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.

UNICEF Commences Campaigns In 12 Communities

THE United Nations International Children’s Fund commensed a campaign to combat infant mortality, cholera, diarrhoea and other forms of diseases in 12 communities in the Onuimo Imo Local Government Area of Imo State.

To realize desired effectiveness, it will partner with the state chapter of the National Orientation Agency, traditional rulers, community leaders and other volunteers.

During the campaign at Okohia-Umuna, Ezefoke, Ikwuato , Okwelle, Diakuma and Ezelu Okwe communities, UNICEF urged the residents to fight the diseases by stopping open defecation.

It stated that open defecation, according to research, was a major cause of diarrhoea and cholera.

The Director of NOA in the state, Vitus Ekeocha, said it was essential that every household in the communities had toilets for healthy defecation.

Ekeocha noted that indiscriminate defecation in various communities in the state was sabotaging the efforts of UNICEF.

The NOA director said, “UNICEF is determined to stop diseases that affect women and children in developing countries. Here in Imo state, UNICEF has chosen 12 communities in the Onuimo LGA .”

The UNICEF Programme Officer in the state, Chigozie Orjiaku, said the organisation in partnership with individuals would identify households without toilets and ensure that they get one.

Ray Of Hope As U.S. Scientists Find New Possible Cure To Leukemia

A new study showed on Tuesday has revealed that a group of American scientists have found a new possibility to cure to leukemia. Leukemia is a deadly cancer of the blood that knocks down patients as young as only seven years old.

In the study published in Journal Nature Medicine, the group of scientists from Stanford University and National Institute of Health (NIH) found that a molecule, called “CD22”, could serve as a potent target for the killer cells of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a common childhood cancer.

It came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved last August a cell-based gene therapy, namely the “CAR T-cell” treatment. The CAR T-cell is a therapy that requires drawing blood from patients and separating out the T cells.

It works by genetically modifying a patient’s own immune cells to seek out and attack leukemia cells that have a molecule called “CD19” on their surface.

Such a therapy relies on the patient’s own T cells a type of immune cell that could become a powerful killing machine.

Stanford oncologist Crystal Mackall and NIH’s pediatric hematologist Terry Fry discovered that a molecule called “CD22” can be a similar target.

Scientists treated 21 patients with treatment-resistant B-cell leukemia who are aged seven to 30 to test the new “CD22-directed method.

Seventeen of them were previously treated with CD19-directed therapy and 15 of them had either relapsed or failed to respond.

They found that at the lowest dose level, one in six patients achieved complete remission after treatment, and with an escalated dose, 11 of 15 patients entered remission.

The new approach is helpful because the cancer cells of some patients who undergo CD19-directed therapy stop expressing the CD19 molecule on the cell surface.

The relapse rate of CD22-directed therapy also proved high.

The researchers hope that targeting “CD19 and CD22” simultaneously may produce an approach where cancer cells are unable to evade, thus leading to a new therapy for curing leukemia in the future.

 

Ernst Josef Franzek Condemns Taking Mental Health Patients To Church For Treatment

Ernst Josef Franzek is among the best mental health doctors in Europe. The German born professor of psychiatry and neurology spoke with Sunday Vanguard in the Netherlands during which he expressed worries over what he described as the neglect of mental health care in Nigeria.

He attributed the high number of mental health patients in Nigeria to poverty and lack of care for mothers during birth. He also traced the bad leadership in Nigeria and the high crime rate to mental disorders suffered during birth. While calling on Nigerians to ensure their leaders pass mental test before being elected, he criticised the idea of taking mental health patients to the church and, in the process, subjecting them to torture.

Professor Franzek, German born is a psychiatric doctor who has worked in the Netherlands for more than 40 years. He was a lecturer at the university but decidied to try new things when he turnd 50. He is into research and treatment of people who have psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and people who also have problem with drugs: Psychiatric disorder and addiction. At the moment, he is the Project Director of the Organization of Mental Health Brabant, the Netherlands.

“One reason is that the population has no possibility to search for mental health care due to poverty. There are only nine psychiatric hospitals for about 200 million people in the country. And mental health care in Nigeria is mostly done through religious and traditional healers without medical background.

