Two Ebola drugs found to increase survival rates by 90%
Health & Science -
Health officials have gotten a breakthrough in the cure for the deadly Ebola disease following results from a clinical trial of two therapies made from Ebola antibodies.
IN the Democratic Republic of Congo where there is a major outbreak of the virus, four Ebola drugs was administered to patients and two showed that 90% of infected people can survive if treated early.
The therapies that have improved survival rates are REGN-EB3, a cocktail of three monoclonal Ebola antibodies made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), and mAb114, a single monoclonal antibody developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. Patients who were receiving two other drugs that are being discontinued, Zmapp and remdesivir, will now have the option at the discretion of their treating physician to receive the treatments that have been shown to work.
“REGN-EB3 and mAb114 are the first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have clearly shown a significant diminution in mortality for people with Ebola virus disease,” Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told AFP.
“It means that we do have now what looks like treatments for a disease which not too long ago we really had no therapeutic approach at all,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID.
“We feel that with agents such as these … that we may be able to improve the survival of people with Ebola and … might even make people more enthusiastic about coming for care.
“Because when you have something to offer an individual, it makes it much more likely that you might get to them early. And the earlier the better, as in any disease” he added.
The trial was conducted by an international research group co-ordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and it began in November last year. The four experimental drugs were tested on 700 patients, with results from the first 499 now known.
Of the patients given the two more effective drugs, 29% on REGN-EB3 and 34% on mAb114 died, NIAID said. In contrast, 49% on ZMapp and 53% on Remdesivir died in the study, the agency said. The survival rate among patients with low levels of the virus in their blood was as high as 94% when they were given REGN-EB3, and 89% when on mAb114, the agency said.
The findings mean health authorities can “stress to people that more than 90% of people survive” if they are treated early, said Sabue Mulangu, an infectious-disease researcher who worked on the trial.
With the breakthrough in the trial, it means Ebola may soon be a “preventable and treatable” disease.
Foundation donates N2m to children with cancerOkapi Children Cancer Foundation, an NGO, on Tuesday donated N2 million to children undergoing cancer treatment at the National Hospital, Abuja.The Founder of the foundation, Kemi Babatunde, while handing over the money, said that it was part of the activities to mark the foundation’s Cancer Awareness Walk held in Abuja.“We are optimistic that the money will go a long way to assist babies requiring treatment.“A lot of these kids are here and have not been able to undergo or start chemo-treatment.“But with these funds, a lot of them will be able to commence treatment immediately.”She stressed the need for government and relevant stakeholders to continue to support patients suffering from cancer, urging experts to intensify research for a cure for cancer.Responding, Dr Oyesakin Asewumi, who received the money, commended the foundation for the support toward reducing the hardship faced by children affected by cancer-related ailments.She said that the money would be used to procure drugs and settle the bills of patients.Asewumi emphasised the need for members of the public to report, and seek remedy to any health challenge in the nearest health centre immediately it is noticed.
UNESCO Trains 40 Journalists On Ethics For ReportageThe UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) National Office is training 20 Community Radio content producers and 20 investigative journalists on professionalism, ethics of reportage on irregular migration.Mr Macaulay Olushola, National Professional Officer, Communications and Information Sector said this on Tuesday in a statement issued in Abuja.Olushola said that the project ‘Empowering Young People in Africa through Media and Communication’, is a three-year programme supported by Italian Agency for Development and Cooperation.He recalled that the official launch of the project was in May and expected to elapse May 2022 with reflection on relevant global and regional trends of migration related issues.Olushola said that the increasing number of irregular migration concern of citizens from Senegal, Guinea-Conakry, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, Ghana and Mali necessitated its awareness creation.According to the communications officer, the capacity building workshop will hold on Aug. 28 to 30 in Minna, Niger state and to be replicated in Lagos State Sept. 5 to Sept. 6.“`The workshop will equip media professionals with the ability to produce better informed reports that seeks to inform rather than inflame public discussion of the issue.“It will encourage journalists to deal ethically with vulnerable communities and refugees crises, as well as consider the social impact of their storytelling and news production.“Long-term efforts are needed to promote the social and economic development of Africa as well as the efforts to manage and control borders and mass illegal migratory flows.“This is also important to eradicate trafficking of human beings in order to put an end to the tragedies that are multiplying in the Sahel and the Mediterranean,” he said.According to Olushola, since the 1990s, a continuous but irregular flow is trying to reach the European coasts at the risk of their lives.He said that apart from Southern Africa, no African region is spared from the irregular migration phenomenon, especially in West Africa.
