7 Surprising Scientifically Proven Health Benefits Of Ramadan Fast

Truth Of The Matter with AYEKOOTO

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World over, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins this week, and scientists have proven that vast benefits come with its observance.

No wonder many non-muslims are also taking part.

Worried that fasting during Ramadan will have a detrimental impact on health? Find out why the month long fast can have some surprising health benefits.

Although millions around the world have successfully observed the spiritual cleansing of Ramadan for more than a thousand years, some people fear that fasting over such a long period time will have detrimental effects on their health. If you’re one of those worriers, then check out these seven health benefits you’ll enjoy during and after Ramadan.

  1. Dates

Although, three dates are eaten at the start of Iftar every day during Ramadan for spiritual reasons, they also come with the added bonus of multiple health benefits. One of the most important aspects of fasting is getting the right amount of energy, and considering an average serving of dates contains 31 grams (just over 1 oz) of carbohydrates, this is one of the perfect foods to give you a boost.

Dates are also a great way of getting some much-needed fibre, which will aid and improve digestion throughout Ramadan. Add to their high levels of potassium, magnesium and B vitamins, and it quickly becomes apparent that dates are one of the healthiest fruits out there.

  1. Boost your brain

No doubt, you’ll be aware of the positive effects fasting can have on your mental wellbeing and spiritual focus, but the brain-boosting powers of Ramadan are even more significant than you might think. A study carried out by scientists in the USA found that the mental focus achieved during Ramadan increases the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which causes the body to produce more brain cells, thus improving brain function.

Likewise, a distinct reduction in the amount of the hormone cortisol, produced by the adrenal gland, means that stress levels are greatly reduced both during and after Ramadan.

  1. Ditch bad habits

Because you will be fasting during the day, Ramadan is the perfect time to ditch your bad habits for good. Vices such as smoking and sugary foods should not be indulged during Ramadan, and as you abstain from them, your body will gradually acclimatise to their absence, until your addiction is kicked for good.

It’s also much easier to quit habits when you do so in a group, which should be easy to find during Ramadan. Fasting’s ability to help you cut out bad habits is so significant that the UK’s National Health Service recommends it as the ideal time to ditch smoking.

  1. Lower cholesterol

We all know that weight loss is one of the possible physical outcomes of fasting during Ramadan, but there’s also a whole host of healthy changes going on behind the scenes. A team of cardiologists in the UAE found that people observing Ramadan enjoy a positive effect on their lipid profile, which means there is a reduction of cholesterol in the blood.

Low cholesterol increases cardiovascular health, greatly reducing the risk of suffering from heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke. What’s more, if you follow a healthy diet after Ramadan, this newly lowered cholesterol level should be easy to maintain.

  1. Lasting appetite reduction

One of the main problems with extreme fad diets is that any weight lost is often quickly put back on, sometimes even with a little added extra. This isn’t the case with Ramadan. The reduction in food consumed throughout fasting causes your stomach to gradually shrink, meaning you’ll need to eat less food to feel full.

If you want to get into the habit of healthy eating then Ramadan is a great time to start. When it’s finished your appetite will be lower than it was before, and you’ll be far less likely to overindulge with your eating.

  1. Detoxify

As well as being great for spiritually cleansing yourself, Ramadan acts as a fantastic detox for your body. By not eating or drinking throughout the day, your body will be offered the rare chance to detoxify your digestive system throughout the month.

When your body starts eating into fat reserves to create energy, it will also burn away any harmful toxins that might be present in fat deposits. This body cleanse will leave a healthy blank slate behind, and is the perfect stepping stone to a consistently healthy lifestyle.

  1. Absorb more nutrients

By not eating throughout the day during Ramadan you’ll find that your metabolism becomes more efficient, meaning the amount of nutrients you absorb from food improves. This is because of an increase in a hormone called adiponectin, which is produced by a combination of fasting and eating late at night, and allows your muscles to absorb more nutrients.

This will lead to health benefits all around the body, as various areas are able to better absorb and make use of the nutrients they need to function.

Blame Cancer, But Blame The Health System More

HEALTH REVIEW

FRANCIS EZEDIUNO

This is a wakeup call because the scourge of cancer in the whole of Nigeria is real; the government is simply not doing enough to tackle this disease headlong with all the will it got at its disposal.

Cancer is a very expensive ailment to manage and when a good majority of Nigerians are below the poverty belt, then there is need for government intervention at all levels of health care in this country to deal with this scourge.

