Nigeria Develops Ebola, Malaria Herbal Drugs

The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) says it has successfully researched and developed six traditional herbal products for the treatment of Ebola, Malaria and other diseases.

The NIPRD Director-General, Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel, said this while presenting the score card of his eight-year tenure (2009 to 2017) in Abuja on Friday.

The programme, organised by NIPRD, aimed to present the products researched and developed by the institute and present staff service awards to deserving worker.

He said that ‘NIPRIBOL’, a fixed dose combination drug was developed by the institute for the treatment of Ebola Virus Disease, adding that the institute had completed the Phase I study of the drug.

Gamaniel said that the institute had also developed ‘NIPRIMAL’, an anti-malaria for treatment of uncomplicated malaria, stating that the drug was also safe for use by pregnant women.

Others are: ‘NIPRIMUNE’ an immunostimulant which can also be used to manage HIV in Nigeria and ‘NIPRIFAN’ for the treatment of fungal skin infection.

He said that another product developed by the institute, ‘NIPRD Oil’, could be used as a nasal decongestant, insect repellant, air freshner and an anti-inflammatory agent.

He however noted that excessive use of this oil could cause irritation.

He said that “the institute has also developed ‘NIPRISAN’ for the management of sickle cell anaemia.

“We are currently concluding plans to carry out commercial production and distribution of this product.

“We have developed and implemented various institutional policies for effective governance, this include the scheme and condition of service, intellectual policy and quality management system.

“We have also ensured the introduction of traditional herbal medicine into the national health system and established partnerships with local and international organisations.

“The core competence of NIPRD is in the development of phytomedicines from indigenous plants and products, clinical trials, among others; we are a quality assured institute,” Gamaniel said.

He said that presenting a report was necessary as it would serve as a baseline for the new leadership and provide an opportunity for new strategies to be introduced.

The institute presented awards to over 150 staff for their hard work and dedication to the growth of the institute, and the research and development of traditional herbal products.

NAN

Common Colds And Flu

Recently, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) forecast that in some parts of the country, haze will be experienced and true to the forecast, many Nigerian towns are still experiencing harmattan haze.

Prior to the resumption of academic activities, the haze was prominent; some days after the resumption, there was a respite but suddenly the hazy weather resurfaced.

Haze is usually accompanied with dusts, which impedes visibility and apart from this, it also has health implications especially for children. It is not only children who are exposed and prone to catching this infection. Adults are also prone to catching it and this is due to the fact that our daily activity involves us going out of our homes and into the open.

Up to 1.5 million cases of colds and flu is reported in Nigeria annually. This piece is aimed at enlightenment on the causes of common colds/flu, steps to prevent, treatment and home remedy.

What is Flu (Common Colds Or Influenza)?

Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu is highly contagious and is normally spread by the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. Although unpleasant, flu is rarely life-threatening.

All the flu and cold such as common colds, including chest cold and head cold, and seasonal flu are caused by viruses.

Colds and flu always go away without medicine because they are caused by virus. It does not call for the use of any strong antibiotics as the body immune system would fight it.

Causes of Colds and the Flu:

It can be caused when a tiny dose of a virus is inhaled into the nasal passages from droplets sneezed or coughed into the air or transmitted by contaminated fingers (hand to hand contact). It can also be due to a poorly functioning immune system. Colds can also be contacted by walking barefoot in the rain (rainy season). The virus then moves to the back of the nose, where it attaches itself to the adenoid area and begins to reproduce.

Symptoms/Signs of Colds and the Flu:

Symptoms of common colds include sore throat, runny nose, congestion and cough. The symptoms also include profound fatigue which may last up to two weeks or more depending on the individual immune system. Flu symptoms are similar, but include mild fever, headache and muscle soreness and there may be mild diarrhea, especially in young children. Not everyone with the flu will run a fever.

The body’s immune system has to be up and running in order for the human body to be able to resist all types of illnesses. There are some acts we indulge in which may run contrary to the optimum functioning of the immune system. These acts include, eating too much sugar and too many grains, ineffectively managing emotional stresses in your daily life, not getting enough rest, lack of Vitamin D in the body.