Youths In Adamawa Now Get High on Human Urine – NDLEAThe National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Command in Adamawa says some youth in the state now utilises human urine to intoxicate themselves.The state commander of agency, Mr Yakubu Kibo made this known Tuesday in Yola in his speech to mark the 2018 UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.Kibo said other new items abused include dry pawpaw leaves, dry plantain leaves, burnt tyres, as well as a solution made from tom tom sweet and lacasera drink, Guardian reports.“It is important for parents to know and pay attention to the recently discovered substances of abuse like dry paw paw leaves, tom tom in lacasera drink, 10 days old human urine, methylated, spirit in coke drink, dry plantain leaves, burnt tyres among others,” he said.While describing drug abuse as a rampaging fire that does not discriminate, Kibo called for collaborative effort to create a drug free society.“For the drug war to be successful, the supply and demand reduction must go hand in hand.“To that effect, from January to date, the Adamawa command has seized 2,742.358 kg of assorted illicit drugs,” he said.Kibo said the seized drugs included cannabis sativa, tramadol tablets, cough syrup with codeine, diazepam tablets, exol-5, pentozocine injection and codeine tablets.He also said that a total of 67 suspected drug dealers were arrested within the period under review out of which 26 were convicted and sentenced to various jail terms.In areas of counseling and rehabilitation, Kibo said 20 drug addicts were counseled and rehabilitated within the year.He listed lack of operational vehicle, inadequate staff, poor funding and hostilities by some communities as the major challenges facing the agency in the state.
How Tanzania is frustrating fight against Ebola – WHOTanzania has declined to provide detailed information on suspected Ebola cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.Despite several requests “to date, clinical data, results of the investigations, possible contacts and potential laboratory tests performed have not been communicated to WHO,” the UN health agency said in a statement seen by Reuters on Sunday.“The limited available official information from Tanzanian authorities represents a challenge.”Authorities in East and Central Africa have been on high alert for possible spill-overs of Ebola from the Democratic Republic of Congo where a year-long outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people.Fears about the possible spread of the outbreak in Tanzania started this month after a woman died from an unknown illness following Ebola-like symptoms.On Wednesday, Tanzania formally notified the WHO it had no cases of Ebola, but it declined to share detailed data on suspected cases.Last week, the U.S. health secretary, Alex Azar, also criticized Tanzania for its failure to share information on the possible outbreak.He said Tanzanian authorities had not made samples available or allowed testing of the index case.
WHO Declares Sex Addiction A Mental IllnessThe World Health Organization (WHO) has flagged sex addiction as a form of mental illness.This means those addicted to sex needs medical advice and intervention.According to WHO listing, “The condition is marked by a persistent pattern of failure to control ones intense, repetitive urges resulting in repetitive sexual behaviour.”WHO recently included gaming addiction as one of the treatable conditions.Dr. Valerie Booth, Royal College of Psychiatrists, said “adding compulsive sexual disorder in the classification of treatable conditions indeed paves way for patients to come forward and seek professional help.“Earlier though the behaviour tended to be a hidden one among the affected, which led to sex addicts secretly suffering from the condition“.Meanwhile, WHO has released its new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).The ICD is the foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide, and contains around 55 000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death.It provides a common language that allows health professionals to share health information across the globe.“The ICD is a product that WHO is truly proud of,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.“It enables us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives.”
