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HEALTH

Abia Government Announces Start Of Patients Screening For Surgery Ahead Of ANPA Medical Mission

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Patients are being screened for surgery in 65 centres across Abia State in preparation for the Association of Nigeria Physicians in the Americas’ (ANPA) free medical mission.

According to a statement signed by Professor Azubuike Onyebuchi, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee and Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Umuahia, and Dr Ifeyinwa Uma-kalu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, “the screening begins on Monday, February 19 and ends Friday, March 22nd.”

“It will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at no cost to patients,” the statement added.

According to the statement, a team of 70 medics from North and South America will perform approximately 100-200 surgeries in the state during the 10-day outreach.

It stated that the mission aimed to provide services to 5000 patients, “plus preventative screenings, skills transfer and capacity building workshops/education.”

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In December 2023, ANPA selected Abia State for the 2024 edition of her annual medical outreach, which will take place from April 4 to 14.

The outreach will take place concurrently at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Umuahia, Abia Diagnostic Centre Umuahia, and General Hospital Amachara.

“Screening of patients with serious health conditions that require surgery has begun at designated centres across the state for easy access to all residents,” according to the statement.

It also stated, “The screening will end on Friday, March 22, 2024. The laboratory tests for patients scheduled for surgery will begin on March 18 and end on March 22, 2024.

“Likewise, blood donation begins on March 18th and continues throughout the medical mission.”

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According to the statement, the 65 screening centres are: Aba North LGA – Eziama Primary Health Centre (PHC), Umuola Egbulu PHC, and Osusu PHC; Aba South LGA – General Hospital Aba, College of Health Aba, Aba Town Hall, and Amaufuru WPHC.

Others are: Arochukwu LGA- Arochukwu General Hospital, Amuvi PHC, Ozu Abam PHC, Aduanu Ihe PHC, and Ndi Oji Abam PHC; Bende LGA- Bende Maternity WPHC, Uzuakoli PHC, Igbere PHC, and Ndiwo WPHC; and Ikwuano LGA- Ikwuano General Hospital, Awom Ukwu PHC, and Umudike PHC.

The statement also named Amuosu PHC, Okpuala Ngwa General Hospital, Avo Ntigha PHC, and Akpu na Ekpu PHC as centres for Isiala Ngwa North LGA, as well as Ugba PHC, Eketa PHC, Osokwa Model PHC, and Omoba PHC for Isiala Ngwa South LGA.

Others include Isuikwuato LGA, which has Isuikwuato General Hospital, Mgbelu Umunekwu PHC, and Ukwunwangwu Uturu PHC; Obingwa LGA, which has Mgboko Amairi PHC, Itukpa PHC, Ehere PHC, and Akumaimo PHC; and Ohafia LGA, which has Ohafia General Hospital, Cottage Hospital Nkporo, General Hospital Abiriba, and Ohafor PHC.

Osisioma LGA’s designated centres include Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Osisioma Cottage Hospital, Ekearo PHC, and Abayi Ogbulegba PHC, whereas Ugwunagbo LGA’s designated centres include Asa Umunka PHC, Aza PHC, Ngwaiyiekwe PHC, and Obegu PHC.

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Other facilities include Akwuette PHC, Azumini PHC, Ohanku PHC, and Ohambele PHC in Ukwa East LGA; Okeikpe General Hospital, Cottage Hospital Owaza, Obehie PHC, and Ogwe PHC in Ukwa West LGA; and Infant Welfare Clinic (IWC) Ojike Street, Nkwoegwu PHC, Umuda Isingwu PHC, and Abia Specialist Hospital across from FMC Umuahia in Umuahia North LGA.

The centres in Umuahia South LGA are Amachara General Hospital, Ubakala PHC, Old Umuahia PHC, and Ahiaukwu PHC, while in Umunneochi LGA they are General Hospital Isuochi, Umuchieze PHC, and Eziama Agbo.

The statement encouraged Abia residents who had serious ailments that required surgery to visit any of the screening centres nearby for a free medical examination.

It also asked for volunteers to help build a sufficient blood bank for the surgeries, urging any willing donor to visit the centres for screening beginning March 18.

According to the statement, the medical outreach is being carried out in collaboration with the Abia State Government and some non-governmental organisations such as Rotary International District 9142, ASNA, NeoPed, DAGOMO, and IRRE.

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HEALTH

New Mosquito Nets Prevent 13 Million Malaria Cases in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Mother and child under the net

The New Nets Project, an initiative funded by Unitaid and the Global Fund and led by the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC), piloted the use of dual-insecticide in malaria-endemic countries between 2019 and 2022 to address the growing threat of insecticide resistance.

Anopheles mosquitoes are increasingly resistant to the pyrethroid insecticides used on standard insecticide-treated nets (ITNs). This may reduce the nets’ ability to protect people from malaria, so we must continue to develop and test new tools.

The BASF Interceptor® G2 ITNs are coated with chlorfenapyr, a new generation pyrrole insecticide, in combination with the standard pyrethroid insecticide. DCT’s Royal Guard® net incorporates a combination of pyriproxyfen and pyrethroid into the yarn of the net. Both ITNs are more effective against mosquitoes with pyrethroid resistance than standard nets are.

