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WHO moves to contain Nigeria’s Lassa fever outbreak

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Lara Adejoro

The World Health Organization is scaling up its response to an outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria, which has spread to 17 states and may have infected up to 450 people in less than five weeks.

From the onset of the outbreak, WHO Nigeria deployed staff from the national and state levels to support the Government of Nigeria’s national Lassa fever Emergency Operations Centre and state surveillance activities. WHO is helping to coordinate health actors and is joining rapid risk assessment teams travelling to hot spots to investigate the outbreak.

Between 1 January and 4 February 2018, nearly 450 suspected cases were reported, of which 132 are laboratory confirmed Lassa fever. Of these, 43 deaths were reported, 37 of which were lab confirmed.

The acute viral haemorrhagic fever is endemic in Nigeria but for the current outbreak the hot spots are the southern states of Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi.

“The high number of Lassa fever cases is concerning. We are observing an unusually high number of cases for this time of year.” said Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Representative to Nigeria.

Among those infected are 11 health workers, four of whom have died. WHO is advising national authorities on strengthening infection, prevention and control practices in healthcare settings. Healthcare workers caring for Lassa fever patients require extra infection and control measures, including the use of personal protective equipment to prevent contact with patients’ bodily fluids.

In a press statement made available to our correspondent, WHO said, “with the increase in the number of cases, WHO initially donated personal protective equipment to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and to the affected states and procured laboratory reagents to support the prompt diagnosis of Lassa fever. WHO is deploying international experts to coordinate the response, strengthen surveillance, provide treatment guidelines, and engage with communities to raise awareness on prevention and treatment.”

Lassa fever is endemic to several West African countries. Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone have all reported cases in the past month. WHO is working with countries in the region to strengthen coordination and cross-border cooperation.

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NGO, FCTA collaborate to fight eye diseases

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NGO In Collaboration to Fight Eye Diseases

NGO In Collaboration to Fight Eye Diseases

By Jessica Dogo

The Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM), an NGO, and the Federal Capital Territory Administration would collaborate to rid the territory of eye diseases.

The Senior Advisor on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Prof. Martin Kollmann, revealed this during a courtesy visit to the Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), Malam Adamu Bappah on Thursday in Abuja.

Kollmann explained that the CBM was presently collaborating with Health and Development Support to eradicate neglected tropical diseases in Nigeria.

He said that the diseases included Helmints, Schistomiasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis and Trachoma.

He said that the NGO has gotten assistance in the area of funding to cover all the affected communities in the country.

“I say congratulations to the leadership of this county. We have for the first time gotten funds to cover affected communities and I am very optimistic that the FCT will.

“FCT is very key to the success of this programme; we have the national plan, we have the road map to eliminate those diseases.

“We have to come together to fashion out the best way on how to achieve the elimination of these diseases and we have been making very good progress.”

Kollmann said that the NGO was an international development organisation committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world.

According to him, the people are neglected because they do not receive the same attention often.

“They are located in marginalised and neglected areas and if we try to reach them it is so difficult.

“The work in the FCT is excellent and it is really required to end those diseases.

“It is only through strong government commitment like this and community leadership that we can do this.

“We have discussed at the national meeting to see how to achieve the elimination of these diseases.’’

Bappah, in his remark said that the FCTA would continue to partner with the mission to ensure eradication of eye diseases in the territory and the country at large.

The secretary urged the NGO to ensure that NTDs were eliminated in the territory so that visitors coming into the country would not be at risk of contacting any diseases from Africa.

“You have been in the FCT and the partnership has been well and I heard that the NGO is very happy with our team which has been very supportive and cooperative,’’ Bappah said. (NAN)

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FCTA tasks health workers on service delivery

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Health workers

Health workers

By Jessica Dogo

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has called on healthcare workers to improve on current indices in Abuja.
The Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), Malam Adamu Bappah, made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of a training of capacity building on Integrated Supportive Supervision (ISS) organised by Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results (SOMLforR) under the service.

He said that the criteria for earning money for health under SOMLPfoR was performance, adding that FCT had continuously earned in the last two disbursements thereby maintaining the second time as North Central champions.