These 5 Natural Remedies Will Make Your Heartburn DisappearIf you have ever had heartburn, you know that it is not a fun thing to have. For those that have never had it, it feels like your chest is on fire and, bless your heart if you now happen to hiccup. Heartburn is usually triggered by eating a lot of greasy meals and can last for hours in really bad situations. Heartburn can be very uncomfortable to have but there are certain natural remedies you can use to manage it.Here are five natural remedies for heartburn1. Baking Soda MixBaking Soda helps in neutralizing stomach acid so if you ever have an episode of heartburn, mix a tablespoon of baking soda in water and drink it slowly. It should relieve you in a few minutes.2. Apple Cider Vinegar MixApple Cider Vinegar solution is another natural remedy for heartburn. It helps by balancing the ph of your stomach thereby neutralizing the acid. Apple Cider Vinegar also has a ton of digestive benefits and consuming it in a healthy manner can improve health.3. GingerYou can either use ginger to cook your food, especially if you are making a greasy meal that could trigger heartburn or you can drink ginger tea. So far you do it in moderation, it should help in relieving your heartburn.4. Licorice Root:Licorice is a natural root that can also be used for relief. If you can find the normal licorice, you can use it in your cooking or just make a tea with it. However, there are also licorice supplements you can take when you have heartburn.5. Fresh PineapplesPineapples help in the break down of protein in the digestive system because of how much fiber and bromelain it contains. Eat fresh pineapples or drink freshly squeezed pineapple juice for sweet and fast relief.
How to revive ailing health sector in 2019 by NMA President, Dr. Faduyile Adedayo FrancisDr. Francis Adedayo is the President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Associate Professor/Consultant Pathologist, Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASCOM)/ Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Lagos. Faduyile in this interview with The Guardian made recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari on how best to revive the ailing health sector in the New Year. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes. Excerpts.Non Functional Cancer Treatment Equipment In most teaching hospitalsCancer treatment is one of the most expensive treatment/management in the world. This starts from the diagnosis, the relevant investigations and treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and supporting treatment). Cancer patients need long term treatment to be able to effectively manage the ailment. In Nigeria, there is dearth of cancer diagnosis equipment and this made most cases to present at late and advanced stages.The non-availability of functional cancer treatment equipment or inadequate numbers of such equipment in our tertiary hospitals has compounded the already poor care for this set of consumers of health care. The standard recommendation in line with international best practice is 250,000 people to one machine. In a country of over 180million people and currently with eight cancer treatment centers and only two centers- National Hospital, Abuja and University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan- with functional radiotherapy machines as at the end of December 2018, and with over 50 per cent of all cancer patients requiring radiotherapy in the course of their treatment and issue of affordability considering the fact that over 80 per cent spending for health is out-of-pocket, we have to act decisively and fast.As a matter of fact, few months ago, we had a terrible situation in Nigeria where there was no single functional radiotherapy machine in Nigeria. Many of our patients had to travel to Ghana and join the long queue of patients. This has both economic and moral implications. I must commend the Honourable Minister of Health for addressing this issue head-long. Recently, some centres in Nigeria like Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) were selected and currently being equipped to serve as centre of excellence in cancer management. The Federal Government recently bought another radiotherapy machine for National Hospital, Abuja. All these interventions will go a long way to alleviate cancer treatment and care in our hospitals.The target in 2019 should include but not limited to; urgent replacement or repair of existing equipment in the eight centers, capacity building on the use and maintenance of the equipment, timely replacement of parts in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, expediting action on the planned establishment of t least two cancer treatment centers in each geopolitical zone for comprehensive cancer care, and incorporation of cancer care and management in the National Health Insurance Scheme. The latter is particularly important as most cancer cases are seen in the 60 years and above where many of them are either retired if in public service or are not actively productive and hence may not be able to surmount enough funds for proper care. .Failure of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)The NHIS established in 1999 with the commencement of operation in 2005, is yet to deliver on its mandate and appears to be far