Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said on Monday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited him at a Berlin hospital where he was treated after being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent.
“I am very grateful to Chancellor Merkel for visiting me at the hospital,” the anti-corruption campaigner wrote on Twitter following reports of the meeting in German media.
The 44-year-old Kremlin critic was discharged from Charite hospital in Berlin last week after receiving treatment over several weeks for exposure to Novichok.
He fell ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow in August in what his allies say was a state-sanctioned attack — labs in France, Germany and Sweden confirmed he had been poisoned.
German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that Merkel had visited Navalny in what it described as a “secret” meeting at Charite hospital that underscored the Chancellor’s personal commitment to Navalny’s case.
Navalny confirmed the meeting but argued the label “secret” was not accurate, saying: “Rather, a private meeting and conversation with the family.”
The Kremlin has denied allegations of involvement in the poisoning and accused Western leaders of launching a disinformation campaign over the opposition leader’s illness.
Russia insists medical tests carried out by doctors in Omsk found no poison in Navalny’s body. It says it lacks grounds for a criminal investigation, despite international calls for a transparent probe.
Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh has said the Kremlin critic plans to return to Russia but will remain in Germany until he has recovered.
Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, on Saturday announced her return from medical treatment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while calling for healthcare providers to improve the capacity of the country’s health sector and reduce foreign medical trips.
In a statement signed by her and obtained by Channels Television, the First Lady said healthcare providers should take advantage of the Federal Government’s N100bn credit support for the health sector in order to ramp up capacity.
Channels Television had earlier reported Mrs. Buhari’s exit from the country on August 8, although her office did not confirm the news at the time.
In her Saturday statement, Mrs Buhari thanked Nigerians for their prayers and well-wishes and also extended gratitude to the men and women of the Nigerian Airforce who facilitated her journey back to Nigeria.
READ MRS BUHARI’S FULL STATEMENT:
I want to use this opportunity to thank all Nigerians for their prayers and well wishes while I was away for medical treatment in the United Arabs Emirates (UAE). I am well now and fully recovered and had since returned back home, Nigeria.
On our way back, the Nigerian Airforce Flight encountered a violent clear air turbulence which was navigated safely and professionally by the Captain and crew of the Flight.
I want to commend and appreciate the courage and professionalism of the Captain and his crew, the wonderful gallant service men and women of the entire Nigerian Airforce for their dedication to duty and the quality of maintainance of its Fleet.
I recall hosting the private healthcare Providers earlier in the year and we had a very productive engagement where the issue of building the capacity of Nigeria health sector was the major focus, and funding was discovered to be the major challenge.
I therefore call on the healthcare providers to take the advantage of the Federal Government’s initiative through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guidelines for the operation of NGN100 Billion Credit Support for the Healthcare Sector as was released recently contained in a circular dated March 25, 2020 to the Commercial Banks. This will no doubt help in building and expanding the capacity of the Nigerian health sector and ultimately reduce medical trips and tourism outside the Country.
Once again, I thank our frontline workers, and all Nigerians for their steadfast as we navigate the challenges facing the entire world.
Aisha Muhammadu Buhari First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria August 22, 2020
The Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, has commenced the distribution of hospital equipment worth over 300 hundred million Naira to General Hospitals and Primary Health Care Centres across the state.
Engineer Sule flagged-off the distribution of the hospital equipment at a ceremony in Lafia, on Wednesday.
According to the Governor, the hospital equipment was procured through the Save One Million Lives Programme, a World Bank/Federal Government initiative, in collaboration with the state government, to tackle some of the challenges in the health sector especially maternal and child mortality.
He disclosed that the hospital equipment will be distributed across the three senatorial zones of the state, in order to expand access to essential quality health care delivery, especially for women and children.
Handing over the equipment to the State Hospitals Management Board, at a ceremony on Wednesday, Governor Sule said the initiative was a deliberate effort towards injecting a new life in the health sector considering the upsurge in the confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The Governor added that the state government would continue to support development partners to ensure quality health care service delivery.
State Commissioner for Health, Pharmacist Ahmed Baba Yahaya, in his remarks, pointed out that the distribution of the hospital equipment would go a long way in addressing the difficulties women and children especially in the rural areas past through to access medical attention.
The hospital equipment was made up of five units of 4D scanner machine, weighing scales, beds, mattresses and face masks among others.
Tragedy struck in Plateau State on Monday when gunmen attacked the General Hospital in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area.
Channels Television gathered that a private security guard on duty was shot dead during the attack, while three others were injured, including a staff of the hospital and a police officer.
Speaking to Channels Television, the President of Gashshi District Development Association, Francis Chong said it was strange and unimaginable that a health facility that accommodates all tribes and religions would be attacked without just cause.
“This is a novel attack which is not comprehensible at all; it is not yet clear what the motives of the attackers could attack a hospital where people of all shades of life converge for treatment,” he said.
Chong, however, noted that the two staff of the hospital are receiving treatment from the hospital in Barkin Ladi.
Meanwhile, the State Police Command is yet to comment on the incident involving the police officer.
