Four Killed As Syrian Air Strikes Hit Hospitals


Regime airstrikes Thursday on an anti-government bastion in northwest Syria killed four civilians, two of them children, and hit three hospitals already damaged in previous raids, a monitor said.

A fifth person, another child, was killed in a separate air raid by regime ally Russia also in the Idlib region, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.

The Idlib region is supposed to be protected from a massive regime assault by a September buffer zone deal, but the area housing three million people have come under the increased regime and Russian fire since April.

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The region is administered by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, but other jihadist and opposition factions are also present.

“Regime warplanes again targeted three hospitals in the south of Idlib,” which had been hit and damaged in raids in previous weeks, the Observatory said.

There were no casualties in these raids on the village of Hass and the town of Kafr Nabl, it added.

Obeida Dandouch, who heads a rescue group in the area, said the strike in Kafr Nabl damaged a large part of what was still standing at the local hospital.

In May, Amnesty International accused the Syrian regime and Russia of launching “deliberate and systematic” assaults on hospitals in the northwest.

At least 25 hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or damaged by air strikes and shelling since the end of April, according to the United Nations.

Five rescuers were also killed in the last two weeks of June in an air strike on the Idlib region.

Thursday’s strikes killed four civilians, two of them children, in Kafr Nabl, Hass and the town of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib region, the Observatory said.

A Russian air strike near Al-Bara village killed a little girl and wounded several people, it added.

Syria’s war, which started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government demonstrations, has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions.


Yobe Govt Approves N679m To Equip Three Hospitals

Yobe Govt Approves N679m To Equip Three Hospitals
File photo

The Yobe State government has approved N679m for the supply and installation of state of the art medical equipment for three major hospitals.

The three hospitals, located in Potiskum, Gashua and Geidam, were recently upgraded and renewed to provide improved healthcare services for the downtrodden people of the state.

Commissioner of Home Affairs, Information and Culture, Mala Musti, told reporters on Thursday that the fund was approved at the State Executive Council meeting which held at the Government House in Damaturu, the state capital.

He said, “The state government had, in June 2016, spent N1.8 billion for the total rehabilitation and expansion of the three hospitals.

“Today, the council approved N679,380,000 for the supply, installation and user training of assorted medical equipment to the three hospitals”.

The approval, according to him, was in line with the resolve of Governor Ibrahim Gaidam’s administration to make quality healthcare services available and accessible throughout the state”

Musti added that N97,703,650 was also approved for the purchase of science laboratory equipment, tools and reagents amongst others for the five secondary schools that were also rehabilitated and expanded by the Gaidam administration.

He listed the schools to include; GSS Fika, GSS Yunusari, GSS Nangere, GSS Gwio-Kura and GGSS Nguru.

The commissioner explained that the laboratory equipment are intended to boost the study of science subjects such as mathematics, biology, physics and chemistry.

Earlier, Governor Gaidam said that his administration would continue to sponsor indigenes to study in higher institutions of learning both within and outside the country.

He made the promise when he received an award of excellence which was conferred on him by the National Union of Yobe State Students (NUYOSS) for his immense contribution to the development of education.

The governor reiterated the commitment of his administration to improving the sector through regular payment of scholarship allowances among other incentives encourage teaching and learning in the state.

Obiano Distributes N258.5m To Faith-Based Hospitals

Willie Obiano
File photo: Willie Obiano

Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano says his administration is committed to improving healthcare delivery across the state to provide affordable and accessible service for all.

In the light of this, the governor donated N258.5m to faith-based hospitals in the state as intervention funds to run proper healthcare system.

Presenting the cheques to the mission representatives on Tuesday at the Professor Dora Akunyili Women Development Center in Awka, he said the disbursement was part of efforts to support the mission as major players in the ongoing health revolution in the state.

Obiano also explained that the monies were distributed according to the number of hospitals owned by various denominations as the law gazettes, as well as their capacities as worked out in the state 2017 budget.

He said the development was aimed at structuring health approach in the state in three critical areas that include the provision of infrastructure, ensuring the comfort of patients as well as training and retraining of health workers.

On his part, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, disclosed that the government has introduced total health reforms that have guaranteed coordination and greater efficiency in the state’s health sector.

He noted that some major breakthroughs of the administration – which include the introduction of Universal Health Insurance Scheme; strengthening of the state primary healthcare system and the setting up of the State Integrated Emergency Management System – were helpful during the Ozubulu shooting incident.