Steps To Prevent Colds and the Flu:

  1. Getting enough sleep and eating well helps prevent colds. Sleep has a lot of advantage to the body as it helps the body to grow and ensures replacement of worn out tissues and cells.
  2. Take more of fruit as source of vitamin C -Fruit like oranges, tomatoes, and others – would help especially in this season because fruits are in abundance.

III.           We should make hand washing a habit. Washing hands every time especially before touching your face, nose, mouth, or anything you put into your mouth is also a good step to prevention.

  1. IV. Unlike what many people believe, colds do not come from getting cold or wet though getting very cold, wet, or tired can make a cold worse. But you could contact cold from others who have the infection and sneeze the virus into the air.

In order to avoid spreading the virus to others, the sick person should eat and sleep separately and take special care to keep far away from little children and infant babies. The infected persons should cover their noses and mouths when they cough or sneeze, and wash their hands often if possible. To prevent colds from leading to ear aches, try not to blow your nose just wipe it. Steps should be taken to teach the children not to blow their nose but wipe it.

Treatment for Colds and the Flu:

Although, flu vaccines can prevent certain strains, there is no much you can do after you get sick. Take some drugs like analgesics within 48 hours after to ease the symptoms. Drink lots of fluids. No special diet is needed. However, fruit juices, especially orange juice or lemonade, are helpful. Get plenty of rest. Go to the nearest health facility or registered pharmacy to get painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve all the pains, antihistamines and decongestants to help with congestion.

Antibiotics don’t treat the flu. They only work against bacteria, as the flu is caused by a virus.

At home, there are assorted remedies which can be applied to get a relief. Care should be taken to note that cure is not instant. Since it is a viral infection, it will run its course but treatment would bring relief and curtail rate of spread of the virus (which is harmless). At home, the following can be used:

Garlic– A strong natural antibiotic, antifungal, and antibacterial. Garlic can tackle almost any illness. If you are sick enough, you won’t even notice the taste.

Hydrogen Peroxide– At the first sign of cold, flu, sinus infection, or ear infection, put a dropper full of hydrogen peroxide into each ear. Have the person lie still with the hydrogen peroxide in the ear until it stops bubbling. Do this on both sides. This is especially effective for children. Repeat every few hours until the infection is gone.

Hot Liquids– This one is very popular among Nigerians. The heat helps boost immune system and a variety of herbs can help with infection.

Face Steam– Boil water in a kettle. Remove from heat pour it inside a big bowl, add menthol like Robb. Cover for 5 minutes with a lid, and then remove lid and put face directly over pot with towel covering your head to hold in the heat. Breathe in the steam as long as you can, aim for 15 minutes. This will help loosen congestion and kill viruses and bacteria in the lungs, bronchials or sinuses. Alternately, vinegar can also be poured into the steam.

Remove White Foods– At the first sign of illness, completely remove all white foods from the diet. This includes grains, sugars, milk, cheese, dairy, sweeteners, soda, etc. These foods suppress immune function and slow the body’s healing ability. When you are ill, you don’t actually need to eat a lot of food, as the body needs to focus more on healing than digestion.

Hydrate and Rest– If the body is running a fever (which means it is fighting the illness) the best support you can give is to stay well hydrated on water and herbal teas and to rest enough. The body needs several extra hours of rest a day when ill, and often several extra glasses of water also. If you are running a fever, it is easier to get dehydrated, so drink enough water.

Complications of Colds and the Flu:

Hearing loss and Pneumonia are some of the negative effects of common colds on the body.

Sinusitis is an infection of the small air-filled cavities inside the cheekbones and forehead. It develops in up to 1 in every 50 adults and older children who have a cold.

A chest infection such as bronchitis and pneumonia can occur after a cold, as your immune system is temporarily weakened.

 

(HEALTH) Haze: Medical Expert Cautions Against Over Exposure

 

By Francis Ezediuno

Due to the haze experienced in some parts of the country in the early days of January, 2018, an expert in the field of health care has counselled the parents to take precautionary steps to prevent a breakdown in their immune system and that of their kids.