Saudi Arabia’s 84-year-old ruler King Salman was admitted to hospital in Riyadh Monday for gall bladder inflammation, the royal court said, prompting the postponement of the Iraqi prime minister’s high-profile visit.
It is rare for Saudi Arabia to report on the health of the ageing monarch, who has ruled the top oil exporter and the Arab world’s biggest economy since 2015.
The king was “admitted today to King Faisal specialist hospital in Riyadh for some medical tests due to cholecystitis,” inflammation of the gall bladder, the royal court said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The announcement made around 4:30 am (0130 GMT) did not disclose any further details.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi’s scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia, which was due to start on Monday, has been postponed after the king’s hospitalisation, according to the Saudi foreign minister.
“In recognition of the extremely important visit and a desire to make it a success, our wise leadership in coordination with our brothers in Iraq have decided to postpone the visit” until the king leaves hospital, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan wrote on Twitter.
Hours before Kadhemi was to set off on his first trip abroad as premier, his office said they heard King Salman was suffering from “a sudden health issue”.
“It was decided to postpone the visit to the earliest possible date agreed upon by the two sides,” his office said in a statement.
Iraq’s oil, finance, electricity and planning ministers arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to begin meetings ahead of Kadhemi’s visit, Iraqi officials told AFP.
The delegation is set to return to Baghdad after the meetings wrap up on Monday afternoon.
Under the king’s rule, Saudi Arabia launched ambitious economic reforms for a post-oil era and gave more rights to women, but also adopted a more assertive foreign policy and entered a war in neighbouring Yemen.
King Salman took the throne after the death of his half-brother Abdullah, who was around 90 years old.
In 2017, Saudi Arabia dismissed reports and mounting speculation that the king was planning to abdicate in favour of his young son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is widely seen as the de facto ruler.
“There is no possibility whatsoever that the king will abdicate,” an unnamed Saudi official told Bloomberg News, adding that Saudi kings usually remain in power even when poor health prevents them from carrying out their responsibilities.
Prince Mohammed’s meteoric rise to power has coincided with a sweeping crackdown on critics and dissenters, as well as royal family members.
Saudi Arabia has been engulfed by a series of controversies since he was named crown prince and heir to the throne in June 2017.
That includes the brutal October 2018 murder of royal insider-turned-critic Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
Former Argentina president Carlos Menem was admitted to hospital again in the early hours of Thursday suffering from breathing difficulties, family sources told the local press.
It is only three days since Menem, who was president from 1989-99, was discharged after two weeks in hospital receiving treatment for a severe pneumonia.
He is in intensive care at the Los Arcos private clinic in the capital Buenos Aires.
The senator, who turned 90 on Thursday, was first taken to hospital on June 13 where he also received intensive care.
He was tested for coronavirus but that came back negative.
“We’ve reached 90 old man!!! I start this day paraphrasing you ‘We’re feeling bad but doing well.’ Today is your birthday, but God gave me the gift of having you on this day. I love you with my soul. Stay strong dad,” Menem’s daughter Zulema wrote on Twitter.
Since entering the Senate in 2005, Menem has kept a much lower profile than during his presidency when he pursued an aggressive privatization policy.
In a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Taraba State and enhance adequate treatment of victims, the state government has commissioned a 100-bed space treatment centre.
Located at the NYSC orientation camp Sibre, Ardo-Kola Local Government Area of the state, the treatment centre was provided by a commercial bank as part of its contributions to the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
According to a representative of the bank, the intervention was also aimed at lifting from the government, the huge burden of fighting the coronavirus alone.
Governor Ishaku, represented by his Deputy, Haruna Manu, also stated that the state is making plans to provide more treatment centres across the state.
A hospital in Portharcourt, the Rivers State capital, has resumed operations weeks after it shut down following its detection of a COVID-19 case.
This was disclosed in a statement issued on Monday by the medical Director Dr Martins Nde.
In the statement, the MD thanked God for the protection of all its staff and the opportunity to save lives despite the attendant risks associated with the services.
Recounting how it all started, Nde explained that on the 20th of April, 2020 a patient was admitted to the hospital with a normal body temperature of 36.7oc. The patient was said to have been diagnosed with signs, symptoms, and laboratory results consistent with resistant malaria and was later discharged on April 21, 2020.
According to Nde, it was later discovered that the state Ministry of Health and NCDC tested the said patient to be positive to COVID -19 on the 28th of April, 2020.
Thereafter, the hospital’s management responded to the development and compelled all staff who had come in contact with the said patient, to undergo medical protocols by submitting themselves for testing, and proceeding on a 14-day monitored self-isolation.
The MD has, however, stated that all staff have been confirmed to be negative to COVID-19 by the NCDC.
He also thanked the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and the NCDC, for their rapid decontamination of the hospital on the 29th of April, 2020, and for all measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Meanwhile, he has restated the commitment of the hospital to saving lives and providing efficient and effective professional medical services.
