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Nigeria moves to end communicable diseases among people who use drugs

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“I have been injecting drugs for a long time and we share syringes,” says Ali who lives in the suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and recently diagnosed to be co-infected with Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV. Consequent to difficulties of life in the streets, Ali was exposed to drug use as early as age 10 and started using injectable drugs when he was 14. “I wish I can stop now though, but It is very difficult” he laments. 

In response to the plight of people like Ali, the Nigerian Government is making moves to end communicable diseases among people who use drugs.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 2017 estimated that 271 million people globally were said to use drugs of which 11.3 million are injectable (Source: UN World Drug report 2019). In addition to associated mortality, injecting drug use has been linked with transmission of communicable diseases including HIV, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis and a host of other blood-borne infections. People who inject drugs (PWID) account for 10% of HIV infections and about 23% of new Hepatitis C infections, while Tuberculosis is a leading AIDS-defining illness and cause of mortality among people living with HIV who inject drugs (Source: WHO – HIV Topics / WHO Hepatitis C factsheet).

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“Nigeria, with her huge population continues to experience an untold effect of drug use especially among youth,” say Mr Mashood Lawal Director Food and Drugs, Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).

In addition, Government is making concerted efforts to address communicable diseases associated with drug use. This is being achieved through programming for key population groups within various national programmes focusing mainly on behavioral change and preventive interventions, including attempts at biomedical support and dilatory effects.

An independent report commissioned by the Global Fund in 2016 indicates a burgeoning need for a full package of interventions for these population group as defined by WHO. Also the findings of the national drug use survey conducted in 2018, revealed that 14.4% of the general population use drugs, a rate higher than the global average of 5.6%. The report further reveals that there are more people who inject drugs than previously estimated and of concern are injecting practices with increased risk of HIV and Viral Hepatitis transmission (UNODC-National Drug Use Survey Report,2018 ). This evidence calls for a holistic health sector driven approach for curbing the menace of drug use.

With this compelling evidence, WHO advocated to FMoH for the need to define a health response for the drug control. Hence, the National Programme on Drug Demand and Harm Reduction (NDDHR) which is closely linked to the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) was established in May,2019 with the mandate of coordinating the health sector response to drug use. Similarly, a National technical working group (TWG) was inaugurated to support the take-off of the programme.

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“Since inception of the programme, WHO has been at the forefront, leading other partners including the UN Organization for Drug Control, Global Fund and national stakeholders to support the government to develop a policy statement and strategy which will be incorporated into the National Drug Control Master Plan,” states Dr Rex Mpazanje, Communicable/Non communicable diseases cluster lead for WHO Nigeria.

“Similarly, a road map and National guideline for the implementation of a needle and syringe program (NSP) geared towards the elimination of communicable among PWID was developed. The NSP which is being funded through the Global Fund with technical support from WHO is expected to be piloted in 3 states across the country in the coming months,” he added.

Beyond communicable diseases, WHO is concerned with other health and social burdens associated with drug use. Therefore, efforts will continue to be made to enhance public health actions by providing the required leadership, strengthening partnerships and collaboration between government and health institutions towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDG 2030).

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More women, children survive today than ever before – Report

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More women and their children are surviving today than ever before, according to new child and maternal mortality estimates released yesterday by United Nations groups led by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Since 2000, child deaths have reduced by nearly half and maternal deaths by over one-third, mostly due to improved access to affordable, quality health services.

“In countries that provide everyone with safe, affordable, high-quality health services, women and babies survive and thrive,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “This is the power of universal health coverage.”

Still, the new estimates reveal that 6.2 million children under 15 years died in 2018, and over 290 000 women died due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth in 2017. Of the total child deaths, 5.3 million occurred in the first 5 years, with almost half of these in the first month of life.

Women and newborns are most vulnerable during and immediately after childbirth. An estimated 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns die every year, or 1 every 11 seconds, mostly of preventable causes, the new estimates say.

Children face the highest risk of dying in the first month, especially if they are born too soon or too small, have complications during birth, congenital defects, or contract infections. About a third of these deaths occur within the first day and nearly three quarters in the first week alone.

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“Around the world, birth is a joyous occasion. Yet, every 11 seconds, a birth is a family tragedy,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “A skilled pair of hands to help mothers and newborns around the time of birth, along with clean water, adequate nutrition, basic medicines and vaccines, can make the difference between life and death. We must do all it takes to invest in universal health coverage to save these precious lives.”

Vast inequalities worldwide

The estimates also show vast inequalities worldwide, with women and children in sub-Saharan Africa facing a substantially higher risk of death than in all other regions.

Levels of maternal deaths are nearly 50 times higher for women in sub-Saharan Africa and their babies are 10 times more likely to die in their first month of life, compared to high-income countries.

In 2018, 1 in 13 children in sub-Saharan Africa died before their fifth birthday– this is 15 times higher than the risk a child faces in Europe, where just 1 in 196 children aged less than 5 die.

