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WHO launches new roadmap on breast cancer

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World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday, released a new Global Breast Cancer Initiative Framework, providing a roadmap to attain the targets to save 2.5 million lives from breast cancer by 2040.

The UN Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the framework was launched ahead of the World Cancer Day, marked globally on Feb. 4.

It recommended to countries to implement the three pillars of health promotion for early detection, timely diagnosis and comprehensive management of breast cancer to reach the targets.

Each year, more than 2.3 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer, making it the most common cancer in the world affecting all adults, according to WHO.

Although a limited number of high-income countries have been able to reduce breast cancer mortality by 40 per cent since 1990, for women in poorer countries, one of the main challenges is to receive a timely diagnosis.

“Breast cancer survival is 50 per cent or less in many low and middle-income countries,” WHO’s Dr Bente Mikkelsen told journalists in Geneva on Friday.

But the rate is “greater than 90 per cent for those able to receive the best care in high-income countries,” she emphasised.

To tackle these inequalities, and to coincide with World Cancer Day, the UN agency’s Global Breast Cancer Initiative seeks to reduce breast cancer mortality by 2.5 per cent a year.

“Countries with weaker health systems are least able to manage the increasing burden of breast cancer.

“It places a tremendous strain on individuals, families, communities, health systems, and economies, so it must be a priority for ministries of health and governments everywhere,” Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said.

He added: “We have the tools and the know-how to prevent breast cancer and save lives.

“WHO is supporting more than 70 countries, particularly low and middle-income countries, to detect breast cancer earlier, diagnose it faster, treat it better and give everyone with breast cancer the hope of a cancer-free future.”

To address country-specific needs and provide guidance to governments, the initiative’s framework has three pillars: promotion of health controls to encourage early detection; timely diagnosis, and treatment with effective therapies.

By 2040, more than three million cases and one million deaths are expected each year worldwide.

Approximately 75 per cent of these deaths will happen in low and middle-income countries.

“We really cannot avoid breast cancer if we are going to address cancer in countries,” Dr Ben Anderson, Medical Officer for WHO’s Global Breast Cancer Initiative, said.

He said: “It’s the most common cancer, among men and women together, it is the most likely reason that a woman will die of cancer globally, it is the most common cancer among women in 86 per cent of countries.

“It is the number one or two cause of cancer-related death in 95 per cent of countries, so having a framework to build upon over the coming years is an essential beginning point.”

In 95 per cent of countries, breast cancer is the first or second leading cause of female cancer deaths.

However, nearly 80 per cent of deaths from breast and cervical cancer occur in low and middle-income countries, according to WHO.

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Osun Health Insurance to train health workers on sign language interpretation

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By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo

In a move to ensure inclusive healthcare, the Osun State Health Insurance Agency (OSHIA) on Thursday said the agency has concluded a plan to train nurses and other health workers in government hospitals on sign language interpretation in the state.

The agency disclosed that the aims is to bridge the communication gap between deaf or dumb pregnant women and healthcare providers

The Executive Secretary of the agency, Dr Rasaq Akindele stated this while featuring on NewsPoints, organised by the members of Osun NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel, Osogbo.

According to him, “We will train nurses  and other health workers that are in various government hospitals on how to interpret signs, so that at a particular time that any deaf or dumb pregnant woman comes to the hospital somebody would be there to interpret the signs to the doctors and the nurses on duty to get adequate health.”

Akindele expressed intentions to register all the pregnant women in the state into the scheme to have free healthcare services during the pregnancy.

Speaking on the achievements of the agency, since he took over the mantle of power, Dr Akindele said no fewer than 23,000 retirees have been enrolled into the Osun Health insurance Agency of the  State Government.

He said it was part of the State government’s  effort to ensure that retired civil servants received their  health benefits after their mandatory service years.

He said OSHIA, being an Agency saddled with the responsibility of ensuring, provision of health insurance scheme to the citizens of the state, hinted that there is continuous enrollment for those who are retiring from service on a daily basis.

He noted many people have benefited from the Agency since Governor Ademola Adeleke took over the leadership of the state.

Akindele stated that enrollment of pensioners have been digitised and as such had made it easier for them to  have access to health facilities for their health issues .

He lamented the rate of ignorance of people about Agency, saying the Agency had been carrying out Enlightenment programs for people to know how to go about their health issues,

He said, “One of the major challenges the Agency is having is about education. Many people still believed in an analog way of doing registration of the health insurance scheme. We have gone digital and many people are yet to follow the trend of things. This is why we have to partner with media organisations for various Enlightenment programmes of our Agency.

“The total enrollee in the formal sector is 244,000 and it is likely to increase when the governor starts employing the way he has promised. And in the informal sector, we have 13,462 enrollees; what we met on ground was little less than 4,000. And our aim is to capture nothing less than 6 percent of the people who are living in Osun State.

“We are coping with the little resources we have in OSHIA and at anytime we are running out fund and we have to get some succour from the governor

“We have code which anybody can go through our website to  get information and get all access to health insurance scheme programmes. We will continue to do our best to ensure that every citizen of this state benefits and cues into this program because health is wealth.”

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Lagos warns residents on Cholera outbreak, records five deaths

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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

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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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