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COVID-19: Imo govt. launches innovative mobile health insurance with support from WHO

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The Governor of Imo State, Mr. Hope Uzodinma last Wednesday launched the innovative Mobile Health Insurance Programme in Owerri.

This mobile health insurance initiative has been designed with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) to achieve seamless coverage of the over 96% population in the informal sector of the State on health insurance while reducing the existing out-of-pocket expenditure of 92%. The mobile platforms in addition, provide automated opportunities for philanthropists to graciously adopt the poor and vulnerable on health insurance.

In his remarks, the  Governor appreciated the leadership role of WHO in the health sector of the state and globally especially in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. He added that the state government depends strongly on the genuine and constructive partnership of the World Health Organization towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Governor Uzodinma added that WHO supported the state, with the design and flag-off of the Health Insurance Scheme, which now culminates in the launch of the use of mobile phone technology to pay for and access Health Insurance, the first of its kind in Africa towards   ensuring that people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.

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He restated his commitment to repositioning the entire Health Sector in the State, while requesting WHOs renewed partnership in “PHC revitalization, full implementation of the State Health Insurance scheme to provide access to essential Healthcare to Imo citizens at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of care, revamping of our Health Security, Emergency preparedness and response, and overhaul of the drug revolving scheme to eliminate the issue of fake or substandard drugs in our hospitals.”

Speaking at the event, the WHO Nigeria Representative,  Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo appreciated the government of Imo State for placing the health of her people high on overall agenda of government. While recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the vulnerabilities of the global health systems, he pledged WHO’s continuous support within the 13 General Program of work and the State Health Strategic Development Plan.

Dr Mulmbo said that WHO recognizes the peculiar needs of each population from others and thus, makes deliberate efforts to fashion out the health system that works for them based on their needs.

He appreciated the level of political commitment to health in the State and expressed confidence that if sustained, the State and WHO will together promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.

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WHO already supported the State with core health financing analytics with development and printing of the State Health Financing Policy and Strategy, operational guidelines of the State Health Insurance Scheme key operational documents for the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, as well as laptop computers, some of which were presented during the event.

The high point of the event was the conferment of the title of “Oche Ndu 1 (protector and preserver of life) of Imo State” on Dr. Kazadi on behalf of WHO, by the Chairman of Imo State Traditional Rulers, in recognition of all the lives that have been saved through the humanitarian work done by WHO in the State.

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Health

Oyo govt. launches plan to reduce maternal, neonatal mortality rates, unveils ‘T’ỌMỌ T’ÌYÁ Initiative’

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Oyo  State government on Wednesday, launched the ‘T’ỌMỌ T’ÌYÁ Initiative,’ an effort aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality rate in the state.

The programme, which was inaugurated at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, was equally aimed at improving the quality of reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child healthcare across the state.

Governor Seyi Makinde, who was represented by his deputy, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan, said at the launching of the initiative, that it aims to, among other things, reduce maternal mortality rate by 30 per cent and neonatal mortality rate by 20 per cent.

According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, following the launch of the initiative, the number of births by skilled birth in the state will increase by 30 per cent while the healthcare facility utilization in the state will also rise to 60 per cent.

While inaugurating the steering and technical working committees, the governor stated that the committees will oversee all the reproductive, maternal, newborn and Child health (RMNCH) programmes in the state, while giving insights into the direction things should go.

He assured that the state, through the initiative, will meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Number Three, which targets improving maternal health.
He said: “It is this project that we are here today to inaugurate – the T’ỌMỌ T’ÌYÁ Initiative. As the name suggests, the initiative is for the mother and child. It is one key way through which we will be meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) number three, which targets improving maternal health.

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“Our plan is to ensure that qualitative Maternal and Child Healthcare services are offered at minimal cost. This will enable us to meet the objectives of this initiative.
“We are aware that in 2023, when this administration will be winding down, there will be another NDHS report. When that report comes out, we would like to see drastic reductions in these negative indices. Our goal is to reduce maternal mortality by 30 per cent and reduce neonatal, infant and child mortality by 20 per cent in Oyo State.

“To achieve this, by the grace of God and with the dedication, hard work and commitment of everyone involved in this project, we aim to increase the number of births by skilled birth attendants in the state by 30 per cent while also increasing the health care facility utilization in the state to 60 per cent.”

The governor added that the state will begin a pilot testing of some of the programmes under the initiative, noting that the state will advocate the meeting of the World Health Organisation recommendation of four or more antenatal care visits during pregnancy.

“So, we hope to start piloting some of the programmes under this initiative in the shortest possible time. One of the important things we will be advocating is meeting the WHO recommendation of four or more antenatal care visits during pregnancy.