This advice was given on Tuesday by Dr. Mootemi Abraham, in a one on one chat with this medium in Osogbo.

Mootemi contended that the reason for this caution was that the haze which to the ordinary eye may be harmless are a combination of various harmful organisms which on entering the human body will use it as a suitable host and ultimately attack the body’s immune system.

“You know the weather is dry. So most of these organisms are in a dormant mode but when they get a moist habitation preferably a human host, they tend to become active and it becomes easy to be transferred from one human to the other due to our unhealthy hygiene methods.

“As a result, colds, flu or influenza, cough, catarrh, runny nose, red eyes, beaches, body pains will be the order of the day.

“When an individual experiences the cough intermittently for two weeks without abating after using the prescribed set of drugs, then that person should report to the nearest health facility for tests to be carried out, it may not be ordinary again. It may be early stage Tuberculosis”.

He advised that parents should ensure that they bath their children with warm water, wear them with warm dresses, moisten their noses and make them to drink lots of water.

Adults were also cautioned not to unnecessarily expose themselves to the haze by putting on face masks whenever they were out of their houses or offices.

Caution was also given to people who operate under air conditioners because it uses compressed air which it circulates.

“People who use air conditioners too are putting themselves in harm’s way. This is because the air-conditioners make use of compressed air and once they go out of the setting, they breathe in the air filled with different particles which may result in infections especially respiratory ones”.

The medical professional noted that with the weather, some ailments were going to arise but with proper medical care, symptoms would disappear within days.

He cautioned against self medication because there was tendency for ailments like that to degenerate into a life threatening situation.

WHO Approves Chinese-Produced HIV, Hepatitis Vaccines

Two Chinese-produced vaccines, a Bivalent Oral Poliomyelitis Vaccine; and Hepatitis A vaccine, have received pre-qualification by the World Health Organisation.

The move indicates that the WHO has given the vaccines its stamp of approval for the safety and efficacy, and United Nations procuring agencies may now source them.

Mr. Fabio Scano, an officer in the WHO Representative Office in China, said: “Pre-qualification of BOPV is very good news for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

“Following the switch from trivalent OPV to BOPV in 2016, most countries are going to cure polio with the combination of inactivated polio vaccine and BOPV and China will be a sufficient supplier of this essential vaccine.”

The country now has four vaccines pre-qualified by the WHO.

“We are very pleased to see China’s innovation and production capacity bring life-saving vaccines to the world through the WHO pre-qualification programme,” said Scano. (Xinhua/NAN)

Tomatoes, Apples Can Repair Smokers’ Damaged Lungs

Smokers who quit smoking and live on a diet high in tomatoes and fruits, particularly apples, have better chances of restoring their lung functions impaired by smoking, a new study finds.

The study, published in the December issue of the European Respiratory Journal, said former smokers who eat more tomatoes and fresh fruits on a regular basis saw a slower natural decline in lung function over a 10-year period.

The study was conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

According to it, adults who on average ate more than two tomatoes or more than three portions of fresh fruits and vegetables a day had a slower decline in lung function, compared to those who ate less than one tomato or less than one portion of fruits, respectively, on a daily basis.

Lung function starts to decline at around age 30 and poor lung function is linked to higher risks of death from all diseases, including chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, heart disease and lung cancer.

“A diet rich in fruits can slow down the lung’s natural aging process even if you have never smoked,” said Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, the study’s lead author, who is also an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health.

Garcia-Larsen and her team examined diet and lung function of more than 650 adults from Germany, Norway and Britain in 2002 and performed lung function tests on the same group of participants 10 years later.

The researchers found a more striking diet-lung-function among former smokers, who had around 80 ml slower decline over the 10-year period because their diets were highly rich in tomatoes and fruits.

Such a result suggests that the nutrients in their diets are beneficial to repairing the lung damage done by smoking.

“Eating more fruits on a regular basis can help attenuate the decline as people age, and might even help repair damage caused by smoking,” Garcia-Larsen said.

