What You Should know About Pneumonia

PneumoniaCommon cold, which includes symptoms such as cough, sneezing or runny nose, is a viral infection that involves the upper respiratory system and may not need serious medical attention.

However, sometimes it could develop into a health complication like bronchitis, pneumonia, an ear infection, sinusitis, or an asthma attack.

In the case of Pnuemonia, it is the inflammation of the lungs caused by a bacterial or viral infection, in which the air sacs get filled with pus which may become solid.

Such inflammation may affect both lungs, resulting in ‘double pneumonia’, or only one, ‘single pneumonia’.

Two extremes of human life, which include the young, (those below age two) and the old, (those above age 65), are considered to be the most vulnerable considering their low levels of immunity.

However, those between other age groups can also be susceptible to pneumonia infection when the immune system is week.

Symptoms of the disease include cough, fever, chest pain, fast breathing and feeling short of breath among others.

Pneumonia has been rated among the leading killers of children under five years of age, accounting for 15 % of all deaths of children under 5 years old or 920, 136 children worldwide in 2015.

In curing the disease, hemophilus influenza type b, is part of the pentavalent vaccines given during routine immunization in Nigeria.

Also, the federal government’s introduction of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in 2014 has been commended by some medical practitioners, however, some say there have been some concerns.

While everyone awaits more medical intervention, simple measures such as early and exclusive breastfeeding, regular and proper washing of hands, and ensuring a well ventilated home and workplace will also reduce the occurrence of pneumonia.

Syria Conflict: Blast Follows As Food Aid Reaches Darayya

Syria-food-aidThe residents of the besieged Damascus suburb of Darayya have welcomed the first deliveries of food aid to reach the city since 2012.

The latest delivery to Darayya was made by teams from the Syrian Red Crescent and the United Nations’ humanitarian body.

The UN’s special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said on Thursday that the Syrian government had given permission for aid to be delivered to 19 besieged areas, where an estimated 600,000 people live.

Trucks carrying medicine, food and flour entered the town that was among the first to report protests against President Bashar Al-assad’s Government.

The operations director of the Syrian Red Crescent, Tamam Mehrez, also told AFP that the goods would be enough for residents for one month.

An official with the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said that he had met some beneficiaries of the food aid and community leaders.

“The supply of the very basic commodities is very challenging, so as a consequence the prices of the commodities themselves are very high whenever they are available,” he said.

The delivery of food supplies came a week after a joint convoy of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and SARC reached Daraya and delivered medicine, vaccines, baby formula, and “nutritional items for children” but no food.

However, violence was reported on Friday in the rebel-held area as crude barrel bombs have been dropped on the suburb, according to the Local Council of Daraya.

This came just hours after the food aid was delivered to its residents

Daraya has been under siege since November 2012 and has witnessed some of the worst bombardment during Syria’s civil war, now in its sixth year.

NPHCDA Seeks Increased Local Funding For Vaccines

VaccinesThe National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is seeking increased local funding to sustain immunization in the country as international donors withdraw support.

The Executive Secretary of agency, Dr Ado Mohammed, at a meeting with stakeholders in the health sector, said that Nigeria has been de-listed from the list of countries benefiting from international donor agencies after the economy was re-based in 2015.

Chairman National Immunization Financing Task Team, Ben Anyene, also explained that it costs about 14,000 Naira to fully immunize a child but only 25% of this cost is financed by the Nigerian government.

International donor agencies account for about 75% of total financing for vaccines used for immunization in Nigeria.

Routine immunization has helped Nigeria to reduce the spread of vaccine preventable diseases in recent times.

For instance, no new case of polio has been recorded in the last 20 months as the World Health Organization removed Nigeria from the list of polio endemic nations.

Nigeria and a few other developing countries have benefited from international support for effective immunization since the year 2000.

Conveners of the meeting agreed that it has become important to develop a sustainable local funding mechanism for immunization as international donor agencies withdraw their supports.

Health Minister Says Focus Is On Radical Restructuring Of Health Sector

Professor Isaac Adewole says 101 functional PHCs will be up three months after the budget is signed

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, says the government is focusing on a radical restructuring of the healthcare system to ensure that all Nigerians have access to good healthcare.

Professor Adewole told Channels Television on Friday that regulations would also be strengthened.

“One of the things we want to do is to restructure the regulation,” he said, emphasising that there were reflections of corruption within the system.

“We are prepared to tackle it.

“We are looking at a situation where every Nigerian will be able to access healthcare within five kilometre radius but what that implies is that we need to do a radical restructuring of the health system.

“In the last four months, we decided to do a diagnosis and developed a proposal to address universal health coverage and we submitted it to the President who sent it for external review and the reviewers turned in positive report on this. He asked us to do a few things to adjust it and make sure that we develop a sustainable structure for this new health plan.

“Initially our plan was to target about 43 million Nigerians but the Vice President said it was not enough,” the Minister stated.

Pro-poor Health System

He quoted the Vice President as saying that “an administration that is committed to targeting poor people must look beyond 43 million people”.

