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 Australia urges local communities to be on alert to severe bacterial infections

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Health authority in New South Wales (NSW) Australia on Friday, urged local communities to stay alert to signs and symptoms of invasive bacterial infections, as related cases recently increased across the state.

The NSW Ministry of Health said in a statement that there had been increases in both invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) and invasive group A streptococcus (iGAS) infections in recent weeks.

The ministry warned that cases of IMD were above-average in NSW towards the end of 2022, and iGAS cases have increased in Australia and overseas.

According to the statement, 137 iGAS cases were registered in NSW between September and December 2022.

There were also reports of 36 IMD infections 2022, of which seven cases were detected in December.

As both diseases can be severe and cause death or permanent disability, Executive Director of Health Protection NSW Richard Broome called on people to pay close attention to symptoms, trust their instincts and seek urgent medical care if symptoms worsen.

“In their early stages, invasive bacterial infections including IMD or iGAS sometimes mimic symptoms of viral infections like COVID and influenza, and can also follow or occur simultaneously as a viral infection,’’ Broome said.

He stressed that rapid intervention and effective treatment for invasive bacterial infections are available and can be lifesaving.

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Health

LASHMA begins regulatory compliance of health facilities

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Healthcare facilities under the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) will be receiving visitors from the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) as the agency begins compliance visits.

The Permanent Secretary, LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, while flagging off the Quarter two facility compliance visit said the move is to ensure quality healthcare and customer satisfaction by all its Enrollees.

Commending the Healthcare Providers which have been outstanding in their service delivery to ILERA EKO Enrollees, she noted that LASHMA has also received some negative feedback from the Enrollees about the way that they have been treated by Providers. Therefore, the Agency cannot fold its arms and allow its Enrollees to continue to be disenfranchised by the Providers.

Dr. Zamba said, “The Agency is constantly up on a complaint that follows a particular trend before we act.”

She added that the negative complaints received from Enrollees included drug unavailability, payment for covered services by the Enrollees, bad attitude and rudeness from some of the hospital personnel.

The Permanent Secretary said that during the visits, any hospital that has a high number of complaints, will be given a Letter of warning and if such complaints continue without being checked, LASHMA, will not hesitate to sanction the Hospital in accordance with the provisions of the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) Law.

She advised Providers not to hesitate to also report to the Agency any Enrollee who is not of good conduct when visiting the Hospital.

Dr. Zamba urged ILERA EKO Healthcare Providers to ensure that they capture all utilisation by the Enrollees in their respective Hospitals because data collection is key in Health insurance.

The Permanent Secretary said that the State Government would continue to support the Healthcare facilities in terms of training and capacity building to ensure the delivery of quality service to its Enrollees.

She appealed to Healthcare Providers in the State who are not yet empanelled under the Lagos State Health Scheme to do so immediately so that together, the State Government can attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Public and private hospitals visited so far included St. Raphael Hospital, Ikorodu, Ita Elewa Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC), Isolo General Hospital, Shomolu General Hospital, R-Jolad Hospital, Bariga, Epe General Hospital, Epe and Akoka Primary Healthcare Centre, Bee-Hees Hospital, Akowonjo, Orile Agege GH, Ifako Ijaiye GH, Epe GH and Badagry PHC, Siloan Medical Centre, Ejigbo.

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Outbreak: Zamfara Govt. confirms 4 deaths, 177 cases

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The Zamfara Commissioner for Health, Dr Aisha Anka has confirmed the outbreak of unknown illness in the state which recorded four deaths and 177 cases so far.

Anka confirmed this in a statement issued in Gusau on Friday by the Information Officer of the ministry, Malam Bello Ibrahim.

According to the commissioner, the disease is characterized by abdominal distension, accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, enlarge liver, enlarge spleen, fever and general body weakness.

“The illness is found in Maradun, Shinkafi and Gusau local government areas in the state.

“Children are mostly affected and the cases are associated with water consumptions.

“So far, four deaths have been recorded, 177 cases were detected,” Anka said.

“The incident has been reported to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), partners and all other relevant stakeholders.

“The ministry of health is currently on the emergency response phase to identify the illnesses and causes.

“Various biological human and animal samples, soil samples, water samples, agricultural and foodstuff samples have been taken to Lagos and Abuja laboratories for analysis.

“The ministry will continue to update the general public and all relevant stakeholders and partners on any update about the outbreak,”she added. (

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Health

Assembly passes Kano Pre-Marital Health Screening Bill

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Kano State House of Assembly has passed a bill for a law to compel intending couples to undergo HIV, hepatitis and sickle cell anaemia screening before marriage.

The passage followed deliberations in the Committee of the Whole House during plenary session,
presided over by the Speaker, Ismail Falgore on Monday in Kano.

After deliberations, the lawmakers approved the 3rd reading of the bill, read by the Deputy Clerk, Alhaji Nasiru Magaji.

Shortly after passage of the bill, the Majority Leader of the house, Lawan Hussein (NNPP-Dala), stated that “any person
intending to marry shall first submit self for medical examinations.”

He said the bill was considered and passed after the 3rd reading, following various legislative processes.

The leader further said that the bill was passed because the state had been battling with different health issues, including
HIV because people go into marriages without medical screening.

He said that the bill, if signed into law, would save many lives and curb the spread of life-threatening diseases.

“The bill will safeguard the health of citizens by institutionalising pre-marital testing to check the spread of diseases
like hepatitis, HIV and sickle cell anaemia,” he added.

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