Media Services

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Grace Diashe says has not had a sound sleep since November last year when she started work as a nurse at a rural health centre.
The 47-year old mother of three is the only qualified health worker at the only health centre in Edikwu-Icho, a swampy community of about 2,500 people in Apa Local Government Area of Benue State.
Dominated by Tiv speaking people, the agrarian community is cut off whenever it rains, as five-foot deep flood water covers the only road that links it with the outside world.
Mrs. Diashe recounted to PREMIUM TIMES her experience on a day she went to the local government headquarters to replenish her centre’s drugs stock.
“I was on my way back and the rain was heavy. When we got to a hill, the okada man (motorcycle taxi operator) said he could not go any further. I had to carry the drugs on my head and started wading through the flooded road under the rain. I fell several times and the flood would have carried me away,” she said.
Edikwu-Icho village has no electricity. But the health centre has a rechargeable lantern and a small electricity generator, which Mrs. Diashe and her assistants use only for deliveries or emergencies at night.
According to the nurse, the centre attends to about 15 patients from the community and its environs daily. In a month, she said, she takes about 25 deliveries.
“We lack staff, drugs and equipment,” she lamented.
Assisting Mrs. Diashe at the centre are three community extension workers. They all work 24 hours with no shifts.
“I only have three health attendants assisting me. If I am carrying out delivery and I encounter challenges, I refer the person to Aliade, which is far,” she said.
“If there is a doctor here, he would handle these issues and save lives. But which doctor will come here? It is hard to get a qualified doctor to agree to work in this kind of community with no light, basic amenities and terrible road covered with flood water,” she said.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Roughly every six minutes, a woman somewhere in the world bleeds to death in child birth. But a new medical trial shows that there is a way of combating the problem.
The trial has found that a simple drug called tranexamic acid, a blood clot stabiliser first discovered in Japan in the 1950s, could cut deaths from bleeding by a third if given to women within three hours.
In London this week, experts on the issue of what the medical community calls “post-partum haemorrhage” (PPH) met to highlight the trial’s findings and to discuss how to promote the use of the drug.
The event took place at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, which hosts the collaboration known as the WOMAN Trial.
PPH is the leading cause of maternal death globally. It kills about 100,000 women, mostly in low and middle income countries.
Philanthropist Toyin Saraki, the founding president of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and an ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives, told the meeting that the risk of death in childbirth remains “painstakingly high” in sub-Saharan Africa.
“In Nigeria, for example, the country of my birth, a woman incurs a one in 23 risk of dying during childbirth in her lifetime,” she said.
“In Chad, with the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world, this figure is closer to one in 17. It is countries such as these that can benefit the most from tranexamic acid.”

