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Lassa Fever Outbreak In Benue Claims 9 Lives In IDPs Camps

“From our report so far, the IDP camp has a high population of rats. So, if the rats transmitting are within the IDP camps, it means that we need to work hard so we don’t have an outbreak that will be difficult to control,”

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Benue State is currently struggling with a Lassa fever outbreak that has claimed the lives of nine individuals in the past two months.

The state epidemiologist, Dr. Sam Ngishe, revealed this to newsmen on Thursday, noting that some of the deceased were residing in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.

“From our report so far, the IDP camp has a high population of rats. So, if the rats transmitting are within the IDP camps, it means that we need to work hard so we don’t have an outbreak that will be difficult to control,” the epidemiologist said.

He stated that 46 people, including health workers and IDPs, have been affected by the disease across the state.

Ngishe stated that four cases were identified among displaced persons at the Ortese IDP camp in the Guma Local Government Area, and that the disease had spread to seven of the 23 local government areas of the state, including Obi, Okpokwu, Gwer West, Makurdi, Guma, Gwer East, and Ukum.

He said, “nine deaths in confirmed cases and they have been buried in accordance with safe burial protocols across the various areas of the state where they hail from.”

The epidemiologist stated that, to address the outbreak, the state government had implemented safe burial protocols for the deceased and was intensifying efforts to reduce the fatality rate, which was currently above the national average of 10 percent.

Ngishe stated the importance of enhanced surveillance, risk communication, and community engagement to mitigate the spread of the disease.

He also pointed to the challenges posed by the IDP camp environment, including poor sanitation, overcrowding, and malnutrition, which contribute to the spread of infectious diseases.

“There is active surveillance going on in the community (housing Ortese IDP camp) as you know that the IDP camp is a cluster setting with very poor infection control in terms of poor sanitation, crowded environment and they have issues of malnutrition,” he noted.

 

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President Tinubu Orders Zero Tax On All Imported Drugs

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President Tinubu has introduced zero tax on all imported drugs with a new executive order.

JomogNews Nigeria reports that President Bola Tinubu has signed an executive order to introduce zero tariffs, excise duties and Value-Added Tax (VAT) on imported pharmaceutical inputs, a statement by the coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate, said.

This Nigeria news platform understands that Pate said the order introduced zero tariffs, excise duties, and Value-Added Tax (VAT) on specified machinery, equipment, and raw materials imported for pharmaceutical production.

His words: “In a transformative move to revitalize the Nigerian health sector, His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR @officialABAT, has signed an Executive Order aiming to increase local production of healthcare products (pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, devices such as needles and syringes, biologicals, medical textile, etc.).

“The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation @FedMinOfJustice, Prince Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi SAN, @LOFagbemi, is to now take the next steps towards codifying the new Order.”

The Minister noted that the order is crucial to the success of the initiative for unlocking the healthcare value chain (PVAC_NG), which was approved in October 2023 by the president.

“The Order introduces zero tariffs, excise duties and VAT on specified machinery, equipment and raw materials, aiming to reduce production costs and enhance our local manufacturers’ competitiveness,” he said.

“Specified items include Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), excipients, other essential raw materials required for manufacturing of crucial health products like drugs, syringes and needles, Long-lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) and Rapid Diagnostic Kits, among others.

“The Order also provides for establishing market shaping mechanisms such as framework contracts and volume guarantees, to encourage local manufacturers.”

The order, according to the statement also mandated collaboration among relevant ministries and agencies, including the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), to ensure swift implementation and reduce regulatory bottlenecks.

The order, according to Pate, provides market-based incentives to encourage medical industrialization, reduce costs of medical products through import substitution, create and retain economic value, and enable job creation in the healthcare value chain.

The waivers and exemptions will be effective for two years.

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LASUTH Prepared For Cholera Outbreak In Lagos – Management

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The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital has said it is on red alert and prepared to address the possible spread of cholera disease in Lagos.

The management of LASUTH spoke in response to the death of five persons and hospitalisation of scores of others showing symptoms of the disease in Lagos, saying it has put its healthcare workers on red alert and other stakeholders on notice in readiness for a possible spread.

