Health Care Federation of Nigeria

strike in healthNo part of public service in Nigeria has experienced more strikes than the health sector. Right now, public tertiary hospitals in Nigeria are struggling to get back to life after another series of strikes. The University College Hospital, Ibadan, was crippled for 108 days by a strike called by the Association of Resident Doctors. At LAUTECH Oshogbo, a strike closed the hospital for 5 months, and in the Psychiatric Hospital in Yaba, doctors walked away from their duty posts leaving their patients to their own means.  The story of the Federal Medical Centre in Owerri is already legendary, as health workers came to “work” every day but spent their time singing and praying on the hospital grounds, while ignoring their patients in the wards, protesting against the privatisation of some of the hospitals services. Their strike lasted for three months.

This story map details the major health sector strikes in 2015. Last year, many public sector hospitals across the country were closed for about half of the year following strikes as doctors refused to return to work, even during the Ebola outbreak. Almost as soon as they returned, other health sector workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) proceeded to strike from November 2014 to February 2015. When there are strikes in public sector hospitals, there are only two constituencies that suffer: a) the patients, and b) the tax-payer (i.e. you and I), who do not get a service that is paid for on our behalf by government.

nma logo 0Nigeria loses a sum of N250 billion annually to medical tourism, the Nigeria Medical Association(NMA) has said. To put an end to such capital flight, the NMA recommended the upgrading of the country’s tertiary institutions and replacing their obsolete equipment with modern ones. In a communiqué at the end of its national executive council (NEC) meeting in Ilorin, Kwara state ,the association said it was opposed to giving girls out in marriage before the age of 18. The communiqué was jointly signed by NMA President and Secretary General, Dr Kayode Obembe and Dr Adewunmi Alayaki.

 Reading the communiqué, Dr Obembe urged President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a medical doctor as the minister of health, adding that “doctors who take care of the sick must be accorded priority in the scheme of things.” Part of the communiqué reads: “NMA has been clamouring for the post of Surgeon General which is paramount in our health system. Examples we can point to are: Attorney General of the Federation, Accountant General of the Federation and Surveyor General and Auditor General.

kidneytransplantPrivate hospitals are leading state-run facilities in the race to make Nigeria a hub of kidney transplants  and reduce  the number of patients going abroad for the procedure, a urologist, Dr Olusola Ajamu has said.
He said a little government support could increase access to transplants in a matter of months. A team of local and foreign doctors completed four kidney transplants at Abuja-based Zenith Hospital last week, the second after two previous transplants in May.

“We have few government hospitals in Nigeria who have done some surgeries, like University College Hospital, Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ife, but it is only private hospitals that are championing kidney transplants,” Ajamu told Daily Trust health desk. Ajamu was among four local experts who took part in the surgeries, and two more will hold in October.

An increasing number of private hospitals in Lagos and Abuja have since last year successfully done kidney transplants at costs lower than charges in India, where up to 5,000 Nigerians travel every month for medical care, costing Nigeria up to N78 billion annually, according to some  reports. Olusola said more Nigerians with chronic kidney disease are becoming aware they need dialysis or transplant but the development of kidney transplant is at a stage where it is still capital intensive.

squitoIt is a rare medical feat and a welcome development

A new anti-malaria vaccine called Mosquirix was recently approved by the European drugs regulators. Projected as the solution to malaria, the mosquito-borne disease that kills one child every 30 seconds, about 3,000 children everyday worldwide and over 300,000 Nigerians every year, it is already being recommended as safe and effective to use on babies in Africa. If the trials prove to be successful, and the economics work, this will be a major breakthrough in the fight against a scourge that is without any doubts the biggest killer-disease on the continent.

The office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers’, once drew attention to the fact that more than 90 per cent of the world’s malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. That then explains why we believe that this vaccine could not have come at a better time, even though this is just the beginning of what could also be a long road before it would become readily available to the end-users.

World Bank Group President, Jim Yong KimIt was fun for me when I disembarked from Kenya Airways on Sunday 9th August 2015 in Nairobi because I met Mallam Kabiru Yusuf, the Publisher of Daily Trust and his family by chance. Between the airport tarmac and arrival lobby, we spent about 40 minutes and it was chats all through. For a curious reader, I and Mallam Kabiru had a story.  I first met him in July 2002 at a cocktail party organized by the United States embassy in Abuja. We had a brief chat and its outcome is my starting a weekly health column in Daily Trust in October same year, thirteen years now.

The rest is history. In our informal chat at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport I complained to him that the media didn’t report the recent visit of PMB to United States as it should be, as I expected to read, listen and watch robust commentary about the potential support that World Bank promised Nigeria, its implications to health sector and sustainable development, as well as a strong call by the media for prudent, transparent and efficient spending of the expected funds. And equally to match the World Bank funds with domestic counterpart financial resources.

Red CrossVice chairman of the Nigeria Red Cross Society, Anambra State chapter, Prof. Peter Katchy has urged residents to imbibe the habit of donating blood twice a year in order to meet the blood requirement in the state.

He made the appeal during an interactive session with newsmen in Onitsha, Anambra  State following the  shortage of blood to meet emergency health situations and hospitals’ needs within Anambra and the country. “One of the major Red Cross activities in Anambra State is Blood Donors Recruitment drive. Red Cross calls on the people of the state to develop the habit of engaging in voluntary blood donation as a way of life in order to enable the state and country meet the requirements of demand for safe blood transfusion services,” he said.

boko haramNo fewer than 500 medical and health personnel in Borno are to be trained on to provide psychosocial support to Internally Displaced Person (IDP’s) in 17 camps in the state. Alhaji Sale Mene, the Executive Secretary of Borno State Primary Health Care Management Board (BPHCMB), stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Maiduguri on Friday. Mene said the training was necessary to assist traumatized victims of Boko Haram to enabled them overcome the shock of their past experiences and return to normal life.

“Most of the IDP’s, especially women, have suffered much emotional harm, pain, trauma and shock. A lot of them have bitter experiences, while many have seen terrible things while in captivity. “Some of these women from Bama will tell you that they had been in the town for two years even while Boko Haram had captured the town.“We therefore have a lot of work to do. We need to build their confidence and give them the courage to move on. This is because some of them have lost everything.

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