Between 2019 and 2022, the New Nets Project supported the deployment of 38.4 million nets across sub-Saharan Africa. In parallel, the Global Fund and PMI supported the deployment of millions of additional nets under an internal initiative (NTI). As a result, a total of 56 million mosquito nets were introduced in 17 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

Two clinical trials and five pilot studies, delivered through the New Nets Project as well as through partner funding, found the new ITNs to improve malaria control by approximately 20-50% in countries reporting insecticide resistance in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to standard nets.

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The epidemiological evidence built throughout the project led the World Health Organization (WHO) to publish new recommendations supporting the use of pyrethroid-chlorfenapyr nets instead of pyrethroid-only nets in countries facing pyrethroid resistance. WHO also issued a conditional recommendation for the deployment of pyrethroid-pyriproxyfen nets instead of pyrethroid-only nets to prevent malaria in adults and children in areas with pyrethroid resistance.

Dr. Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid, said: “The New Nets Project has made a massive contribution to malaria control efforts, helping to accelerate introduction of next-generation bed nets – a critically important tool for reducing malaria cases and deaths. The success of this project was not guaranteed from the outset, but our collective efforts to tackle multiple access barriers simultaneously helped ensure that new nets could reach communities as quickly as possible. These partnerships will serve us well as we continue to seek out promising innovations to address challenges in the fight against malaria.”  

The additional cost per case of malaria averted using the Interceptor® G2 nets compared to a standard net ranged from $0.66–$3.56*. The reduction in malaria cases and deaths from using the Interceptor® G2 nets, compared to a standard net, equated to a potential US$28.9 million in financial savings to health systems.

As the number of dual active ingredient ITNs being used increases year on year, the subsequent financial savings to the health system will also increase, underlining the long-term financial and public health benefits of this additional investment.

In addition, the operational pilots also produced a set of guidelines for how to effectively incorporate these new nets into multi-product campaigns and continuous distribution.

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Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, said: “We are delighted to see that the dual active ingredient insecticide-treated nets have demonstrated exceptional impact against malaria. The success of the New Nets Project is proof that, by fostering collaboration across global health partners, harnessing innovation, and using market-shaping approaches, we can fight insecticide resistance, make our interventions highly cost-effective and accelerate progress against malaria. Together
with our partners, we will continue to invest in the insecticide-treated net innovation pipeline to avert more cases, save more lives, and get back on track towards the global malaria goals.”

Catalytic market-shaping work under the New Nets Project increased supply and demand of dual active ingredient nets, ensuring equitable and affordable access to novel vector control products for country level control programs and vulnerable populations.

UK-based social finance company MedAccess and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported access to Interceptor® G2 nets in 20+ countries by providing a volume guarantee that enabled BASF to reduce the price procurers pay for the nets.
This, combined with continued efforts by partners to scale the introduction of all dual active ingredient nets as they receive WHO prequalification, will help to ensure sustainability beyond the completion of the project.

David McGuire, Director Access and Market Shaping at IVCC, said: “The catalytic market-shaping work under the New Nets Project to increase supply and demand for dual-insecticide nets laid the foundation for ensuring equitable and affordable access to these novel vector control products. The NNP has demonstrated, along with the NgenIRS project, the importance and potential impact of market interventions to ensure that the most vulnerable have access to the best vector control. Similar approaches will be critical for novel products emerging from IVCC’s development pipeline.”

The evidence built through the New Nets Project for the use of the dual active ingredient ITNs is testament to the importance of product-development and catalytic market-shaping interventions to deliver and scale up high-impact, cost-effective prevention tools that meet the needs of malaria-endemic countries.

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Dr. Michael Charles, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said: “The findings of the New Nets Project demonstrate the value of investments into state-of-the-art tools in the fight against malaria. We always say that there is no silver bullet to eliminating malaria and we cannot rely on single interventions, but rather invest in a suite of tools, which when combined, will have the biggest impact on defeating this disease. The dual-insecticide nets are a shining example of one of these tools and the results, coupled with the savings for health systems, make the case for their continued rollout globally.”

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HEALTH

US CDC Donates Disease Detective Equipment To Nigerian Counterpart

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The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has donated disease detection equipment to Nigeria.

Dr Jide Idris, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, received the Equipment on behalf of the Federal Government on Friday in Abuja.

The laboratory supplies, which include biosafety cabinets, sample collection materials, and other essential laboratory commodities, are expected to increase the country’s outbreak response capacity.

Dr. Farah Husain, Programme Director of the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Global Health Protection, said the donation was part of efforts to assist Nigeria in dealing with disease outbreaks.

She stated that the equipment will help Nigeria’s labs maintain their high quality and output.

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She also assured Nigeria of her country’s commitment to assisting in the development of response capacity to protect citizens from disease outbreaks.

She stated, “The United States is committed to working hand-in-hand with Nigeria to build response capacity and protect the health of our people,” adding, “Today, we gather to celebrate a concrete example of the strong partnership between the United States and Nigeria.”

“The United States government, through the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, is pleased to donate equipment and supplies to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to support emergency response laboratory activities.

