Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Aids Control Agency Adopts New Technology For Screening HIV

Aids Control Agency Adopts New Technology For Screening HIV

Aids Control Agency Deploys New Technology

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has deployed a new technology for HIV screening.

Dr Yewande Olafa, NACA Assistant Director, Community Prevention and Care Services, disclosed this while speaking with the Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, on Saturday.

Olafa said the new technology was that of a non blood based test kit, designed to promote privacy and confidence among users.

She said that the screening kit was oral based with simplicity, accuracy and speed in ascertaining one’s HIV status.

“It is in line with the commemoration of World Aids Day with the title “Community makes the difference” in which we are engaging the community to help in reduction of HIV spread”.

Olafa urged Nigerians to embrace the new technology for HIV screening, saying that HIV detection was not the end of life.

”If you are positive with oraquick, don’t conclude yet, go for confirmation in a nearby hospital facility,” she said.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Resign Or Be Sacked: Okowa Warns Non-Committed Health Workers

Resign Or Be Sacked: Okowa Warns Non-Committed Health Workers

Resign Or Be Sacked: Okowa Warns Non-Committed Health Workers

In line with his administration’s determination to ensure full routine immunization coverage of Delta, the Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, has advised health workers not committed to their jobs to resign or be sacked.

The governor gave the warning on Thursday in Asaba at a meeting with relevant stakeholders on primary healthcare service delivery in the state.

He said that routine immunization could not be toyed with as it was designed to save lives of children.

He stated that the government had observed that the commitment of some health workers to routine immunization was poor, and warned that if they were not ready to show commitment, “you are at liberty to leave before actions are taken against you”.

The governor said that aside sanitation and health, other issues appeared to be secondary in the administration of local government areas, but advised that special attention must be paid to immunization.

According to him, immunisation has to do with the lives of our children; most of our children will not die if they are immunized.

Okowa charged chairmen of local government councils to regularly pay unscheduled visits to health centres to ensure that the right things were done.

He commended stakeholders, who spoke at the meeting, for their sincerity about the way forward for the health sector in the state.

“There are obvious challenges, but we should all show commitment to routine immunization; there is no reason why we should not support anything concerning immunization.

“The State Primary Healthcare Development Agency should relate directly with the chairmen of councils and there must be fomal communication.

“We must do all that we can to strengthen routine immunization, especially in the rural areas,” he said.

Chairman of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Delta State Chapter, Sir Constantine Ikpokpo, had earlier in a brief speech thanked the governor for his administration’s commitment to developing the health sector.

He cautioned local government chairmen to “stop fighting over territories and avoid protecting those who are not coming to work”.

Different groups and individuals made observations and suggestions on the way forward for the health sector in the state.

Friday, November 15, 2019

1000 Bauchi College Of Health Students Risk Withdrawal As Govt Stops Scholarship

1000 Bauchi College Of Health Students Risk Withdrawal As Govt Stops Scholarship

1000 Bauchi College Of Health Students Risk Withdrawal As Govt Stops Scholarship

There is disagreement between the Bauchi State Ministry for Local Government and the governing board of Malikiyya College of Health and social sciences, Bauchi over the non-payment of tuition fees of 1000 students sponsored by the ministry from the 20 local government areas of the state, DAILYPOST reports.

State Commissioner of Local Government, Abdulrazak Nuhu Zaki alleged that they didn’t pay because the school is not fully accredited and they take their examinations outside the school, allegations the board has denied.

Zaki said, “As a responsible government, we pledge to use the public resources judiciously. I have my two children in the college. We know the college is not accredited. How can we pay money to the body that is not accredited by the regulatory agencies?”

He reiterated the commitment of the government to support genuine and fully registered institution for the development of the state.

But the proprietor of Malikiyya College, Alhaji Aminu Mohammed, said the institution has been fully accredited by all the Federal government regulatory bodies.

He said the bodies have accredited all the 13 courses that included Health Records Officers Registration Board of Nigeria, Associations of Medical and X-ray technicians of Nigeria, Community Health Practitioners Registration Board, Dental Therapies Registration Board of Nigeria and West African Health Examination Board and Medical Science Council of Nigeria.

Alhaji Aminu who is the chairman, Bauchi State Committee on Public-Private Partnership on the establishment of health institutions in the state said the school was opened three years ago on the request of the state government in its effort to reduce the shortage of manpower in hospitals and health institutions in the state.