“This may help those whose cases are not severe. But in severe cases, mental disorders worsen. And stigmatization causes a lot of problems. The situation is that most people in Nigeria don’t have good mental and general health care and that is catastrophic for a nation like that. Mental disorders are twice as common in Nigeria as in other parts of the world. And it is sad that nobody cares about this. And this has to get into the consciousness of the people because those who suffer most are the poor people who don’t have jobs, who are starved of the basic needs of life such as food, water, no adequate houses.

” At the moment in Nigeria, the ratio is one psychiatric to one million people. In Holland, for example, the ratio is 40 psychiatric doctors to one hundred thousand people. You can imagine how big the treatment gap in Nigeria is, and the situation is getting worse because life circumstances don’t get better. Being poor, not having enough to eat, no education, this is one source of having mental illness later in life. To redress the situation, I intend to visit Nigeria through the Sunny Ofehe Foundation, together with the experts in the field of mental health care, in collaboration with the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, the World Health Organization and some pharmaceutical companies. We are going to focus on the need to treat mental health in Nigeria as an emergency.

“There is a whole body of research that when people grow up in an environment where people are poor, no healthy food, no job, once the mother and father live there, the offspring will have anti-social effects from the very beginning. Research showed that if the mother and the father suffered hunger at the time they made the baby such that, during pregnancy, they did not have enough food for the foetus, this can predispose the offspring to this personality trait.

“The conclusion can be that anti-social characteristics may be understood as a form of environmental adaptation so that exposure to malnutrition, to hunger during the formation of the baby can have impact on sex determination. This means that, in this situation, more boys are born than girls because the brain development predisposes these people to the so called-anti-social behaviours like, to have food, you have to kill or steal. Even terrorists around the world tend to come from poor countries just fight for their people. So, if you want to build a peaceful society, the atmosphere must be conducive. The real criminal or psychopath is not the terrorist; the real criminal is the guy who presides over a people and eats their common wealth without thinking about their welfare. And we have many criminals leading the people in many parts of the world today.

“They don’t care about the people. But these guys you call bad guys just want to improve their lives and those of their families. So, to build a peaceful society, basic human rights must be respected and government must give the people the basic needs of life. At the moment, there is a huge gap between the poor and the rich in Nigeria and, because of this, the poor always become poorer. What we need is the middle class where everybody has the possibility due to his own capabilities to walk up. My father was poor, we had nothing but I had the possibility to go to school and then to do it my own way. This is basic for a peaceful society. Everybody has to pursue his life. Let me tell you also, mental illness does not come from God and this is a problem in Nigeria. In Nigeria, those who have mental illness go to church for remedy because they think they have offended God, but that is not true.

“It is a problem of the society. And government plays a role. When you bring people with mental illness to the church, you don’t really help them; you make their situation even worse. We have good medication to treat acute forms of psychosis. The acute forms are in countries like Nigeria more often than in Europe. Religion and psychosis or mental illness do not go together. Religion cannot bring solution to mental health; it can only help the family, giving them encouragement but not healing the patient. Religion is like people coming together, praying together, eating together, this should remain; but it should not be used to cure sick people because it does not work. If you look at the civilized world, they care for patients with mental illness because it is not a punishment and, if you give them the basic things they need, they feel happy despite their illness. But when you see them punished, when their families feel ashamed of them, it is cruel and it is not good for them.

“Nobody is punished if he has cancer; so why are they punishing people with mental illness in Nigeria? They chain them and flog the hell out of them. The problem in Nigeria is that the rich people make money and they have no brains any more. The poor people have no voice; so there is no competition. This also has to do with growing up. If the leaders were given the best while growing up, their brains would have formed better and they will not have to steal. And for this to change, I think, before Nigerians elect their leaders, there should be public competitions among aspirants in which the people will participate and see the mental state of the aspiring leaders. During such competitions, there should be no written paper, so that when they talk, you will know whether they speak from their hearts or not.

“Nigeria is supposed to be practicing democracy, but it is not really a democratic nation because the rich use their wealth to acquire things and run for political positions and the common people have no choice. In fact, that is also where you can ascertain whether the person aspiring to be or President is fit to lead the nation or not because, when you don’t have a healthy President, it causes dislocation in the system. And that is the problem you people have in Nigeria. I want Nigeria to be united because that will make them greater tomorrow. Agitations come because you have no middle class, the rich are getting richer and the poor are fighting.

” Mortality rate in Nigeria is quite high, especially among children. Government must improve on women’s care during pregnancy because if the pregnancy is not good, child birth will be complicated. The food that the woman eats is also important. Nigeria is the fourth country with the highest mortality rate among 200 countries in the world. Nigeria is also in the leading position in death per hundred thousand people through fire and car accidents. Again it is not healthy for a woman to have more than three children but you find that, after war times, the number of children grows just to compensate for those who died.