Friday, November 10, 2017

What can a governor do if he wants to grow his state economy when the odds are stacked against him? Crude oil has fallen out of favour and the population is growing at an alarming rate. Residents should go easy on procreation.
In Ebonyi State, birth control is one sure way to tackle the challenge. That was why Governor Dave Umahi launched the Resources for the Awareness of Population Impacts on Development or RAPID.
Umahi’s administration believes a controlled population is easier to manage in the face of limited resources.
At the launch which took place at International Conference Centre Abakaliki, the governor said the state government would embark on massive sensitisation of the people on fertility control measures.
The event was attended by political office holders and traditional rulers in the state.
RAPID is a report of a survey sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID through Health Policy Plus Nigeria.
Presenting the report, the Country Director of Health Policy Plus, Dr. Onoriode Ezire said Ebonyi has the highest fertility rate of 5.3 per cent in the Southeast.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Worried by stock-out of contraceptive commodities and consumables, experts at the Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) 2020, a recent family planning (FP) review, advocated increased funding for FP by state governments.
In view of high incidence of unplanned pregnancies, Funmi Olaolorun, the Co-Principal Investigator, PMA 2020, stressed that increased funding by state governments would  tackle  stock-out of contraceptive commodities and consumables in many states.
According to Olaolorun, many women who are unable to access contraceptives at the FP clinics end up with unintended pregnancies following commodities out-of-stock.
Many youths who are involved in such unplanned pregnancies procure illegal abortions as abortion is permitted under the laws of Nigeria only when the life of the mother is in danger as a result of the pregnancy; only then, can a medical abortion be done – to save the life of the mother.
Unintended pregnancies are pregnancies that are mistimed and unplanned at the time of their conception.
Unfortunately, many Nigerian teenagers, adolescents and married women find themselves with pregnancies that were never planned.
Figures from the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), it is estimated that 6.8 million pregnancies occur in Nigeria annually, and for every four of these pregnancies, one is unplanned.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a woman in developing nations including Nigeria dies of complications arising from an unsafe abortion every eight minutes.
Every year, worldwide, about 42 million women with unintended pregnancies choose abortion, and nearly half of these procedures, approximately 20 million of them, are unsafe.
Also, 68,000 women die from unsafe abortion annually, making it one of the leading causes of maternal mortality across the world. In Nigeria, unsafe abortion contributes 13 per cent of maternal deaths.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Rural women in Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe and Zamfara states have taken a deeper sigh of relief following a decision by their respective governments to train 6,500 female health workers to man healthcare facilities in different communities across the five states.
The development was sequel to a partnership between Women for Health (W4H), a UKaid funded nongovernmental organization and the five state governments, Kano Chronicle, observed.
Already, over 2,000 female health workers have been trained under the programme tagged Foundation Year Programme (FYP) and posted to different healthcare facilities across the five states, while over 3,000 others are currently undergoing the training.
Also, over 20 healthcare training institutions comprising colleges of nursing and midwifery and schools of health technology across the five states have been supported under the programme.
Kano Chronicle gathered that the support was in terms of infrastructural development and capacity building of staff to be in tune with contemporary development in the health sector.
Rural communities in the five states are said to have suffered acute shortage of professional midwives in their primary healthcare centers, thereby forcing expectant mothers to largely depend on traditional birth attendants for their delivery.
This dearth of female health workers coupled with the tradition of the people, where cultural norms abhor woman from being attended to by a male health service provider, have worsen the process of health care delivery in rural communities, hence increasing cases of maternal death among the women populace.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A bacterial infection found in one in five pregnant women worldwide is responsible for an estimated 147,000 stillbirths and infant deaths each year, and a vaccine is urgently needed, researchers said Monday.

The study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases is the first comprehensive look at the impact of Group B Streptococcus infection (GBS), which is estimated to live harmlessly in the intestinal tracts of up to a third of all adults.
When a pregnant woman carries the bacteria, it can pass to her fetus via the amniotic fluid, or during birth as the infant passes through the vaginal canal. Babies and fetuses are particularly vulnerable because their immune systems are not strong enough to fight the multiplying bacteria.
If untreated, GBS can lead to meningitis and septicemia, which can be deadly. Babies that survive may develop cerebral palsy, or permanent sight and hearing problems. There is no vaccine available to prevent GBS, although work is in progress to develop one.
The findings, led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, estimated that out of 410,000 GBS cases every year, there will be at least 147,000 stillbirths and infant deaths globally.
The greatest burden was seen in Africa, which experiences 54 percent of infections and 65 percent of stillbirths and infant deaths from GBS, said the report, released at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting in Baltimore.
The top five countries where pregnant women are infected are India (2,466,500) China (1,934,900), Nigeria (1,060,000), the United States (942,800) and Indonesia (799,100), according to the report.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

With available statistics showing that young girls are disproportionately affected when it comes to HIV, Safe Love International has launched a campaign tagged: “No Sugar Daddy, Bright Future” to save 1 million Nigerian teenagers from new HIV infections and unwanted pregnancy.
The campaign is designed to address and combat the high rates of teenage pregnancies and HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in Nigeria.
According to the Founder of Safe Love International, Sandara Omo Idugboe, young girls are heavily affected when it comes to HIV and intergenerational sex is one of the main drivers of the HIV epidemic among adolescent girls in Nigeria.