He said presently the ministry has refused to pay the school fees of 1000 students sponsored by the government amounting to over 200 million Naira, because of political differences.

We have sent these students back home but they went and sought the intervention of a respected Islamic Scholar who asked the board to allow the them to continue with their studies before he will see how he will intervene between the institution and the government. We listened to his plea and allowed the students.
Hospital Sacks Ten Staffs For Stealing Blood - Nasarawa State

Hospital Sacks Ten Staffs For Stealing Blood - Nasarawa State

 10 Hospital Staff Dismissed For Stealing Blood In Nasarawa State

Pulse reports that the Management of Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia, Nasarawa State has dismissed 10 of its staff over financial misconduct, sabotage and selling blood meant for patients.

Dr Hassan Ikrama, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital disclosed this in an interview on Thursday in Lafia.

“Some of them were engaging in stealing of blood from blood bank and selling same to private hospitals and diverting money meant for the hospital.
“Some are using the facilities of the hospital to carry out investigation in the laboratory and put the money for the charges in their private pockets,” he added.

He noted that all the dismissed staff were investigated and found culpable by a committee that looked into the matter.

Ikrama said that when he was appointed as the CMD, he discovered many leakages in the finances of the facility which needed to be blocked.

“Instead of the internally generated revenue of the hospital to improve, individuals were busy diverting it for personal use, as a result, services were going down on daily basis.

“The hospital prior to my coming was lacking so many machines, had only one theatre, only 200 beds for admission, one clinic, insufficient offices for doctors.

“That was why most patients were being referred to either Jos, Federal Medical Centre Keffi or National Hospital Abuja due to lack of machines and space at the hospital,” the CMD said.

Ikrama however said that the hospital management had taken on the challenges and were able to increase the numbers of theatres to three, clinics to eight, scanning machine from one to eight.

“Others initiatives to reposition the hospital include provision of 200 additional beds, renovation of wards, toilets among others.”

FreshReporters News gathered that more technical and other specialists have been employed to strengthen services to patients patronising the facility daily.

“We have 40 permanent and other visiting consultants in different fields, over 100 Doctors apart from Nurses, Pharmacists and Laboratory Technicians, among others.

“We also acquired brand new 0pp pity scan and digital Xray machines that patients were hitherto sent to Keffi or Jos because we do not have them,” he added.

Ikrama therefore assured members of the public that the management of the hospital would do everything possible to ensure better service delivery.

Monday, November 11, 2019

"The Making Of Poisonous Fufu" - TheNation

"The Making Of Poisonous Fufu" - TheNation

The Making Of Poisonous Fufu

Laboratory tests sponsored by The Nation on some samples of fufu paste bought at selected markets in Ogun State reveals the presence of toxic chlorine and detergents, KUNLE AKINRINADE reports.

Fufu, a popular Nigerian delicacy, is white in colour. But as immaculate as they appear, laboratory analysis carried out on samples of the delicacy obtained from processing and sales centres in Ifo and Arigbajo local government areas of Ogun State reveal harmful chlorine residual and detergents that are toxic to the belly of consumers.

Incidentally, retailers from cities like Lagos rely on the contaminated, wet, starchy staple from these local production centres, which they turn into edible balls and sell to consumers.

People like 43-year-old Lagos-based marketing communication practitioner, Femi Adenaike, relish the delicacy together with Okro soup, oblivious of its consequences for human health.

“It does not matter whether the fufu paste is white or it is produced in the most hygienic environment. As long as they are processed with harmful substances, especially bleach, which has higher degree of free chlorine and detergents, they become contaminated, poisonous and dangerous to human health,” warns Majemite Lawrence, a medical doctor that runs Hope Alive Hospital in Abule Egba area of Lagos State.

The laboratory tests were a follow-up to The Nation’s investigative report on the unwholesome practice by operators at processing centres at Ifo and Arigbajo, who use bleach with free chlorine as active agents, detergents and potash to process cassava into fufu paste as was published on June 22, 2019.

The wet fufu pastes are usually stored in 25 kg or 50 kg sacks and sold at different markets in the two communities to unsuspecting retailers who turn them into fufu balls and sell to unsuspecting consumers.

Worrisome results of laboratory analysis

Fufu consumers like Adenaike may need to exercise caution as The Nation investigation revealed worrisome truths about three samples of the staple obtained from three popular markets in Ogun State, which has become the hub of sellers of fufu paste in recent times. Laboratory tests sponsored by The Nation were conducted at a research facility approved by the Institute of Public Analysts (ITPAN), the Scientific Laboratory Services, Surulere, Lagos.

