Health Care Federation of Nigeria

hfn2Malaria is a topical concern in Nigeria. It is one of the two countries that together account for nearly half of the global malaria burden. Vulnerable groups such as under-5 – 300,000 die annually according to the Malaria Programme for States - and pregnant women are usually its victims with costs to the economy amounting to N480 billion in losses annually.

As a result, on the 23rd and 24th July, the Grand Ball Room of the Intercontinental Hotel paid host to healthcare professionals, development experts, health economists, social sector workers and many other health-related people to the Annual Technical Forum of the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA) 2015. This was tagged “Mobilizing the Private Sector in the Fight against Malaria”, a reflection of the current line of thought in health discourse in the nation.

kwaraadvocacyThe HFN, in line with its cardinal goals of a better private healthcare sector, currently participated in the Kwara State Health Insurance Research and Advocacy Day in the ancient capital, Ilorin. The objective is to gather experts from the private sector, academia, government, non-government organizations and donors as well as local communities to discuss and research the lessons learned from the Kwara State Health Insurance Program and the implications for delivery of quality healthcare in Nigeria.

The Kwara State Health Insurance is a public-private partnership between the Government of Kwara State, Hygeia HMO, Health Insurance Fund, and the PharmAccess. As a result, the UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-Moon has described it as groundbreaking and innovative. In 2014, the initiative was recognized by the OECD Development Assistance Committee for Taking Development Innovation to Scale. One unique feature of the Program is its research component to continuously measure its impact, the cost-effectiveness of maternal health care and other important attributes of the program. This has resulted in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications.

JOHESUAs you are reading this article, more than twenty federal government-owned hospitals are closed down and activities were paralysed by the industrial action of resident doctors under the leadership of Association of Resident Doctors. For those who don’t know, resident doctors are doctors on postgraduate training in a specialised area of interest anchored by the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria and the West Africa College of Surgeon or Physicians. Graduates of such training are appointed as specialist consultant. They form the bulk majority of work force in the tertiary health institution and hence the strike of such body invariably cripples health care deliveries.

The Nigerian health sector also suffered enough trauma from strike actions from other non- doctors staff under joint health union. These and many other reasons make Nigeria one of the worst countries for women and children to live with maternal death due to pregnancy and childbirth put at 1 in every 29 Nigerian women. This seriously threatens Nigerian ability to achieve Millennium Development Goals (4 and 5) of reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health.

vacineThe vaccine, Mosquirix, otherwise known as the RTS,S vaccine, is the first against a parasitic infection in humans, and it was developed by GlaxoSmithKline. The world has come a step closer to fighting malaria as the first ever malaria vaccine has cleared one of the final hurdles prior to being approved for use in Africa. The European Medicines Agency gave a positive scientific opinion after assessing its safety and effectiveness. The vaccine, Mosquirix, otherwise known as the RTSS vaccine, is the first against a parasitic infection in humans, and it was developed by GlaxoSmithKline.

According to BBC, the World Health Organization will consider later this year whether to recommend it for children, among whom trials have yielded mixed results. GSK has not revealed the price of the vaccine, but has pledged not to make a profit from it. It has been designed specifically to combat malaria infection in children in Africa and will not be licensed for travellers. The vaccine works by triggering the immune system to defend against the first stages of infection by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite after it enters the bloodstream following a mosquito bite.

Polio vaccineAccording to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the last case was in the Sumaila district of Kano state, one of only six in 2014. Nigeria has come one step closer to being polio free as today, Friday July 24th makes it one year since the last polio case was reported in the country. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the last case was in the Sumaila district of Kano state, one of only six in 2014. This a marked reduction from the 338 cases recorded in 2009. Nigeria will be removed from the WHO list of polio-endemic countries in 4 to 6 weeks if samples sent for checking are found clear and surveillance data meets international standards.

However health professionals and campaigners said the fight is not over and warned about complacency, with another 2 years to go before polio-free status is achieved. According to the executive director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Ado Muhammad, the main aim is total eradication of the disease. Meanwhile, several individuals and global charities like Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have called for both Nigeria and the international community to keep up the momentum.

LUTH 1The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode however said the hospital is open and attending to patients. Activities at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH)have reportedly been paralysed following an indefinite strike embarked by resident doctors. The strike has lasted over 3 weeks now. According to The Guardian which visited the hospital, the atmosphere was dull, though other medical workers on ground were seen offering skeletal services. However, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode said the hospital is open and attending to patients.

He added that all the essential units of the hospital such as X-ray, laboratories, labour wards services, and others have started working. "The emergency wards are open and doctors in all the essential services are working. We want members of the public to know that LUTH is not shut down, we are still rendering services” he said. Guardian however reports that some patients complained of sluggish attendance by doctors, while others said doctors are still attending to patients depending on the clinic the patient is visiting and based on appointment.

SUBSTANDARD LAB1MLCSNA magistrate court (Court 1) in Agbor, Delta State has  sentenced Mr Peter Chukwuemeka Okafor, a fake Med Lab Scientist to six months in prison without an option of fine for impersonating a Medical Laboratory Scientist, Mr Koru Kere Cletus. Okafor was arrested during one of  the periodic inspection and monitoring exercise by Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria South – South Zonal Office Benin, in conjunction with Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) Delta State Branch, When the team approached one Mrs Patience Uti for verification of her documents, it was discovered that the 2012 practicing license presented by the addressee bearing the name Koru Kere Cletus was not the same as Peter Okafor that owns the laboratory under inspection.

According to the council, besides the difference of names on the license, it was also discovered that it was signed by Mrs E. U Okonkwo who retired in 2010 making the authenticity questionable. While the accused was discharged and acquitted for lack of evidence on the 1st count charge, he was found culpable on the 2nd count charge of impersonating a Medical Laboratory Scientist, Mr Koru Kere Cletus. One of the Prosecution witnesses, Mrs Patience Uti had earlier told the court that she had known the accused as Mr Koru Kere Cletus for the past three years not knowing that his name is Mr Peter Okafor

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