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Major health stories last week

These are the major health reports published last week.

Reinstatement of NHIS Executive Secretary generates controversy

The reinstatement of the suspended National Health Insurance Scheme Executive Director, Usman Yusuf, generated lot of controversy among workers in the agency as well as the nation.

President Muhammadu Buhari during the week ordered the reinstatement of Mr. Yusuf.

Mr. Yusuf was suspended six months ago, on a directive from the health minister, Isaac Adewole, who told the NHIS ES to step aside based on allegations of gross misconduct and to give room for the investigative panel set up to investigate the claim.

The presidency however, directed the minister in a letter signed by the Chief Of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari to reinstate Mr. Yusuf immediately.

Mr. Yusuf has since been seen at the NHIS headquarters in Abuja and his reinstatement has been generating controversy even among staff of the agency who staged a protest against his return.

Health workers issue 21-day ultimatum to FG

Health workers have given the Federal Government a 21-day ultimatum to meet their demands and have threatened to embark on an industrial action after March 1.

The health workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations, AHP, had on September 29, 2017 suspended a 10-day old strike after an agreement with the government.

The union, which comprises pharmacists, nurses, and medical laboratory scientists, lamented the delay tactics of the Federal Government in approving the adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS) as was done for medical doctors’ Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) since January 2014 and also in September, 2017 for the medical doctors.

Some of the requests of the union are enhanced access to healthcare in the country, intervention in the unending cycle of discriminatory output of the Federal Ministry of Health in dispensing privileges and resources to the various cadres of health workers in Nigeria, as well as asking the government to revisit the constitution of the membership of the boards of all the Federal Health Institutions (FHIs) published in December 2017 which violates the Teaching Hospital Act.

WHO to immunise 1.2 million people against Yellow Fever in Borno

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is set to immunise 1.2 million people against yellow fever in Borno.

Terna Nomhwange, the WHO Country Representative and National Surveillance Officer, at the innoculation centre in Bakkassi Internally Displaced Persons Camp (IDPs) in Maiduguri, said about 1 million doses of vaccines had been provided for the exercise in the 288 wards of the 25 selected local government areas in the state.

Mr. Nomhwange also said WHO was already working with the federal government and other implementing partners to control spread of the disease in 16 states of the country in the past five months.

These states include Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Oyo, Plateau and Zamfara among others.

Diet key to blocking spread of breast cancer- Scientists

A common amino acid produced in the human body or absorbed from food can be suppressed to stop breast cancer spread in mice, researchers have reported.

They hope the finding may yield a method to prevent cancer cells spreading from their origins in a woman’s breast to form tumours in her lungs, brain, other organs or bones — a process known as “metastasis” which is the most common cause of death.

Although the researchers cautioned its was too early to jump to conclusions about asparagine’s role in human cancers, or to advise dietary changes, they however said the research may be the first time that a change in diet has been linked to a biological process that promotes cancer spread.

Nigerian lawmaker decries poor funding for cancer treatment

A Nigerian lawmaker, Mohammed Usman, has described as poor, insufficient and inadequate the funding for treatment of cancer, a disease that claims about 10,000 lives in the country annually.

Mr. Usman, the deputy chairman committee on healthcare services in the House of Representatives, said it was the resultant effect of the poor funding of the annual health budget which has repeatedly fallen below the 15 per cent benchmark of the Abuja declaration.

Mr. Usman said when you have inadequate funding, there is no way you can cater for a lot of these diseases affecting millions of Nigerians and the 2018 health budget is the lowest so far.

Doctor, owner of ‘baby factory’ arrested

The medical doctor running an illegal maternity and baby factory in Nyanya, near Abuja, has been arrested and his facility sealed.

The spokesman of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Josiah Emerole said the Chief Medical Director of the maternity clinic, Akuchi Herbal Concept, was arrested by NAPTIP for allegedly swindling several women who were in desperate need for babies.

Mr. Emerole said the 38-year-old herbalist, was allegedly deceiving women into thinking they are pregnant and thereafter giving other people’s babies to them having collected lots of money.

Cancer, heart attack detector without doctors

A Chinese research program is trying to make a mobile phone-sized boxes that may help patients detect acute heart failure or cancer, at any time, without any medical assistance.

Chinese scientists have developed a much easier and less expensive biosensor to detect heart attack.

A team of scientists from Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics (CIOFMP) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences have dedicated 16 years to researching this label-free immunosensor and published their findings online in the scientific journal, Biosensors and Bioelectronics earlier this month.


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