The Special Adviser to the governor on Agriculture, Tourism, Training, Methodology and state Emergency, Amaechi Okwuosa, commended the governor for the fund distribution.

Okwuosa described Obiano as the most mission-friendly governor in Nigeria, saying the cordial relationship he has with the church was without bias.

The Roman Catholic Mission received a cheque of N159.5m, the Anglican got N84m while the Pentecostal mission received the sum of N15m.

Other faith-based hospitals that were not included in the disbursement were asked to forward their details for inclusion in the 2018 budget of the state.

Nigeria Is Committed To Tackling Climate Change – Min. Of Environment

Amina-Mohammed-Minister-of-environmentThe Nigerian government says concerted efforts are being harnessed among all major stakeholders to begin an expansive programme to protect and sustain the environment as intense talks continue globally on tackling and managing climate change successfully.

The Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed gave this indication during a 2-day facility tour of Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Jericho, Ibadan.

Mrs. Mohammed hinted that President Muhammadu Buhari is focused on investing heavily in research institutes across the length and breadth of Nigeria and FRIN is a critical partner to the country in environmental preservation and controlling the ills of climate change.

She said that the era of Federal Government just awarding contracts for various projects at research institutes is gone and replaced with sincere determination to ensure that the research facilities in Nigeria not only live up to expectation, but also provide jobs for the teeming youths of the country.

The Minister, who was led into the over four hours facility visits of various departments and sections of the agency by the Executive Director, FRIN, Dr Adeshola Adepoju, described the agency as an asset and a platform for evidence based research in Nigeria.

She noted climate change has eaten up some portions of the environment and research institutions like FRIN are needed to reclaim the environment.

The Minister said that the narrative among Nigerians on environmental protection must change with a carefully laid out plan to avoid wastage and turn existing ones to wealth.

She also assured Nigerians that the Buhari-led administration would end the era of plastic waste on Nigerian roads and open defecation, to safeguard the natural environment and as well provide job opportunities for the citizens.

“By 2019, we will end an area of plastic bags, pure water sachets and bottled water as waste on the streets. We’re not banning it because we cannot ban it, but getting the plastic companies to collect it, pay for it and we turn waste to wealth and they recycle it.

“The government plans to end open defecation in public places by 2019 through partnership with the private sector and erect toilets in public places like motor parks, markets, hospitals,and schools.”

She further reiterated the need to restore dignity in peoples’ lives and at the same time help provide jobs with the private sector and change the perception of the people with safety practices.

Lagos State Bans Public Smoking

The Lagos State House of Assembly in South-West  Nigeria on Monday passed a bill to prohibit smoking in designated places and vehicles in the state.

The bill which was sponsored by Gbolahan Yishawu, the lawmaker representing Eti-Osa Constituency 2 at the House, places a fine of N10, 000 or 3 months imprisonment, or both for first offenders.

The law prohibits residents of the state from smoking in public places such as schools, day-care centres, libraries, museums, hospitals, public transportation, restaurants, public toilets among others.

The law, which passed its third reading on Monday, also mandates owners of public places to place signs with the inscription; ‘No Smoking’ or symbols as part of enlightenment for smokers and would-be violators of the law.

Section 4 of the bill also states that “it shall be the duty of owners or occupiers of public places to ensure that approved signs are displayed conspicuously at each entrance, and in prominent locations throughout the premises.

The law also mandates such owners of public places to create areas far from the vicinity where people could smoke. Non-compliance by owners of public places, according to the law shall attract a fine of 100, 000 Naira or 6 months imprisonment, or other non-custodial punishment that the judge may deem fit.

In the case of a corporate organisation’s refusal to place a ‘No Smoking’ sign or symbol within its premises, any personnel in the management of the corporate body would be liable to a fine in the sum of 250, 000 Naira upon conviction. This may be a director or manager in the organisation.

According to the bill, anyone who repeatedly violates the provisions of the law, on conviction shall be liable to a fine of 50, 000 Naira or 6 months imprisonment or both. While anyone who smokes in the presence of a child shall be liable on conviction to a fine of 15, 000 Naira or 1 month imprisonment.

The law gives the state Environmental Protection Agency the powers to implement it while residents are allowed to report to the state Ministry of the Environment, any grievances against state officials who are saddled with the implementation of the law. It is however, an offence to obstruct duly authorized officers from carrying out their duties under the provision of this law.

More places may be designated by commissioners of the state, as non-smoking areas for the sake of effective implementation of the law.