from affecting a paradigm shift soonest. It is no news to state that the performance of the scheme is largely abysmal with less than five per cent of the population covered. The poor performance has been attributed to many factors ranging from poor funding to lack of transparency in its administration. Recently, the Governing Council of NHIS noted the following as key to the failure experienced so far: decline in remittances, persistent budget deficit, management fiscal indiscipline, conflict and corruption.With the provision of the one per cent Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), a significant source of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) for which 50 per cent is supposed to be disbursed through the NHIS, in the 2018 budget, it has become a must to nip the challenges encountered so far in the bud for Nigerians to benefit reasonably from Basic Health Care that the fund is meant for. The Federal Government/Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), NHIS, Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs), Health Service Providers (HSP), enrollees, civil society organizations, professional bodies in the health sector including the NMA, must rise to the occasion and synergize appropriately.Few States are now starting their own version of the scheme without involving critical stakeholders like NMA. The states governments have largely politicized the State Health Insurance Scheme in their respective state. Although, we want all States to come on board but the proper process should be followed, otherwise it will not be sustainable. The Federal and State Governments should also bring a template for the inclusion of the non- formal sector-the farmers in the village, pretty traders among others in the scheme. There is also need to review the current operational strategies of the scheme and ensure that all the relevant stakeholders are on the same page.Non-Implementation of the National Health Act (NHA) and the BHCPFIt is laudable that the Federal Government finally showed some level of commitment to the implementation of NHA with budgetary provision of N55 billion for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) in 2018 after its passage into law in October 30, 2014.Though the disbursement and administration of the fund did not meet the expectations of Nigerians as the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health could not commence its implementation across the 36 states and FCT, even none of the two states selected for the commencement of the implementation among the six states planned for the first roll out could be said to have possibly felt the impact, the most important thing is that the ball has been set rolling. A key factor that have been identified as responsible mainly for the delay is the administrative/bureaucratic tussle between the FMoH,National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the NHIS.With the design and production of the strategic 123 pages manual for the implementation of BHCPF by the FMoH, it is hoped that the lessons learnt from the delay in the implementation in 2018, will be put to good use in 2019.We note the Commitment of the federal government to earmark N51.22 billion from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in 2019 for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and other related commitments in the recently presented 2019 budget proposal to the National Assembly. I want to encourage the federal government to ensure timely release of this fund after the 2019 budget is signed into law.Poor funding and budgetary allocation to healthTo stop the discourse on issue surrounding the funding of the health sector vis-à-vis poor budgetary allocation to the sector with the attendant conspicuous implications on health care delivery, is tantamount to saying Nigerians should accept the low level of prosperity that we are facing because a Nation can only be wealthy if the people are healthy.In 2001, the African Heads of State met and came up with the Abuja Declaration, which prescribed that a minimum of 15 per cent of the total budget of each country should be allocated to health. Unfortunately, the best we have got since then was 5.95 per cent in 2012. It is pertinent to note that it was less than four per cent in 2018. Worst still, the over 60 per cent said to be dedicated to Primary Health Care is yet to be fully disbursed for that purpose as at December 2018, due to unhealthy bureaucratic issues within the sector.President Muhammadu Buhari has recently proposed a recurrent expenditure of N315.65 billion for the ministry of health in its 2019 appropriation bill submitted to the National Assembly on Wednesday, December 19, 2018. Although this is about 46.3 billion increase from the 2018 budget when N269.3 billion was allocated as recurrent expenditure for the ministry of health, it must still be noted that the budgetary allocation to health in the 2019 is less than 4%.Brain drain and poor reward systemBrain drain occurs when significant numbers of highly skilled professionals leave their countries of origin to seek employment or establish businesses abroad. This has a negative effect on the economics of developing countries, because the skills of remaining professions may not be adequate to grow the economy. This is apart from the