Health Minister Says $400m Polio Donor Funds Not Stolen

Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewale on polio donor fundsThe Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has denied reports that a $400 million donor funds meant to eradicate polio in Nigeria was stolen.

Professor Adewole dismissed the reports at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Health Services.

It was held to consider ways of revitalising the Primary Healthcare System and avert health crisis in Nigeria.

The public hearing was the opening of the ceremony that will hold for two days.

Addressing the lawmakers, the minister pointed out steps that must be taken to reverse the situation in the country’s health sector, emphasising the need for more funding.

The Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Chike Okafor, asked the executives to implement the National Health Act and ensure the funding of basic health care.

On his part, the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, of the House and Chairman of the Committee said there was an urgent need to address the nations’ health situation.

Other members of the House Committee on Health Services, the wife of the Senate President, and other operators in the sector were present for the event.

It is expected that the forum would not only come up with practical and workable ways of enhancing the country’s Primary Healthcare System but will make sure it becomes a reality.

Newborn Health: FG Launches Action Plan Against Pneumonia

Nigerian Government Launches Action Plan Against PneumoniaThe Nigerian government has launched a new policy guideline for the prevention of stillbirths and pneumonia among newborns by the year 2030.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, at a conference to launch the guideline in Abuja, stated that annually, pneumonia and premature births accounts for about 15 million deaths of children under five years.

He regretted that Nigeria is the third largest contributor to that global statistics but stated government’s readiness to change the narratives by the year 2030.

He said: “Federal Ministry of Health is proud to launch three policy documents relating to new born health. These are ‘essential-new born action plan’, ‘care training package’ and the ‘national scale up strategy’ document.

“The action plan shows government’s commitment to end preventable new born deaths and still-births by 2030.”

Statistics at the federal ministry of health reveals that an estimated 871,000 premature babies are born annually in Nigeria.

It also shows that preterm births and pneumonia contribute significantly to Nigeria’s burden of child mortality rate which is 37 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013.

The Programme Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Joseph Monehin called for an urgent action to tackle the problem.

“We know for a fact the impact of malaria as a contributor of infant mortality is reducing but it is not the same for pneumonia. We know that pneumonia continues to be a big contributor to infant mortality in Nigeria and we must redouble our efforts,” he said.

Meanwhile the World Health Organization’s national coordinator for neonatal program advised government to walk its talk.

“We welcome any innovation that will deal with pneumonia in children as well as complications on prematurity. We are very happy to be here and we support all efforts to end pneumonia and the complications.

“So it is a great day for us. We pray that what we say here, we will be able to implement in the different levels of our health care, not that it would just end here.

The new policy guide recommends among others, exclusive breast feeding, proper hygiene and routine immunization for the reduction of child mortality rate in Nigeria.

Nigerian Government Unveils New National Health Policy

Nigerian Government Unveils New National Health PolicyA new national health policy has been approved by the National Council On Health and is expected to be sent to Federal Executive Council for approval.

According to the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, the policy captures the essentials of ensuring the reduction of maternal and child mortality, wider immunization coverage and better control and prevention of public health emergencies.

Briefing journalists in Lagos, Prof. Adewole explained that a new strategy to address the surgical need of indigent Nigerians is now being implemented under the rapid result initiative.

“There are so many poor Nigerians all over the place with surgical ailments and nobody is looking after them and we therefore conceived the idea of the rapid result initiative.

“We selected 10,000 of them to start with this year. So, 10,000 free surgeries for poor Nigerians. The only qualification is that you must be poor,” he said.

He further explained that 46 federal tertiary health institutions have been identified to handle the scheme by screening the applicants and performing the surgeries.


Nigeria To Give Preference To Local Drug Manufacturers Federal government of Nigeria says it will give special preference to the local manufacturing of essential pharmaceutical products to ensure affordable and accessible health care facilities.

The Vice President, Professor Yomi Osinbajo, gave the assurance on Tuesday at the opening of the 89th Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) held in Minna, said they must resist counterfeit and sub-standard in the efforts to ensure patronage by Nigerians.

He stated that the government was not unaware of the challenges confronting the industry but assured that efforts are on to remove the barriers and ensure competition of the variety products.

Represented by the Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole, who emphasised the vital roles played by the Pharmacists in Nigeria, taking cognisance of our population while he applauded them of their selfless service to the people both in public and private sector.

He further said that the government was making efforts to ensure stable and sustainable economic development and reduce dependence on oil and shift attention to other sectors of the economy.

The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, in his speech called for greater priority to be given to quality, affordability, accessibility of healthcare in Nigeria and increase funding to ensure provision of health facilities and services.

The Governor was represented by the Niger State Speaker of the State Assembly, Honourable Ahmed Marafa. he says the state will partner with the PSN to ensure affordable healthcare facilities in the state.

