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Nigeria introduces Meningitis A Conjugate Vaccine into Routine Expanded Programme on Immunization Schedule

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Nigeria has introduced the Meningitis A Conjugate Vaccine into the routine Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) schedule. 

Speaking during the flag-off ceremony at the Area 2 Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) on 09 August, 2019, the Executive Director (ED) of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib said, “Men A remains a major global challenge.” According to the ED,”25 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) fall within the meningitis belt; putting 26.7 Nigerians at risk of meningitis”.

Further describing the prevalence of the disease in the country, he said, “In 2018, there were 4,516 reported cases in Nigeria, 318 serious cases and 364 deaths. I therefore call on all mothers to ensure their children are vaccinated from this disease.”

Meningococcal meningitis is the bacterial form of meningitis; a devastating disease associated with high fatality (up to 50% when untreated) and high frequency (more than 10%) of severe complications. Over 10,000 cases of meningitis occur annually in Nigeria; in 2017 alone, 14,766 cases were reported with 1,207 deaths. Vaccines are however available for prevention and control of meningitis outbreaks.

“Meningitis has been a scourge across Africa’s meningitis belt for generations, however this vaccine has made a massive difference in bringing this disease under control,” said Anuradha Gupta, Deputy CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “This further expansion in Nigeria’s immunization programme has the potential to save hundreds of lives every year across Nigeria and shows the government’s commitment to protecting every child in the country against deadly, preventable diseases.”

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The meningococcal A conjugate vaccine for Nigeria, procured with funding from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is part of its wider commitment to boosting Nigeria’s low immunization coverage and to stem further fatalities arising from the vaccine preventable disease.

In his remarks at the flag off ceremony, WHO Officer in Charge (OiC) for Nigeria, Dr Clement Peter congratulated the Government of Nigeria for the important milestone of the introduction of Meningitis A vaccine, which is in line with WHO recommendations.

“The vaccine is safe and effective and will protect Nigerian children from a dreadful disease. I seize this opportunity to encourage parents and caregivers to visit health facilities and outreach sites to have their children vaccinated. No child should be denied the opportunity to receive lifesaving vaccines for a healthy and productive future, to build a thriving nation,” he affirmed.

In their separate goodwill messages, representatives of Permanent Secretaries of FCT and Federal Ministry of Health, as well His Royal Highness, Alhaji Idris Musa, the paramount traditional ruler of FCT, pleaded with community members to benefit from immunization services and admonished health workers to treat caregivers respectfully and build enduring relationships with the communities they serve to ensure smooth delivery of laudable programmes.

They all appreciated the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners for being on ground to support vaccination activities at points of delivery. Other partners at the epoch-making event included UNICEF, AFENET, USAID, Red Cross Society of Nigeria and Vaccine Network for Disease Control.

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Meningitis is an infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord called the meninges. Viral and bacterial infections are the most common cause but bacterial meningitis is much more serious due to its rapid onset and poses a significant risk of death. Meningitis A vaccine targets type A meningitis and WHO is committed to work with the government to switch to the Meningitis A,C,W,X,Y formulation in a few years’ when the vaccine is available in the quantities required to ensure protection from all other strains of the disease is achieved.

WHO emphasizes the importance of completing mass vaccination campaigns in individuals aged 01-29 years old in all high risk countries followed by introduction of meningococcal A conjugate vaccine into the routine childhood programme within 01-05 years following the campaign completion.

WHO also recommends a one-time catch up campaign for children born after the initial mass vaccination and who would not be in the age range targeted by the routine immunization programme.

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Health

COVID-19: Lagos health commissioner, Abayomi tests positive

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Health,  Prof. Akin Abayomi, has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Gbenga Omotoso, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, disclosed this in  a statement issued on Monday.

The statement also added that Abayomi had close contact with persons feeling unwell who tested positive for COVID-19.

“Subsequent to close contact with persons feeling unwell and testing positive for the COVID-19 infection, the Honorable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has tested positive for the virus.

“Professor Abayomi became aware of his status following the required testing protocol of contact tracing procedures,” the statement partly read.

The commissioner who had no symptoms of the virus, is adhering to the protocol of home-based strategy in the state.

While embarking on self-isolation for the next 14 days, he will still continue to discharge his duties both as the Deputy Incident Commander of the Incident Command System for COVID-19 and as the Commissioner for Health.

Meanwhile, members of the State Executive Council wish him a speedy recovery during the period.

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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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Oyo govt, HACEY Health Initiative set to end female genital mutilation

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Oyo State Government in conjunction with HACEY Health Initiative on Thursday launched a campaign train tagged ” Stop Cut Project ” a project targeted at achieving zero record of female genital mutilation in the state within the next three years.

Oyo State Commissioner for health, Dr. Bashir Bello, while delivering his address at a stakeholders’ roundtable organized by HACEY Health initiative in respect of the Stop Cut Project, held at the Ministry of Health, Secretariat, Ibadan, said it was high time for the public to put aside cultural believes on female organ mutilation considering its effects on victims.

Dr. Bello, maintained that the society needed to be familiar with the consequences of the practice, hence, the government would intensify efforts in educating the populace on hazards attributed to the act.

He attributed the existence of this harmful practice in the society to inability of victims to report the perpetrators to the appropriate quarters for necessary actions, saying that the habit did not enable the perpetrators to pay the price for their actions.

He assured the convener of the project, HACEY health initiative of government support towards realization of set goals.

In his remarks, the Project Director, HACEY Health Initiative , Isiaiah Owolabi, said HACEY was determined to create a network of active people willing to end female genital mutilation in this era.

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Owalabi noted that key stakeholders would be engaged continually and build alliance for the purpose of eradicating the practices especially in core rural areas of the state.

“Our motive is to increase public awareness on female genital mutilation by dishing out risks associated to the practice to the public.

” The period of our intervention is three years, we are doing this in three states, Ekiti, Osun and Oyo. We believe at the end of this arrangement; we will achieve zero record of female genital mutilation in the state.

“We are relying on ministry of health and other relevant ministries and agencies in achieving this.

Similarly, the Oyo State Female Genital Multination Coordinator, Mrs. Baliqis Olawoyin, described the FGM as harmful practice, saying that the havocs emanated from it are usually irreversible.

Mrs. Oluwakemi also noted that the practice is regarded as violation of girls and women rights.
she thereafter called on parents to desist from encouraging or mandating their children to engage in mutilation of female organ for the act to become a thing of the past in Oyo state.

Also speaking, Oyo State Coordinator, National Orientation Agency, Mrs. Dolapo Dosumu, represented by Mr. Moshood Olaleye, said that there is need for government and Non-governmental organisations to sustain the campaign and ensure that they end Female genital Mutilation in Oyo State.

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“I urged all other relevant stakeholders to be actively involved in campaign and effective synergy and networking established for impact”

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