Connect with us

Health

MSF Calls for International Support to Tackle Worsening Diphtheria Outbreak in Nigeria

Published

on

MSF Calls for International Support to Tackle Worsening Diphtheria Outbreak in Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called on the international community to immediately scale up support for treatment of diphtheria in Nigeria.

MSF in a statement on Monday said there is need to improve treatment, preventive measures and contact tracing to control the spread of diphtheria in Nigeria.

The statement read: “A serious diphtheria outbreak is tearing through Nigeria, where thousands of people have been infected and hundreds more have died. With low national vaccination coverage and a worldwide shortage of lifesaving antitoxin threatening to worsen the outbreak,

“Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) urges the international community to immediately scale up support to improve treatment, preventive measures and contact tracing to control the outbreak’s spread.”

MSF emergency project medical doctor, Dr Hashim Juma Omar was quoted to have said: “We’re currently seeing more than 700 people with suspected diphtheria and admitting more than 280 patients on a weekly basis in Kano state’s two diphtheria treatment centres,” adding that:
“Women and children aged under five are the most vulnerable groups and are the people most affected right now in Kano state. And they really need help.”

The statement said diphtheria is a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial disease which can present in respiratory or cutaneous forms. Without treatment, it can kill half of people infected; even with treatment, the disease is still fatal in five per cent of patients. Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control has declared an outbreak of the disease on 20 January 2023; between May 2022 and early September 2023, over 6,000 confirmed cases were recorded. Around 4,000 suspected cases were recorded in the country in August 2023 alone, with over three-quarters coming from Kano state.

MSF teams are responding to the outbreak in Kano, Borno and Bauchi states. However, responding to the outbreak has proved challenging, due to a worldwide shortage of lifesaving diphtheria antitoxin used in treatment, caused by dwindling production capacity.

Omar said: “While we provided 2,000 doses of diphtheria antitoxin last month in Kano, securing doses of the antitoxin has been one of the biggest challenges in this crisis,” noting that: “We have placed an urgent additional order of 5,000 doses to cover the needs in our projects, but still, it is not enough.”

He said in light of these challenges, improved efforts to reduce the disease’s transmission and to strengthen outbreak preparation and response in Nigeria are crucial. This includes vaccination; underlying the outbreak is a low vaccination rate, with only 70 per cent of children having received their first dose of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. The decline in immunization led to a reported 25 million un- or under-vaccinated children in Nigeria in 2021. However, funding for vaccines and implementation costs remains a barrier to scaling up; with Kano State alone requiring millions of doses to target at-risk groups.

The statement added that in addition to urgent antitoxin and vaccination needs, we urge international organisations to immediately scale up improved surveillance and contact tracing, and measures to strengthen the local health system.

MSF in the statement said i”n Maiduguri, Borno state, we have added a 20-bed diphtheria treatment clinic to our paediatric hospital in Gwange III PHC, where over 110 people have been treated by our teams since January. In Kano state, our teams have seen 6,707 people with suspected or confirmed cases of the disease since January, working in treatment centres with a total bed capacity of 147. In Bauchi state, where we have already treated 21 cases with diphtheria during our usual medical activities in Ganjuwa, we are monitoring the situation there and in Jama’are, and are ready to start diphtheria-specific activities based on the needs.
Our teams are also responding to diphtheria in neighbouring countries. In mid-August, we started supporting the Ministry of Health in Guinea, where we work in an epidemic diseases treatment centre in Siguiri prefecture. More than 100 people have been admitted since the start of our activities.

“In collaboration with the Nigerien Ministry of Health, our teams conducted a first-round of a preventive vaccination campaign in Kantché and Amsoudou health areas in early September, vaccinating nearly 48,500 people. A second round of vaccinations will take place in early October.

“The number of suspected cases in other countries in the region adds to the urgency of increasing access to antitoxin drugs and vaccination initiatives.”

MSF Calls for International Support to Tackle Worsening Diphtheria Outbreak in Nigeria

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Health

US, in 2023 Commits $600 million to Health in Nigeria

Published

on

US, in 2023 Commits $600 million to Health in Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

The United States has committed $20 billion into various health programmes in Africa, it said on Wednesday.

A released by the United States Embassy in Nigeria also revealed that: “In 2023 alone, the United States invested over $600 million in health assistance in Nigeria,” with U.S. partnerships on health in Nigeria saving millions of lives, strengthened health systems, and better prepared Nigeria and the region for current and future health security threats.

