Panic As Students Die At Queens College, Health Minister Orders Investigations
A panel of investigation to unravel cause of deaths of two students of Queens College was on Thursday ordered by Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole.
Adewole who was in Lagos for the commissioning of the new Secretariat of the West African College of Surgeon, had received a distress call alleging the outbreak of water borne disease in which students were reported to have developed diarrhoea disease which led to deaths in the School.
Healthstyleplus Online’s investigation however revealed that the School Authority might be culpable in the allegation having been indicted a few weeks previously by a visiting team of investigators from the Federal Ministry of Education that the School’s water and environmental sanitation conditions were “substandard, poor and unsuitable for learning”, said a parent of the School.
“In fact we understand the School was rated poorly for the fact that the facilities in the School are being overstretched and was no longer sufficient to cater for its teeming population of about 4000 students”, our source lamented.
Although the Minister urged parents of the School to remain calm as a thorough investigation would be carried out on the cause of deaths more so, since the deaths occurred in the homes of the affected.
Our Correspondent learnt that albeit the School went on mid term break on Wednesday, prior to the break, there was an upsurge in the cases of students admitted in the School sick bay in the last three weeks “all students had similar complaints of diarrhoea and vomiting which the school doctor cannot deny”said the parent who spoke to Healthstyplus online.
According to a statement issued by the Director of Press, Mrs. Boade Akinola, “The Minister was on his way to the Airport when he received the distress message and diverted his convoy to visit the School in the company of the Chief Medical Director, LUTH where he met the representative of Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Erinosho and the Principal Dr. (Mrs) Lami Amodu and her staff in a meeting”.
He was told the school is currently on mid-term break but there were two reported deaths of students at home. One due to febrile illness and cause of the second is unknown.
Following his interaction, the Minister has directed the officials of the Ministry of Health, Community Health , and LUTH to ascertain the cause of death of the students, inspect the school environment including the kitchen, examine the source of water supply and text its suitability for human consumption and also visit the bereaved families.
The report of investigation will be forwarded to the Minister of Education who has been informed on the steps taken, as the Minister assured government is on top of the situation, the statement added.
But investigations by Healthstyleplus Online also revealed that about three weeks ago, the attention of the School Principal, Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu was drawn to the poor environmental sanitation and water sources in the School as well as the unhygienic condition of the Kitchen which have remain source of concern to parents.
SPECIAL PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT:
In case of Any Disease Outbreak or Any Unusual Diseases, You can Call 09 700 0010 – 19
You can also report any case of unusual fever, sore throat, body weakness and so on and your state Epidemiologist will immediately be contacted and help will reach you.
Lassa fever is treatable if you present yourself early for treatment.
Be part of the surveillance team today to save others.
January 22, 2016
Lagos confirms 14 cases, 1 death
Lagos State Ministry of Health this evening alerted that it has identified a total of 447 contacts of the three people who have so far tested positive to the dreaded Lassa Fever in the state, confirming a total of 14 cases in all, and the death of one of the three.
Commissioner for Health Dr Jide Idris at an emergency news briefing on the update of the disease in the state also noted that health officials are currently monitoring a total of 438 persons out of the 447 to find out if they harbour the virus.
Idris equally gave the distribution pattern by local government of those suspected to have been affected by the disease since news of the outbreak broke out.
The affected local government and council areas include: Orile Agege- General Hospital (1- negative) and Ahmadiyah Hospital (1- negative, 1-positive); Alimosho (2-suspects, results pending); Mushin (2-suspects, 1- negative & 1 still pending); Amuwo (5-suspects, 1-positive & 4- negative); Eti-Osa (1-suspect, 1-positive) and Mainland (1 suspect, 1 negative).
In all the commissioner disclosed that a total of 14 suspected cases were reported out of which three tested positive and one of the three died.
According to him, so far, the state has eight Lassa Fever patients undergoing treatment at the hospital and three more test results are being awaited for confirmation of their status.