A former presidential aide, Dr Doyin Okupe, has appealed to the Muhammadu Buhari administration to correct the mistakes made by previous governments in the nation’s health sector.
Speaking during his appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast show – Sunrise Daily on Monday, he urged the Nigerian government to build at least one world-class hospital in the country to discourage medical trips abroad.
Okupe, who was once a Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, admitted that it was disheartening that the nation does not have such a standard facility since it gained independence in 1960.
“The mistakes of the past are daunting, they are perplexing, they are embarrassing that since 1960 to date, we cannot boast of one major centre in the whole country that makes it irrelevant for you to go abroad,” he stated.
A Great Lesson
The former presidential spokesman and his wife tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in April and were discharged from the treatment centre after they recovered fully.
Although he barely showed any symptoms before going into isolation, he revealed that he developed a fever days later.
Okupe, however, stressed the need for Nigeria to pay more attention to its health sector and take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to learn its lessons.
He believes the country has the resources to establish a standard hospital and a Nigerian was recently appointed as the head of the COVID-19 team in Sierra Leone.
“As a doctor, I can tell you for free that we have the expertise – both at home and away.
“There are thousands and thousands of very very highly qualified, competent professionals who are abroad in the US and everywhere, including Nigeria,” he said.
The medical doctor added, “The problem that we will run into, the shame that will overcome this country, is if we do not learn a great lesson from this.”
He insisted that the government must discourage the practice of seeking medical treatment abroad by its citizens.
According to Okupe, building a standard hospital that will not require any Nigerian to travel abroad for medical treatment is less than $150 million.
“That is just it – $150 million; if you multiply that by six, you are not even talking about $1 billion and we have been given $3.5 billion.
“If we just take one out of that and spend it to establish these things, then we would have learned a great lesson, and I believe that this government will do so,” he stated.
A Romanian maternity unit was being investigated on Tuesday after 10 newborns tested positive for the novel coronavirus, with the suspicion they contracted the virus from healthcare staff.
“The mothers tested negative, but the babies tested positive so we have to consider their contacts with medical staff,” Health Minister Nelu Tataru said in an interview with the Antena 3 TV station late on Monday.
The babies have no symptoms and all but one of them, together with their mothers, have gone into self-isolation at home.
Tataru pointed to the “failures in the activities of both maternity officials and the local public health directorate (DSP)” and promised severe measures if necessary.
The local DSP chief has already been dismissed.
“For the past two days I have felt like I am living in a horror film,” one of the mothers told the local pressalert.ro website.
“The staff were not wearing masks,” she said, adding that the mothers had heard on Wednesday through unofficial channels that there was a case of coronavirus in the hospital.
“On Thursday the hospital was disinfected with us inside,” she said.
The unit in the western Romanian city of Timisoara was briefly placed under quarantine on March 31 but was reopened the next day on the orders of the local DSP, which insisted at the time that there was “no risk of infection for patients or doctors” even though 13 members of staff had already tested positive.
The latest case adds to worries about how Romania’s system is coping with the epidemic.
Medical staff have spoken out in recent weeks over insufficient equipment for those on the frontline.
There are more than 4,400 confirmed cases in Romania so far and 180 people have died.
Around 700 of those infected are healthcare workers.
A Lagos High Court sitting in the Ikeja area has ordered government hospitals in the State to stop demanding compulsory blood donations from women seeking antenatal and maternity services.
Justice Raliat Adebiyi gave the order in a judgment delivered on Monday and restrained the state government hospitals from demanding blood donations from spouses and other relations of pregnant women seeking antenatal and maternity services.
A non-governmental organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had filed a fundamental rights suit to compel the respondents to stop the act.
SERAP, on its grounds for seeking reliefs, said it had received complaints from residents of Lagos about the compulsory blood donation policy of government hospitals.
The respondents to the suit are the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Lagos State Ministry of Health, and the Commissioner for Health, Lagos State.
In her judgment, Justice Adebiyi said, “The respondents’ contributions to child and maternal deaths stands to reason, although no data on the child and maternal mortalities recorded as a result of the policy was provided to the court.
“A policy that will deny citizens the right to medical care based on failure to donate blood is not only unconstitutional but unconscionable and adverse to the life and wellbeing of all citizens that access the respondents’ facilities.”
Justice Adebiyi declared that the action of the respondents in demanding compulsory blood donation from those seeking maternity services was “arbitrary, unfair and a violation of their human rights as enshrined in Section 38(1) of the 1999 Constitution.”
She held that the actions of the hospitals and facilities were violations of and a denial of the rights of the residents of Lagos to a system of health protection.
According to the judge, the health system is expected to provide equality of opportunity as guaranteed under Articles 2 (a), 3 and 12 (1) of the International Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.
She also declared that the actions of the Lagos government hospitals and health facilities were a denial of the right to life as guaranteed under Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution.
“The respondents are hereby ordered to forthwith immediately stop and discontinue the policy of insisting on compulsory blood donations from patients or relatives of those seeking medical care and attention before accessing antenatal, maternal or any health services in the facilities of the respondents,” Justice Adebiyi ruled.