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COVID-19 vaccine: Nigeria hopes to get 42m doses through COVAX scheme



The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says Nigeria hopes to get 42 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine soon to cover one fifth of its population.

The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19, on Tuesday in  Abuja.

Shuaib said that the vaccine would be got through the global COVAX scheme.

He said that the initial doses would come as part of Nigeria’s plan to inoculate 40 per cent of the population in 2021.

“The COVAX scheme was set up to provide vaccines to poorer countries such as Nigeria, whose 200 million people and poor infrastructure pose a daunting challenge to medical officials rolling out the vaccinations, as the West African country battles a second, larger spike in coronavirus cases.

“Nigeria, where officials recorded low coronavirus numbers through much of 2020, had 1,204 new cases on Monday, its highest ever, as total confirmed cases edge closer to 100,000.

“Nigeria will first inoculate frontline health workers, first responders, national leaders, people vulnerable to coronavirus and the elderly,” he said.

He said that Nigeria must educate its citizens on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.

“We fear what we don’t understand,” he  noted.

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Lagos warns residents on Cholera outbreak, records five deaths



The Lagos State Government has called for heightened vigilance and adoption of precautionary measures as the state records cholera outbreak resulting in five fatalities.

The state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, in a statement on Tuesday, warned that the state had recorded an excess report of severe gastroenteritis cases in the last 48 hours.

Speaking on the surveillance reports, Abayomi disclosed that cases of severe gastroenteritis have been reported in communities around Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu and Kosofe Local Government Area of the state.

He noted that the outbreak resulted in about 60 hospital admissions, and five deaths recorded mainly from patients presenting late with extreme dehydration.

“We have activated a statewide heightened surveillance and response.

“The Ministry of Health Directorate of Environmental Health and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency have been alerted to investigate a possible water contamination source in the Lekki, Victoria Island axis.

“We suspect a possible cholera outbreak; however, samples have been taken for confirmation,” he said.

The commissioner noted that following recent rainfall, Lagos had witnessed a notable increase in cases of severe vomiting and watery stools, adding that urban slums and crowded areas with poor sanitation are particularly at risk.

Abayomi explained that cholera is a highly contagious disease that causes severe diarrhoea and can be life-threatening.

He added that it posed a significant health burden in areas with poor water treatment and sanitation, and could impact the state.

“Cholera spreads through direct transmission by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, and indirect transmission due to poor sanitation and lack of handwashing.

“Symptoms of cholera include; severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, rapid dehydration, muscle cramps, fever and sometimes collapse,” he said.

According to him, treatment options for cholera include dehydration, and using Oral dehydration Salts for mild to moderate dehydration.

He noted that intravenous fluids are used for severely dehydrated patients, given only in medical facilities and supervised by medical personnel.

“To prevent cholera, citizens are urged to ensure safe drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or using bottled water, and avoiding ice products made from untreated water.

“Maintaining proper sanitation by using toilets, safely disposing of faeces, and avoiding open defecation is crucial.

“Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially before eating, preparing food, and after using the toilet, is essential and following food safety guidelines,” Abayomi advised.

He also advised residents to rely on the state Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and accredited local health facilities for guidance, advice, and updates on prevention, treatment, and management.

The commissioner disclosed that suspected cases should be promptly reported via the following emergency hotlines: 08023169485, 08137412348, or by using helplines 767 or 112 to safeguard communities.

Abayomi promised to keep the public informed and restated the state’s commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of its citizens.

The NCDC showed that as of April 28, Nigeria had reported 815 suspected cholera cases and 14 deaths across 25 states.

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Sanwo-Olu inaugurates Paediatric Sickle Cell Centre at LASUTH



By Sodiq Adelakun

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has inaugurated a state-of-the-art Paediatric Sickle Cell Centre at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

The centre, donated by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs), aims to provide comprehensive care to children suffering from sickle cell disease.

At the inauguration, Governor Sanwo-Olu emphasized the centre’s role in providing early diagnosis, advanced treatment, and continued management to affected children.