Nigeria is currently dealing with several ongoing disease outbreaks, including Lassa fever, diphtheria, and meningitis.

“Laboratory scientists play an important role in quickly detecting and verifying cases, which is critical for an effective outbreak response.

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“The increased volume of laboratory work caused by these concurrent outbreaks necessitates an urgent need for additional resources.

“With laboratories at the heart of our collaborative work, we can quickly and effectively prevent and respond to outbreaks.”

She revealed that health workers were not left out, as there was personal protective equipment for laboratory workers’ safety, stating: “We have also included large amounts of personal protective equipment to safeguard the health and safety of laboratory workers. “Whether in subnational labs, health facilities, or the communities they serve, this donation will directly help save lives,” said the CDC Programme Director.

In his remarks, the NCDC chief assured the US government that the equipment would be used prudently.

Idris stated that the gesture would improve the country’s disease detection and capabilities.

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While praising the importance of collaboration with the US government, Idris emphasised that no government can fund the healthcare system because it is prohibitively expensive.

He explained that: “No government can fund the health system, so we need this type of collaboration from various partners.

“The goal is to reduce the incidence.

“What we are most concerned about here is health security. This is critical because a nation’s mandate to its people is to ensure that the people’s health is sacrosanct in terms of preventing them from contracting any disease, and if that progression, activity is insufficient, to ensure that you properly detect and respond to whatever disease has occurred.

“As previously stated, the government funds the sector, but the funding may not be adequate at this time. That is why the healthcare system is so costly. No government can fund it alone. That is why various partners must collaborate in this manner.

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“More importantly, in terms of global health security, one of the major focuses is collaboration, and partnerships, both internationally, nationally, and sub-nationally, because everyone is coming in with different expertise, and we may not have all of the expertise we need, but with this kind of collaboration, productivity can be increased.

“The goal is to meet our objective of reducing disease incidents.  And where you can not stop it, we respond appropriately so that we can reduce the impact of any disease, which is the goal here.

“So, collaboration, and partnerships are critical components of health security..”

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HEALTH

US CDC Donates Disease Detective Equipment To Nigeria

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The United States Centres for Disease Control has donated disease detection equipment to Nigeria.

The Equioments were received on behalf of the Federal Government on Friday in Abuja by Dr. Jide Idris, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The laboratory supplies are expected to improve the country’s outbreak response capacity and include biosafety cabinets, sample collection materials, and other essential laboratory commodities.

Dr. Farah Husain, Programme Director of the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Global Health Protection, stated that the donation was part of efforts to assist Nigeria in dealing with disease outbreaks.

She stated that the equipment will help to maintain the quality and high outputs of Nigeria’s laboratories.

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She also assured Nigeria that her country is committed to assisting in the development of response capacity to protect people from disease outbreaks.

She stated, “The United States is committed to working hand in hand with Nigeria to build response capacity and protect the health of our peoples,” adding, “Today, we gather to celebrate a concrete example of the strong partnership between the United States and Nigeria.”

“The U.S. Government, via the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is proud to donate equipment and supplies to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to support emergency response laboratory activities.

“Nigeria is currently facing several ongoing disease outbreaks, including Lassa fever, diphtheria, and meningitis.

“Laboratory scientists play a vital role in quickly detecting and confirming cases, which is crucial for an an effective outbreak response.

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” The increased volume of laboratory work created by these simultaneous outbreaks creates a pressing need for additional resources.

“Together, with laboratories as the cornerstone of our collaborative work, we can quickly and effectively prevent and respond to outbreaks.”

She revealed that health workers were not excluded because there was personal protective equipment for laboratory workers’ safety, stating that: “We have also included large amounts of personal protective equipment to safeguard the health and safety of laboratory workers. Whether in the subnational labs, health facilities, or the communities they serve, this donation will directly help save lives,” CDC Programme Director said.

In his remarks, NCDC boss assured the US government that the equioments will be judiciously put to use.

Idris noted that the gesture is going to boost the country’s disease detection and capability ability.

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While hailing the importance of the collaboration with the US government, Idris stressed that no government can fund health system because it is very expensive.

He explained that: “No government can fund health system and that’s where we require this kind of collaboration from different partners.

“The idea and the goal is to reduce the incidence

“What concerns us mostly here is health security. This is key because a nation’s mandate to the people is to ensure that the health of the people is sacrosanct in terms of preventing the people from catching any disease, and if so, where that progression, activity is not adequate, but ensure that you properly detect whatever disease that is occurred and at the same time respond to it.

“Like we said, the government is funding the sector, but the funding may not necessarily be adequate now. That is why the health system is very expensive. No government can fund it on its own. That is why it requires this kind of collaboration from different partners.

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“More importantly, in terms of global health security, one of the major focus is collaboration, partnerships both internationally, nationally and sub-nationally because everybody is coming in with different expertise and we will not necessarily have all the expertise we need but with this kind of collaboration in boosting productivity.

“The goal is to achieve our objective to reduce incidents of disease. And where you cannot stop that we respond adequately so that we can bring down the effect of any disease that is the essence here.

“So collaboration. Partnerships are critical components of health security..”

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