Xinhua

What Nigerians With Disabilities Want By Jide Ojo

‘People with disabilities are also people with extraordinary talent. Yet, they are too often forgotten. When people with disabilities are denied opportunities, they are more likely to fall into poverty — and people living in conditions of poverty are more likely to develop disabilities. As long as societies exclude those with disabilities, they will not reach their full potential and the poor in particular will be denied opportunities that they deserve”

– Paul Wolfowitz, a former World Bank President.

According to the United Nations Covenant on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, “Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” From time immemorial, the PwDs form the bulk of Nigeria’s community of beggars. Perhaps, because many of them are the destitute – poor, feeble, dependent and never-do-well – they rely heavily on handouts from the rest of the society.

In recent years however, we now have many PwDs who are educated, enlightened, cosmopolitan and high net worth individuals. From the rank of these elite PwDs came the strident voice for change. There are now many Disability Persons Organisations. Some of these DPOs are managed by able-bodied persons while many others are run by the PwDs themselves. Examples of these are the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, Cedar Seed Foundation, Association of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria, Centre for Disability Rights and Development, Voice of Disability Initiative, Deaf Resource Centre, Child Care Trust, National Association of the Blind, Hayat Foundation, Albino Foundation and the umbrella body, Joint National Associations of Persons with Disabilities.

Scholars are of the view that disability is both a cause and a consequence of poverty due to limited access to education, employment, medical care, nutritious food, and accessible environment. Other causes of disability are trauma, genetics, disorder, malnutrition, environmental hazards, natural disasters, traffic and industrial accident, civil conflict and war. According to the World Bank and World Health Organisation report 2011, there are about one billion persons with disabilities in the world; 80 per cent living in developing countries. It is estimated that only five per cent of adults with disabilities are literate while more than 98 per cent of Children with Disabilities have no access to preparatory and elementary education. Depending on the context, living conditions and the definition of disability used in a given country, 15 to 20 per cent of the population has disability issues. In Nigeria, there are an estimated 25 million PwDs. Perhaps, due to the eight-year long acts of insurgency in the zone, the North-East hosts the highest proportion of persons with disabilities and the South-West the lowest proportion.

There have been numerous efforts on the part of the Nigerian government to ameliorate the sufferings of the PwDs. According to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Nigeria signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol on May 28, 2007 and October 27, 2008 respectively. The Convention seeks among other things: “To promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.” On July 14, 2010, Nigeria signed the International Labour Organisation Convention on the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of (Disabled) No. 159 of 1983. This Convention makes provision for employment of persons with disabilities without discrimination.

December 3, 2017 marks the silver jubilee of the observance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The annual observance of the IDPD was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3 in 1992. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness on the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. In the course of celebrating this 25th edition, I was privileged to attend two dialogue sessions by the DPOs in Abuja. The first was the media dialogue on Nigeria Disability Bill organised by the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities on December 5. The second was the National Dialogue on Disability Rights and Inclusive Development in Nigeria organised by Cedar Seed Foundation in partnership with JONAPWD, Centre for Democracy and Development and CCD last Monday, December 18. While the first event was primarily meant to educate journalists on the imperative and importance of the Nigeria Disability Bill, the second event has a rainbow coalition of participants from both the government and non-government sector.

At the second event were eminent personalities including the wife of the Governor of Kogi State, Amina Oyiza Yahaya Bello, whose Hayat Foundation is working with the state House of Assembly to pass the Disability Bill come 2018. There was also Dr. Cally Cussons who has transformed himself from a Very Ordinary Disabled Person to a Very Very Important Personality working as a consultant to multinational organisations like Shell, governments, International Development Agencies like UNIDO, MDAs, private companies, groups and individuals.