He also highlighted the centre’s potential as a hub for research and education, promoting greater awareness and understanding of sickle cell disease.

The Paediatric Sickle Cell Centre is expected to provide relief to families affected by the condition and contribute to improved healthcare outcomes in Lagos State.

“This will not only transform our total healthcare landscape but will add to the number of childcare facilities that already exist in our state health institutions.

“It will raise the capacity of the state’s medical services and, very importantly, contribute to improving the state’s infant and maternal mortality index,” he said.

The governor noted that the centre would provide an environment where children could receive holistic care tailored to their needs, from medical treatment to psychological support.

“We believe that this will ensure that every child that has an opportunity to come to this facility will come out healthier, better, and they’ll be able to fulfil their life,” he said.

Recall that the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Tunji Alausa, restated the Federal Government’s commitment to combat non-communicable diseases and improve healthcare outcomes for Nigerians.

Alausa said that sickle cell disease, alongside malaria, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases, represents a substantial health burden for the country, worsening morbidity and mortality of citizens.

“At the federal level, we recognise the urgent need to address these challenges and are committed to building a robust infrastructure to manage and mitigate the impact in collaboration with our subnational government.

“The establishment of this state-of-the-art Sickle Cell Centre is a testament to the dedication of the SDG office to provide quality healthcare and infrastructure to our people.

“This centre is not merely a building, it is a beacon of hope for many and a cornerstone of our strategy to enhance healthcare services nationwide,” he said.

The minister stressed the importance of leveraging the resources to its fullest potential, ensuring that it delivers on its promise to improve lives.

Mr Alausa advised subnational governments to form strategic partnerships for healthcare and human capital development, stressing that through collaboration, a resilient healthcare system capable of meeting the demand of the population would emerge.

He commended the Lagos State government and OSSAP-SDGs on their partnership to provide top-tier cancer care to children and their commitment to innovative research.

Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire said the centre is dedicated to enhancing the quality of care for children with sickle cell disease.

She highlighted that this initiative aims to reduce under-five child mortality rates and support the country’s progress toward achieving its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking at the event, Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Adetokunbo Fabamwo, emphasized Nigeria’s high prevalence of sickle cell disease, with nearly three million people affected.

He noted that the condition significantly contributes to childhood morbidity and mortality.

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Oyo State Government clarifies purpose of HPV Vaccine amid population reduction speculations



In response to recent speculations regarding the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, the Oyo State Government has reaffirmed that the vaccine is not intended as a means to reduce the population of Africa. This declaration was made by Dr. Muideen Olatunji, the Executive Secretary of the Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board, during a press conference held on Monday in Ibadan, the state capital.

Addressing journalists, Dr. Olatunji emphasized that the state has incorporated the HPV vaccine into its Extended Programme on Immunization (EPI), specifically targeting girls aged between 9 and 14 years. He underscored the seriousness of cervical cancer, highlighting it as one of the most prevalent forms of cancer affecting women, and stressed the necessity of addressing the disease proactively.

“The vaccine was developed with the aim of preventing cervical cancer,” stated Dr. Olatunji, refuting claims of any ulterior motives. He further elaborated on the successful launch of the programme at St. Paul Anglican Primary School, Yanbule, Bashorun, where over 300 pupils have already received the vaccination.

“It is pertinent to reiterate that the vaccine is not designed to reduce the population of the state,” affirmed Dr. Olatunji. “This is a demonstration of our continued partnership and collective efforts to protect young girls and citizens of the state against the prevalence of cervical cancer.”

Dr. Olatunji highlighted the preventable nature of cervical cancer through routine HPV vaccination and emphasized the government’s commitment to ensuring comprehensive coverage across Oyo State. He reassured the public regarding safety measures, including rigorous training for vaccine administrators, regular supervision, and thorough safety checks.

“Cervical cancer globally accounts for a significant number of deaths and ranks among the top cancers affecting women worldwide,” Dr. Olatunji remarked. “By administering the HPV vaccine, we are implementing a cost-effective and safe preventive measure to reduce the burden of this disease and safeguard the health and well-being of our citizens, particularly young girls.”

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