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.

Medical Laboratory Scientists Protest At UCH Ibadan

UCHScores of medical laboratory scientists working under the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan on Thursday resumed to work carrying placards and chanting songs of protest against the management of UCH.

Protesting against what they called disrespect for the office of their Director, the Lab Scientists grounded laboratory investigations throughout the hospital for the day.

The workers marched from one department to another calling on the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Temitope Alonge to give due recognition and respect for the office of the Director of Medical Laboratory Scientists.

Some of the protesters who spoke to journalists said that the National Industrial Court has given three verdicts already supporting the autonomy of the office of the Director of Medical Services as provided for by federal government.

They added that the Industrial Court has also directed that the autonomy of the office be restored but the management of UCH refused to act on it till date.

Efforts to get the management’s side of the story was unsuccessful as the Chief Medical Director Prof. Temitope Alonge was out of town.

He, however, said in a telephone interview that the issue was an internal matter that is being addressed.

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.

UCH Successfully Performs Most Complex Brain Surgery

UCH Neurosurgeons are calling on government at all levels to do all possible to subsidize the cost of care to improve access for a larger percentage of the people and invest more in capacity building to reduce brain drain and medical tourism.

Neuroscientists at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, made this call after the successful completion of one of the most complex brain surgeries ever handled by the hospital since it became a centre of excellence for neuroscience in Nigeria.

The surgery was performed on a 31 year old man who was diagnosed for a special kind aneurysm.

The road to the theatre began with intense headache and vision impairment for the young man who had sought series of treatment before approaching UCH where a computerized scan popularly known as CT Scan showed the anomaly in his brain.

One of the aortic valves busted and was seeping blood into the brain. This problem, according to the lead surgeon, Prof. Adeleye, could only be fixed by a complex surgical procedure as he had lost the use of one eye already before the diagnosis.

After about three hours of intense surgery, the bleeding organ was clipped and all functions restored. Just 30 minutes after the surgery, the patient was talking.

The Chief Medical Director, UCH Prof. Temitope Alonge, told Channels TV exclusively that the hospital had done nearly 30 serious cases of brain surgery since the equipment were procured but added that more public private initiatives must be encouraged to improve efficiency in the health sector.

He disclosed that sophisticated procedures like awake craniotomy are successfully done in the hospital but medical tourism for such specialised care can only be defeated if government at all levels involve the private sector.

The advancement in neuroscience must be progressive with well funded sustainable programmes to create a platform for efficiency and better access to specialised care across the country, he said.

Conservative estimate of a complex brain surgery is put at about one million naira and this is beyond the financial capabilities of an average Nigerian.

This means that if some form of subsidy is not urgently provided by all concerned, many Nigerians may continue to die needlessly from severe headaches.

Ode-Irele Ailment Might Be Caused By Alcohol Consumption – Commissioner

dayo adeyanju-on-ode-irele-ailmentThe strange ailment that broke out in Ode-Irele, a town in the southern part of Ondo State might be as a result of the victim’s consumption of  local alcohol.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Dayo Adeyanju, made this disclosure on Sunday, while briefing journalists on the update of the situation.

Dr Adeyanju informed that the preliminary reports of tests carried out, revealed that it is not a viral disease.

“The deaths might have resulted from a methanol poison drank by some of the victims,” he said.

Dr Adeyanju further said that the result of the toxicology test to confirm the statement was still being expected from the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Oyo State.

The Ondo State Commissioner for Health had earlier told journalists that the state government had deployed a team of health experts to the community to examine the victims and put the spread under control.

It has been reported that the ailment starts with a headache, blindness and eventually leads to death within few hours it attacks its victims.

The Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has disclosed that the symptoms observed bear no resemblance to those associated with the Ebola Virus Disease or any known epidemic disease.

UCH Doctors Embark On Strike Over Attacks By Motorists

The Association of Resident Doctors, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, on Monday declared a three-day strike in protest against an attack on two of their members by members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Oyo State.

Some doctors were among persons allegedly attacked by NURTW members while waiting to receive the body of their Deputy Chairman, Alhaji Kamorudeen Beyioku, who was shot earlier in the week by unknown gunmen.