The physicochemical and microbiological tests conducted on samples of fufu paste between September and October revealed the presence of chlorine and detergents in the selected fufu samples. The foregoing are in addition to the presence of cyanide, arsenic, cadmium, zinc, lead, nickel and iron whose quantities the tests mercifully revealed were still within tolerable industrial limit.

Most worrisome was the fact that one of the three samples of fufu paste presented for tests had residual chlorine value of 6 milligrams, while the two other samples had 1 milligram of chlorine level each. The result also revealed the presence of one percent of detergent in all the three samples.

The three samples presented for tests, certified by a public analyst and resident chemist of the laboratory, Mr Akinwunmi Onafalujo, were labelled Specimen 1, 2 and 3. They were bought at Arigbajo Market. Of the three, the one from Arigbajo Market, Ewekoro Local Government Area, contained 6 milligrams of free chlorine, while the two other samples from Ifo Market and the Fufu Market in Ifo Local Government Area revealed the presence of one milligram of chlorine each.

The maximum chlorine levels of 4 milligrams per liter (mg/L or 4 parts per million (ppm) are considered safe in drinking water, according to the standard set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Anything beyond this maximum limit, according to WHO and health experts, is dangerous to human health.

Although chlorine is effective in treatment of drinking water as it helps to remove dangerous microorganisms in water or liquid substance, it is equally risky to human health when its residual levels exceed the approved standard by WHO and environmental health experts.

A study published by Harvard researchers in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute revealed that those who ingest highly chlorinated water over a long period of time stand the risk of developing bladder cancer and cancer of the rectum.

Experts speak on use of bleaches, detergents in Fufu processing

Against this background, experts, including microbiologists, food scientists, chemists and medical doctors, said the presence of free chlorine value of 6 milligrams and detergents in fufu paste (wet fufu) is poisonous to human body.

They explained that while chlorine presence in two of the samples falls within the maximum industrial limit, the one with 6 milligrams residual chlorine level is unfit for human consumption, while detergents, which also have chloride as one their active agents, should not be found in the samples at all.

A food technologist and nutrition researcher, Amidu Ilori, explained that chlorine is the active agent in household bleaches and a powerful oxidizer.

He said: “Pure chlorine is a toxic gas. Most household bleaches contain hypochlorite which releases chlorine when needed to remove stains, dirt and disinfect in laundry and kill parasites in similar chores.
“However, chlorine presence should not be more than 4 milligrams when it is used to treat drinking. In the case of having about 6 milligrams in fufu paste, this is highly toxic and dangerous for human consumption, because the high concentration of chlorine in this wet fufu will be transferred to consumers when it is eventually cooked and sold to people.”

Also, Ilori said that detergent should not have featured in the Fufu paste, arguing that its cumulative effect was dangerous.

He added: “Some laundry detergents contain bleach alternative, which is chlorine-based and effective at stain removal. However, chlorine bleach produces harmful fumes, and however little or insignificant the percentage is in fufu paste, it is extraneous to the popular staple.
“Even in small doses, detergents can slowly poison human body over time without the person knowing it. The chloride from many of these detergents can accumulate in the body, causing blood poisoning and inhibiting liver function as a result of constant ingestion of detergents from fufu over a period of time.
“Also, those who eat cooked fufu made from the dangerously processed wet fufu containing detergents could develop yellow skin and eyes as well as freckles on their skin.

Corroborating Ilori, a microbiologist, Vincent Edutimi, said high degrees of chlorine in wet fufu is not only unhealthy but fatal to human body, noting that using bleaches which contain the chemical substance to ferment cassava into fufu paste should be discouraged by health authorities.

He said: “Ordinarily, the presence of chlorine in most bleach brands in the country, mandatorily, is between two to three kilograms or milligrams and not more than 4 milligrams. Hence, six milligrams of same chemical substance in wet fufu is poisonous to human body and should not be encouraged by the concerned authorities.”

An industrial chemist and Quality Assurance Controller at MacMorris Laboratories Limited, Ilupeju, Lagos, Kingsley Okafor, said: “Free chlorine or sodium hypochlorite is an oxidising agent that disinfects and removes stains. But using 6 per cent of it to soak cassava in fufu paste production is beyond the acceptable standard in its use for treatment of water, which is between 2 to 4 milligrams.

