FG Offers Free Healthcare Services In Oyo

Health, Oyo, HealthcareAt least 700 people from three Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Oyo State have received free health services under the ‘Rapid Response Initiative’ of the Federal Government.

The Federal Ministry of Health kicked off the initiative at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, the state’s capital in southwest Nigeria.

The Chief Medical Director at the UCH, Professor Temitope Alonge, said that the initiative was aimed at providing access to quality healthcare services to poor people in their local communities.

The programme, which was scheduled to hold its first phase within the localities of all the 11 LGAs in Ibadan, started in Akinyele, Ona Ara and Ibadan Northwest LGAs.

Patients were assessed and treated for various ailments ranging from hypertension, diabetes, hernia and eye defects among other complex health issues.

Professor Alonge disclosed that more than 300 people have been given referrals to UCH out of which at least 60 would be operated upon free of charge.

“One thing we have been seeing which is interesting is that we have a lot of people whose blood pressures are ranging from 300, 200 to 120, 220 and that is one of the things we are worried about and they are a lot.

“About one third of them almost have one problem with their eyes, cataract and cornea opacity. Again all of those ones will have to be attended to.

“We have a retired matron, a public health officer who is from Moniya and she took it upon herself yesterday (Sunday) and two days ago to go to the mosques and churches to do the enlightenment.

“This is a good lesson for us. So we will do the same (by) looking for people in that particular locality and use them as focal persons to help us spread the news,” he said.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Oyo State, Dr. Babtunde Latunji, who accompanied other doctors to launch the outreach, acknowledged the initiative’s focus on providing free access for rural dwellers and those in the urban centres within the city.

“Because of poverty or cost of affordability, they have been keeping to themselves and they can’t actually seek for the health intervention that rather addressed their issues.

“You have cases like glaucoma, you can have cataract you can have hernia, you can have cleft palate, even VVF and other gynaecological cases in this environment.

“So with this kind of intervention, we are hopeful that perhaps people will be able to access free health services and their health condition will be a little bit ameliorated,” Dr. Latunji stated.

Professor Alonge, Dr. Latunji , 20 doctors from pediatric, ophthalmic and general surgery departments, as well as about 30 relevant health workers have been drafted to attend to as many patients as possible within the local governments listed for the free medical outreach.

Sickle Cell Patients Lament Lack Of Proper Awareness, Treatment

Sickle Cell Patients Lament Lack Of Proper Awareness, TreatmentSickle cell patients in Nigeria have said that lack of effective enlightenment campaign and inadequate health facilities and treatment are some of the major reasons why the disease is on the increase in the country.

They made their positions known at a sensitization campaign for the support of sickle cell patients held in Kaduna state, North West Nigeria.

Some of the speakers at the event called on both the states and federal government to give more attention to the disease that currently affects over 40 million Nigerians through advocacy and provision of free treatment for patients.

Sickle Cell disease is one of the most common and inherited medical disorders in the world with three quarters of cases occurring in Africa.

In Nigeria, over 40 million people are healthy carriers of the sickle cell gene and the prevalence of sickle cell anaemia is about 20 per 1,000 births.

The workshop which had many sickle cell patients in attendance, is aimed at bringing together voices of sickle cell patients, support groups and healthcare providers from across the nation with a mission for all of them to speak with one voice.

This according to the organizers, would create a platform for discussions among stakeholders with focus on the challenges faced in providing awareness, treatment and support for patients, and also the future for sickle cell care in Nigeria.

Among the participants was a young man who already suffered partial stroke as a result of the disease. He explained the challenges he was going through. And having lost both parents who were also carriers some years ago, he gave some advice to young people.

Legal Framework

The coordinator of the Sickle Cell Patient Health Promotion Centre in Kaduna, Mrs Badiya Inuwa, also lost one of her sons to the disease at the age of 35, and another son is still battling with the disorder.