Below is the table of listed contact line listed and being monitored by local government:
|CONFIRMED CASE||LOCATION||CONTACTS LINE LISTED||CONTACTS BEING MONITORED|
|CASE 1||LUTH||Ifako Ijaiye: 100
|Ifako Ijaiye: 91
|CASE 2||MAINLAND GH||Eti-Osa: 66
Sub- Total: 66
Sub- Total: 66
|CASE 3||MAINLAND GH||Amuwo: 220
The Commissioner urged residents in the state to remain calm assuring them that both the State and federal governments are doing everything possible to control the spread of the Lassa virus.
Idris called on Residents to watch out for the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever which typically occur within 1-3 weeks after the patient comes into contact with the virus.
According to him, early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains.
Late symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and rashes all over the body that often contain blood. It could progress to coma, shock and death.
He added that though Lassa Fever and Ebola Virus Disease belong to the same Viral Haemorrhagic Fever group, Lassa Fever is milder and can be treated and cured if detected early and that any persistent fever should be reported to the nearest public health facility.
January 21, 2016
FG LAUNCHES CALL CENTRES ON PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCIES
We Cannot Eradicate Lassa Fever,
Only Control Is Possible- Tomori
Chairman, National Multi-Sectoral Lassa Fever Control Committee, renowned Virologist, Professor Oyewale Tomori has warned that, Nigerians may have to live with the bitter truth that Lassa Fever cannot be eradicated.
Speaking in an interview with Healthstyleplus, Tomori said the best the country can do in the circumstance of repeated outbreaks of the disease is to put in place pro-active measures to help improve the country ‘surveillance and diagnostic facilities to pick the first cases, and ensure that they do not grow into epidemic proportions.
Tomori, former Vice Chancellor Redeemer’s University lamented that the present outbreak of the disease was way beyond “national embarrassment” as pronounced by the Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole last Tuesday, rather, “it is a national tragedy”.
TRAGEDY OF A NATION. I think we have passed the stage of embarrassment or shame. I do not know whether we even know what shame is anymore! What we have in our hand is a national tragedy. We have never had such a high rate of mortality which is currently estimated in the range of 35%-40%. In previous years, we have had between 3% and 6%. So indeed it is an embarrassing shame and tragedy.
The Virologist pointed out that although at inauguration of the 19-man ommittee during the National Council on Health meeting on Tuesday, the Minister tagged it, ‘Eradication Committee’,
“The name of the Committee should actually be Lassa Fever Control Committee, and not Lassa Fever Eradication Committee”.
According to him , “Unlike polio and small pox, both of which have NO intermediate host or vector; Lassa, Ebola, Yellow fever each have host and vector; Rodent for Lassa, Query Bat for Ebola, and Mosquitoes and Monkeys for Yellow Fever”.
He therefore submitted, “So we will not be able to ERADICATE Lassa Fever (LF); the best we can do is to be pro-active, improve our surveillance and diagnostic facilities to pick the first cases, and ensure that they do not grow into epidemic proportions” said Tomori.
Explaining why eradication of Lassa Fever is not feasible at the moment, Tomori noted:
“Since most of our communities are largely infested by rodents especially rats, there lies the crux of the matter”.
Tomori also observed further, “We will never be able to ERADICATE Lassa Fever. We can only control it, and the level of our control will depend on how much we are able to control the population of rodents.
According to him, “In the colonial era and for a few years after independence, we had sanitary inspectors, who ensured that every house was clean and every compound swept. Waste water flowed unimpeded freely through our gutters and drainages, not forming frothy lakes of poison as we have today. In those days, nobody harboured containers where mosquitoes could breed. We carefully and properly disposed of waste food. Under such a situation, rodents stayed away.
“Today what do we have ….we clean our streets and compounds ONCE A MONTH during the monthly environmental days. If the Friday before that Saturday happens to be a public holiday, or may be a Governor is getting married that Saturday, or it rains on that day, we postpone the environmental day and sometimes for 2-3 months we gather our refuse and build massive edifices of filth and garbage waiting for the next environmental day”, Tomori lamented.
(For News Features, Check Health & Drugs Column)
January 19 2016
Lassa Fever: FG Talks Tough, Confirms 76 deaths
The Emergency meeting of the National Council on Health (NCH) ended a few hours ago with Federal Government frowning at the manner some States have so far handled situations of the outbreak as it confirms death toll at 76.
Speaking at the emergency meeting which lasted about six hours, Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole observed that there has been a high suspicion of conspiracy of silence in some states noting that the outbreak has really become “a national embarrassment”.
