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Meningitis plague hits Yobe, kill 20 students

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A viral disease, Meningitis, has hit Yobe state leaving at least 20 students dead.

This was disclosed by the State’s Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Dr. Muhammad Sani Idris, who confirmed the outbreak, saying 20 students were killed by the disease suspected to be meningitis.

The students were boarding public schools in Potiskum, Fika, and Fune local government areas of Yobe State.

It was learnt that the deaths were recorded in Government Science Technical College, Government Girls Science Technical College, and Federal Government Girls College, all in Potiskum LG.

Commenting, the Commissioner said Governor Mai Mala Buni had directed the state Ministry of Education to temporarily relocate to Potiskum in response to the outbreak.

The commissioner also confirmed that several students had been admitted to Potiskum Specialist Hospital.

He said, “This disease is from God and you can’t run away from it once it comes, but we must wake up to fight this outbreak to curtail it from spreading to other areas. After this outbreak hit the Government Science Technical College Potiskum and other two secondary schools, I as Commissioner, my Permanent Secretary, and the Executive Secretary of the state’s Science Technical Board as well as the chairman of the Teaching Service Board have been relocated to Potiskum temporarily.

“I had a meeting with the principals of these three secondary schools to join hands together and fight this disease. We have parked out ambulances in all these schools for emergency cases. We also assigned three teachers to work for three hours in the classes checking the conditions of these students who are not affected.

“After three hours another three teachers will take over from them checking the health condition of these unaffected students asking them if they are not feeling fine or have new reactions in their bodies. We are doing this 24-hour service as proactive measures to ensure that we curtail this disease.

“At least 17 students have died in two secondary schools belonging to Yobe state government while one lady from the Federal Government Girls College also died as a result of this disease.

“I cannot give you the number of the affected students now because there are students who are in isolation centres in their schools. We also have some students who are currently receiving treatment in the hospital due to their health condition.

“We received a report that this disease has spread to some schools in Fika and Fune LGAs but so far we have a record of 20 students who died in both primary and secondary schools in the state after finding new cases in Gadaka and Jajere villages who are under Fika and Fune LGAs.

“His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni had directed the Ministry of Health to send their medical team (doctors and technicians) to investigate the cause of this outbreak and provide drugs and other medication. We thank God they (students) are doing well, we are hoping that things will get better.”

He further emphasised the importance of ensuring the well-being of all students and finding effective remedies for those affected, stressing the establishment of temporary isolation centres in schools to provide students with first aid treatment.

“We have temporarily relocated to Potiskum until all the students are in good health. We established temporary isolation centres. Ensuring their well-being is our responsibility. So we will not relent in providing all the necessary support,” he said.

Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. A bacterial or viral infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord usually causes the swelling. However, injuries, cancer, certain drugs, and other types of infections also can cause meningitis. It is important to know the specific cause of meningitis because the treatment differs depending on the cause.

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UNICEF emphasises importance of polio vaccination to caregivers

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has encouraged caregivers in Katsina, Kano and Jigawa States to present their eligible children for the next round of polio vaccination exercise.

Mr Michael Banda, the Officer-in-charge of UNICEF Kano Field Office, made the call in Kano at a media dialogue on the polio campaign on Friday.

The media dialogue was organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Kano State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, with participants from the above-mentioned states.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the four-day polio vaccination exercise is scheduled to commence on April 20, across the three states.

According to the UNICEF Officer-in-charge of the Kano field office, the importance of the exercise cannot be overemphasised.

“As the data show, in Kano, Jigawa and Katsina, we have over 556,750 children who have not received one single dose of vaccination they should have received.

“These are referred to as zero-dose children. Such children inexorably are vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases, including poliomyelitis.

“This is unacceptable and must be tackled frontally. Not only is polio vaccination crucial, but all routine vaccinations are also critical to children’s survival.

“We must all work together to strengthen routine immunisation services and ensure that all children under five receive all vaccines, including the polio vaccine,” Banda said.

He added that, if all children got vaccinated and receive the vaccines they needed to receive, they would no longer be at risk of contracting polio, with attendant debilitating consequences.

He said that, rather they would have received the immunity which would protect them against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Banda emphasised that immunisation had been proven to be the most cost-effective protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Let’s all work together, government, development partners, religious and traditional leaders, communities, NGOs, CSOs and the media, to ensure that every Nigerian child under five is vaccinated.

“This will protect them from not just polio, but all other vaccine-preventable diseases,” he appealed.

According to the UNICEF official, managing misinformation and vaccine hesitancy for Polio and overall vaccination is very crucial in Nigeria to stop the outbreak.

He stressed that the role of the media, including social media, was important in this aspect.

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Over 1,800 malnourished kids recovered in six months in Bauchi — CSOs

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Rauf Oyewole, Bauchi

The Coalition of Civil Society –Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, Bauchi State Chapter has said that through its partnership with other implementing partners they have assisted over 1,800 malnourished children to recover from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).

The Secretary of the Network, Dabis Mwalike while addressing journalists as part of the activities marking the 10th year anniversary of the network, said that it also engaged in preventive measures against malnutrition in the state.

According to her, during the implementation, 698 healthcare providers were trained across the 20 local government areas of Bauchi, 400 community-based volunteers were trained while 4,229 comprising 2,059 males and 2,170 females, children under five identified with SAM and 7,743 made of 3661males and 4082 females, children under five identified with Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM).

She added that 1,825 children under five identified with SAM and MAM recovered. While 202 PHCs established food banks.

She said that despite all the achievements, malnutrition remains a concern to public health and a threat to child survival, growth, and development in the country, and Bauchi State according to NNHS (2018) and NDHS (2018) the State stunting rate is 46 percent, wasting is 9.5 percent while underweight is 28.2 percent and overweight is 0.5 percent.

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Capacity training will reduce migration of health workers- NPHCDA

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The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) says it is taking steps towards tackling migration of health workers through capacity training programmes.
Mr Julius Idoko, NPHCDA Coordinator in Cross River, said this at the opening of a five-day capacity training for 100 frontline healthcare workers in the state on Tuesday.
Idoko said that the training, a project of the Health Minister, Prof. Mohammad Pate, was aimed at improving the capacity of health workers and making migration out of the country less attractive.
”The rate at which health workers leave the country has become worrisome, this training is to build their capacities.
”This initiative is one of the steps we are taking to curb the continuous exodus of healthcare professionals from the country.
”If we continue to engage and improve the capacity of our health workers, there will be no reason for them to leave the country,” he said.
The cordinator said that the initiative targets to capture no fewer than 120,000 healthcare workers in public institutions across the country.
Also speaking, Dr Henry Ayuk, Cross River’s Commissioner for Health, described the training as ‘very important’ to the state following its peculiar challenges.
He said the training would strengthen the skills of healthcare workers and enhance their performances.
Ayuk said that the state government would equip no fewer then 450 primary health centres within the next one year to enhance healthcare delivery.
Dr Vivian Otu, Director-General, Cross Rivers Primary Healthcare Development Agency, commended NPHCDA for the initiative, describing it as timely and well-intended
He said thet those who benefited from the exercise would train others to ensure an active and efficient workforce.
The programme attracted participants from WHO, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, President’s Malaria Initiative among others
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