World Hepatitis Day: undiagnosed, untreated hepatitis kills 124,000 Africans annually, says WHO
By Gistflash News
July 28, 2021
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says more than 124,000 Africans die each year as a result of undiagnosed and untreated hepatitis.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said this in her message to commemorate World Hepatitis Day, aimed at increasing awareness of the disease under the theme: `Hepatitis can’t wait’.
Moeti said that the disease inflames the liver and can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis, calling on all countries to rapidly improve access to services to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.
Hepatitis is a silent epidemic with more than 90 million people living with the disease in Africa, representing 26 per cent of the global total, she noted.
The WHO director added that around 4.5 million African children, under five years, were infected with chronic hepatitis B, reflecting an enormous 70 per cent of the global burden in that age group.
Moeti said that the global target of less than 1 per cent incidence of hepatitis B in children under 5 years has been reached, but the African region was lagging behind at 2.5 per cent.
She said that most of such cases could be prevented by eliminating the Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of the disease, during or shortly after birth and in early childhood.
“Key interventions against hepatitis B include vaccination at birth and in early childhood, screening pregnant women, and providing timely treatment,’’ Moeti said.
She said that countries are been encouraged to integrate the hepatitis B PMTCT in the ante-natal care package together with the HIV and Syphilis PMTCT programme, especially after it was found that only 14 countries in the region were implementing the hepatitis B birth-dose vaccine.
“Among people who are infected, nine out of 10 have never been tested, because of limited awareness and access to testing and treatment.
“Even among countries offering hepatitis B birth-dose vaccine, health systems are facing challenges in ensuring pregnant women and mothers are tested and that those who test positive are treated.
“At the same time, there are many promising developments on hepatitis. With the launch of the first global strategy on hepatitis in 2016, along with increased advocacy in recent years, political will is starting to translate into action.
“ Hepatitis medicines have also become much more affordable, with prices as low as $60 dollars per patient for a 12-week treatment, she said.
Moeti said that African heads of states had committed to addressing viral hepatitis as a public health threat in the Cairo Declaration in February 2020, and that the Egyptian Initiative planned to provide hepatitis C treatment for one million Africans, with South Sudan, Eritrea and Chad already reaching 50,000 people.
“Apart from them, Rwanda, Uganda and Benin have established free testing and treatment programmes for hepatitis and 16 other countries are starting pilot projects in that direction.
“To guide action on hepatitis, 28 African countries now have strategic plans in place and at the global level WHO guidelines were launched in 2020 on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B,’’ Moeti said.
She added that the WHO Regional Office for Africa was developing training materials in order to help countries implement the five hepatitis core interventions and decentralize diagnosis and treatment.
Moeti, therefore, called on all stakeholders in maternal and child health to consider how hepatitis could be integrated into existing initiatives, because health systems play a vital role in preventing transmission by making sure blood donations were screened and syringes were used only once and then safely disposed of.
She also called on individuals to seek testing and treatment for hepatitis and to learn more about the disease so as to end the silent epidemic.
FG converts National Blood Service to commission
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
The Federal Government has established the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) to replace the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) to coordinate, regulate and ensure the provision of safe, quality blood transfusion services.
This is contained in a statement by Abdullahi Haruna, the commission’s Head of Media and Publicity on Saturday, in Abuja.
It explained that the NBTS was formerly a unit under the Department of Hospital Services in the Federal Ministry of Health, which was passed by the National Assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It also disclosed that Dr Omale Joseph-Amedu, the National Coordinator, would serve as the Acting Director-General of the commission in line with the provisions of the Act establishing the commission.
“Commission which has the statutory mandate to coordinate, regulate and ensure the provision of safe, quality blood transfusion services on a country- wide basis within the national health plan.
“Therefore, the commission is legally mandated to ensure proper compliance with the National Blood Service Guidelines and standards.
“It will also maintain a system of quality assurance at all levels of service, encourage research in all aspects of blood transfusion services and promote the rational use of blood, blood products and alternatives to blood where appropriate.
“The commission which takes effect immediately as National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) has communicated that its new name and status more aptly reflects the mandate of ensuring the availability of safe, quality and adequate blood services to all Nigerians,” it stated
UK donates 1.2m COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria – Envoy
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
COVID-19: 4, 680,000 Nigerians vaccinated – NPHCDA
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says 4,680,000 Nigerians have so far been vaccinated against COVID-19 .
The Executive Director /Chief Executive Officer of the agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this during the South South zonal town hall meeting on COVID-19 vaccination on Saturday in Benin.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the town hall meeting was organised by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, in collaboration with NPHCDA and the Edo government.
Shuaib noted that out of the 4,680,000 million vaccinated Nigerians, about 1,865,127 were fully vaccinated with the two doses.
He stated that the figure was below the nation’s target ,adding that the threats posed by the virus could prevent the country from returning to normal living.
“I will like to encourage us to use our good offices to encourage eligible members of our community to visit the nearest designated health facility to receive the vaccine.
“All the vaccines are currently available in designated vaccination sites across the country and are safe and effective,” he said.
According to him, in the course of the next few weeks, NPHCDA plans to gradually involve the private sector as sites for COVID-19 vaccination.
Shuaib, however, disclosed that the Federal Government had set up a Joint Task Force on COVID-19 vaccine for monitoring and accountability in collaboration with the security agencies.
Earlier, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said the town hall was organised to discuss COVID-19 vaccination, address mutual concerns and reach a consensus to ensure citizens were safe and protected against the deadly coronavirus.
Ehanire, said Nigeria had so far lost 2000 of her citizens to COVID-19, adding that the virus had also affected the nation’s GDP.
According to him ,the government needs to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population to effectively curb the spread of the virus.
“The way out off this is to get vaccinated because those who have taken the vaccine have full protection while the unvaccinated are exposed to danger,” he said
He disclosed that the Federal Government was working with the private sector for the production of vaccine in the country.
According to the minister, records have shown that over 90 per cent of deaths recorded from COVID-19 are from unvaccinated persons.
Also speaking, Gov. Godwin Obaseki said the state had so far vaccinated over 130,000 residents against the virus.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Osaigbovo Iyokha, Obaseki said the state target was to vaccinate 60 per cent of the population.
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