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September 28, 2020

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Doctors strike, COVID-19 dominate health stories last week

6 min read

Nigeria doctors embarked on a strike in the early hours of Monday to protest the lack of access to full personal protective equipment and life insurance, especially for their members on the frontline who have died while treating people suffering from COVID-19.

The strike has since been called off after the doctor’s union reached an agreement with the federal government.

Meanwhile, there is yet no respite from the coronavirus pandemic which has plagued the world for over nine months. The virus continues to spread and has infected over 28 million people globally. About 924,915 persons have died from the virus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that widespread vaccinations against the virus are not expected until mid 2021. Hence, the most effective method for controlling the virus is to test, trace and isolate.

Here are some of the health stories which made headlines last week:

Nigeria records 160 new coronavirus infections, two deaths

On Saturday, Nigeria recorded 160 new COVID-19 cases, one of the lowest in four months.

This brings the total infections in the country to 56,177, according to an update by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Saturday night.

Two deaths were recorded on Monday, taking the total number of deaths from the virus to 1,078.

Why Nigerian doctors called off strike despite unresolved grievances – official

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) called off its strike on Thursday, four days after it began.

The association, in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, said its national executive council resolved to suspend the strike with effect from Friday.

It said the decision was taken in order to give the federal government time to address its demands. The new development, the association said, will be reviewed in two weeks.

Health sector crisis deepens as JOHESU prepares for strike

A nationwide health crisis capable of diminishing any gains made in the containment of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria is looming.

About 24 hours after the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) commenced an “indefinite nationwide strike” on Monday, another key organ of Nigeria’s health workforce threatened to down tools.

The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU, a group of health workers excluding doctors, said it would embark on a nationwide seven-day warning strike if the government fails to meet its demands which includes payment of hazard and inducement allowance by midnight of Sunday, September 13.

WHO raises concern over potential Ebola spread in DR Congo, beyond

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is still battling the Ebola outbreak that has claimed many lives in the conflict-ridden country.

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The World Health Organisation on Friday raised fears over the possible spread of the disease to the neighbouring Republic of Congo and even the capital, Kinshasa.

According to a report on UN News, the outbreak in Equateur Province emerged in early June and has now spread into another of its 17 health zones, bringing the total number of affected zones to 12. So far, there have been 113 cases and 48 deaths.

Nigeria overtakes India as world capital for under-five deaths — a year earlier than projected

Nigeria has taken over from India as the world capital for under-five deaths, according to the 2020 mortality estimates released by the United Nations Children’s Fund.

This development comes one year earlier than the World Bank projected.

The global bank had said in 2018 that Nigeria will take over India as the world capital for deaths of children under the age of five by 2021.

COVID-19: Millions Of Children At Risk Of Measles, Polio, Due To Vaccination Disruptions

Millions of children in Nigeria are at the risk of measles, polio, diphtheria, and other diseases due to disruptions of routine immunisation and other vaccination programmes as a result of the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Daily Trust reports that some of the mass immunisation programmes earlier scheduled for the year were cancelled or postponed because of COVID-19. This has heightened fears of more outbreaks of the diseases this year.

NAFDAC cautions public on abuse of alcohol in sachet

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has advised the public to exercise caution in the consumption of alcoholic beverages that could have deteriorating effects on their health.

Mojisola Adeyeye, the director-general of the agency, who gave the advice in a statement on Friday, further urged the public to avoid unregistered alcoholic products.

She said that alcohol in sachets and small volume PET or glass bottles, had been put forward as a factor contributing to substance and alcohol abuse in Nigeria with its negative impact on the society.

NACA Unveils New HIV Test Kits, as Global Fund Pledges $890 million

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has formally launched a new test kit for HIV, known as WONDFO HIV 1 and 2 Rapid Test Kit.

While presenting the laboratory performance evaluation for the new test kit at a ceremony in Abuja recently, the director-general of NACA, Gambo Aliyu, described it as a major milestone which will boost the country’s effort at achieving the goal of testing 95 percent of Nigerians that are HIV positive.

80% diseases affecting Nigerians diet-related – Nutritionist

A nutritionist, Mohammed Sani-Hassan, has said that about 80 per cent of diseases affecting Nigerians are diet-related and can be curbed with good dietary knowledge and attitude.

Sani-Hassan, a former vice president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Friday.

He identified some of the diet-related non-communicable diseases to include diabetes, hypertension, kidney diseases, heart disease, liver disease and obesity.

WHO says over 30 COVID-19 vaccines undergoing clinical trials

More than 30 vaccines against COVID-19 are currently undergoing clinical trials in different countries, including in Russia, and this is very encouraging, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) spokesperson in Russia, Melita Vujnovic said last week.

“WHO is encouraged by the fact that more than 30 candidate vaccines are currently undergoing various stages of clinical trials, including in Russia,” Vujnovic said.

According to her, the WHO continues to interact with Russian scientists and authorities and is looking forward to learning the details of the Russian vaccine trials.

Children’s lives at stake, COVID threatens to undo 30 years of ‘remarkable progress’

COVID-19 threatens to undo decades of hard-fought progress in reducing deaths of children under the age of five, UN agencies have warned, calling on countries to ensure vital health services for children and women do not falter amid the global crisis.

The number of global under-five deaths dropped to its lowest point on record in 2019 – down to 5.2 million, from 12.5 million in 1990. However, there are fears the numbers could rise on the back of COVID-induced disruptions to child and maternal health services, new estimates released on Wednesday, indicate.

150 malnourished babies in danger as Bauchi council runs out of therapeutic food

No fewer than 150 malnourished babies have, in the last four weeks, missed their weekly doses of ready to use therapeutic food (RUTF) in Kirfi Centre for Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM), as the RUTF stock had run out.

The officer in charge of nutrition and Immunisation in Kirfi CMAM, Ado Manga, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday.

“For four weeks, we are out of stock of the RUTF in Kirfi CMAM centre, thereby extending the treatment period.

“We have given out our mobile numbers to clients to make contact before coming because they spend about N3,500 on transportation to the centre,” he said.

Leaders pledge ‘quantum leap’ towards fully funding COVID-19 vaccines and treatments

Global leaders, including more than 30 heads of state and ministers, have underlined their commitment towards fast-tracking the development and production of COVID-19 tests, medicines and vaccines, that will be available for anyone, anywhere, who needs them.

Following a virtual meeting on Thursday, they pledged to advocate for the $35 billion still required for the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, to realize the goal of producing two billion vaccine doses, 245 million treatments, and 500 million tests.



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