Senate Expresses Fear Over Upsurge In Cancer Cases

Cancer CasesThe Nigerian Senate has raised alarm over the upsurge of cancer cases recorded in the country.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Lanre Tejuoso, made the observation on Monday at a public hearing on the National Centre for Cancer Research and Treatment Bill.

He expressed worry over the high rate of cancer cases that have been recorded and the number of lives lost in the country.

Senator Tejuoso explained that Nigeria has recorded more than two million cases of cancer annually, lamenting that about 100,000 to 500,000 new cases are being registered every year.

He added that the proposed bill seeks to provide for the establishment of the National Centre for Cancer Research and Treatment for in-depth research into cancer and its treatment for the benefit of Nigerians.

The House of Representatives had in November 2015, voiced its concern over the increasing cases of cancer in Nigeria and the inadequate equipment for screening and treating the disease.

Having noted that approximately 100 per 100,000 Nigerians die from cancer yearly, the House, at the time, urged the Ministry of Health to review the National Health Insurance Scheme and integrate cancer treatment.

FG Launches Public Health Emergencies Call Centres

lassa fever Public healthThe Federal Government has launched a Public call centre at Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to take care of all Public Health emergencies.

Launching the call centre on Thursday, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, reiterated the determination of the present administration to provide access to health care information that will keep diseases away from Nigeria.

In a statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Boade Akinola, the Minister urged Nigerians to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the centre to help the government prevent diseases, especially the current Lassa fever outbreak.

The Minister called on citizens, who have symptoms of Lassa fever, to call any of the 10 numbers 097000010 to 19 from anywhere in the country for direction to the appropriate state Epidemiologist or the nearest health facility.

The Minister also said, where possible, patients could be picked-up from their locations and taken to the nearest health facility.

He assured the public that anyone that would use the call facility would certainly receive help.

Do Not See Lassa Fever Outbreak As Failure – Minister

LassaThe Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has appealed to health practitioners across the country not to see the outbreak of the Lassa fever as a failure.

Speaking on Monday during a telephone interview on Sunrise Daily, the Minister said that some states could not report the outbreak because they considered it to be a sign of failure.

“Some people will want to consider it as a sign of failure.

“I will tell you in Oyo State, we had a case of denial, (but) when I met the Governor (Abiola Ajimobi), he was angry that he would not want anybody to deny the existence of the case of Lassa fever in Oyo State but that we should forward to him, a proposal for active case fight and prevention across the state.”

Professor Adewole commended Governor Ajimobi’s action in curbing the spread of the disease, recommending that citizens should not hide cases away from health authorities.

He revealed that health authorities had uncovered five cases which were not reported in Ebonyi State and warned against a recurrence of such.

“I think at professional level, people must just admit that an outbreak should not be considered as a fault in the system but as something to be reported and actively to be presented,” he said.

The Minister said that the Ministry of Health is in touch with all Commissioners of Health in the country, stressing that they would be meeting on Tuesday under the auspices of the National Council on Health.

He disclosed that the ministry had, and would still dispatch surveillance teams across the country to keep down the figures of recorded cases.

“We have also dispatched drugs to the state and we are reactivating all our treatment and diagnostic centres in a bid to ensure that we are able to make diagnosis promptly.

“We are also sending teams all over the states to ensure that we uncover cases that hitherto, were not reported.”

Prof. Adewole also explained how the ministry planned to tackle situations in communities where the Lassa fever victims are not able to make it to the hospital.

“What we will activate will be community surveillance, where we have a functional community surveillance, we will get to know right from the community level,” he explained.

The Minister encouraged Nigerian media organisations to emulate Channels Television’s promotion of improved awareness to alert the public on the spread of the disease and urged other state governments to also emulate Lagos State government’s response to the outbreak.

“We also want to appreciate Lagos State that has activated the entire spectrum of prevention and control activities ranging from alert, adequate detection as well as treatment.

“Let me also say that even Channels Television should be commended. You have actively promoted a culture of improved awareness with respect to Lassa fever,” he said.

Lassa Fever: Doctors Blame Negligence For Spread

Lassa feverMedical practitioners at the Lassa Fever Research Centre at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, have said that Lassa fever has been spreading in the country because authorities have not given the disease the attention it requires.

According to doctors at the institute, although Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria, it has largely been ignored.

“Since 1969, Lassa fever became known as a clinical entity and now we are in 2016 many people are still not aware, the drugs are still largely unavailable, and vaccines are not available unlike other diseases that have had serious attention,” one of the doctors said.

