Nigeria moves to end communicable diseases among people who use drugs - Mega Icon Magazine
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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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`Maishayi’ now adds tramadol, vieteling, marijuana, others in tea – NAFDAC reveals

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has revealed that tea vendors popularly known as `Maishayi’ now mix intoxicating drugs in the tea prepared for customers.

The agency mentioned intoxicating drugs such as tramadol, Vieteling, Marijuana and others, adding that people could lose their lives after taking tea mixed with such drugs.

It further warned Nigerians to be cautious when taking cup of tea from `Maishayi’ vendors.

NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye  gave the warning in an interview  on Monday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

She added that the warning became necessary following information the agency received.

“In the US, lots of people are dying because of these medicines. How can such medicines mix with palm wine in the name of getting high in Nigeria?

“There are some medicines you cannot take if you have cardiovascular problem,’’ Adeyeye said.

The director-general said that the agency was working toward collaborating with the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) to check for quality medicine in orthodox and herbal.

According to her, the idea is necessary since NIPRD specialises on research, and the purpose is to safeguard health of the nation.

She however, called on the people to desist from harmful medicine in the name of power enhancement in whatever area they think of.

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Adeyeye added that the agency’s five laboratories had been accredited many times and has quality with high standard.

“We are going further, we want a central drug lab to be World Health Organisation (WHO) pre-qualify; we are raising our bar higher,’’ she said.

Adeyeye reassured that NAFDAC would continue to sensitise people against the drugs and believe that within the year, the agency would get the WHO pre-qualified central drug lab.

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Oyo govt seals filling station under construction in Ibadan 

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Hon. Ayoola

The Oyo State Government has sealed a filling station, under construction in Ibadan, based on negative impact the facility would have on a nearby Primary School and persons living within the premises.

The state Commissioner of Environment and Natural Resources, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola, revealed that Oyo State Government issued the directive, following petitions received from residents and business owners.

The filling station, which is under construction at Apata area within Ibadan metropolis is situated very close to St. Michael’s Primary school, Apata, Ibadan and other business facilities.

Ayoola, who visited the site along with Environmental Health Officers of the State said the visit was aimed at accessing the environmental impact of the construction site and take measures that would promote a friendly environment devoid of environmental threats, particularly the pupils of the School.

“As a responsive and responsible government, the safety and well-being of residents is paramount to us, which must not be compromised most importantly when a school is involved. Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration, having education as one of its cardinal agenda, would not allow anything to hinder the success of its education of our pupils” he said.

“We have to put a stop work order and seal up this facility considering the fact that it does not have environmental impact assessment report and some other necessary permit that regulates environmental activities of the State” he added

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Hon. Ayoola further said that though as a state that encourages myriad of business opportunities and entrepreneurship development, business activities should not be carried out at the detriment of the people. However, the government is saddled with the responsibility of protecting the people from any environmental hazards that may likely have negative impact on them

The Commissioner asserted that the action was to correct the unfriendly habits of degrading the environment which may be susceptible to people’s health.

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Oyo Commissioner charges health workers to be  alive to their responsibilities

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Oyo State Commissioner for Health , Dr. Bello

Oyo State Commissioner for Health , Dr. Basiru Bello has charged public health workers in the state to be passionate at improving the health status of patients and be alive to their responsibilities at all times.

Dr . Basiru gave the charge at the maiden edition of public lecture series organised by the Oyo State College of Health Science and Technology , Eleyele , Ibadan with the theme ” SDG 3 : Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Well being for All, at All Ages : The role of Public Health Workers ” held at The School Auditorium.

The commissioner , who spoke through Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the ministry, Pharm. Lukman Akinwande , emphasised on the need for health work force to pay attention to preventive , curative and restoration stages of medical care to ensure citizen’s live a fulfilling life .

He admonished the citizens of the state to abide by simple preventive measures that would assist in preventing the emergence of diseases in the society, assuring that Governor Seyi Makinde led administration will continually improve on its health care delivery for the benefit of her citizens as Health is one of the pillars that his administration is rested on.

Earlier, the Provost , College of Health Science and Technology , Mr. Siji Ganiyu , said the lecture was organised to sensitize relevant stake holders on how to achieve healthy lives and promote well- being of the people .

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Mr. Ganiyu , expressed the readiness of the college to partner with willing organizations in its quest to achieve the mandate before the institution .

While presenting the paper at the event,the guest lecturer, Dr. Oyewole Oyediran ,sought for collective efforts among public health work force towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal Number three of ensuring healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all, at all ages by year 2030 .

Dr . Oyewole , called on health workers to fashion out different communication strategies that would enable citizens enrol for various health services at every point in time .

He urged public health workers to promote the spirit of team work among themselves and be pleasant in dealing with patients in order to achieve sustainable development goal number three .

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