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120 outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio reported in Nigeria

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By Gistflash News

Sept 6, 2021

The Representative of the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, Dr Peter Hawkins, has disclosed that a massive outbreak of vaccine-derived polio has been reported in Nigeria.

Hawkins disclosed this in his remarks at  the third Quarter Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Cares (PHC) review meeting on Monday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Vaccine-derived cases are rare, and they differ from wild cases. There are two kinds of polio cases; Wild cases of polio are caused by poliovirus that is circulating naturally in the environment. 

Vaccine-derived polioviruses are extremely rare and exist under specific circumstances. Oral polio vaccine contains live virus that is weakened so that it will prompt the body’s immune response without causing paralysis.

He noted that that vaccine is ingested, and the weakened virus replicates in the child’s gut and is then excreted.

“In areas with poor sanitation, this excreted vaccine virus can spread to other children. This can actually be good because it then immunizes them. When the strain no longer finds susceptible children, it dies out,” he added.

Hawkins warned against the dangers of undermining routine immunization.

“The problem occurs in areas of low vaccination. There, such vaccine-derived strains of the virus can continue to circulate as long as they continue to find unvaccinated or otherwise susceptible children.

“While they continue to circulate, they mutate. Eventually, if they are allowed to circulate long enough, at least 12 months, they can mutate into strains that are strong enough to cause paralysis.,” he explained.

He assured that the oral polio vaccine had reduced the number of polio cases by 99.9 percent. Noting that the risk posed by wild poliovirus was far greater than the risk of an outbreak caused by circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus:

The Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed that the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; (Ọjájá II), is providing leadership in the systematic engagement of the Traditional leaders in the SouthWest with the Southwest Traditional Leaders’ Committee on PHC delivery that was inaugurated by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Sept. 2, 2021, at his Imperial Majesty’s palace, Ile-Ife.

“This shows that our traditional leaders have the interest of their community at heart and are collaborating with the Government in ensuring basic healthcare services are available to the people,” he said.

Shuaib noted that with the different disease outbreaks that the country is currently contending with, it was imperative that the  approach becomes more integrated.

“This is because they are all interwoven. Amidst COVID-19, we have Cholera, CVDPV2 which is as a result of suboptimal routine immunization in some parts of the country.

“As we conduct outbreak response campaigns, we need to find a way to integrate our responses for efficient utilization of available resources and to enhance confidence in our people,” he added.

The NPHCDA noted that the Integration would also enhance the agency’s determination to continue to safeguard the wild polio virus free status.

“Consequently, Your Highnesses, mobilization, sensitization, advocacy and role modelling efforts should target multiple interventions simultaneously.

“It is in the spirit of integration that we have adopted what we call the PSI (primary health care services integration) or ‘the whole of family approach’ for this second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination.

“It entails checking the blood pressure and assessing the diabetes risk status of clients 40 years and above and screening children 0 to 12 months for malnutrition and routine immunization status,” he explained.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative, Dr Kofi Boateng, EPI Focal Point, Universal Health Coverage (UHC), said that the meeting was in the right direction, noting that the role traditional institutions played in the eradication of diseases such as polio was achieved due to lead position they played in the society.

Boateny stressed that in the delivery of quality PHC and the attainment of UHC, health security and routine immunization by the traditional leaders were crucial.

“Traditional leaders are needed for monitoring and accountability in the implementation of health policy to ensure health security,” he added.

Also speaking, Alhaji Samala Muhammadu Mera, the Emir of Argungu, assured that the committee is working to ensure that all eligible Nigerians take the COVID-19 vaccines as they become available.

Mera said the committee working with traditional and religious leaders is taking steps to educate citizens in their community on the safety of the vaccines and the danger of not taking it.

He said that nearly all village and District heads have taken the vaccine as a ways of setting example for others to follow.

He said, “What we intend to do as a committee is that we want to lead by example. I have taken my two shots and I believe every member of the committee has taken. We have also advised and guided our councillors and members to also take it.

NAN

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Health

Kano State records 11,475 cholera cases, 329 deaths – Official

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By Gistflash News

Sept 22, 2021

Kano State has so far recorded no fewer than 11,475 suspected cholera cases from March to date with the death of 329 people.

The Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer (DSNO) of the state, Mr Sulaiman Iliyasu, disclosed this at a media sensitisation on COVID-19 pandemic and Cholera outbreak on Wednesday in Kano.

He said that the cases were reported across the 44 local government areas of the state.

Iliyasu said out of the number, 11,115 cases had fully recovered, while 329 people  had died.

He revealed that 31 cases were still receiving treatment from three local government areas of the state as of Sept. 21.

The officer said that Kano was second in the country with highest number of the cases.

According to him, Sumaila Local Government Area has the highest number of cases with more than 2,000 cases.

He said that Bichi and Gwarzo, were second and third in the prevalence, while Kunchi and Dala local governments had the least number of the cases.

“Kano State has the population of more than 15.3 million, the attack rate is 0.074 per cent,” he said.

Iliyasu said that the state government had distributed drugs to contain the spread of the disease.

He said the government had established cholera treatment centres, intensified social mobilisation, community awareness and chlorination of water points all as part of measures to check the disease.