She has decided to lead the campaign to sensitize the people about sickle cell, advocating for a legal framework that will make it mandatory for people to know their genotype status early enough.

“I lost my older son 10 years ago at the age of 35, and I have another son of 40 years of age, he too is a sickler. And that prompted me to help the less privileged, because I realized that there are certain drugs they need to take for the rest of their lives.

“I saw that the less privileged cannot afford to get the medicine, that’s why I opened this organisation.

“I have granted so many interviews and held many programmes calling on government for support. Recently I sent an SMS to a sickle organisation in Port Harcourt to create awareness and to make them to understand the implication of not going for medical test to know their genetic status.

“Government should make it compulsory that people should go for test. And that a testing machine should be in all the government hospitals for children to undergo testing at least within the age five and it should be free so that the underprivileged can be able to get it.

“I even went to the Emir of Kano and that of Zaria to solicit for their support to pass the information to their imams to make sure they ask their subjects to undergo medical test in order to know their genotype before marriage,” she said.

The incidence of sickle cell anaemia in Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization, is among the highest in the world, with about 250, 000 children being born each year with the disorder.

Inaccurate Diagnosis

Mrs Esther Ononememen, a sickle cell survivor based in Republic of Ireland, blamed her own situation on inaccurate medical diagnosis she undertook in Nigeria before getting married to her husband who is also a carrier 19 years ago.

She called on government to support people living with sickle cell through the provision of treatment facilities and sensitization.

“I am a carrier by chance because after the birth of our first child, we thought everything was alright until we gave birth to our second child and we realized that she is a sickle cell carrier because he (husband) is AS.

“She is constantly sick until she became paralysed. Even at that, we didn’t know she was a sickle cell carrier until we went abroad. Medical treatment abroad is more advanced than what we have here in Nigeria.

“When we went for the test here, they said there was no problem, but to our surprise, two of our children are sickle cell carriers. That means my country is a failure in terms of medical test”.

Dr Shuibu Musa, a medical practitioner, said that sickle cell, which is a disorder that affects the red blood cells, also has economic implications to the society.

With this huge burden, he made some suggestions on how to improve the management of the condition in Nigeria, which include early testing to know one’s status, and the need for carriers to avoid marrying carriers.

The significant health and social burden sickle cell is posing on Nigerian families is unprecedented. Participants at the gathering are therefore of the belief that improved management of the condition, blood testing for genotypes and informed decision making will go a long way towards reducing the burden of this disease in Nigeria.

FG Restates Commitment To Upgrading Health Facilities

Minister-of-Health-Professor-Isacc-Adewale-HealthcareThe Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to upgrading and revamping health facilities across Nigeria, for efficiency and better access.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who made the announcement said it is part of efforts to reverse and stop medical tourism in Nigeria.

To this end, Professor Adewole disclosed that the government has released the sum of 420 million Naira each to every state, to upgrade their primary healthcare facilities.

In the course of his two-day working visit to the University College Hospital, Ibadan in Oyo State, the Minister said that the hospital was one of the seven health facilities chosen for comprehensive upgrade.

He added that the 60-year-old institution must be assisted to continue to provide leadership in quality healthcare delivery.

Boost Healthcare Delivery At Grassroots

Professor Adewole directed that henceforth, critical care and emergencies must be attended to promptly, without any demand for money until the patients were out of danger in any federal hospital across Nigeria.

He also hinted that the model primary healthcare facility under the UCH would be replicated in over 112 primary healthcare centres adopted by the Ministry of Health, to boost healthcare delivery at the grassroot and decongest teaching hospitals.

The Minister said that intense deliberations were ongoing between the Federal Government and all stakeholders on ways of curbing industrial action in the health sector.

The Chief Medical Director of UCH, Professor Temitope Alonge, in his remarks described the visit as a crucial one that would go a long way in assisting the hospital for better efficiency.

