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NGO raises alarm over HIV prevalence in Kogi State



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NGO raises alarm over HIV prevalence in Kogi State

By John Akubo

The Kogi State coordinator for Sustainable Mechanism for Improving Livelihood Empowerment (SMILE) Mr. Kehinde Arowosegbe has raised alarm over prevalence of HIV in the State that is yet to abate.
He said the NGO is working very hard to sensitize the public on the need to tackle HIV epidermic because when the parents die the society would be left to carter for a retinue of orphans.
The Cordinator spoke yesterday at an advocacy workshop for Ministries, departments and agencies of Governments on the right of children, their welfare and their protection from every form of abuse.
He said against the misgivings that HIV pandemic has dwindled, it has not abated even though so much has been done to curtail its prevalence.
He drew the attention of participants to the danger posed by the activities of trailer drivers at trailer parks in the State with female hawkers especially in Lokoja, Okene and Obajana at night.
He said Obajana in Lokoja Local Government where the biggest cement factory in Africa is situated is taking the lead in the incidence of HIV in the State.
The Dangote Cement
factory located in Obajana has the biggest trailer park where these activities also take place.
Arowosegbe indicated that the female hawkers are exposed to the danger of the dreaded disease from sexual acts they indulge in with these drivers and if not treated against the disease after 72 hours then it is difficult to overcome.
According to him, “Kogi is the only State that shares boundary with nine States including the FCT.
“Because of inter border transmission of the disease, Kogi is vulnerable, if we don’t tackle it now it will affect many children as the activities of trailer drivers at their pack will have a multiplier effect.”
He said a lot needed to be done by stakeholders to support the ministry of health to tackle the HIV pandemic in Kogi State.
“Thank God for the child right act in Nigeria which was signed to law in 2002 and it was domesticated and signed into law in Kogi State in 2009.
“Children are being abused, their rights being denied them. It could be sexual abuse or harassment.
He said ActionAid, SMILE and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) the lead consultant are working seriously to protect children from every abuse.
He also commended Kogi being one of the few States in Nigeria that has functional family Court system.
He said a child can not be tried in a conventional court, saying that they are supposed to be referred to juvenile courts or Family Courts.
“In other States children languish in prison not meant for them because they don’t have the proper courts that is meant for them. He said Kogi is having family courts in more than 10 local Governments.

According to him such Juvenile courts are all over the State making it easy for cases relating to children to easily be dispensed with.

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USAID donates health equipment worth N61m to FCT




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By Mustapha Sumaila

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has donated N61.2 million Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health training equipment to Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Representative of USAID, Dr Oluwadamilola Olaogun at the handing over ceremony of the materials in Abuja on Thursday said the donation was made to improve the quality of health care in FCT.

Olaogun said the gesture was part of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with FCT to help revitalise the health care system in the territory in order to deliver quality and more affordable health care services to its residents.

“Today, we are happy to be part of this handover ceremony of Low Dose High Frequency training equipment and supporting documents that will help FCT enhance the training of its health workforce.

“Adoption of Low Dose, High Frequency training methodology which improves the retention of information among staff trainees, represents a part of USAID support for improved health care in the territory and Nigeria as a whole.

“This assistance came through our implementing partner, Integrated Health Project (IHP), this our partner helps to improve the quality of health care in four states and FCT” she explained.

She urged those that would benefit from the training equipment to utilise them well as well as to develop a culture of continuous learning.

In his remarks, Mr Peter Oshaji, Leadership and Governance Advisor, IHP
said his organisation was committed for continued support with USAID to improve the health care system in the territory and other parts of the country.

He disclosed that USAID had also awarded grants of about N237 million to improve the clinical competencies of Primary Health Care workers in FCT.

The Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretariat at the FCT, Dr Mohammed Kawu, thanked USAID and IHP for the kind gesture.

Kawu said these two organisations had been wonderful partners to improve the healthcare delivery in the territory.

He however gave the assurance that the authority would ensure the judicious use of the training materials. (NAN)

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Hepatitis Day: Expert wants Government to consider need for free treatment for Hepatitis like HIV




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Hepatitis Day: Expert wants Government to consider need for free treatment for Hepatitis like HIV
Consultant Gastroentrologist and Hepatologist Okorie Micheal Chidebere of the Federal Medical Center Abuja has charged the Federal Government to intervene by making the treatment for Hepatitis free just like HIV so that patients can get proper attention at the medical facilities.

Speaking at the 2021 Hepatitis Day at the Federal Medical Center in Abuja on Wednesday, Okorie said because of the lack of Government support quacks are catching in on that to make fast money at the detriment of the patients

“I was trying to compare how Government and non Governmental Organizations support patients with HIV when they do much for patients with Hepatitis B and as a result of this we have a lot of quackery in the practice. 

“People have realised that a lot of people have Hepatitis and they used that to defraud unsuspecting members  of the public. 

“This is just because the Government is not paying attention to Hepatitis they way they do for HIV patients.  So when you look at the data that  was presented you will see the prevalent you will see the rate of transmission with HIV

“Government has support system for patients with HIV but none for patients with Hepatitis and that is a very big problem”
“This is a field where people want to make money so there are quacks everywhere  because the Government has not paid much attention to Hepatitis the way they have done to HIV.

“Why will you not provide Hepatitis drugs for people who have Hepatitis B  but you are providing free drugs for HIV patients meanwhile their mode of transmission is the same thing”

He said the association for Gastroentrologists in Nigeria has been raising the alarm. 