“Consumers of such fufu paste when cooked could develop all kinds of health problems, including coughing, burning throat and, in worse cases, bladder cancer if they consume the adulterated staple over a period of time.”

A medical doctor, Austin Adeojo, said: “Toxic chlorine and detergents would ravage body organs and ultimately lead to deaths when they are ingested from fufu or any food item with such a huge amount of chlorine (6 milligrams). In the case of detergents, it should not have found its way into any food item, let alone a staple like fufu.”

Scary mortality rate from food poisoning

A Professor of Food Science and Technology at the Federal University of Technology (FUT) Minna, Niger State, Alfred Ihenkuronye, said that over 200,000 persons die of food poisoning in Nigeria annually.

Ihenkuronye, made the disclosure recently in Abuja, at a sensitisation programme for food vendors operating in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC). He said that the deaths were caused by contaminated foods through improper processing, preservation and service.

“There are many avenues through which foods can be contaminated. And when people eat these foods, they will have problems which may result in deaths,” he said.

According to a report on food safety published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in June this year, about 600 million people suffer ill-health as a result of food poisoning every year, and 420,000 of the number die every year.

The report reads in part: “Almost 1 in 10 people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food, and 420,000 die every year. Children under five years of age carry 40 per cent of the food borne disease burden with 125 000 deaths every year.

“Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances causes more than 200 diseases ranging from diarrhoea to cancers.”

“Diarrhoea diseases are the most common illnesses resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, causing 550 million people to fall ill and 230,000 deaths every year.’’

Way out

Ihenkuronye suggested continuous sensitisation and training of food handlers on how to operate in hygienic environment as a way of curbing the problem.

“The way out is sensitisation and training. We should sensitise people about the enormity of the problem, and we train them on how to do things properly,” he said.
WHO called for collaboration among stakeholders to stem the ugly trend, which, according to its report, has negative socio-economic consequences on nations.

“Food safety, nutrition and food security are inextricably linked. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick.
“Food borne diseases impede socio-economic development by straining health care systems and harming national economies, tourism and trade.
“Food supply chains now cross multiple national borders. Good collaboration between governments, producers and consumers helps ensure food safety,” it added.

NAFDAC vows to go after culprits

The Director of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mr Sherif Olagunju, said the laboratory result which reveals the presence of 6 milligrams of chlorine in the sample of fufu paste was dangerous.

Olagunju said: “Six milligrams of chlorine in fufu paste is poisonous. Yes. you can get free chlorine in wet fufu or fufu paste, but six milligrams is too high and poisonous, because what is allowed as maximum limit of chlorine in water, like I told you, is 2 to 4 parts per million or milligrams. Therefore, six per cent or milligrams in a watery fufu or fufu paste is too high and dangerous.
“In water, we usually check for free chlorine, and the maximum is 2-4 parts per million residual chlorine. In tap water that we drink, the residual chlorine should not exceed 4 parts per million or milligrams, according to WHO standard.
“In food processing, you have to remove certain chemicals after using them as cleaning agents. Like in vegetable oil production, certain chemicals are used for extraction purposes but they are usually removed from the product immediately the extraction process ends.
“So if anyone is using chlorine in food item, such person should be able to ensure that what is left is not injurious to the health of consumers.
“I have noted the three markets where you claimed the samples presented for laboratory tests were purchased. We are going to carry out our investigations in line with our mandate to ensure food safety.
“We shall get back to you once we are through with our findings.”

Olagunju added that the agency had embarked on enlightenment programme to educate sellers and producers of staples lately.

“It is not only cassava that we are addressing but also any practice that can endanger food supply system. For instance, ripening of food items such as using carbide to ripen fruits, using sniper to preserve beans, putting dye stuff in palm oil to make it look very red.
“So, there are so many things we are engaging them on, and we would appreciate our friends in the media to partner with us to further carry the message forward so that everybody can be aware since NAFDAC cannot do it alone.
“There are punitive measures that are in place for defaulters within the laws setting up our agency, but it is usually difficult to find perpetrators.
“But in the event that somebody is caught or we buy some items and test it and confirm that it was contaminated or below approved standard, we have post marketing surveillance department that will search for such producers and appropriate sanctions would be applied.
“But for products that we did not register, like garri, yam flour, we usually note the store where we bought the product and we would go back to enlighten the producer and withdraw the item from the store or market.
“But if we find out that the product was deliberately contaminated or produced below approved standard, we would take appropriate sanctions against such producer(s).

 THENATION reports