“Now, Nigeria has about 200million people and, in about 30 years, even with the high mortality rate, it may end up with 500million to one billion people. It will now become one of the most populous countries in the world. It is not a problem but the basic needs of life must be put in place, otherwise it will be a catastrophe because the country will not be safe anymore. And Nigeria is a beautiful country; my future wife is from there and I want to come and live there; so I want the best for the country.

“The future of Nigeria and psychiatry Nigeria has a positive future; all you need is a highly motivated, educated people; people who will work for the people and not for money. The situation now in Nigeria is that highly skilled people like doctors, psychiatrics receive education there and then move to Europe or North America because they want to earn a lot of money. Government must make Nigeria attractive for these people to stay there so that they can develop community treatment. It does not help Nigeria if you build very expensive hospitals and no manpower. First of all, you have to develop a treatment centre that is close to the people and everybody can afford. This is the first step. Then in the area of mental care, you have to involve traditional doctors, those into voodoo; we look at them and take what is good from them. You must not go there to say ‘what you are doing is wrong’. We should avoid confrontations because this is a tradition that people are accustomed to and you don’t wish it away. Tradition keeps people together and the common interest should be to improve mental health care, good health. You have to communicate with these people and get the best out of them.

Jesse Jackson Diagnosed With Parkinson’s

America’s foremost civil rights leader, The Rev. Jesse Jackson disclosed publicly Friday that he has been seeking outpatient care for two years for Parkinson’s disease and plans to “dedicate” himself to physical therapy.

In a letter to supporters on Friday, the 76-year-old civil rights icon said family and friends noticed a change in him about three years ago and he could no longer ignore symptoms of the chronic neurological disorder that causes movement difficulties.

“Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it,” he wrote.

“For me, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease’s progression.”
Jackson also released a Northwestern Medicine letter saying he was diagnosed in 2015 and has since sought outpatient care.

Jackson vowed to use his voice to help find a cure for the disease. He declined an interview Friday.

About 60,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson’s annually, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. It can start with tremors and symptoms generally worsen over time.
The exact cause isn’t known and treatments include medications, surgery and physical therapy.
The disease itself isn’t fatal but people can die from complications.
Jackson noted Parkinson’s “bested my father.” Noah Lewis Robinson Sr. died in 1997 at age 88 after suffering a heart attack.
It was unclear how Jackson’s diagnosis will affect his civil rights work through the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Chicago-based civil rights group he founded more than two decades ago.
A protégé of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jackson was instrumental in guiding the modern civil rights movement, from issues involving voting rights to education. Twice a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1980s, he’s remained a strong voice in numerous anti-discrimination efforts, including advocating for affordable housing. He’s often seen at protests nationwide.
He said Friday in the letter that he is also working on a memoir.
“I will continue to try to instil hope in the hopeless, expand our democracy to the disenfranchised and free innocent prisoners around the world,” he wrote.
“I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out.”

AP

NAFDAC Reacts to False Statement

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has denied reports that 70 per cent of drugs in the country are fake and described such information as false and misleading.

NAFDAC spokesperson Abubakar Jimoh while reacting on the report on Sunday in Abuja said the statement from the acclaimed expert was displeasing and false.

Jimoh said that the report was just a mare statement without referring it to a particular study or research work.

Mr Andrew Nevin, an Economist and Financial Services Advisory Leader of Project Blue PWc Nigeria in a key note address at a conference by Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria in Umuahia recently said 70 per cent of drugs in Nigeria are fake.

Nevin also stated that Africa records 100,000 deaths arising from counterfeit drugs related ailments annually.

Jimoh explained that the fight against counterfeit drugs had been heightened from 2001 to date and had led to a drastic reduction in fake drugs in the market.

He said that in 2001, when this kind of report appeared in public, the agency conduct a systematic study and in 2005, NAFDAC in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO) did another research.

He disclosed that the study done with WHO showed that the prevalence of counterfeit drugs in circulation was 16.7 per cent for all categories of drugs.

According to him, the agency puts a lot of efforts to fight counterfeiters by introducing TruScan machine in 2010 to detect fake drugs in the market.