He recalled that there was the reported incident of five unreported cases of Lassa Fever and a death in Ebonyi State in which the Governor was said to have reacted negatively.
His words: “I want to warn against the conspiracy of silence by some states. This is because we recorded five unreported cases of Lassa fever and one death in Ebonyi state. Even the state governor got angry”, he noted.
The Minister however denied allegation that the reported outbreak was “a gimmick to get money from government.”
While expressing FG’s concern that the disease has so far spread to 17 of the 36 States, the Minister warned:
Lassa fever disease is real because there is a lot of denial in the country.
According to him, “Presently, the virus has spread to 17 states, affected 62 local government areas and 212 suspected cases within 9 weeks in Nigeria” .
The Council therefore issued a communique in which it agreed to the immediate setting up and inauguration of a National Multi-Sectoral Lassa Fever Eradication Committee, The implementation of the Multi-Sectoral Response Strategy; and the maintenance of a high index of suspicion and surveillance systems robust enough to detect further infections
African Commission Launches Campaign to Decriminalise Abortion
January 19 2016
The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) through the mechanism of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa has launched a special campaign to urge governments decriminalise abortion rather allow safe medical termination of unwanted pregnancy.
The launch which took place at the African Commission, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia is specifically aimed at bringing global attention to issues of unsafe abortion which continue to pose serious threat to women and girls rights to sexual and reproductive health on the Continent.
Prior to the launch, women from around the world dedicated two hours during the event to send tweet messages urging African leaders to pay attention to the serious challenges posed by unsafe abortion to women and girls who live on the Continent.
WHO On Unsafe Abortion:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), unsafe abortion continues to be a public health crisis and one of the largest contributors of maternal mortality and morbidity in Africa.
The WHO recognises that about 30% of maternal deaths in many sub-Saharan countries are as a result of unsafe termination of unwanted pregnancies and by quacks in unwholesome environments.
WHO estimates that over 6 million unsafe abortions occur in Africa resulting in 29,000 deaths and countless serious injuries and disabilities every year for poor, mostly rural based African women and girls under the age 25.
In a statement issued at the end of the launch, the ACHPR noted that it is concerned that these deaths occur partly because of laws that criminalize abortion on the presumption that the threat of arrest or imprisonment will prevent women and girls from having abortions.
“We agree with the WHO that making abortion illegal does not reduce abortion rates and neither does it deter women from having abortions.
“What instead happens is that more women are pushed to the backstreet where they access unsafe abortions. It is time to bring a stop to these deaths”, the statement reads in part.
The ACHPR further affirmed that it is committed to bringing States into compliance with their commitments under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol); the Maputo Plan of Action; and the Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).
The Committee therefore called on Heads of State and Government to demonstrate their commitment to preserving the lives of African women and girls by decriminalizing abortion in their respective countries.
Emergency Council on Health Holds over Lassa fever Outbreak
January 18 2016
An emergency National Council on Health has been called by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole and is scheduled to hold on Tuesday, January 19 a the Rotunda Hall of the Foreign Affairs Ministry to discuss the growing epidemic of Lassa Fever in the country.
A statement signed by the Director of Media/Public Relations, Mrs. Boade Akinola, the emergency meeting became necessary with the growing epidemic of Lassa Fever in eleven states of the country.
It was about ten days ago, that the news first hit the media waves that some people had been reported dead from suspected Lassa Fever in the Northern part of the country.
Last Friday, the Minister at a news briefing in Abuja confirmed the death of about 48 people in ten states of the country and set up a four-man committee to visit the three most endemic states of Kano, Niger and Bauchi.
But by weekend, Lagos had announced it has recorded its first case at the Ahmadiyahh Hospital, Ojokoro, a suburb of Lagos.
According to the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, “The 25 year old, male, undergraduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State was reported to have fallen ill after he arrived Lagos and was taken to Ahmmadiyyah Hospital, Ojokoro on January 9, 2016 with complaint of fever, sore throats and difficulty in swallowing. “He was subsequently placed on admission for six days and was thereafter referred by the private hospital to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on January 14, 2016, because the fever was persistent and his condition was not improving.