“You will do Viral load free for a patient who has a co-infection of HIV and Hepatitis B, who got the virus the same way, you will do free Viral load for the HIV and you will ask the patient to go and pay N60, 000 to do viral load for Hepatitis B that is not fair. 

“So because of this we have a lot of quackery with respect to this Hepatitis B. Some people move from one place to another screening people and we don’t get to see them until they develop complications that is when they come here and when they come at the end of the day we would not be able to do much.

“On how COVID-19 has affected their response to Hepatitis, he said not only in Hepatitis, COVID-19 has overshadowed every aspect of human lives. 

“The truth is Hepatitis is still there just like any other disease condition. COVID-19 has overshadowed TB, it has overshadowed, Hepatitis, the fact is the prevalence of Hepatitis B is 11%, COVID-19 has not reduced it.
“The fact remains that Hepatitis 70% of patients who have cancer of the liver is because of Hepatitis B and COVID-19 has not reduced that, though it has overshadowed it and most of the funds is going into COVID-19 but the Hepatitis is still with us, it will still remain with us in as much as Government is not doing much, it will still remain with us.

“The awareness has to be there and that we can do as specialists but of course apart from awareness there is financial implication. “Just the way private organisations gathered to raise money for COVID-19 that should also be done for patients with Hepatitis. 

“Investigation for patients with Hepatitis B are very expensive it is not within the reach of the common man. So even when you test a patients and you ask him to come for a proper evaluation and all these will cost money and there is no support system for them the way it is for HIV and other disease conditions. 

“So if Government can come into this, the way the did for HIV and others then a lot would be done to reduce this prevalence.”
“Hepatitis B can be prevented that is why we emphasise vaccination for that, then why do you wait to have the Hepatitis and have complication before they come here at the end of the day we will not be able to do much.

“If anybody tell you he will reduce the surface Antigen he is lying because it is not likely to happen but we will suppress the viral load by giving you drugs to make sure that not develop complications

“The aim of treatment for Hepatitis B is not to cure of course you can achieve cur in few percentage  of patients but to reduce the viral load.

“Some want the surface Antigen to go away and become negative for them that is what they consider as cure but for us that us not cure

“The Medical Director of the center, Professor Saad A. Ahmed said 28th of July, 2021, is actually set aside by the World Hwalth Organization as World Hepatitis day with the theme ‘Hepatitis can’t wait.’

“Why are we talking about Hepatitis? it is actually a decease of public health importance. A lot of people are affected. Currently the WHO has estimated that about 354 million people are living with Hepatitis and this number needs to be brought down. 

“There is actually a strategy by WHO to reduce the infection of the disease by 90% between 2016 to 2030 so we are still within that spectrum and also to reduce the mortality by 65%. 

“It also goes to show the importance of the fight against Hepatitis and this day we are here to create awareness for the populace to know more about Hepatitis and how to prevent it and those that have the disease condition they will know where to seek for help and all of that. 

“Screening is something that is quite important, if you screen and found that you are negative which means you are eligible to get vaccinated. 

“Those that are found to be positive can be further evaluated by specialists in that regard. With the evaluation that is not within the reach of the common man?

“For this day those that are present are going to get evaluated at no cost and then of course those that on health insurance scheme that will take care of it so .

 “They would not need to contribute much to get that service. But largely we are looking at a situation whereby we educate the masses on how they themselves can prevent hemselves from coming in contact with Hepatitis virus and therefore lessening the incidence of Hepatitis in the community.

“The preventive measures are first, one needs to know the mode of transmission of this. There is mother to child transmission which means you need to be screened in order to know whether you are positive or not. 

“If you are positive, you go for treatment and if negative, get vaccinated. So you are protecting yourself as well as the unborn child.

“Secondly you must avoid the use of unsterilised implements for some procedures, like scarification, circumcision, sharing needles and all of that. 

“The transmission basically is similar to that of HIV, blood and blood products. If you are going for transmission that means there has to be appropriate screening for that blood to find out whether Hepatitis B and C are positive or not. If it is positive of course you cannot transfused with that blood. 

“Those that are negative can be considered . These are some of the things that must be taken into account to reduce the incidence of Hepatitis BOn the unfair treatment between HIV, COVID-19 and Hepatitis, he said it is all about advocacy, I have taken note of it and we will see how to balance it within this facility and which ever Forum we will try to bring it to the fore, the need to do more in terms of getting treatment and care for people with Hepatitis. 

“So the essence of the day is to create awareness not just for the masses but also policy makers . So this has come out of this campaign and we will take it forward”

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Cholera outbreak in FCT claims 60 as cases rise to 698 from 604 in 72 hours




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The federal government has announced that cases of Cholera outbreak in the FCT has risen from 604 to 698 persons within 72 hours.

The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, made the disclosure at a community sensitization on cholera in Pyakasa and Gwagwa communities in Abuja.
She said the FCT Administration has commenced community sensitization to checkmate further spread of cholera and other severe acute diarrhoea diseases in the territory.
She gave the assurance that the administration would do everything within its power to prevent the spread of the disease.
She disclosed further that the death toll from the disease has now hit 60.

The Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Abdullahi Adamu Candido, on his part pledged the commitment of his council to ensuring the sensitization of all the four chiefdoms in AMAC.
He said traditional rulers will be trained on preventive measures to prevent cholera in their communities.

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