The management of the state-owned health facility In a statement issued on its X handle @LASUTHIkeja on Wednesday morning, declared its readiness to manage the possible spread of the disease, saying precautionary measures in response to an outbreak have been set on course.

The statement reads: “This is to inform the general public that precautionary measures have been put in place by the management of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH concerning the cholera outbreak in Lagos.

“It’s on record that scores of patients presented yesterday, Tuesday 11th June 2024 to some healthcare facilities across the state with features in keeping with cholera.

“Consequently, it is important to inform the general public that the only state-owned tertiary healthcare facility, LASUTH, is on red alert and our healthcare workers as well as other stakeholders have been put on notice in readiness for a possible spread as ours is a referral facility.

“In addition, good hygiene practice, provision of clean water at all service points and effective treatment of those presenting with symptoms of gastroenteritis are part of some measures being put in place by the management.

“Lastly, everyone is encouraged to stay informed and take preventive measures to help mitigate the spread of the disease.”

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Just In: FG Orders Massive Recruitment Of Doctors, Nurses

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FG has ordered for the massive recruitment of Doctors and Nurses to fill the gap created by the ‘Japa’ syndrome across Nigeria.

JomogNews Nigeria reports that the federal government has directed federal teaching hospitals to accelerate their hiring processes for medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, to prevent a shortage of healthcare workers being created by ‘Japa’ syndrome.

This Nigeria news platform understands that the federal government also reaffirmed its commitment to enhancing the well-being and safety of medical professionals and upgrading all government-run healthcare facilities nationwide.

The move to employ medical professionals was disclosed at a meeting convened by the minister of state for labour and employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, in her office, where she met with representatives from the Federal Ministry of Health and the leadership of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) led by its national president, Dr Dele Abdullahi.

The meeting discussed and resolved issues brought forward by the association to the ministry.

In a statement by the minister‘s media adviser, Emameh Gabriel, he said the leadership of the medical association presented their grievances to the minister.

The meeting agreed on the urgent need to address the issues, including unresolved matters inherited from the previous administration.

The pressing concerns are inadequate compensation, delayed payments of allowances, insufficient training funds, issues with the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), poor working conditions and security threats, notably the recent incident at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Lokoja in Kogi State.

Although the government acknowledged the concerns of the medical community, it assured that efforts are underway to resolve the issues, with some already addressed and others in various stages of implementation.

Additionally, relevant agencies are working to tackle specific problems, with the belief that improved working conditions and benefits will incentivize healthcare professionals who have left the country to return.

In her remarks, the minister expressed gratitude to the association for its willingness to work together and acknowledged their recognition of the government‘s achievements in specific areas, stating the positive outcomes of their cooperation.

She said: „I had earlier heard about some of your concerns raised, and of which I deemed very serious. I share in your concerns and I am here to let you know that the government is poised to improve your standard, believing that when you are treated well, those who left our country will return, because Nigeria is the best place to stay.

I believe that strike is the last option. That is why I wouldn‘t want to wait till strike notice is issued.

“I have heard what you have said. The good thing is that we have been very cooperative, and I will reach out to my colleagues whose offices fall within the duties of certain issues you have raised. So that we will know how to fast-track solutions. I am glad that you acknowledged some of the areas the Ministry of Health has addressed and how they have been ‘proactive.’ I am promising you that we have a government that is responsible and proactive. Our President is committed and pushes us to ensure that we do not leave the situation of things the way we met them.“

The permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Daju Kachollom, who represented the minister of health, acknowledged the issues and noted that the Ministry of Health was working with other relevant ministries to address the concerns, including power supply and security.

She said the 2024 budget has provisions for solar power in all federal tertiary hospitals.

Finally, she announced that the Ministry of Health had instructed teaching hospitals to double their intake of doctors and nurses.

She said: “In our health sector, our doctors are no doubt the best paid, but their remuneration needs to be improved. I wish the Federal Ministry of Finance and the accountant general were here to say more, because the issue of remuneration cannot be solved only by the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Health.

“On the issue of power, the federal minister of health is in touch with the ministry of power. In the 2024 budget, there is a provision for solar power for federal tertiary hospitals. On the issue of Japa, everyone is ‘japaing’ for several reasons and we are putting in our best to ensure we do not lack manpower in our health sector.”

 

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