Women in sub-Saharan Africa face a 1 in 37 lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth. By comparison, the lifetime risk for a woman in Europe is 1 in 6500. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia account for around 80% of global maternal and child deaths. Countries in conflict or humanitarian crisis often have weak health systems that prevent women and children from accessing essential lifesaving care.

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Progress linked to universal health coverage

The world has made substantial progress in reducing child and maternal mortality. Since 1990, there has been a 56% reduction in deaths of children under 15 years from 14.2 million deaths to 6.2 million in 2018. Countries in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia have made the most progress, with an 80% decline in under-five deaths.

And from 2000 to 2017, the maternal mortality ratio declined by 38%. Southern Asia has made the greatest improvements in maternal survival with a nearly 60% reduction in the maternal mortality ratio since 2000.

Belarus, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Morocco, Mongolia, Rwanda, Timor-Leste and Zambia are some of the countries that have shown substantial progress in reducing child or maternal mortality. Success has been due to political will to improve access to quality health care by investing in the health workforce, introducing free care for pregnant women and children and supporting family planning. Many of these countries focus on primary health care and universal health coverage.

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Waste recycling will set most youths on wealth path – Ayoola

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Youths in Oyo State have been urged to take up the opportunity in waste recycling to escape from poverty caused by shortage of job opportunities and idleness.

 

The State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Hon Kehinde Ayoola stated this on Thursday on his visit to some waste recycling factories in Ibadan, the State capital.

 

Ayoola, who was in company of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Bashir Olanrewaju, consultant to the State on waste management, Mrs Ololade Oresanwo of West Africa ENGR and officials of the Ministry.

 

Ayoola toured recycling plants at Ring Road, Orita Aperin Waste-To-Wealth Project site and the Aba Eku central dump site to ascertain the capacity of the plants and possibility of further government support for the private investors in waste recycling.

 

“As we can all see, the wealth of the nation is no more oil dependent but in areas that we have not been paying attention to before. Today, young Nigerians are making good money from waste recycling while others cringe at the sight of waste, yet we complain of poverty.

 

“We have to be realistic in what we want and how we go about achieving them. The State administration under Governor Seyi Makinde has looked and found various ways to make youths have enabling environment to thrive in whatever business or enterprise they engage in to reduce poverty and unemployment.

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“The capacity to employ is not as buoyant as it used to be by the federal and State governments due to low income from oil, which is the mainstay of Nigeria’s wealth, so we all have to look inward and waste recycling has offered a good opportunity to make money and even employ other youths.

 

“We shall give support to all willing youths in Oyo State that are ready to establish their own business or be an enterprenuer by continuing to provide the enabling environment.”

 

The plants visited were producing polythene nylon and other products from recycled pure water sachet and other waste products.

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Makinde Hails Stakeholders’ Quest For Healthy Environment, Restates Zero Tolerance For Filth

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Oyo State Governor, Engr.  Seyi Makinde  has paid a glowing tribute to stakeholders in the environmental sanitation sector for their resilience in restoring the State back to its status as one of the neatest in the nation.

 

The governor’s commendation was relayed through the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola at his office when he hosted the Heads of Local Government Administrators and Heads of Environmental and Health Services as well as officials of the West African Energy, the Consultancy firm in charge of refuse collection in the State.

 

Hon Ayoola said the State appreciated the efforts of the stakeholders in mobilizing against filthy environment and the ways they have demonstrated their support to the government in mobilizing against the menace of poor sanitation.

 

According to him, the governor knew the efforts that you all at the end of the local government health and administrative administrators have put into this campaign of ridding the State of the culture of poor sanitation and he salutes you all.

 

“It is pertinent that we put more efforts into this project so that before long, if we look back, we shall see giant accomplishments in this line and we shall be able to pat each other on the back for a well done job.

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“We appreciate the input of the market women, civil societies, traditional rulers, the media and those officially saddled with the duty of enforcing clean environment in the State. We wish the trend continues in good stead.”

 

The former lawmaker disclosed further that  Oyo State Government has set up an agenda to curb the menace of environmental laws which would go a long way in ensuring  that the safety and healthy condition of its citizens became important.

 

 

He emphasized that  the Present Administration has zero tolerance for filthy environment hence the need for residents to support this policy by imbibing a good waste disposal culture.

 

“Hygiene is very important to us, failure to uphold some level of hygiene would lead to serious health hazards to us as individuals and persons living around us” he added

 

Continuing, Ayoola stressed that as part of the agenda setting, stakeholders like the Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), religious bodies, market women, transport unions, schools among others would be involved in curbing the environmental menace while also charging residents in the state to make use of refuse collection drums for disposal of their waste.

 

Similarly, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola alongside the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Bashir Olanrewaju and team members from Water Cooperation Of Oyo State paid a visit to Asejire Waterworks and Eleyele Dam by way of familiarizing with the ongoing projects after his resumption into office and also ensuring that quality water is being supplied to homes for the consumption of the general public

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Hon. Ayoola disclosed that part of the aims of Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration was to re-address issues affecting treatment plants in the state and work towards ensuring that every home has access to portable water.

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