He, however, explained that capacity building was very key to improving the performance of the FCT health staff.
He described the ISS as an avenue to improve performance at the facility levels where quality of service would be measured.

He commended the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, who found the training worthy for approval and called on all to be serious so that the approved resources for the training would count.
He urged them to work as a team and explore for better performance and health system under the SOMLPforR programme.

The scribe assured that the implementation of the SOMLforR programme in the FCT Administration.
“I want you all to work as a team by deploying your wealth of experience to support your team mates at all times for the good of FCT Health System and better performance under the SOMLPforR programme.
“I am delighted to be the one declaring open this very important training on Integrated Supportive Supervision (ISS) of the Saving One Million Lives Programme for Result.
“The capacity building is very key to improving the performance of the staff and the criteria for earning money for health under SOMLPfoR is performance.

“I urge you to take this training with all seriousness. Let us make the resources approved for this training count to the last kobo by paying attention and contributing as much as possible.
“I want you all to work as a team deploying your wealth of experience to support your team mates at all times for the overall good of FCT Health System.

“Let me reiterate the commitment of the FCT Administration to the full implementation of the SOMLpforR programme in FCT and thank the national team for their constant support and leadership role,’’ he said.
The National Programme Manager, SOMLforR, Dr Ibrahim Kana, explained that the programme was launched in 2012 due to the poor health outcome in the country.

Kana, who was represented by the North Central Coordinator, Dr Dogara Okara, gave an overview of the programme and said it is estimated that almost 1 million women and children die yearly.
The programme manager said that SOMLforR was to improve maternal and child health, adding that it will save the lives of maternal newborn and child health.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the five-day event is holding at Fresh Land Hotel, Maraba.
The programme would also improve participants understanding of the definition, standards and processes of ISS.
It would also enhance capacity of the FCT Area Councils health personnel to effectively plan and implement ISS. (NAN)

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VP Calls For More Investment In Family Planing

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Yemi Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo

BY SARAUNIYA G USMAN, ABUJA

The Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo has called on fg to invest more in family planning has been proven to be cost effective and life saving especially in a country like Nigeria.

He said this during 5th National Family Planning Conference,with a Theme “INVESTMENT INNOVATION AND INCLUSIVENESS”,organised by the Association for the Advancement of family planning (AAFP) in Collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja.

Represented by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewale, He said it is estimated that 63 per cent of the total population that is below 25 years of age with a significant segment of this population being sexual active and the need for education and guidance is important.

According to him, family planning and population management are not just life –saving interventions but actually critical tools for economic and social development.

He added that at the 2012 global summit on family planning, the Nigerian government committed to expand access to and use of family planning service to achieve a contraceptive prevalence rate CPR of 36 per cent by the year 2018.

He thanked the federal Ministry of Health, Association for the Advancement of family planning, and United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA), and the donor Agencies including USAID, DfiD, the Bill and Melinda Gate foundation for their continued support and Investment in family planning Nigeria.

In his opening remarks, the Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Abdul-Aziz M. Abdullahi said that the family planning conference organised by the Federal Ministry of Health in partnership with Association for the Advancement of Family planning was meant to guarantee greater collaboration and coordination among stakeholders.

“The 2012 London summit on family planning had very distinctive outcome. It agreed on family planning 2020 goal which was to enable additional 120 million women and girls reproductive age group to use contraceptives across the world by the year 2020.

It is important to note that our great nation, committed to achieving a contraceptive prevalence rate CPR of 36% by the year 2018” Adewole said.

Also speaking at the event, the Chairman Strategy Management Committee Association for Advancement of Family Planning Dr. Ejike Oji, called on Federal Government to provide adequate health care as well as relevant education to the Nigerian youth.

He noted that recently $1million was added to the $3million already committed to purchase of family planning commodities bring it to a total of $4million yearly.

In her, remarks Lillian Ibeh, youths representatives said that over 47% of Nigeria’s populations are adolescents and youths aged 10- 34 years. She said key to all conversation on investment was the need for government to increase funding of primary healthcare services towards improving the lives of young people in Nigeria.

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