He also urged them to intensify efforts in curbing sub-standard pharmaceutical drugs.

The National President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mr Ahmed Yakasai, in his speech stressed the need to be result oriented and update their professional experience and knowledge.

Mr Yakasai informed the gathering that a new approach of ‘Pharma Cyntricism’ had been embraced, considering the economic recession in Nigeria, expressing optimism that it would push social and economic development.

He disclosed that PSN had so far assisted the IDPs in Bornu State with free pharmaceutical drugs worth 50 million Naira. He said such assistance would be sustained.

Many Pharmacists and friends of PSN received awards from the association during the event and witnessed exhibition of various pharmaceutical drugs to mark the ceremony held in Minna, the capital of Niger State.

UNICEF Frees 876 Children Held For Possible Boko Haram Ties

UNICEF, Boko HaramThe United Nations says that it has negotiated the release of nearly 900 children detained by the Nigerian Army and other security forces after they reclaimed territories seized by Boko Haram militants.

According to UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa region, Mr Manuel Fontaine, the 876 children had been held in the barracks in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

Mr Fontaine added that there is a possibility that more children are still being temporarily detained because they were taken from Boko Haram areas.

Although there has been no immediate reaction from the Army, the military have in the past insisted that they need to question civilians to establish whether they have any ties with the Boko Haram sect, which has been trying for seven years to set up an Islamic state.

Labour Gives FG 21 Days To Resolve FMC Owerri Crisis

FMC Owerri, LabourThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have given the Federal Government of Nigeria a 21-day ultimatum to resolve the industrial crisis at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owerri.

The ultimatum is contained in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole.

The unions asked the government to summon the Chief Medical Director of FMC Oweri, Mrs Angela Uwakwem, to answer the cases she has with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

They claimed that her return to the hospital at a time she was being prosecuted by the EFCC was a violation of the civil service rule.

Reacting to the allegation, the Mrs Uwakwem stated that her accusers cannot be the judges in their own case.

The Federal Government had earlier announced her reinstatement as the substantive Medical Director of FMC Owerri, after about 10 months of stepping aside.

The directive for the recall was contained in a statement issued by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

The government insisted that it has not found Uwakwem guilty of the allegations levelled against her.

The development consequently triggered series of protest by health workers and labour unions at the health institution in Imo State, southeast Nigeria.

The workers vowed not to return to work until their demand was met.

UNICEF Urges Nigeria To Strengthen Primary Health Care System

UNICEF, Northeast Nigeria, World Polio DayThe United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF is urging Nigeria to strengthen its primary health care system in other to curb the spread of wild polio virus in the north east to other parts of the country.

The Chief of Health for UNICEF in Nigeria, Mr John Agbor made the appeal at a news conference in Abuja to mark the 2016 World Polio Day.

He explained that this has become important to enable Nigeria consolidate the little gains already made in its effort to put an end to the virus.

Nigeria’s polio-free certification suffered a major setback in August 2016, when four new cases of wild polio virus were reported in the north east.

The federal government immediately launched an emergency response team to curtail the spread of the virus.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole said that the government has already spent over eight billion naira on immunization of children against the polio virus.

Asides efforts made in the past, he restated the government’s commitment to eradicating polio in Nigeria.

At a separate press conference, the Chairman of the Senate Committee On Primary Health Care, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa called on the executive to strengthen the routine immunization of children under age five.

Over 30 million children have been vaccinated in Nigeria against polio in the three rounds of emergency response to the recent outbreak.

FG Approves 5.5 Billion Naira For Healthcare In Northeast

northeast, primary healthcare, inadequate facilities, challengesThe Federal Government through the Ministry of Health has approved the sum of 5.5 billion naira to Borno and four other states in the northeast for the implementation of its ‘Saving One Million Lives’ initiative.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, stated this in a meeting with health officials from Adamawa, Taraba, Borno, Bauchi and Gombe states at the strategy planning meeting to prepare grounds for the implementation of the initiative.

The programme, which targets one million vulnerable Nigerians, is designed to improve access to primary healthcare and decrease maternal mortality and morbidity.

The ‘Saving One Million Lives’ programme is an elaborate scheme to expand access to essential primary healthcare services for women and children, launched by Nigeria’s ex-president, Dr. GoodLuck Jonathan, in 2015.

The Minister of Health said that the ‘Saving One Million Lives’ scheme will be used to evaluate the performance of the health sector in each of the states.

According to the Minister, the Federal Government would also provide drugs worth 1.2 billion naira to Borno State while the Presidential Task Force addresses urgent issues relating to health, environment and water.

Each component of the initiative the Minister said has the budget of 4.3 billion naira which has already been approved.

The Minister, however, emphasized the need to utilize the resources on intended purpose as agreed upon in the meeting, threatening that any state that falls below the expected performance will not benefit from subsequent disbursements.