Section 12 of the 16-section law that has been passed to the state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, for assent

Fewer Blood Pressure Screens May Be More Effective

Less may be more when it comes to blood pressure checks, according to a new study.

After analyzing five years’ worth of data for more than 400 patients, researchers conclude that the current practice of screening at every visit to the doctor’s office – up to several times a year – may result in more people mistakenly diagnosed and unnecessarily treated for high blood pressure than would simple yearly screening.

Blood pressure measurements are often taken without following proper procedure, according to lead study author Dr. Gregory Garrison, so the readings can be widely inaccurate and lead to some people being wrongly diagnosed with hypertension, while others who have the condition are written off as just “more false positives.”

“One, it results in unnecessary patient anxiety, repeated clinic visits, and laboratory testing,” Garrison, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told Reuters Health by email. “Two, it often lulls physicians into writing off a positive result because so few are confirmed.”

Garrison and his colleagues found that taking fewer readings, while still sometimes inaccurate, would weed out almost half of the false positives.

The researchers looked at Mayo Clinic records for 68 patients diagnosed with high blood pressure and 372 patients without high blood pressure. Based on the readings from every doctor’s visit, all 68 high blood pressure cases were identified, but 110 people without high blood pressure would also potentially have been wrongly diagnosed because of a stray high measurement.

When the researchers analyzed the same data but only considered one measurement per patient per year, they identified 63 of the patients with high blood pressure – at or before the original date of their actual diagnosis – and got 67 false positives, according to the results published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

An office blood pressure measurement can be inaccurate if it is not performed with the patient seated, arm supported, after a five-minute period of rest. Otherwise, blood pressure can rise temporarily for a variety of reasons, including the mild stress of being tested by a doctor, known as the “white coat effect.”

“Blood pressure technique is not good at all, and does overestimate a lot of the time,” said Dr. William Cushman, chief of the Preventive Medicine section at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

But he disagrees with the Mayo team’s conclusion. Overestimation results in unnecessary expense and anxiety, but doesn’t usually harm the patient, said Cushman, who was not involved in the new study.

If less frequent testing fails to identify a few positive cases, that could be a bigger problem, he told Reuters Health.

In the study, annual testing failed to identify five of the 68 cases of hypertension, or a little over seven percent, which was not statistically significant in that case. But it could become significant when applied to a larger population, according to Cushman.

“In populations, we don’t want to miss ten percent of people,” Cushman said.

High risk patients with high blood pressure can start to see the benefits of treatment after six months or a year, so waiting twelve months between tests could have consequences for some, he added.

For most people, hypertension is a slow moving disease, and a diagnosis delayed by a few months or a year is unlikely to have noticeable negative consequences, according to Garrison.

“However, we have a number of patients, perhaps as many as 30 percent, who have hypertension for years without diagnosis and proper treatment,” Garrison said. “This can result in heart disease, kidney disease, and many other complications.”

These people can have elevated readings for years that go unnoticed or undiagnosed because they are written off as false positives and attributed to pain, infection or some other cause, he explains.

Measuring blood pressure less often and taking each reading more seriously could help catch some of those undiagnosed cases, Garrison believes.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed advisory body, recommends blood pressure screening once every two years for people at low risk for the condition and once yearly for those at high risk.

Doctors continue to test at every visit partly because patients expect it, Cushman said, and partly because there are generally no organized efforts to ensure patients and doctors remember to screen every year or two.

Before doctors can start screening less, that kind of system of reminders needs to be in place to ensure no patient falls through the cracks, Cushman said.

Getting blood pressure taken is very important,” he added. “If an adult has not had their blood pressure taken in a year, or they don’t know what it was, then they should get it taken fairly soon, or ask for it,” he said.

SOURCE: Annals of Family Medicine, March/April 2013.

Ipads used in the hospitals

Ipads are increasingly finding its use in the medical  and health field, with applications ranging from giving individuals instant access to a wealth of reference.

Educational and personal health information, to helping hospitals streamline their operations, reduce labor costs, improve efficiency, and helping health professionals with analysis and diagnosis.

For some doctors, the use of ipads can also be used to get fast access to information on the internet instead of caring your laptop all around.

For some hospitals, they have installed kiosks where patients, visitors and medical staff use the securely mounted touchscreen tablet to look up information.

iPads in Medical Education

At first it was just a tool that students use, now schools are now switching to ipads as a main platform for delivering the curriculum.

According to some medical students they say its cost effective for them and improves on their learning skills.
It also helps most students that travel a lot instead of carrying copies of paper, they can carry their Ipads.