Asides highlighting funding as a big challenge, the officials who conducted Channels Television round the foremost and only Lassa fever research institute in the country have asked the government to set up more diagnostic centres across the country.

“Since 2007, we have been making a case repeatedly for the establishment of centres of this nature in the other geopolitical zones or health zones in the country because Nigeria is a vast country.

“You don’t want a situation where patients with viral haemorrhagic fevers – Lassa fever are managed in ordinary wards and facilities. You want dedicated facilities for them.

“As we speak, sadly, I am not aware that these centre have attained any stage for replication elsewhere in the country,” said Professor George Akpede.

The idea for the Lassa Fever Research Centre in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital was born after a family in Ekpoma, also in Edo State was almost wiped out by the disease.

The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Sylvannus Okogbenin, said that the disease was endemic in Ekpoma and many other communities in Edo State.

“We think it is endemic in Ekpoma. It may also be endemic in many other communities in Nigeria but if there is no index of suspicion or if tests have not been done in that community, you may not know what is causing the fevers and the deaths,” he said.

Since November 2015, 19 positive cases have been confirmed at the laboratory in the research centre.

The Edo State government has confirmed that one person has died from Lassa fever disease.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Heregie Aihanuwa, said that the dead person was among the five persons that were brought to the Irrua Specialist Hospital for showing symptoms of Lassa fever disease.

Lassa Fever Leaves One Person Dead In Edo

lassa feverThe Edo State government has confirmed that one person has died from Lassa fever disease.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Heregie Aihanuwa, said that the dead person was among the five persons that were brought to the Irrua Specialist Hospital for showing symptoms of Lassa fever disease.

Dr. Aihanuwa explained that three out of the six infected persons were treated and discharged, adding that the deceased victim did not report her sickness early enough.

According to the commissioner, all cases of Lassa fever are treated in isolation wards in specialized centres such as institute of Lassa fever research and control at the Irrua Specialist Hospital.

Doctors Blame Negligence For Spread

Meanwhile, medical practitioners at the Lassa Fever Research Centre at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital have said that disease has been spreading in the country because authorities have not given the disease the attention it requires.

Asides highlighting funding as a big challenge, the officials who conducted Channels Television round the foremost and only Lassa fever research institute in the country are asking the government to set up more diagnostic centres across the country.

“Since 2007, we have been making a case repeatedly for the establishment of centres of this nature in the other geopolitical zones or health zones in the country because Nigeria is a vast country.

“As we speak, sadly, I am not aware that these centre have attained any stage for replication elsewhere in the country,” said Professor George Akpede.

Lassa Fever: Kaduna Govt. Enlightens Residents On Personal, Environmental Hygiene

lassa feverThe Kaduna State Government says it has stepped up its surveillance system to prevent Lassa fever outbreak in the state.

The Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Dr Paul Dogo, who announced this while briefing reporters, claimed that the state government has trained its health workers in all the 23 local governments on how to identify and report any suspected case of Lassa fever.

He said that the state government has also procured necessary equipment to help in early detection of the disease, as well as designated a facility to be used as an isolation centre should any case be recorded.

Dr Dogo advised residents to avoid contact with rats and observe good personal and environmental hygiene to prevent the spread of Lassa fever. He also admonished them to dispose their waste properly and clean the environment so that rats would not be attracted.

The Permanent Secretary also explained some of the early symptoms of the disease which occur within three weeks of coming in contact with the virus. They include fever, headache, chills, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains.

He urged the public to report any case of the symptoms to the nearest health centre.

There have been reported cases of Lassa fever outbreak in some states such as Taraba, Niger, Nassarawa, Bauchi, Kano, Rivers and Edo, leaving some people dead and others hospitalised.

Fire Guts Doctors Quarters At Braithwaite Memorial Hospital PH

Doctors QuartersThe management and staff of Braithwaite Memorial Hospital in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital have expressed concern over the fire incident that occurred at the doctors quarters on Monday.

The fire which started at about 3pm damaged the top floor of the 2-storey building.

Although the cause of the fire outbreak remains unknown, the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has assured the management of the hospital of the state government’s intention to rebuild the affected quarters.

A panel of inquiry has also been set up by the Ministry of Health to ascertain the cause of the incident.

Eyewitnesses said that no life was lost in the inferno but property worth thousands of naira were destroyed.

400 Diabetes Cases Managed In Ondo – Health Commissioner

DiabetesThe Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju, says 400 cases of diabetes have been managed well in the last one year.

