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Minister commends Coca Cola Nigeria’s Safe Birth Initiative

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(L-R) Mr. Clem Ugorji, Director, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola West Africa Business Unit; Dr. Bala Yusuf, Technical Director, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs; Prof. Chinyere Ezeaka, Professor of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital Idi-Araba; Dr Adedamola Dada, Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta; and Mrs. Amaka Onyemelukwe, Head, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, during the Coca-Cola Stakeholders Parley on ‘Enabling Safe Births in Nigeria

(L-R) Mr. Clem Ugorji, Director, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola West Africa Business Unit; Dr. Bala Yusuf, Technical Director, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs; Prof. Chinyere Ezeaka, Professor of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital Idi-Araba; Dr Adedamola Dada, Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta; and Mrs. Amaka Onyemelukwe, Head, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, during the Coca-Cola Stakeholders Parley on ‘Enabling Safe Births in Nigeria

By Vivian Ihechu

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has commended Coca Cola Nigeria’s Safe Birth Initiative (SBI), saying it is a laudable project toward achieving reduction in the country’s high maternal mortality indices.

Adewole, represented by Dr Adedamola Dada, Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ebutte-Meta, Lagos, said this at a stakeholders workshop on Saturday in Lagos with theme: “Enabling Safe Birth in Nigeria’’.

The event was organised by the SBI sponsored by Coca-Cola, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals and an NGO, Medshare International Inc.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that according to the National Demography and Health Survey (NDHS, 2013), Nigeria loses as many as 576 women per 100,000 childbirths.

Also, the country records 37 newborn deaths per 1,000 live births, placing the country among the worst ratios for both maternal and newborn deaths globally.

Consequently, the Safe Birth Initiative aims to support the attainment of the SDG targets on maternal and newborn deaths reduction.

It focuses on strengthening the capacity of selected public hospitals through procurement of vital maternal and neonatal medical equipment and supplies.

It also focuses on training biomedical engineering technicians to improve equipment maintenance and uptime and reactivating a large stock of abandoned medical equipment wasting away in public hospitals.

Adewole said: “We have always believed that our healthcare would improve with active collaboration and partnership from the private sector.

“The Safe Birth Initiative is a good example of such a partnership.

“Meticulous planning and identification of the needs of the beneficiary hospitals have been carried out with active involvement of partners and beneficiaries.

“We commend our partners on this programme, Coca-Cola, the SDG Office, Medshare International and the Engineering World Health, and use this opportunity to call on other private sector players to join us in this battle to free our nation from diseases and major challenges in maternal and childhood health,’’ he said.

Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, said that the Coca-Cola Safe Birth Initiative is working toward the third Sustainable Development Goal – Health and Wellbeing for all, including our mothers and our children.

Orelope-Adefulire, represented by Dr Bala Yusuf, said: “This partnership is a classic example of what we can do when we combine our expertise and resources in support of the 2030 SDG agenda.

“We hope this event will strengthen our resolve to continue to work together as policy makers, development practitioners, academics, but more importantly as concerned citizens, in support of the 2030 agenda of the sustainable development goals,’’ she said.

In his remarks, Mr Clem Ugorji, the Public Affairs and Communications Director for Coca-Cola West Africa, shared highlights of the SBI rationale and implementation plan.

According to him, “In addition to completing the first batch of the biomedical engineering technicians training, the consignment of equipment and supplies required for the National Hospital, Abuja, has been fully delivered.

“The consignments for Federal Medical Centres in Ebute-Metta and Owerri and General Hospital, Alimosho, Lagos, are scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks.

“The needs assessments are ongoing at six other approved hospitals to determine their specific needs,’’ he said.

Ugorji said that Coca-Cola’s commitment goes beyond donating equipment.

“Through the SBI, the company hopes to promote effective maintenance culture by empowering biomedical engineering technicians with the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence to take responsibility for ensuring maximum uptime for the new equipment.

“It also aims to empower them on reactivation of abandoned biomedical equipment in the target hospitals.

“There is a limit to what our doctors and nurses can do with just their skills and passion, in the absence of the vital life-saving equipment required for effective diagnosis, testing and treatment,” Ugorji said.

NAN reports that the workshop also marked the completion of the maiden SBI capacity training for 20 biomedical engineering technicians from 10 leading medical institutions across the country.

The institutions comprise university hospitals, federal medical centres and general hospitals.

The two-week training was conducted by US-based Engineering World Health (EWH) at the School of Biomedical Engineering, Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

The workshop also had a panel discussion session that shed light on the challenges of maternal and newborn healthcare in the country; the national SDG targets on maternal and child health.