Noting that teenage girls are commonly preyed upon by older popularly known as “sugar daddies” due to money and exchange of gifts for sex, Idugboe said the campaign is also targeting to reduce teenage pregnancy by 28 percent  annually as it has been proven in a randomised controlled trial.
“With the “No Sugar Daddy, Bright Future Campaign” combating inter-generational sex, Safe Love hopes to combat the negative effects of inter-generational sex, reduce the high rate of new HIV infections among young girls, discourage widespread sugar daddy culture and beckon on the government to tighten sexual abuse laws so as to protect young girls and give abused girls justice.”
Idugboe who is also an international actress and model, observed that girls are less able to insist on abstinence or safe sex practice when partnered with old adult men, hence the need for the campaign. “This is a powerful way to change behaviour.”
Idugboe explained that the programme would be carried out in form of short interactive discussion with young students in school, sometimes at the streets and markets.
“It is going to be a 30mins class where the risk of inter-generational sex is brought to them (HIV/ pregnancy) and we will expose them to the statistics from the Nigerian AIDS Control Agency,  UNICEF among others.
We will bring it right in their face, so that they will see how close HIV is to them. This is what we call Risk Perception, we update their risk perception and we bring it to their consciousness ‘and say, ‘If you choose to start having sex relations with older men, you are up to 9 times likely to be HIV infected as suppose to if you were dating a younger boy of your age’.
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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Head, Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Rehabilitation of the Presidential Committee on North-east Initiative (PCNI), Dr. Sidi Ali Mohammed, has attributed the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in the North-east to rampant cases of rape.
Ali Mohammed spoke on the sidelines of a PCNI meeting in Abuja.
He, however, assured that the security sub-committee of PCNI is working round the clock to ensure more places that are liberated were getting the humanitarian assistance they need.
“The major challenge for us in the health sector especially in the north east is that of human resource for health. Don’t forget, at the beginning of the insurgency, the first people that were attacked are the teachers and the health care workers”, Thisday quoted him as saying.
“They were killed, and naturally they are the first set of people to run away from the communities. Even before the insurgency, the north east has the worst maternal mortality, not only in Nigeria but the world over.
“I also admitted the fact that our camp coordination and management for now is very weak and therefore those people who are in the camp now are taking advantage of the people. So we intend to get it right by developing a humanitarian response plan for 2018 and 2019.”

Friday, November 3, 2017

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has urged religious leaders to help reduce maternal and infant mortality by disseminating right information on Family Planning (FP).

The Director of NOA in Nasarawa State, Mrs Priscilla Aluor, made the call at a two-day workshop on updated essential family practices held in Karu Local Government Area of the state on Thursday.

The meeting was attended by 42 participants from seven local government areas of the state.

Aluor explained that family practices are critical practices that sustain the health of a community, saying various tiers of government, international donor agencies and non-governmental organisations are not relenting in their efforts at promoting FP.

“Messages passed to you are as good as messages passed to a whole community and local government because one word in the church goes round, one word in the mosque also goes round. So working with you is working with the larger society,” she said.

She urged the religious leaders to pay attention to key information on essential FP practices because they will be expected to disseminate what they have learnt to worshippers so as to improve their well-being.

“God has anointed your voices. That is why when you speak to the people, they listen. That is why I urge you to listen carefully so you can take back what you have learnt here to your people even as you continue the work of God in your various places,” she said.

Mr Ibrahim Azara, a facilitator at the workshop, stressed that religious leaders must preach on the relevance of family practices drawing their knowledge from the holy scriptures, divine legislations on marriage, pregnancy, antenatal care services, delivery, after delivery, complimentary feeding and water hygiene.

“These issues on health are all in the Holy Scriptures. So the goal is to update our religious leaders on how to use the scriptures to sensitise their people on the right steps to take towards healthy living,” he said.

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Rev. Samson Alabede, CAN representative from Karu local government area, lauded the initiative, noting that it will work for the general good of the state if religious leaders do the needful to their congregations.

“I think, we are heading to somewhere positive. This effort is a laudable one given the influence we have on our people. We cannot undermine the importance of this training. It will be very nice if we all do our job of passing the message we got here to our people,” he said.

Also Alhaji Ali Ojah, Secretary, Jama’atul Nasir Islam (JNI), Wamba Local Government Area of the state, described the workshop as “a laudable and interesting training”.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Uneducated women are more likely to die during pregnancy or child birth, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has said.
Emeritus Professor Nimi Dimkpa Briggs said, while delivering the first annual lecture of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), a pregnant woman who stayed in a slum and also not properly educated was more likely to lose her baby because of lack of education.
In developed and industrialised world, the average woman starts child bearing later in life, with some education, and have their pregnancies and deliveries supervised by skilled professionals, he said.
On the contrary, he said mothers in developing countries tend to be younger, with less formal education and often deliver without supervision by skilled personnel.
Briggs, an alumnus of UNILAG and former Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, said India and Nigeria produced one third of global maternal deaths, while Sierra Leone had the highest maternal mortality ratio which was 100,000 deaths of infants.
Apart from education, Briggs said in Nigeria, despite the advancement in technology and skilled professionals, the maternal mortality rate was still high because of the environment.
For instance, Briggs said in the hinterlands of the Niger Delta, women were more likely to lose their lives and their babies.