Dr. Adeyanju said this while fielding questions from reporters at a sensitisation lecture to mark the 2015 World Diabetes Day.

He disclosed that over 2,500 diabetes patients had been screened in Ondo State, southwest Nigeria.

Adeyanju said that the lecture was aimed at creating awareness for members of the public, especially diabetic patients, stressing that the disease was not a death sentence.

He explained that one could live with the disease without complications if they comply with the instructions given to them by health professionals.

The lecture, which was tagged ‘Healthy Living and Diabetes’, was organised by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ondo State chapter of the Diabetes Association of Nigeria.

Increasing Cases Of Cancer Worry Nigerian Lawmakers

House of Representatives Nigeria cancerThe House of Representatives has voiced its concern over the increasing cases of cancer in Nigeria and the inadequate equipment for screening and treating the disease.

The sponsor of the motion, Mr Muhammad Usman noted that approximately 100 per 100,000 Nigerians die from cancer yearly.

Following a short debate in which members supported the motion, the House resolved that the National Cancer Control Programme should be transformed into an agency.

The House also urged the Ministry of Health to review the National Health Insurance Scheme and integrate cancer treatment.

Kaduna State To Get 225 Health Centres

Health workers-health centresThe Kaduna State Government has embarked on the construction and equipping of primary health centres in each of its 255 wards to boost healthcare service delivery.       

The State’s Commissioner for Health, Professor Jonathan Nok, told reporters at the 11th Kaduna State Council on Health meeting in the capital that the construction of primary health centres were part of plans to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

Professor Nok said that the provision would also strengthen routine immunisation of children in the state, especially in the rural communities.

He also explained that free medical services for pregnant women and children below five years had been strengthened, to achieve the desired result.

The meeting had in attendance health workers from the 23 Local Government Areas in the state, stakeholders in the sector, representatives of World Health Organisation (UNICEF) and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) among others.

“The present administration in Kaduna State recognises health as an important public good, and has also identified it as one of the priority areas,” the Commissioner stated.

Some stakeholders in the health sector were of the view that maternal health had remarkably improved in the state, compared to what the situation was some years ago when many maternal deaths were recorded.

According statistics obtained from the state Ministry of Health, Kaduna State records about 100,000 avoidable deaths annually, due to poor health care services.

WHO De-lists Nigeria From Polio Endemic Countries

PolioThe World Health Organisation has removed Nigeria from the list of polio endemic countries.


The Regional Director of W.H.O, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who is in Nigeria, broke the news to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja on Monday.

He urged the Nigerian government to sustain the efforts ahead of the 2017 target when Nigeria is expected to be declared polio-free.

Dr Moeti, who had been earlier received by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Linus Awute, along with the W.H.O delegation, also warned against complacency already displayed in some states in their efforts toward eradicating polio and other communicable diseases.

President Muhamadu Buhari expressed his satisfaction on the current polio status and vowed to maintain the status in order to meet up with the 2017 target.

Nigeria has successfully interrupted polio transmission in the last 14 months.

If the records are sustained till 2017, Nigeria will be completely certified as a polio-free country.

Three years without cases are required before a country can be declared polio-free.

The de-listing of Nigeria means that there are just two endemic countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan – where transmission of the paralysing virus has never been interrupted.

Polio is spread by poor sanitation and contaminated water which usually affects children.

The virus attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis – usually of the legs – within hours.

In September when the news of Nigeria’s de-listing broke, President Buhari called for continued vigilance to ensure that Nigeria maintains this new status.

He directed all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies involved in the Polio eradication effort, to remain proactively engaged and on guard against the re-emergence of the virus in Nigeria.

He assured the WHO and the global community that the Federal Government would ensure that immunisation and surveillance activities continue across Nigeria, to keep the country Polio-free.

Health Ministry Dismisses Calabar Ebola Outbreak Rumour

EbolaThe Federal Ministry of Health has dismissed reports of the resurgence of Ebola in Calabar, Cross River State, as a mere rumour.

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Mr Linus Awute, told journalists in Abuja that the story which has been making the rounds since Wednesday was a case of an undergraduate student of the University of Calabar who fell ill and was admitted into the university’s teaching hospital.

According to him, although the patient who died seven hours after admission, had symptoms similar to that of the Ebola virus, results from tests already conducted proved negative.

He, however, told the journalists that further test on the blood samples of the deceased was being carried out at the Redeemers University laboratory to identify the nature of the disease that killed the student.