What does the Nigerian community of PwDs want? According to one of them, Lois Auta, who is also the Executive Director of Cedar Seed Foundation, “It is important to note that a majority of persons living with disabilities lack access to information, and largely unaware of their rights. The concomitant effect is that their rights are abused on a daily basis by the governments, private sector and other citizens, with no remedies. They also lack access to public infrastructure, public policies, employment, education, transport systems, ICT infrastructure, housing, health care delivery and the electoral system largely excluded the PwDs. Conversely, the Nigerian society continues to view disabilities issue from a social welfare perspective, merely confining PwDs to individuals seeking for just basic needs of life. But truth be told, we are tired of the charity model. We want the social model where we can enjoy our full rights as citizens through inclusive policy process. We are simply asking for all barriers hindering us from living a productive life to be removed. As individuals, we have all our stories of triumphs and defeats as PwDs. We are living witnesses to how social, economic and political barriers have impacts on our abilities to harness our potentials in life.”

It is saddening that while eight states including Lagos, Ekiti and Plateau have all passed the Disability bill, two Presidents have twice refused to assent the Nigerian Disability Bill as passed by the National Assembly while ongoing efforts since 2015 seem to have been stalled after the harmonisation committee of the National Assembly adopted the Senate version on December 6, 2016. The bill has been declared missing and should urgently be found and resent to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent. That is the least expected of the All Progressives Congress government of change.

Breaking The Malaria Cycle By Rasak Musbau

In spite of the huge amount that governments both at the federal and the states levels spend in the provision of curative malaria drugs with the support received from the Global Fund, malaria has remained endemic in Nigeria. Indeed, it is impossible to calculate the actual harm malaria has done to us. The malaria parasite has been sapping the strength of the whole populations. It impairs the health of our people and consequently restraints economic development. It leads to loss of productive hours, productivity, money, persistent absenteeism and maternal and child mortality among others.

Meanwhile, for Nigeria to move forward, we really have to get rid of malaria just as we need to do with similar preventable diseases such as measles, diarrhea and tuberculoses. The question here is: Since malaria is a preventable disease, why is it so endemic to the extent that our country alone bears about 25 per cent of Africa’s malaria burden? The answers are simple and straightforward. In Nigeria, one of the essential family practices that most Nigerians are found wanting in is sufficient protection from mosquito bites. Two, most illnesses, including malaria, are treated at home or in the community before or without seeking care at a formal health facility. Added to these are our coastal environment, poor environmental sanitation and improper diagnoses. In many places, hospitals don’t do a proper check. Anyone with the minutest symptoms of malaria is often offered treatment without proper diagnosis. The consequence of this is that while a growing number of countries have recorded decrease in the number of confirmed cases of malaria, the disease has remained a scourge here.

As such, it is crucial for everyone to be aware of and adhere to essential family practices to promote mosquito control and prevention. You can’t contract malaria if you aren’t bitten by mosquitoes, and the type of mosquitoes that transmit malaria usually bite at night. For this reason, it is important to sleep every night inside a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net. Long-lasting bed net is a tool that is most associated with the recent progress against malaria. Another way is for people to be ensuring that all windows and doors are properly screened to prevent mosquitoes from coming in.

Many people also do something called indoor residual spraying where they spray insecticide on the walls inside their house to kill any mosquitoes which might come in. It is equally advisable for those that frequently have malaria attack to wear long-sleeved clothing in the evenings and at night to stop mosquitoes from biting them. Furthermore, it is important to make sure that one is diagnosed properly. Our people need to be aware that having symptoms of fatigue, weakness, nausea and cold which are very typical of malaria is not enough to conclude it is malaria, thereby resorting to self-medication without visiting a health facility for proper diagnosis and treatment.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that anyone suspected of having malaria should receive diagnosis and treatment with an effective drug within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. It is only when a sick person cannot have access to a health care provider within that timeframe that home treatment is acceptable as first aid. Moreover, in Nigeria, you should NOT be given chloroquine to treat malaria, unless your case is confirmed as not being caused by plasmodium falciparum. Virtually all the plasmodium falciparum in Africa are resistant to chloroquine, and so it is no longer an effective treatment. Instead, first-line treatment for malaria is recommended as an artemisinin-based combination therapy. However, the truth is that whether the malaria map will keep shrinking, as it has in the past decade, or be reclaimed by the malaria parasites depends, to a great extent, on the resources that will be invested in control efforts over the next few years. Thanks to malaria elimination efforts in United States in the 1940s, most people in the U.S. today have never had any direct contact with the disease, and most doctors have never seen a case. That success means other nations including Nigeria can also achieve reduction or complete elimination with right investment and positive attitude.