President of the Resident Doctors in UCH, Dr. Tunde Babasanya, during a media conference on Monday explained his members had resolved to embark on a three-day strike to express their anger at the treatment meted out to doctors at the hospital.

“It is sad and the situation is getting out of hand. Many of our members have been victimised and the undeserving treatment is fast becoming a norm” he said.

“Last year, a doctor was attacked with gun at the Accident and Emergency Unit. That same year, a female doctor was dragged on the floor, while another doctor was reportedly beaten up at the Children Emergency Unit.

“We agreed on a 72-hour strike, believing that the management would meet us midway before the expiration of the strike and we would review the situation. The action is directed at sending a message to the transport union members to stop harassing us.”

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof. Temitope Alonge, condemned the action of the association, saying “we came to work this morning only to meet an illegal strike action by the resident doctors.

“We managed an important personality who had a gunshot wound to his upper tummy. We removed the bullets in his abdominal cavity and he was responding well until we discovered that he had renal impairment. He had the first dialysis and while he was about to receive the second one, he had cardiac arrest and passed away.

“It was between the process of autopsy and the release of his remains for burial that a medical officer was assaulted. While we are not in support of this we are also not in support of the strike. Strike is not the solution. When there is dispute, the proper thing is to report to the authorities. But there was no formal report in this case.”

Lam Adesina is laid to rest

The late former Governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina, was on Sunday, buried at his Felele residence, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital according to Islamic rites.

He passed away early Sunday morning, aged 73 years old.

Alhaji Adesina, a national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the rallying point of ACN in Oyo State, died at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos after a protracted illness.

The late politician who was born, Lamidi Adesina in 1939, but fondly called Lam Adesina, has had his health deteriorating recently.

He was initially admitted at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan and later taken to the St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos.

He was elected the governor of Oyo state in 1999 and was defeated in 2003 by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Rashidi Ladoja.

Alhaji Lam, was a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly in the Second Republic.

He was laid to rest  on Sunday.

He is survived by his wife and children.

Meanwhile, the state government has declared a seven-day mourning for the departed elder statesman during which all official state functions will be suspended and the national flag flown at half-mast.

Lam, an exemplary leader

President Goodluck Jonathan has also expressed his grief with the death of Alhaji Adeshina.

A statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, stated that, the president is “deeply saddened by the passing away of elder statesman and former governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina.”

The President, on behalf of himself, the Federal Government and all Nigerians, extended his heartfelt condolences to Alhaji Adesina’s family, the government and people of Oyo State.

According to President Jonathan “Alhaji Adesina’s indefatigability in political struggles as well as his honesty, integrity, sincere commitment and dedication to the service of his people before and during his tenure as governor have ensured that he will be honoured and remembered by present and future generations as an exemplary leader who did his utmost best to improve the lives of his people.”

The President prayed that “God Almighty will receive Alhaji Adesina’s soul and grant him eternal rest.”

An irrepressible voice of conscience

Also reacting to the death of Alhaji Adesina, his political party the ACN has described his demise as a “devastating blow to the party in particular and a big loss to the nation in general.”

In a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party stated that “with the demise of the former Governor, Nigeria has lost an irrepressible voice of conscience.”

”Lam Adesina has remained a constant fixture in the nation’s body polity for over three decades, either as a newspaper columnist, member of the House of Representatives, social and political critic, prisoner of conscience, state governor, or an elder statesman.”

”Though deceptively meek, he was a political lion who was ferociously effective. A perfect validation of the saying that all politics is local, Lam Adesina never lost control or confidence of his people. Even during the locust years when the PDP captured the body of Oyo State politics, the soul of the people remained with the former Governor,” the party said.

ACN said it was remarkable that even after he was rigged out of the state’s governorship, he remained in his Molete residence in Ibadan, right in the midst of his people, instead of migrating to the GRA or other elitist areas of the city as many in his class would have done.

”From that modest abode, he influenced political discourse and direction in Nigeria. There is no better attestation to this than the fact that he never lost touch with the ordinary people during his rich and purposeful lifetime,” the partyadded.

ACN prayed that God will grant repose to the soul of the departed, and give his family the strength to bear their irreplaceable loss.