He revealed that poor personal hygiene and environmental sanitation as well as taking unhygienic food and drinking contaminated water, were responsible for the outbreak.

On the COVID-19 pandemic, the state Director, Public Health and Disease Control, Dr Ashir Rajab, said that more than 98,000 samples had been taken for laboratory tests.

Rajab said that about 4,000 cases were confirmed positive, while 3,900 cases had been discharged and about 119 persons died as a result of the disease.

He revealed that the state had enough vaccines in all the 44 local government areas of the state.

Rajab urged the media to intensify efforts in enlightening people on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination and continue adhering to the experts’ guidelines and protocols.

In his contribution, Mr Ogu Enemaku of UNICEF urged the media to intensify partnership with the government to contain the diseases outbreak.

He also urged people to desist from the practice of defecation and ensure good personal hygiene and environmental sanitation.

Enemaku urged people to come out en masse to be immunised against COVID-19.

NAN

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FEC approves N836m augmentation for 38 COVID-19 oxygen plants

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By Gistflash News

Sept 22, 2021

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N836million as augmentation for the establishment of oxygen production plants for COVID-19 pandemic intervention across the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the council had in June approved N5.615 billion to four major contractors for the emergency supply, installation and maintenance of the 38 oxygen plants in various parts of the country.

NAN reports that the approval in June followed the Presidential Steering Committee’s (PSC) announcement to increase oxygen reserve capacity in the event of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the council meeting, on behalf of the Minister of Health, said the approval of the upward review followed a memo presented by the minister of health to the council.

The meeting was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday in Abuja.

The minister said: “The Minister of Health also presented a memo seeking for an upward review for the emergency supply, installation and maintenance of the 38 oxygen plants all over the country.

“You will remember in June, the Federal Executive Council, actually approved the sum of N5.615 billion to four major contractors for the emergency supply, installation and maintenance of 38 oxygen plants in various parts of the country.

“Regrettably, the four companies also came back recently with the same complaints ranging from fluctuation in the foreign exchange and the scarcity of the material all over the world as a result of COVID-19.

“So, he presented a memo for augmentation in the sum of N836 million and this was also approved today.

Mohammed disclosed that the council also approved a revised estimate costs and extension of the contract of the consultants supervising the Bagwai Water Dam Irrigation project from an initial sum of N98 million to N302.8million.

“The Bagwai Water Dam Irrigation project in Bagwai Local Government Area of Kano State actually was commenced, the initial contract was actually awarded in year 2005.

“And due to several logistics problems, the project is still on and just recently the FEC actually approved an augmentation of the entire contract and that means also that the mandate of the consultant supervising the construction would also have to be reviewed.

“So, now the total cost for the consultancy is N302. 9 million.’’

NAN

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IHVN joins 5-year multi-country project to improve maternal, new born health

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By Gistflash News

Sept 19, 2021

The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has joined a multi -country research project to improve Maternal and Newborn health in conflict-affected countries, including Nigeria, according to  Dr. Emilia Iwu, Senior Technical Advisor, IHVN.

Iwu, who disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Sunday, in Abuja, added that the five-year project would focus its research on the day of birth and the first week of life, the timeframe with the highest number of Newborn deaths globally.

Iwu disclosed that the new partnership aimed at improving maternal and Newborn health in conflict-affected countries, through the creation of a multi-country research consortium.

“With funding provided by UK Aid, the $11.3 million contract will be led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) alongside IHVN, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and its university-wide Centre for Humanitarian Health, the Somali Research and Development Institute, and Université Catholique de Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Ensuring quality access and learning for mothers and new borns in conflict-affected contexts — this contract is one of the largest research investments to date on the topic in humanitarian contexts and will work to identify and fill evidence gaps that could ultimately improve policies, programming, and outcomes for mothers and new borns,” she said.

“In 2019, alone, 2.4 million babies died in the first month of life. 75% of which occurred  in the first week.

“The consortium will conduct research in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, northeast Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan ; countries and regions where maternal and Newborn mortality rates ranked among the highest globally.

”In Nigeria, for example, 35 new born babies die for every 1,000 live births , a devastating statistic that is nearly ten times higher than the risk faced by new borns in high-income countries,” she noted.

Iwu added that in addition to delivering cutting-edge research, EQUAL would invest in opportunities for partners and key stakeholders, to share expertise and strengthen technical, research, and operational capacities.

She added that this would include dedicated training and mentorship for female researchers, as well as using the research findings to help inform national health policies and guidelines.

“In Nigeria, IHVN will collaborate with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, the Government of Yobe State, the Faculty of Shehu Sule College of Nursing and Midwifery to conduct operations research on the quality of midwifery education and practices.

“Specifically, we will conduct a 5-year assessment of the recently implemented Community Midwifery program to examine the effectiveness these midwives have in addressing gaps in maternal and neonatal health within rural communities in Yobe State.

”Of particular interest are factors affecting the midwifery workforce, participation, retention, performance, and personal resilience, during periods of increased insecurity,” Iwu explained.

According to her, the need for this work had become even more apparent in the face of COVID-19, as mobility restrictions, fear of transmission, and limited resources continued to prevent women from accessing safe delivery and postpartum care.

NAN

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