The release stated that: “The following are the facts about U.S. government partnership with Nigeria for health now and in the future: Preventing Malaria: Malaria threatens more than half the world’s population and claims the life of a child every minute, and the United States, together with our global partners, has helped save more than 11.7 million lives and prevented 2 billion malaria infections globally.

“Malaria is a leading cause of death in Nigeria, but malaria deaths in Nigeria have fallen by 55 percent since 2000. To advance Nigeria’s national. strategy to counter malaria, since 2011, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has taken steps to prevent illness and death by providing: Nearly 83 million insecticide-treated bed nets; 22 million malaria preventive treatments in pregnancy; 164 million fast acting malaria medicines; Insecticide to spray 121,000 homes; Over 102 million rapid diagnostic tests for malaria.

“Ending HIV: About 39 million people live with HIV globally, including an estimated 2 million in Nigeria. The United States and Nigeria are focused on ending HIV as a public health threat by 2030. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has expanded HIV treatment and reduced HIV transmissions, saving more than 25 million lives in more than 50 partner countries over the past two decades and giving over 1.6 million Nigerians access to antiretroviral therapy. In Nigeria, PEPFAR has invested a total of more than $8.3 billion in the national HIV response.

“In 2023, PEPFAR resources supported:
Over 12 million people with HIV counseling and testing services; More than 2 million pregnant women with HIV counseling and testing services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; More than 1.8 million people living with HIV with TB/HIV services; More than 1.5 million orphans and vulnerable children with care and
support services

“Delivering Vaccines: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States helped Nigeria vaccinate 70 percent of its eligible populations. The U.S. government supports Nigeria to control, eliminate, and eradicate other vaccine-preventable diseases as well. Through technical expertise and programmatic support, the United States collaborates with international and local partners to strengthen immunization systems and expand routine vaccine delivery.

“In the course of these efforts, the U.S. government has: Donated 44 million doses of COVID vaccine; Supported vaccination of 2,145,063 children for polio in security-compromised areas, helping Nigeria become certified free of wild poliovirus in 2020; Supported introduction of four new vaccines for children, including
rotavirus, IPV2, measles, and HPV.

“Advancing Global Health Security: The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Ebola, mpox, and other outbreaks in the country and region, has shown the devastating impacts of infectious disease on health, economies, and societies. Together, the United States and Nigeria are working to strengthen health security capacities. Several U.S. government agencies partner with the Nigerian government to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from emerging public health threats. Through these collaborations, we are protecting the health of Nigerians, Americans, and people across the globe. Key activities in Nigeria include: Establishing a Public Health Emergency Management Program that has trained 55 national and subnational emergency managers who have responded to seven priority outbreaks; Enhancing Nigeria’s national disease surveillance systems, by training more than 800 epidemiologists and scientists to promote global best practices; Developing Nigeria’s laboratory diagnostics to test for Ebola, mpox, yellow fever, measles, Lassa fever, cholera, and cerebrospinal meningitis, thus strengthening Nigeria’s ability to quickly detect and respond to outbreaks.”

US, in 2023 Commits $600 million to Health in Nigeria

Continue Reading

Health

Lassa Fever: FG Launches National Deratisation Exercise

Published

on

Lassa Fever: FG Launches National Deratisation Exercise

By: Michael Mike

The Hon Minister of State for Environment Dr. Iziaq Adekunle Salako has launched the National Deratization framework exercise to prevent and control the spread of Lassa fever in the Country.

The Minister who was respresented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mahmud Kambari while briefing the Press in Abuja stated that ‘I stand to provide an update on the recent outbreak of Lassa Fever reported by 44 Army Referral Hospital in Kaduna State and subsequent spread of the disease in the state ‘.

He said the meeting with the State Emergency Response Team (SERT), has provided the etiological pattern of the disease. 12 suspected cases was recorded with 6 mortality, 2 additional cases originated from another facility in Barau Dikko Hospital , while 92 persons are under surveillance as contact person, adding that the team has visited the affected facility (44 Army Referral Hospital) on 25th of February 2024 which gathered information as follows:

The general hygiene and cleanliness of the hospital was assessed as well as measures put in place to prevent the spread of the disease through disinfection and decontamination were both deemed effective and found adequate.

The team further confirmed the efficacy of the treatment by using an ITP machine and use of sodium hydrochloride in correct proportion and formulation to ensure safety of the facility.

The team recommended that the facility be deratized to reduce the population of the disease carrying vector, specifically rats.

He noted that our’s in the Environment Sector is to provide solution, make the environment safe and unconducive for the vector to grow because it is responsible for the disease.