It also discussed the measures government is taking to meet these targets, as well as how the SBI will support these measures.

The discussants included Prof. Chinyere Ezeaka, Past President, Nigerian Society of Neonatal Medicine, Dada, Bala and Ugorji.

Others present were Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Editor, Today’s Woman; Prof. Carmen Walker, Chief Operating Officer, Nigeria BMET Programme, Engineering World Health, and Mr Eben Amstrong, Director of Biomedical Engineering Training and Technical Service, Medshare International.

The official launch of the Safe Birth Initiative and inauguration of the first set of SBI equipment in the country would be performed by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, at the National Hospital in Abuja next week.

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FCT doctors hail Minister for paying arrears, seek reviews

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The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, have commended the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, for paying the backlog of doctors’ arrears.

Briefing newsmen in Abuja on Saturday, Dr Roland Aigbovo, President of the Chapter, said that the action of the minister was commendable as he had kept to his promise.

Aigboyo however used the opportunity to appeal to the Minister to also remember the stagnation of doctors who have long be due for promotion but were yet to be promoted.

He stressed that some doctors have been stagnated for over three years while others due for promotion have remained on the same level for two years.

He added that some of the promotions that had been done were done wrongly as some of the doctors were promoted to the same level that they were already on.

He explained that some doctors were wrongly placed and the wrong placement was corrected and they were skipped and placed on the next level, only to now also be promoted to the same level that they were skipped to.

“They were promoted to the same grade level they were skipped to.

“For example, a doctor on grade level 12 was skipped to grade level 13 by correction of the error and was then again promoted to grade level 13.

“The arrears paid was for skipping, which is the correction of the wrong placement,” he said.

On the issue of budgets for hospitals, the President of fthe association appealed to the minister to budget for each hospital according to their needs and to separate the budgets of each individual hospital.

“We also appeal to the minister to make provision of each hospital to have their budget and not a blanket budget because every hospital has different running cost,” he said.

He appealed for more training for residents, non-residents as well as for other departments in the hospitals.

“Presently, only four departments are involved in residency training which include family medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Surgery and ophthalmology.

“We want more depts to included like internal medicine, paediatric, radiology and psychiatry,” he said.

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Optometrists mourn former world council President Udom

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Eye screening

Eye screening

The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) on Thursday mourned the death of former President of the World Council of Optometry (WCO), Dr Uduak Udom.

Udom reportedly died on Monday in Uyo at the age of 63 after a protracted illness.

The association, in a statement, in Abuja said that Udom was a notable and outstanding member of the global Optometry family.

It noted that Udom made significant contributions to the development of optometry in Nigeria and worldwide.

“Significantly, until her demise she was the immediate past President of the World Council of Optometry (WCO), former President, Women Optometrists in Nigeria (WON), among others,” the body said.

Udom graduated from University of Benin in 1978.

NOA said it had opened a condolence register at its secretariat in Abuja.

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Scientist claims local remedy for diabetes

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Scientist claims local remedy for diabetes

Scientist claims local remedy for diabetes

Prof. Chukwunonso Ejike, a researcher at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi,
says he has developed a local remedy for diabetes mellitus.

He made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday on the sidelines of the ongoing
Technology and Innovation Expo 2019 holding in Enugu.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired,
resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Organised yearly by Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to encourage interaction among researchers, inventors, innovators
and investors, the Science and Technology Expo is to largely commercialise research results from the country’s tertiary institutions.

The theme for the 2019 expo is “Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth.”

Ejike said that the remedy product known as the VOG Tea was one of six products exhibited by the university at the Expo,
invented in 2018 after four years of intensive research.

The don, who is the Dean, Basic Medical Sciences in the institution, said that the tea was produced from three
culinary vegetables, noting that the process of patenting the product had already begun and would soon be in the market.

He added that “I thank the university authority for supporting every effort so far made to develop and produce the tea.

“I want to appeal to investors to partner with us to get it to the market place at the minimum best price.”

The researcher said that Nigerian scholars had the capacity to compete with their peers in developed economies,
adding that to achieve this, however, they needed to be funded.

He added that he was motivated to go into the research due to increasing incidences of diabetes mellitus in the country,
especially in urban areas.

He said “our interest in developing this tea was to find out how to help our people manage diabetes mellitus.

“We thought of local remedies that could be cheap and identified these vegetables. We did clinical tests and collected
data on the vegetables and confirmed that making tea from the vegetables could be of great benefit to sufferers of diabetes mellitus.

“Constant consumption of the tea will ensure that the glucose concentration will not overshoot the normal level.”

The dean said that the product would also help people at risk of getting diabetes.

He said that the usage of the VOG Tea by those at risk would ensure that they never developped it.

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