The Spokesperson noted that another research conducted in 2012 indicated that the prevalence of counterfeit medicines in circulation in the country had gone down to 6.4 per cent.

He said that the same year, a separate research by the agency on anti malaria drugs which Nigerians consume more showed counterfeited ones have dropped to 19.6 per cent.

He stated that the 2011 WHO’s study revealed that there was 20 per cent fake drugs in Africa which the result was almost the same with that of NAFDAC conducted in 2012.

Jimoh added that in 2014 the result of a study by NAFDAC in conjunction with United State of Pharmacopia (USP) showed that the country only had 3.6 per cent of fake anti malaria drugs in the market.

He said that the result of a research work on fake drugs between his agency and USP conducted in 2017 were being awaited.

“The counterfeiters in the country engage more in anti malaria drugs because they know the patronage is high and with awareness created and introduction of various devices by NAFDAC, we have been able to reduce such counterfeit malaria drugs drastically.

“Getting such unresearched work from acclaimed expert undermines our efforts, it is unfortunate and very painful,” he said.

He said that NAFDAC remained committed and determined to fight counterfeit drugs in the country. (NAN)

Frequent Exposure To Hair Dye Harms Nervous System By Ayo Otubanjo

It is quite shocking the number of women who have visited our clinics for consultations explaining their horrendous experiences at certain hair salons and the resulting hair loss they have suffered.

There is a general lack of oversight by most governments on products used in hair salons and which contain a number of hazardous chemicals that may harm your health. Also, most salon workers lack basic understanding of the products they use and in most cases have not been properly trained in their application.

There are several products used in salon services such as hair dye, wig glue/hairpiece bonding, hair extension glue and lace wig glue. These products contain some extremely toxic chemicals which can be very dangerous for your health. Some of these chemicals are toluene, styrene, trichloroethylene and dioxane to mention a few.

Toluene is a clear, colourless liquid with a distinctive smell. It is a good solvent (a substance that can dissolve other substances). Toluene occurs naturally in crude oil and in the tolu tree. It is produced in the process of making gasoline and other fuels from crude oil and in making coke from coal.

Toluene may have an effect on your nervous system (brain and nerves). Nervous system effects can be temporary, such as headaches, dizziness, or unconsciousness. However, effects such as uncoordination, cognitive impairment, and vision and hearing loss may become permanent with repeated exposure, especially at concentrations associated with intentional solvent abuse.

Styrene is primarily used in the production of polystyrene plastics and resins. Acute (short-term) exposure to styrene in humans results in mucous membrane and eye irritation, and gastrointestinal effects. Chronic (long-term) exposure to styrene in humans results in effects on the central nervous system , such as headache, fatigue, weakness, and depression, hearing loss and peripheral neuropathy.

The main use of trichloroethylene is in the vapour degreasing of metal parts. It is also used as an extraction solvent for greases, oils, fats, waxes, and tars, a chemical intermediate in the production of other chemicals, and as a refrigerant. Acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) inhalation exposure to trichloroethylene can affect the human central nervous system, with symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, confusion, euphoria, facial numbness, and weakness.

Dioxane is a clear colourless liquid with a faint ethereal odour. It is also used as a solvent. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to high levels of dioxane has been shown to cause vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs in humans. It may also irritate the skin.

The extent of the inherent dangers of these chemicals depends on the frequency of interaction with them. While a salon customer may only be exposed to small quantities of these potentially hazardous chemicals during their short visits, a salon worker on the other hand is constantly exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis in the course of their work.

Salon workers who have experienced breathing problems, headaches, skin rashes, or other health problems while at work should consult their doctors and insist that their employers provide them with safer alternative products or provide them with precautionary items to protect their health. Long term studies of salon workers have also reported higher risks of chronic conditions, including certain cancers, immune diseases, asthma, and higher risk of some birth defects in their children.

While the salon customer may be at a lesser risk than the salon worker, we have witnessed some cases where the former have suffered irreparable scalp damage and total baldness. In some extreme cases, the customer has suffered from health conditions occasioned by their visits to the salon.

Salon customers can take certain precautionary steps such as insisting on studying the products and checking the chemical components. Ingredients in salon products can sometimes be found on the product label, although manufacturers are not required to fully list all ingredients in products sold for professional use.

If you have recently visited a salon and have developed serious itchiness on the scalp, you need to consult either a dermatologist or if you are experiencing hair loss, you need to consult a hair restoration consultant before it is too late and irreparable damage sets in.