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“The statistics show that when pregnant women are able to make at least four visits, the major complications that account for nearly 75 per cent of all maternal deaths are prevented.”
Governor Makinde, therefore, lauded the implementing partners for accepting to be members of the T’ỌMỌ T’ÌYÁ Initiative, saying: “As you embark on your deliberations to provide a blueprint on how we are to achieve these objectives, I must especially thank the implementing partners for accepting to be members of this important initiative. I pray that your source of ideas never runs dry as you think up creative ways of getting us off that list of worsts,” the governor said.

Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Bashir Bello, said the initiative is meant to ensure the welfare of the women before, during and after birth, particularly the new life they are bringing forth.

He added that the present administration in the state is committed to improving the health sector and changing the undesirable indices recorded in the National Child Health.
The Commissioner further hinted that the government will work towards seeing that every pregnant woman is insured with the support of local governments.

He said: “It is our belief that every pregnant woman, henceforth, will not only be insured but will also be given the necessary attention. With our authenticated preparation of the delivery, we are sure of what we are going to deliver. The very best attention we give to such a neonate will determine what is going to become of his or her future life.”

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Also speaking, the Special Adviser to Governor Makinde on Health, Dr. Funmi Salami, said the T’ỌMỌ T’ÌYÁ Initiative will contribute to a healthier and more prosperous society, as healthy babies grow into healthy adults who thrive and can contribute to their communities and society.

She stated that the mission of the initiative is to facilitate a consultative process among all stakeholders to identify priority areas and identify clear strategic directions for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH).

The event had the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Bisi Ilaka; Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun; chairman, Hospital Management Board, Dr. Gbola Adetunji; Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Mr. Jide Ajani; Representative of UNICEF, Tushar Ranee; Representative of WHO, Dr. Marcus Oluwadare and a host of others in attendance.

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COVID-19: Oyo govt. urges residents to go for testing

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The Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, of the  Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force has called on residents of the state to avail themselves the opportunities of its decentralised testing system, to get themselves tested for the virus.

The Task Force added that contrary to misinformation that the virus has been defeated, it is still very much active, warning that adequate and observance of all the safety protocols remained the effective ways of combating the virus.

The Task Force, also said it has released a list of locations where residents of the state can undertake COVID-19 tests across the state.

According to a  statement signed  by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the list of centres was ratified on Monday at the state’s COVID-19 Task Force meeting presided by Governor Makinde.

The statement added that the available testing centres in the state include: State Hospital, Oyo; General Hospital, Saki; General Hospital, Iseyin; General Hospital, Igboora; General Hospital, Apata, Ibadan; Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan; Health is Wealth, Secretariat Road, Ibadan; and LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso.

It added that testing is also available in approved private laboratories across the state, stressing that residents can call the following numbers for enquiries: 08095394000, 08078288999, 08078288800, 08095863000 or dial *723*19*6# and follow the promptings.

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Every year, 1.9 million people die from tobacco-induced heart disease – Report

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tobacco responsible for 20% of deaths from coronary heart disease

 

Every year, 1.9 million people die from tobacco-induced heart disease, according to a new brief released on Tuesday by the World Health Organization, World Heart Federation and the University of Newcastle Australia ahead of World Heart Day, marked on 29 September.

This equates to one in five of all deaths from heart disease, warn the report’s authors, who urge all tobacco users to quit and avoid a heart attack, stressing that smokers are more likely to experience an acute cardiovascular event at a younger age than non-smokers.

Just a few cigarettes a day, occasional smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke increase the risk of heart disease. But if tobacco users take immediate action and quit, then their risk of heart disease will decrease by 50% after one year of not smoking.

“Given the current level of evidence on tobacco and cardiovascular health and the health benefits of quitting smoking, failing to offer cessation services to patients with heart disease could be considered clinical malpractice or negligence. Cardiology societies should train their members in smoking cessation, as well as to promote and even drive tobacco control advocacy efforts,” said Dr Eduardo Bianco, Chair of the World Heart Federation Tobacco Expert Group.

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The brief also shows that smokeless tobacco is responsible for around 200 000 deaths from coronary heart disease per year. E-cigarettes also raise blood pressure increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Moreover, high blood pressure and heart disease increase the risk of severe COVID-19. A recent WHO survey found that among people dying of COVID-19 in Italy, 67% had high blood pressure and in Spain, 43% of people who developed COVID-19 were living with heart disease.

Governments have a responsibility to protect the health of their people and help reverse the tobacco epidemic. Making our communities smoke-free reduces the number of tobacco-related hospital admissions, which is more important than ever in the context of the current pandemic,” said Dr Vinayak Prasad, Unit Lead of the WHO No Tobacco Unit.

Tobacco control is a key element for reducing heart disease. Governments can help tobacco users quit by increasing tax on tobacco products, enforcing bans on tobacco advertising and offering services to help people give up tobacco.

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