The Registrar, Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON), Dr. Yakubu Baba Muhammad reiterated that the Minister’s directives on all the facilities whether public or private should undergo derating exercise for examples hotels, markets, restaurants and recreation centres after which they will be issued Derating Exemption Certificate by EHCON.

Dr. Yakubu disclosed that the ministry has directed the Council to embark on massive capacity building to update the knowledge of the practioners on the new innovations, new approaches to control and address the disease.

He added that component of health education, promotion and creation of awareness in the communities also plays an important role.

“At the community level, the issue of waste management cannot be over emphasized. At this time and period, reminant food should not be exposed while our food stuff and stores should be rats proof. In the character of rats once there is no food, rats vacates the house”. He added

He further emphasized that another approach to combat the spread of this disease is by getting to the grassroot, its a collective responsibility as government is doing their job, citizens should do their parts.

He also said farmers using roads for drying farm products should be discouraged from doing so because this gives rats to come and urinate, defecate; passing feaces that contains the virus that causes disease and contamination of the food.

Yakubu warned that our communities should reduce or stop taking bush meat, saying is not healthy for now because the virus has residual effect even after the death of the animal.

Lassa Fever: FG Launches National Deratisation Exercise

Continue Reading

Health

Establishment of Oncology, Nuclear Medicine Centres In Six Nigerian Teaching Hospitals: The Exclusion of UMTH

Published

on

Establishment of Oncology, Nuclear Medicine Centres In Six Nigerian Teaching Hospitals: The Exclusion of UMTH

By: Yusuf Adamu

The president approval in setting up these centres across the nation is a welcome development and it will go along way in improving the healthcare service delivery which can be viewed as the path towards achieving the renewed hope.
The following institutions marked for the establishment of oncology and nuclear medicine centres include:

(1) University of Benin Teaching Hospital
(2) Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital
(3) University of Nigeria (Nsukka) Teaching Hospital
(4) Federal Teaching Hospital, Katsina
(5) University of Jos Teaching Hospital
(6) Lagos University Teaching Hospital.”
In addition, within same approval, other institutions are to benefit from the expansion projects in the area of radiology, clinical pathology, medical and radiation oncology, and cardiac catheterization. This include as follows:
(1) North-West: Reference Hospital, Kaduna — (Radiology, clinical pathology, medical and radiation oncology)
(2) South-East: Medical Diagnostic Centre Complex, Enugu — (Radiology, clinical pathology, medical & radiation oncology)
(3) North-West: Usman Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto — (Diagnostic and intervention radiology, clinical pathology, and cardiac catheterisation)
(4) South-West: University College Hospital, Ibadan — (Diagnostic and intervention radiology, clinical pathology, and cardiac catheterization)
(5) South-South: University of Uyo Teaching Hospital — (Radiology and clinical pathology)
(6) North-East: Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi — (Radiology and clinical pathology)
(7) South-South: Federal Medical Centre, Asaba — (Radiology and clinical pathology)
(8) North-Central: Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre Complex, Ilorin — (Radiology and clinical pathology)
(9) North-Central: Jos University Teaching Hospital — (Radiology and clinical pathology)
(10) North-East: Federal Medical Centre, Nguru — (Radiology and clinical pathology).
The exclusion of University of Maiduguri from this critical project is worrisome owing to the fact that it has served a citadel of knowledge in this field and has trained specialist this fields. The institution has significantly served as a point of call to a lot of cancer cases across the country (Kano, Yobe, Bauchi etc) and has performed well. As currently, I have 2 cases of it from other states which they are currently receiving treatment at UMTH. More so, on need basis in only Maiduguri MMC according to the Maiduguri Cancer Registry (2016) recorded about 262 cancer cases in a year and this has been on the increase owing to the influx of patients from other states. One fact remains that that the UMTH has done well in this aspect. Therefore, it’s inclusion of it would go along boast their performance.

However, the inclusion of ATBU teaching hospital is a benefactor of the Minister owing to the fact that the minister home town. But the question is what has been the cases of Cancer Bauchi and its environs? Consequently, need basis, relevance and other key factors needs to be considered in the future when selecting such an important project so that the benefit of it can be realised to an optimal level.
Hence forth, synergy between key or principal officers in the Health sector is cogent in marking out institutions to benefit from such a strategic projects.

Hon. Yusuf Adamu is the former political adviser to then governor of Borno state and current VP Kashim Shettima

Establishment of Oncology, Nuclear Medicine Centres In Six Nigerian Teaching Hospitals: The Exclusion of UMTH

Continue Reading

Trending