University Of Ibadan Explores Solar Power Energy

Solar power in University of IbadanThe University of Ibadan (U.I.) may soon get off the national power grid and move on to solar energy, as the institution’s 10 megawatts solar power plant comes on stream.

Located within an extension campus of the institution in Oyo State, south-west Nigeria, the initiative, which is a Nigerian-German energy partnership project, is expected to supply energy to the university and its environs.

It will also serve as a research hub for engineers and also last for at least 25 years.

Save Huge Expenditure

The clean energy initiative, located in Ajibode community, has been in the works for over two years between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Republic of Germany.

Senior officials from both countries were at the location on Friday to witness the launch of the 10 megawatts solar power plant for the University of Ibadan.

The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Abel Olayinka, is optimistic that the project will impact greatly on the curriculum of the engineering students and also save huge expenditure on diesel generators.

On the other hand, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who initiated the programme when he was the Vice Chancellor of the institution, hopes the initiative will be replicated in other teaching hospitals.

The solar power plant, which would be completely assembled in six months, will be a solution to the poor power supply in the institution and its environ when completed.

Nigeria’s Health Council To Approve National Health Policy

Nigeria To Approve National Health PolicyThe National Council on Health is considering for approval, the National Health Policy 2016 towards a successful implementation of the recently enacted National Health Act 2014 and the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said that the focus was to ensure speedy approval of the policy towards strategic inclusion in the 2017 budget for effective implementation.

He explained that its development became necessary following the trend of global health epidemics such as the Ebola virus and Nigeria’s continued need to attain a universal health coverage and accessible healthcare.

The National Health Policy, when approved, will mandate the revamping and construction of primary healthcare centres in each of the 10,000 political wards in the count
ry over the next three years.

This will give up to 100 million Nigerians access to basic and affordable health care services.

This National Health Policy 2016 under consideration by the National Health Council in Abuja, would be the third health policy to be developed and implemented in Nigeria after 1988 and 2004.

Intense deliberations are expected over issues such as the development of the second national strategic health development plan and the role of states in the operationalization of the National Heath Act.


El-Rufai Seeks Extension Of Health Insurance To Informal Sector

el-Rufai on health insurance scheme to end maternal mortality The Nigerian government has been advised to extend the national health insurance coverage to the informal sector and poor people in rural communities.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who gave the advice, believes that the extension will lower the rate of maternal and child mortality.

He explained that a partnership should be established between the Federal and State Governments.

The Governor was speaking in Kaduna on Thursday during the north-west zonal launching of ‘Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results’ organised by the Federal Ministry of Health.

Unacceptably High

Governor El-Rufai warned that if drastic interventions were not put in place to save the lives of pregnant women and children across Nigeria, the maternal and infant mortality rate would go higher.

Maternal deaths in Nigeria have been described in many quarters as unacceptably high.

Presently, Nigeria accounts for 14 per cent of maternal deaths in the world, a figure experts say is totally unacceptable if the country must make any meaningful progress.

Delivering his keynote address at the occasion, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, explained that the programme was being funded from a $500 million credit that had been negotiated by the Federal Government with World Bank.

Professor Adewole stated that the fund was being disbursed to the states as an intervention in key areas such as maternal, new born and child health, improving child nutrition, immunisation, malaria control and the elimination of mother to child HIV transmission.

He said that the programme would be implemented by the States’ Ministries of Health based on an agreed plan of action.

Stakeholders at the meeting including the host Governor and Commissioner for Health in Jigawa State, Abbah Umar, highlighted some of the commitment by the state governments towards achieving the lowest minimum rate of maternal and child mortality in the rural areas.

The ‘Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results’ initiative is a Federal Government–led intervention effort focused at improving maternal and child health through a result based partnership with States’ Ministries of health.

Health Minister Blames Insecurity For Resurgence Of Polio

Isaac Adewole, Polio, BornoNigeria’s Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole on Wednesday attributed the resurgence of wild polio virus in the country to insecurity in the North East.

Nigeria’s hope for a polio free certification in 2017 by the World Health Organization, suffered a major setback as two new cases of wild polio virus were discovered in Borno State last week.

The Health Minister at a press conference in Abuja says the resurgence of polio was never as a result of government’s complacency as adequate funding was provided for immunization of children.

According to him, insecurity in the North East made it impossible for health workers to access some villages in Jere and Gwoza Local Government Areas of Borno State, where the recent cases were discovered.

He, however, outlined governments immediate response to the outbreak which include disbursement of funds meant for immunization in the 2016 budget.

An emergency team has been constituted to check the recent outbreak.

Professor Adewole said children in the affected LGAs would be given three rounds of immunisation to contain the situation.

He added that international organisations have also expressed their willingness to help check the spread of polio to other parts of the states.