fact that the health needs of the population cannot be met due to reduced number of health personnel. One of the greatest threats to the renowned efforts in re-positioning our healthcare system for a better and responsive system is the on-going mass exodus of health workers especially medical doctors and nurses. Virtually, on a weekly basis in the last four years, we have been experiencing mass resignation of all cadres of medical doctors including consultants for greener pastures. There are many reasons attributable to this mass exodus, the major factors are poor, obsolete and dilapidated infrastructures in our hospitals across in the country, lack of job satisfaction, lack of job security, poor working conditions and poor reward system including poor remuneration. The remuneration of health workers are very poor in this country and health workers take home in Nigeria is about 30% of what their colleagues are being paid abroad. The reward system is so bland that most health workers see nothing that is keeping them happy. There are no opportunities for car loan, housing loan and special allowances as applicable to their colleagues working abroad. All these contributed significantly to the on-going mass exodus of health workers.Inter-professional rivalryFor the health sector to meet up with the demands and needs of over 180millions Nigerians in 2019, the rivalry within the sector must be curbed or reduced to the minimum. This requires sincere commitment by stakeholders including group of workers/associations and government at all levels.The current leadership of the NMA, which came on board in May 2018, has been having fruitful engagements with other professional groups especially the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigerian with laudable understanding reached, as well as the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, aimed at ensuring inter-professional harmony in the sector. We have discovered that most of the disagreements are based on misinformation, with the “divide and rule tactics” of government playing a huge role in this regards.According to the WHO and international best practices, doctors are the leaders of the health team. This fact must be acceptable to all health care providers and should be respected. I want say that this does not mean that other health workers are inferior, they are all very important in the health care delivery system. For example, the cleaner can disrupt the job of the surgeon in the theatre if the environment is not clean and fit for surgeries. The patients have been at the receiving end of the consequences of this unholy and unhealthy professional rivalry in the health sectors.The solution to professional rivalry in the health sector is for all health workers to understand that there are many professionals involved in contributing to healthcare delivery of the patient and everyone of us is important. We must also to stop emphasizing our differences but promote team spirit among the health professionals. Effective team work among health professionals has been recognised as an essential tool for patient- centred health service delivery, and the process of providing health care is interdisciplinary requiring all members of the health team to work together.The NMA is committed to the understanding reached with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives. We have also set mechanisms in motion to get more bodies of health workers on board, in the interest of Nigerians for a hitch free health care delivery.Frequent strike actionsThere is no doubt that incessant strike actions in the health sector is one of the factors that have brought a lot of hardship to Nigerians that seek health care at the public health institutions. It has also contributed to the loss of confidence in the sector by many Nigerians.While we cannot entirely blame the workforce for the numerous factors that led to previous strike actions as it is the right of every group of workers to agitate and press home their demands through legitimate means, all stakeholders including the professional bodies/unions and government, must come together to chart for workable alternatives in resolving disputes. The workforce/bodies of workers must realize the need to exhaust alternatives in dispute resolution, with strike as the last option in dispute situation. Government must live up to expectation with emphasis on sincerity of purpose and openness. We must discard mutual distrust!On a general note, in 2019, we expect a reduction in the frequency of strike in the health sector especially those that may arise from inter-professional rivalry/disharmony, if we can build on the foundation already laid by the NMA, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives. The consciousness of the ‘divide and rule tactic’ of government, will be of immense value for all of us on the need to talk more with ourselves.Drug insecurity, abuse and misuseThe consequences of drug insecurity occasioned by drug abuse and misuse witnessed unprecedented rise in 2018 with codeine based medications and Tramadol at the top of the drugs. You will recall the ban on the importation and production of codeine-based cough syrups in 2018 following the reported cases of illicit marketing and mental illness resulting from its addiction. While that action may seem