“If you look at the World Bank indicators, about 80 to 100 million Nigerians are considered as poor so a health system that will be pro-poor should target about 100 million people.

“We went back to the drawing board and came out with this Primary Healthcare System per political ward. The political ward comprises of 10,000 people and when we target 10,000 Primary Health Centres, we are looking at 100 million people,” Professor Adewole explained.

He also stated that the government was looking at making health insurance compulsory to ensure that people buy into the scheme, assuring Nigerians that the number of ailments that the scheme would cover would increase as more persons buy into it.

Padded Health Ministry’s Budget

On the budget of the ministry that was said to have been padded, the Minister said he could not defend the budget at the National Assembly because the figures he saw did not reflect the thinking of the present administration.

“What I was presented with on the floor of the National Assembly was at variance with what we submitted. I think some errors were committed somewhere along the line and this had been admitted by quite a number of people.

“This administration is committed to addressing the imbalance and inequity within the health system and we are quite committed to putting things right.

“In preparing the budget, we were quite conscious of the promise that the party made to Nigerians. We wanted to reposition the health of Nigerians and place public health at the forefront of our health agenda,” he stressed.

Pointing out the alterations he may have noticed, he said that the budget presented to the National Assembly had no allocation made to public health and family health.

“The implication is that we will not be able to buy vaccine for our children or buy anti-retroviral drugs,” he stated.

The Minister further told Channels Television that it was difficult to determine those that were responsible for the alteration, but assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari had promised that “those who did it would be flushed out and dealt with. I am sure that is ongoing”.

Funding Vaccines

Giving his opinion on why provision should be made for vaccines in the budget, Professor Adewole said “vaccines are necessities with economic importance. For each dollar that you invest in vaccine your get about $16 in return”.

He said that since the United State was withdrawing from the funding of anti-retroviral drugs, the Nigerian government is committing some funds to the business, increasing funding and getting better commitment.

“That is why for the first time in three years we are recommending funding of anti-retroviral medication and procurement of test kits.

“We cannot put you on anti-retroviral therapy if you have not been confirmed to be HIV positive.

“We are part of an initiative called 90:90:90. Between now and 2020 we plan to test 90 per cent of Nigerians and to ensure that 90 per cent of those that tested positive are placed on anti-retroviral to help ensure that 90 per cent of those on anti-retroviral drugs witness viral suppression,” he explained, saying that the suppression technically means that the patient is ‘cured’.

“That does not imply that it is completely gone but it is a proxy of how effective the therapy has been,” the Minister stressed.

Medical Tourism

On medical tourism, the Minister said that about one million dollars was estimated to be involved on a yearly basis, a situation he said drains Nigeria’s resources.

He said that the government was looking at medical tourism as an isolated case and the repositioning of the entire system in a way the nation would get value.

The Health Minister also decried some practices by some persons in the sector, which he said were quite suspicious.

“As a minister, I sign some of these request for funding and yesterday (Thursday) I made a pronouncement that under our beat, we will not allow Nigeria’s resources to be used for cases that could be treated in Nigeria.”

He gave instances of requests that had been submitted to his ministry, with outrageous figures that were far beyond the cost of treating a particular ailment in Nigeria.

He told Channels Television that he had received a request for 10 million Naira for an ailment that could be treated in Nigeria for 150,000 Naira.

To address the issue, the Minister said that he was pushing for a policy that would ensure that before payment would be made for certain ailments, a referral letter from a hospital in Nigeria would be required, indicating that such ailment could not be treated in Nigeria.

He emphasised that the government would not allow such corrupt practices to continue.

Asked when Nigerians would begin to feel the impact of the government efforts to revitalise the health sector, he said that the government would revitalise 50 per cent of the Primary Health Centres in 2016

Vaccines That Give Instant Hangover To Alcoholics

Call it a solution to drinking habit, a vaccine mainly for alcoholics whose drinking habit has refused to go away has been developed by a research team from the Cell Dynamics and Biotechnology Department of the University of Chile.

The team led by the director of the Department, Dr. Juan Asenjo said the new vaccine for alcoholics induces a hangover the moment any alcohol is introduced into their system, as naturally alcoholics do not like to experience hangover given the pain and discomfort they experience.

Although, the new vaccine is seen as a way of kicking the habit of alcohol consumption by alcoholics, it could also be better used as an on-going deterrent rather than a way of stopping alcoholics from drinking in the first place because the effects of alcohol withdrawal may be much worse than having a bad hangover.

Hangover is usually caused by the compound acetaldehyde, and it is produced by the liver when dealing with alcohol before it is broken down and metabolised by an enzyme.

The vaccine stops the enzyme doing its job, resulting in the person very quickly feeling sick and uncomfortable, as if they have a hangover. Further drinking will just make the feeling worse or at least prolong it.

Administering the vaccine can be done with a single injection, which is then active for between 6 to 12 months. It won’t be tested on human subjects until November this year, and that’s pending a trial on mice in the coming months to determine the right dose of the vaccine. If successful, the vaccine could be introduced into the market by 2015.

Alcohol withdrawal can be a difficult process to go through depending on how reliant an individual is on it.