In this direction, Lagos State government investment in malaria control has progressed appreciably with lots of steps been taken to clinically stamp out the prevalence of malaria and its parasites. The topography and ecological features of the state, the abundant coastal features, rapid urbanization and inadequate drainage systems are some of the major factors that contribute to all year transmission of malaria in the state. But the state through its Directorate of Disease Control is doing all it can to invests heavily toward reducing the burden of the disease. Investments in malaria control in the state have created unprecedented momentum and yielded remarkable returns in the past years, particularly in the scale-up of insecticide treated nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying (IRS) of insecticides, and prevention of malaria during pregnancy. The goal of the Lagos State Malaria Elimination Program is to significantly reduce the burden of disease consequent upon malaria.

The activities of the Malaria Control Unit are carried out in collaboration with the Lagos State Malaria Research, Technical and Advisory Committee which is chaired by the Honourable Commissioner and includes all partners including donors, researchers and NGOs in the State. Take away from all-aforementioned is that the war against malaria is easier fought and won if taken more seriously by all of us. Just as government at all levels has the responsibility to strengthen the health system, the citizens, individually and as a group, also have a big stake. We have the responsibility of protecting our children and family from malaria by using insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), draining of stagnant water or water collection points, and keeping our environment clean. Positive attitudes towards environmental sanitation are very germane. We do all know that mosquitoes and pests are frequently attracted towards heaps of garbage and wastes. They are the main transmitters of diseases like chicken pox, malaria and jaundice.

As medical research and behavioural change communication continue, it is hope that, there will be a day when malaria and most all major deadly diseases are eliminated in Nigeria. Complete elimination of the malaria parasite (and thus the disease) would constitute eradication. While eradication is more desirable, it may not currently be a realistic goal here, but we can all play a role in reducing it.
Musbau is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

President Buhari Promises To Do More In Health Sector

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday the Federal Government would increase investment in the health sector so that the country can halt the loss of well trained professionals to other countries.

He made the promise while receiving members of the executive committee of Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) at State House, Abuja.

The President, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, applauded the group’s concern on the state of the nation’s health sector.

He said: “We will do our best to work on your recommendations and increase investment in the health sector.”

The President of MDCAN, Prof. Ngim E. Ngim, said the association consists of trainers, researchers, leaders and major stakeholders in healthcare, who are concerned about the wellbeing of the sector.

Lagos Offers Free Health Screening To Surulere

Residents of Surulere Area of Lagos State, have received free medical screening and counselling.

The free medical screening, which was organised by the council, offered services such as, health education, free eye glasses, screenings for HIV and malaria, free drugs and counselling.

Some of the residents, especially the elderly, who were the main beneficiaries, lauded the State Government for catering for the elderly in the area.

A resident, Mrs Sikirat Adebayo, who was pleased with the health program said she is conscious of her health.

“Although, I regularly go for screening, this offered the our community the opportunity to check our health status.

“I appeal to the government to continue with the programmes such as this, so that many residents, who cannot afford to visit the hospitals can benefit from the services,” she said.

Another resident, a 60-year-old man, Mr Wahab Jimoh, said the free screening was laudable and should be a continuous exercise as part of the government’s efforts to improve health care delivery.

Jimoh said that health should be the priority of every government and it should provide adequate health care for its citizens.

“I appreciate the government for considering the elderly in this exercise because many elderly in the society are neglected.

“Due to the economic challenges, many families struggle to cater for themselves, let alone, their aged parents.

“The elderly struggle a lot and so we need the help of the government to provide assistance for this vulnerable people in the society,” he said.

Similarly, Rafat Adeyemi said that she was grateful for the opportunity to see the health professionals for necessary advice.

“I am here to check my blood pressure because I am well informed about the benefits of checking it regularly.

“I commend the government for its effort to provide free screening for the people; it will go a long way in reducing diseases and increasing health education for all,” Adeyemi said.