to be appropriate as at the time by many Nigerians, it is important to state that winning the war against issues surrounding drug insecurity will not be only by such action but requires the deployment of strategies centered on Prescription Rights. The enforcement of Prescription Rights will ensure that only with prescription from a doctor would a pharmacist dispense such drug(s).The government should ensure more security measures are put in our borders to guide against the importation of these drugs, work more on how to halt the distribution lines as well as educating the youth on the evil of drug abuse.Another dimension to drug insecurity is the unnecessary and wasteful spending on drugs like antibiotics in a society with poor per capital income. Apart from its capability to worsen poverty, it also leads to the development of drug resistance especially in the case of antibiotics and antimalarial.In 2019, government and its agencies must ensure the enforcement of prescription rights and the monitoring of the distribution and dispensary of drugs especially at dispensary outlets.Quackery in all the professionsThe proliferation of quacks and its practitioners in the health sector has brought about devastation to the unsuspected public. These quacks have infiltrated all sections of the health care delivery including our public health institutions.The NMA in realisation of the danger of the continued rise in this deleterious act instituted a potent anti-quackery measure, the doctors’ stamp. The onus is on public and private institutions, corporate organizations and the judiciary establishments to insist on this stamp on all medico-legal documents and reports.In this same vein, the NMA pursued the reconstitution of the Council of the regulatory body for medical practice in the country, the MDCN. Before its reconstitution and subsequent inauguration in November 2018, medical practice has remained largely unregulated for the upward of three years. With this development, we expect that in 2019 the Council will activate and deploy relevant strategies that will help in stemming the tide of quackery and related practices in the medical profession. This is also expected of the sister’s regulatory bodies in the health sector with the observance of boundaries.Setting agenda for health in 2019The following will constitute our agenda for 2019; increase budgetary allocation release to meet 15 per cent of the total budget, universal health coverage for all Nigerians, improve work environment in our hospitals and upgrade of the infrastructure to meet international standards in order to reverse medical tourism, immunization particularly, strengthening polio virus immunization, surveillance and monitoring before the anticipated declaration of Nigeria free of Polio virus in August this year, strengthening of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), State owed health insurance Scheme and Community Insurance Scheme to ensure qualitative services delivery, promoting industrial harmony in the health sector , improve welfare conditions of all health workers in Nigeria , ensuring that the one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federation in the 2018 budget already released for properly utilized for improved funding of primary healthcare in Nigeria as mandated by the National Health Act 2014, to capture more Nigerian and putting strategies in place to curtail the emergence and re-emergence of viral haemorrhagic diseases and epidemic diseases in Nigeria.Falsified and substandard medicinesThe rise in falsified and substandard medicines is one of the issues confronting health care delivery the world over. However, the havoc from these is alarming in the developing countries including Nigeria due to lack of effective regulation and monitoring, poor access to quality-assured drugs, poverty and corruption.According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in 10 (10 per cent) medical products sold in developing countries is either fake or substandard. Recent report in JAMA Network Open journal suggested that this figure might be as high as 19 per cent.In Nigeria, both urban and rural settings, the hawking of drugs/pharmaceutical products even in commercial vehicles in some cities, have become a routine. Recently in Lagos, the Lagos State Police Command uncovered an illegal outlet where fake/falsified and substandard medicines were produced in large scale. This is another form of quackery!Many Nigerians, families and the general public have suffered huge health challenges including deaths from this criminal act.As all stakeholders commits to a robust health care delivery in 2019, the challenges faced as a result of these practices must be tackled with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) taking the lead in area of regulation and monitoring of the importation, production and distribution of drugs and pharmaceutical/medical products, in collaboration with other agencies of government including security agents. The diligent implementation of the NHA and other strategies tailored towards ensuring Universal Health Coverage (UHC) should also be pursued. Nigerians are advised to embrace healthy health seeking attitude.Source: The Guardian
