A four-month-old baby who had been battling the COVID-19 in Kaduna State has recovered.
The state Ministry of Health confirmed this on Saturday, noting that the baby has been discharged from the isolation center after testing negative for the virus.
Giving an update on the situation in the state the Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Baloni, said there were still 76 active cases, as of Friday, May 29.
She also said that 149 out of the total number of 232 COVID-19 cases reported in the state have been discharged, while seven deaths have been recorded.
According to the commissioner, the state has tested almost 2,000 samples so far. She, however, warned that number of cases are likely to rise further as more tests are conducted.
“COVID-19 cases have been recorded in 33 wards in nine local government areas of the state: Chikun, Giwa, Igabi, Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Makarfi, Sabon-Gari, Soba and Zaria. The data shows that 80% of the infected persons are male,” she said.
Meanwhile, Baloni also revealed that the state has taken delivery of a mobile testing truck a few days ago, and it awaits the delivery of equipment that will enable the mobile truck and 12 GeneXpert machines spread across several general hospitals to increase the testing capacity in the state.
She warned residents to avoid interstate travel, even as health officials engage in vigorous contact tracing to contain the spread of the infections.
“The Ministry has further stepped up active case searching and testing in communities to stem secondary infections,” she said.
Heavily pregnant Rachel Gokavi spends most days shut away in her New Delhi home, desperate to shield her unborn child from the toxic air blamed for soaring miscarriage rates and infant deaths.
At a recent pre-natal class in the Indian capital, Gokavi and other expectant mothers shared their feelings of helplessness and anger at having to breathe poisonous air day in and out.
“I always keep the balcony door closed and don’t go out as much. I fear there could be breathing issues when the baby is born,” Gokavi, 26, told AFP.
Like Gokavi, other anxious mothers-to-be listened to tips and tricks on coping with the smog that is so bad that Delhi’s chief minister recently likened the city to a “gas chamber”.
“Don’t go out for morning walks. Try and go in the afternoon when the sun is out,” was all the instructor could advise the women, who listened intently with furrowed brows.
With no respite from the pollution in sight, doctors too have little choice but just to recommend face masks and expensive air purifiers at home — if they can afford them, which many cannot.
India is home to 14 of the world’s 15 most polluted cities, according to the World Health Organization.
Every winter smoke from farmers’ fires combine with industrial and vehicle emissions to turn towns and cities across northern India into smog-blanketed hellholes.
This toxic cocktail cuts short the lives of one million people in India every year, according to government research published in June.
The same report blamed air pollution for killing more than 100,000 under-fives every year.
Doctors say kids breathe the noxious air twice as fast as adults because of their smaller lungs, causing respiratory problems and even impairing brain development.
There is evidence to suggest that adolescents exposed to higher levels of air pollution are more likely to experience mental health problems, UNICEF said this week.
As Bad As Smoking
But even before they are born, smog is as bad as smoking when it comes to miscarriages, another study released in the journal Nature Sustainability last month indicated.
The research done in Beijing — another capital that has for years battled filthy air — linked high levels of pollution and an increased risk of “silent miscarriage” in the first trimester.
This happens when a foetus hasn’t formed or has died but the placenta and embryonic tissue remain.
Another study, in 2017, suggested that tiny particles can enter the foetal side of the placenta and disrupt the development of the unborn baby.
– Miscarriages, premature babies – At Delhi’s Sitaram Bhartia hospital, excruciatingly tiny babies weighing as little as a kilogramme (2.2 pounds) breathe oxygen through plastic tubes as machines monitor their vital signs.
Rinku Sengupta, an obstetrician at the busy neonatal unit, says that rates of such underweight babies as well as premature births are rising in cities with high levels of pollution.
“We are very worried because we know that the pollutants cannot only affect the lungs of mothers but these can even reach the placenta and affect the placental function,” she told AFP.
“It is difficult to prove a direct cause-effect relationship. But there is enough evidence now to say that there is a direct link and we need to sit up and think what we can do about it,” she said.
“It is an emergency situation.”
Arti Bhatia, 35, is now the proud mother of a lively six-month-old daughter, Ayesha.
But her journey to motherhood was filled with the pain of miscarriages, and she wonders whether pollution was to blame.
“I had my baby after three years of trying and in those three years I lost a few pregnancies,” Bhatia told AFP.
“The first time I lost (a pregnancy) I thought maybe it was bad luck, maybe it was not meant to be or something. But subsequently it was like ‘is it because of the air we breathe’?”
The November 2012 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week has been flagged off in Ondo State by Governor Olusegun Mimiko.
The state governor though absent was represented by the first lady of Ondo state; Mrs. Olukemi Mimiko at the occasion in Akure the state capital.
She said the programme is meant to sensitize women so that they stay healthy by adhering to all the health practices, including routine immunisation of their babies.
Mrs .Mimiko was accompanied by the Health Commissioner; Dayo Adeyanju and present at the mother-child friendly programme were government officials, health workers, and representatives of partner agencies at the occasion.Pregnant women and nursing mothers were also present in their numbers at the premises of The Basic Health Centre, Ondo Road Akure ; the venue of the programme.
Speaking to Newsmen at the flag off, Mrs Mimiko said the maternal new-born, and child health week is organised to ensure safe delivery, routine child immunization, adequate breastfeeding so that the children could grow old and healthy.
She expressed gratitude to Governor Mimiko, officials of the ministry of Health and the Hospitals Management Board for giving women quality attention.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju lamented that some children under age five still die of preventable diseases.
He noted that this calls for proper sensitization of the mothers and other caregivers on key health practices such as: immunisation, sleeping under insecticide treated mosquito nets, hand washing, deworming, breastfeeding and birth registration among others.
Insecticide treated mosquito nets were distributed freely to all the pregnant women and nursing mothers at the end of the programme.
Health officials on ground also used the opportunity to immunise the babies presented by their mothers.