“He was confirmed as a case of Lassa fever on January 15, 2016 at LUTH. He is presently being managed at the hospital, while his condition is stable”, said Idris.
Although the State has placed the private hospital under surveillance saying, there will be no service delivery in the facility until further notice.
The fifteen in-patients as well as 25 health workers in the facility are being monitored for the next 21 days while contacts tracing is ongoing as 92 contacts are already being followed-up.
The affected 11 states include: Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Plateau, Gombe, Oyo and Lagos.
During the emergency meeting scheduled to hold on Tuesday, there will also be the inauguration of the National Lassa Fever Action committee.
All States’ Health Commissioners for Health, and Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) and Medical Directors(MDs) of Tertiary Health Facilities have been mandated to attend the council meeting.
Polio: Rotary Bolsters Campaign, Commits $35m
With Nigeria on the world map as the last African country to kick out the Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in 2015, Rotary International has pledged its continuous commitment to ensure the Continent remains Polio free just as it vows that the last two endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan succeed in ridding selves of the crippling disease.
The Non-Governmental and humanitarian Organisation, in 2016 pledged the sum of $35m in grants to support the global effort to end Polio around the world with $15m coming to five Africa countries alone.
Nigeria was removed from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of endemic countries last September, following one year without a new case of the wild virus. The last WPV case on the African continent was in August 2014.Speaking at a ceremony to announce the commitment in Evanston, USA, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, Michael K. McGovern noted, “We are closer than ever to achieving a polio-free world.“To ensure that no child ever again suffers the devastating effects of this disease, we must all ensure that the necessary funds and political will are firmly in place in 2016, he reaffirmed”The last two endemic nations, Afghanistan and Pakistan are noted to still habour just a single strain of the wild virus.
The WHO experts on Polio have reported that for there to be a sustained progress on the achievements so far made, a total of $1.5 billion is urgently needed.
They had warned that without full funding and political commitment, the disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk.
The Rotary’s funds is expected to support efforts to keep 5 countries in Africa polio-free and is expected to be disbursed as follows: Nigeria ($5,5), Cameroon ($1.6 million), Chad ($2 million); Ethiopia ($4.1 million), and Somalia ($1,8 million). Additional funds will be support polio eradication efforts in endemic and at-risk countries: Pakistan ($11.4 million), Afghanistan ($6 million), Iraq ($1, 6 million) and India ($600 000). Finally, ($350 000) in funds will be dedicated to polio research.
Since 1985 when it launched its Global Immunisation Campaign, Rotary International has contributed more than $1.5 billion and countless volunteer hours to fight polio.
It is hoped that till 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year.
Viral Hepatitis Receives Experts’ Attention in Dakar
Renowned medical experts are now gathered in Dakar, Senegal to focus attention on solving the challenges posed by a very troubling viral disease which is killing millions of people yearly, Hepatitis B and C.
For the next two days, Hepatologists and public health physicians are taking critical look at new ways to solve the problems associated with viral hepatitis which the World Health Organisation says, infects 100 million individuals with Hepatitis B and C in Africa – Hepatitis B and C infections responsible for 80% of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer cases worldwide.
Leading African and international public health experts, patient representatives, policymakers and physicians gathered to discuss and better understand the burden of hepatitis B and C in Africa. This is because African countries have some of the highest rates of chronic viral hepatitis in the world – according to the World Health Organization which puts the burden at more than 30 million people in the Africa region.
According to the summit co-chair Danjuma Adda, “Hepatitis B or C epidemics continue to grow across the continent, and are becoming a serious public health issue”.
Adda who is also World Hepatitis Alliance Executive Board Member for the African Region noted, “This summit is very timely and will benefit all those working to establish a public health approach to preventing and treating these diseases.”
Summit co-chair and Professor at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Souleymane Mboup pointed out that the summit presents a rare opportunity for a broad range of groups to share perspectives on this significant public health problem.
According to him, “Sharing research, policy and programmatic insights from across Africa will be enormously helpful to those on the ground working to help people living with or at risk for viral hepatitis.”
Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are five different hepatitis viruses – hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. All of these viruses cause short term, or acute infection. The hepatitis B and C viruses can cause long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis, which may lead to life-threatening complications such as cirrhosis (liver scarring), liver failure and liver cancer.