Kebbi community lauds UNICEF, EU maternal, child death reduction interventionAlhaji Falke Anama, Village Head of Mahuta, Fakai Local Government Area of Kebbi says maternal and child deaths has reduced in the area in the last three years.Anama said that this was achieved through the introduction of UNICEF and European Union – Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition Project in 2016.He told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during an assessment of the impact of the project on Thursday, that the intervention was a ‘life saver’ to members of the community.Anama said records showed the decline of deaths among pregnant women and children under five years in the community.“The number of maternal and child mortality was between 10 and 15 every quarter in this community prior to the UNICEF and EU-MNCHN project.“But the deaths of pregnant women have drastically reduced from three between January and March to two between April and June 2019 and further declined to one from July to date.“Similarly, the number of deaths among children under five years had equally continued to decline from an average of 10 to between one and five in a quarter.“For example, in 2019 the number reduced from five in the first quarter of 2019 to three in the second quarter and down to two in the third quarter,” he said.According to him, the decline was as a result of the increase in the proportion of poor, marginalised, rural women and children under-five years accessing high impact health and nutrition intervention.He explained the EU-MNCHN project have improved the quality of health services and strengthened community structures that increased demand for health and nutrition services.He added that trained Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in the community were mobilising community members to access health, immunisation and birth registration among other services.One of the TBAs, Mrs Fatima Nakaulaha, told NAN that they were moving from house to house, sensitising and linking pregnant women, parents and care givers to health facilities.“We go as far as talking to husbands on the need to allow their wives access health services, particularly pregnant women and mothers of children under five years.“We do not only refer them to health facilities, we equally track defaulters to ensure that no one is left behind,” she said.The MNCHN Coordinator in the area, Mrs Balkisu Usman, said that the TBAs have improved antenatal care attendance, immunisation and other crucial health and nutrition services.Similarly, the Nutrition Focal Person of the area, Mrs Aisha Mijinyawa, commended UNICEF and EU for supporting nutrition intervention to check malnutrition in the area.She said: “The EU-MNCHN project is supporting us in both preventive and curative nutrition interventions through infant and young child feeding counselling, provision of Micro-Nutrients Powder and community management of acute malnutrition.”
‘Cell Phone Addiction Causes Hearing Loss, Cancer, Others’ – ExpertsSome medical experts in the South-East geo-political zone of the country have given insight on how cell phone addiction can lead to hearing loss.In Owerri, a medical doctor, Charles Obi, identified hearing loss as the most common issue associated with constant cell phone usage.Mr Obi said other effects included headaches, insomnia and tiredness often as a result of lack of sleep. The medical practitioner also added that other not so common side effects included brain tumours, hypertension and stroke.He said this could be linked to the radiation emitted by cell phones which cause health problems with prolonged usage.He, however, suggested using earpieces for answering calls and to avoid making calls when the phone was overheated to lessen the effects on the ear. A secondary school teacher, Linda Eze, said most schools have resorted to seizing cell phones from students who insist on bringing such gadgets to school.Mrs Eze said in some cases, parents and guardians were made to pay fines and retrieve the phones at the end of the school session as a deterrent.Chioma Nze and Adaure Inyama, both students, said that they use their phones to make purchases over the internet.A father of four, Emeka Uzoma, decried the level of cell phone addiction among young people and suggested more stringent measures against the practice.According to him, this has led to decreased academic performance and anti-social behaviours because of the amount of time dedicated to social media.An officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Bright Enyi, said that a great percentage of road accidents have been caused by cell phone usage.Mr Enyi said majority of the accidents involved women drivers who were either texting or making calls while driving.He called for stiffer punishments such as imprisonment without option of fine for drivers who use their cell phones while driving.In Umuahia, the Abia State capital, some residents said cell phone addiction had ruined many families and marriages. An itinerant preacher, Steve Wokoh, said that addiction to phones had negative effect on family bonding.Mr Wokoh said that when one of the couple in a home was addicted to phone, it would affect the relationship between them on the one hand and their children on the other hand.“There are times the man will need attention but because the woman is fiddling with her cell phones, it becomes difficult for the man. “It could apply to the woman being unable to get the meal ready for the home or any other duties.