VON

Aregbesola Advocates Family Planning

By Nofisat Adeoye

The Governor Of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has urged couples especially young couples to embrace family planning.

Aregbesola said the country is over populated and cannot provide for all its citizens.

“We urge our couples to do family planning, we are producing more than what the country can provide for. Two or three children is okay, we should cut our coat according to the clothes available.”

This is even as the State Government distributed 12,500 delivery Kit to expectant mothers.

The provision of the delivery kit is a government project focused at improving maternal and child
health.

Speaking at the flag off of the programme tagged “Saving One million lives programme for results and maternal, new born and child health week” Governor Aregbesola said the gesture is to support pregnant women and ensure they have the things needed for a safe delivery.

Each of the delivery kit tagged “Mama kit” contains one chord Clamp, one Mucur Extractor, seven Sterile Gloves, one Baby Soap, one Baby Towel, one Set of Baby Cloth, one Purit, one Canula and one Sanitary Pad.

The programme is also supported by Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in collaboration with Save One Million Lives Programme for Results (SOML PforR) of the Federal Government.

It is aimed at increasing the quality of care index at health centre level across the state and help to provide a clean and safe delivery for women who give birth in hospitals and clinics.

In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu said that the objective of the programme is to collaborate the Federal Government’s (SOML PforR) which is to increase the utilisation and quality of high impact reproductive, child health and nutrition interventions’ with overall goal of reducing under-5 mortality rate and maternal mortality rate.

Isamotu who revealed that the State Government had also launched an HIV test kit, said the mama kit is to ensure safe delivery and serve as a constitutional means of preventing needless deaths.

He explained that since the inception of the programme in the State of Osun, all hands have been on deck towards its successful implementation, adding that health workers have been sensitised and trained.

The Commissioner also noted that the government will give more attention to rural areas especially those people who could not afford the delivery kit as well as discourage delivery at home, sensitise and incorporate traditional birth attendants so as to reduce under 5 mortality rate and maternal mortality rate and save mothers and children from needless death.

Osun Assembly Reiterates Commitment To Protect Environment

By Israel Afolabi

The State of Osun House of Assembly will not hesitate to give urgent attention to regulatory bills seeking to protect the environment, as well as prevention of hazards that could jeopardize the interest of the people.

This was disclosed by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Najeem Salaam who was represented by his Deputy, Hon. Akintunde Adegboye while presiding over the House during deliberation on the State of Osun Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operation Bill 2015 at the floor of the State Assembly Complex Osogbo.

Akintunde observed that the bill was coming at the appropriate time when stakeholders are clamouring for adequate protection of the environment.

He noticed that the bill require urgent attention because of its importance to the state and also acknowledged the damage done to the environment through illegal sand dealing and dredging.

In his words, “it is a good bill that requires urgent attention because it is necessary to set a
database for the miners in the state. The bill will not only control activities of operators but prevent environment degradation that could result from illegal operation”.

However, the speaker who noted other merits of the bill maintained that it requires accelerated Passage as he stressed the need for urgent consideration by the House.

Earlier, the Majority leader of the House, Hon. Timothy Owoeye presented the bill in which he explained its policy thrust to the House, saying it seeks to introduce license and permit to stakeholders in the mining sector.

According to him, “the bill which seek to regulate sand dealing and dredging through license and permit will checkmate illegal activities by the operators”,.

He noted other areas of policy thrust to include increase in revenue generation, creation of database for identification, streaming of operation and protection of environment.

Owoeye also added that there is illegal dredging and mining activities in Atakumosa East, Oriade, Atakumosa West and Obokun due to lack of bill to regulate the activities of miners in the state.

Other lawmakers, in their separate contributions, emphasised on the benefits accruable from the bill as they agreed on the need for priority attention and accelerated passage.

They added that State of Osun regulation of sand dealing and dredging operation bill will preserve our land and reduce environmental pollution.

They also said that there is need to regulate the bill for the interest of our people and bring sanity into the dredging activities of the operator.

The bill has scale through the second reading on the floor of the house.