counterfeit and expired drugs, adding that his agency will continue to collaborate with NAFDAC and other security agencies in the fight against fake drugs in the country.

Medical Tourism: Uduaghan Reveals Plan To Recreate ‘India’ In Delta State

The Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, has revealed plans to turn the State into Nigeria’s top destination for medical tourism as a means of attracting thousands of Nigerians who travel to other countries, including India, thereby boosting the economies of those countries.

“As part of our Delta Beyond Oil (agenda) we are looking at areas of tourism and one area of tourism is medical tourism,” the governor said while speaking on the State’s health sector on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

Uduaghan, who said his administration is making efforts at ensuring the welfare of the people in regards to their health, stressed that the human capital development agenda under his administration’s 3 point agenda covers three sub sectors, health, education and empowerment.

“Being the former commissioner for health, I had a fair idea of the status of our health. When I left, I became the SSG but while still the SSG, I had my eyes on the health sector. Now that I became a governor, so I had a fair idea of what we intended to achieve.”

He further stated that his administration placed emphasis on “improving the primary healthcare, deal majorly with secondary healthcare and also lay some emphasis on tertiary healthcare.”

In dealing with the primary healthcare, focus was on killer diseases and maternal and children mortality

According to the governor, the two major challenges faced in the sector, at the grassroots level, are ignorance and poverty.

“A lot of our people do not take health as priority, so nobody keeps money in case you have a health challenge so that when the health challenge comes up, you see people running around for money. When they don’t have money, they easily resort to quacks.”

“We tried as much as possible to see how we can assist people at that level in dealing with their health issues by making sure that the cost of health at that level is not too much… That is why we had our free maternal healthcare services. that’s why we had our free under 5 healthcare service, a lot of immunization issues, a lot of our rural healthcare programme were free. That was also combined with education to deal with the issue of ignorance.”

He also spoke on tttempts made the government at encouraging Nigerians to patronise local hospitals for advanced health problems. In addressing issues of advanced health problems, “we needed to deal with infrastrusture, equipment and personnel to run those facilities,” he said.

“So far, we have tried to deal with the infrastructure in some of the hospitals” including 6 specialist hospitals.

“In the number of years that I’ve been the governor, we have tried to improve on the equipment in those hospitals and we are still dealing with the infrastructure.”

Asked about some abandoned projects, especially the Nkoyo Ibori Children’s Medical Centre located at Agbarho road, the governor explained that the centre “was built by the wife of my predecessor” and “was not a government project.”

“That was the pet project of Mrs Nkoyo Ibori which did not take off because the way the hospital was planned and its location affected its taking-off.

“It’s not a government hospital, it’s a private one but what we are trying to do as a state government is to take over the facility,” the governor stated, insisting that “I would not advise anybody to run it as a hospital because I don’t think it’s well located and the concept was not properly articulated.”

He highlighted challenges being faced in getting citizens in need of medical attention to visit the primary healthcare centres often instead of the tertiary hospitals.

“In those tertiary healthcare hospitals, you cannot prevent people generally going to them. So what you do in such places is to create a unit called the family healthcare unit as part of that tertiary hospital, where people go for first attendance in the hospital.”



Imoke Flags Off Construction Of Specialist Hospital

The Cross River State Government has flagged off the construction of a 105-bed Calabar Specialist Hospital which is billed for commissioning in March 2015.

Imoke disclosed that the project, which is located within Summit Hills, is in line with the state’s dream to provide world standard health care to the citizenry, in partnership with UCL Health Care Services.

Speaking at the event in Calabar, the state capital, Governor Imoke said the specialist hospital will not only transform the medical landscape of the state but will also ultimately enlarge the profile of healthcare delivery in the region and the country at large.

He also noted that the hospital will offer a comprehensive package of secondary, gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, internal medicine, general surgery, orthopaedics laboratory services and basic cardiology with plans to extend to oncology in the near future.

The cost of the hospital is N6.4 billion with the state government’s capital contribution set at N3.2 billion while the balance of the financial requirement will be sourced by UCL Health Care Services Limited, as its equity contribution to the Public Private Partnership (PPP).