“The same goes for an addicted husband. Such a man will unwittingly continue to deny the wife or children the needed attention,” Mr Wokoh said.Also, a civil servant, Ifeoma Tochukwu, said that getting addicted to phone causes procrastination.Mrs Tochukwu said that people who were addicted hardly gave prompt attention to urgent assignments.“When you are addicted to phone and there is something that requires urgent attention, you will continue to delay until it becomes late,” Mr Tochukwu said. Celestine Orji, a farmer, said that the dangers associated with phone were similar to the dangers of getting trapped to an electronic device or lifestyle.“Addiction either to electronic devices, habit or drugs, causes severe devastation to people’s lives. It is simply destructive and people should discipline themselves in order to avoid addiction with its dangers,” Mr Orji said. A Catholic priest, Christian Anokwuru, said that phone addiction could even be found among clergymen.Mr Anokwuru, a reverend father, said during Mass, some worshippers that were addicted to phone spend more time with their phones than listen to gospel and liturgy.He also said that clergymen that were addicted to phones usually exhibited their addiction at ceremonies and events where they were not officiating. He said because of the dangers associated with addiction, especially among Catholic priests, Pope Francis recently warned priests to desist from such a habit.Mr Anokwuru described phone addiction as “a disease that has become endemic in our society.”A cell phone dealer in Umuahia, Frank Ihejirika, noted that more residents were getting addicted to phones.Mr Ihejirika, who owns Rikas Integrated Services Limited, said that phone addiction was largely a youth problem.He said the female-folks were more addicted to phones than the male-folks. He said addiction to phone had reflected “positively” in an increase in the demand for big, exotic and expensive phones.He also said apart from making and receiving calls, people also use phones for Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and video games.Mr Ihejirika added that the abuse of phones, including making calls while walking on the road or driving, could lead to accidents.He further said the quest to get bigger phones often made young girls easy prey to randy men, who abuse them sexually.Another respondent, Loveday Michael, a telecommunication engineer, said that there was an increase in the rate of phone addiction in the state.Mr Michael said both youth and adult were victims, adding that addiction applied to both sexes. He regretted that aside from social media platforms and games, some people, especially youths, use cell phones to view pornographic pictures and Internet scam.“This has also caused another major addiction to photography among the youths,” Michael said.He further said phone had a dangerous emission, which could damage the ear or cause cancer due to over exposure to the device.Mr Michael urged the government to initiate measures that could help to curtail the abuse of cell phones in the country.In Enugu State, Ethel Chime, an Otolaryngologist with the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, urged phone users to always spend lesser time in making use of their phone.Mr Chime said spending less time making calls or browsing with phone would go a long way to prevent some of the health hazards associated with the use of cell phones.The doctor listed some common health hazards of phone addiction to include headaches, ear aches, vision problems, neck pains, inactivity, intellectual laziness and acoustic neuroma, which is a tumour that grows on the balance and hearing nerve in the head that might cause hearing loss.Mrs Chime said aside the fact that putting the cell phone close to the ear for a long time during calls, some hands free devices such as earpiece and headphones were even more dangerous.She noted that some of these hands free were inserted into the ear canal while some have high decibels that were not standard for the ear, thereby causing acoustic neuroma which later results into deafness and various ear infections.She added that electromagnetic waves released by cell phones were other reasons why one should not stay long pressing the phone, warning that most phone radiations during calls or Internet usage were usually high and were harmful to human health.Mrs Chime advised that time spent on phones should be limited and if one should use hands-free, it should be one that covers just the outer ears and one which the maximum loudness was within normal standard.A Senior Support Staff of a telecommunications, Mark Obi, also said phone addiction was more common among females compared to males.He said females walk in and buy more data than males because they want to get the latest gist and fashion trends as it was breaking. Mr Obi added that as far as social media was concerned they would always want to chat because they were easily bored.According to him, phone addiction is more among youth and very minimal among adults as far as Nigeria is concerned.Victor Unegbu, a phone user, said he only sticks to his phone whenever he was done with the day’s work by chatting on WhatsApp and Telegraph as well reading newspapers.