Lassa Fever: Ahmmadiyyah Hospital In Lagos Sealed

lassa feverThe Ahmmadiyyah Hospital in the Ojokoro area of Lagos State where the patient diagnosed with the first case of Lassa fever visited before going to LUTH is now under surveillance and sealed off from the public until further notice.

According to the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, 15 in-patients, as well as 25 health workers in the facility are being monitored for the next 21 days.

Dr. Idris added that contact tracing is ongoing and there are currently 92 contacts being followed up including those at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

The patient, a 25 year old male undergraduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna, is presently being managed at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and his condition is stable.

The first case of Lassa fever was confirmed in Lagos on Friday. The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, disclosed this to Channels Television.

Lassa Fever Confirmed In Lagos

Lassa fever One case of Lassa fever has been confirmed in Lagos.

The case, which was diagnosed at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, involves a 25-year-old student from the Ahmadu Bello University.

The patient is said to have been admitted first at a private hospital in Ojokoro area of Lagos State.

According to the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, the patient is responding to treatment.

The death of a Lassa Fever victim at the National Hospital in Abuja, the nation’s capital, had brought the total number of deaths to 43 in the country, from 10 states.

Announcing the death at the National Hospital on Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, called on Health workers at all levels to be more vigilant and look out for patients with symptoms of Lassa Fever.

Symptoms Of Lassa Fever

The Minister advised residents of affected states not to panic but to maintain high level vigilance and present themselves for test if they feel unhealthy or they feel symptoms of Lassa Fever which include high fever, stooling, tiredness and vomiting among others.

He cautioned that self-medication should be avoided at this period.

Doctors On Lassa Fever Spread

Medical 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.

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.

New Case of Lassa Fever Confirmed In Oyo State

lassa feverOne more case of Lassa fever has been confirmed at the University College Hospital, UCH, in Ibadan where the patient, an eight month old baby has been receiving treatment.

This brings to two, the number of confirmed Lassa fever cases in Oyo State, south-west Nigeria.

According to the Chief Medical Director of UCH, Professor Temitope Alonge, the first patient has been treated and discharged.

Channels TV got an exclusive video of eight-month-old Aisha undergoing treatment for Lassa fever at the Infectious Disease Center of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State.

Aisha’s parents are said to be living at the Sabo community under Ibadan North Local Government.

A visit by Channels Television to Sabo community in Ibadan shows an environment in need of proper sanitation.

Meanwhile, another disease, suspected to be measles has been reported in the Sabo community. Ten children are said to have died from suspected measles outbreak.

In the meantime, health officials from the Oyo State Ministry of Health have embarked on a sensitization campaign against infectious diseases, urging the people to embrace good public and personal hygiene.

Researchers Unveil New Procedure For Sickle Cell Treatment

Researchers Unveil New Cure For Sickle Cell AnaemiaThe University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, in partnership with US researchers uncovered a new cure for Sickle Cell Anaemia, an official of the hospital have said.

At a press conference organised on Friday by the CH in collaboration with researchers from the Department of Haematology and Oncology, University of Illinois, USA, a new cure without toxic chemotherapy was unveiled.

The Chief Medical Director of the UCH, Professor Temitope Alonge, said the problems associated with sickle cell treatment and management was becoming increasingly difficult to quantify, a situation that led to the research.

Professor Alonge added that the challenges needed to be tackled headlong, as more patients were presenting with Sickle Cell Anaemia in adulthood.

The leader of the group from the University of Illinois, Professor Damiano Randell, explained that the new procedure of bone marrow transplant had eliminated the usual chemotherapy which had been toxic to vital organs of sufferers and replaced it with a safer bone marrow transplant.

The available statistics from Consultant Haematologist at the UCH, Dr. Titilola Akingbola, showed that more than three per cent of Nigerians were suffering from the disease. Dr. Akingbola warned that the number could increase greatly if something drastic was not done.

She added that UCH alone had over 2,000 registered sufferers being managed, while new cases of late presentation of the disorder was increasing.