Cancer has dealt a heavy blow to many Nigerians both rich and poor alike. It does not select its patients, it preys on both the rich and poor and mercilessly squeezes life out of its victims with the attendants pains associated with it.

Just take a look on the face of a cancer patient and see the level of pain, frustration and disappointment it portrays.

In a country where cancer is a death sentence, where do patients run to and what do their relatives and friends do in order to alleviate their pains.

According to information made available to OSUN DEFENDER, there are only four cancer radiotherapy [RT] machines in the country and these can be found at EKO Hospital, Lagos, University College Hospital [UCH], Ibadan, Oyo State, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital [ABUTH], Zaria, Kaduna State and National Hospital, Abuja.

Of all three, only the machine at the National Hospital, Abuja could be said to be functioning very well and so by implication, only one RT is serving the lot of cancer patients in the country.

Most of the cancer patients are at the mercy of many obstacles which present themselves as the peculiar Nigerian problem.

These problems are numerous to mention. If medical doctors are not on strike, allied health workers would be, if the system is not crying of corruption, funds made available for the supply, purchase of those delicate medical equipments are either being siphoned or used to buy substandard ones.

Reality is the diagnosis of cancer is not a sentence to death but because the Nigerian government is so insensitive to the health sector, many factors have combined to make this disease a death sentence.

In the whole of the South West, Nigeria, it is only at the University College Hospital, Ibadan in Oyo state that the RT machine can even be used for palliative treatment. Meaning, the disease would just be managed until the patient dies later.

You can imagine a situation where, there is no RT machine in the whole of Osun State; the three teaching hospitals in the state; OAUTHC, Ile-Ife, LTH Osogbo and State of Osun Teaching Hospital, Osogbo. The scenario is that, if a patient is diagnosed of the disease after going through the numerous tests, depending on the stage of the disease, some course of treatment like surgery could be carried out in the state but in the case of advanced treatment, such a patient will be referred to the UCH, Ibadan or better still LUTH or LASUTH in Lagos.

The irony is, in these hospitals, no connection, no radiotherapy, patients just resort to prayers for the repair of the radiotherapy machines and in others helping patients to see doctors is a lucrative business

200 Million People, Four Radiotherapy Machines

According to recent investigations carried out by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting [ICiR], “there are only four functioning radiotherapy machines all over the country to serve an estimated 200million Nigerians, yet the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommendation is one RT machine per 1million people, meaning Nigeria should ordinarily have roughly 200 RT machines.

To put the situation in perspective, 17 of Nigeria’s 20 teaching hospitals cannot offer radiotherapy to cancer patients.

“Painfully, of the four radiotherapy machines available all over Nigeria, only the one at the National Hospital Abuja’s is useful for curing cancer; all other three cannot. They are only useful prolonging a patient’s life; more like ‘you’re going to die anyway but let’s try not to make you die too soon”, explained Dr. C. W. Chidiebe, a cancer control advocate and Executive Director, Project Pink Blue.

“The radiotherapy machines at Zaria and Eko hospital are cobalt machines. I have interacted with so many medical physicists, clinical oncologists and radiation oncologists, and they will tell you that the beam produced by cobalt radiotherapy machines is not sufficient to prevent spread or even ensure any treatment or therapy; it is just good for palliative care only; that is the situation whereby you’re no longer trying to achieve cure but just to prolong the patient’s life.”

In Defence Of The Nigerian Medical Professional By Sayo Aluko

“…But then, according to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, we have approximately 35,000 practicing doctors in the country. Which means, it’s 1 doctor to 5,200 people in Nigeria, which further means an average Nigerian Doctor works almost 10 times more than expected, 10 times more than his/her colleagues in saner climes… “…the body holding data on doctors in the UK, says that 5,250 Nigerian doctors were working in the UK as at April 25, 2018. Checking the same data today, May 13, 2018, that number has grown to 5,273 – that is an alarming increase of 23 emigrant doctors in 17 days….”

Last year, my 7-month old son was sick. A good friend had introduced us to a kind pediatric Doctor who owned a private practice somewhere in town. He doubled as a Senior Registrar at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

The day came to meet up with this Doctor, and he was by obligation at work in UCH – we had to go meet him there and not at his private practice as hoped.

Well, we saw hell.

The Doctor ordered a Malaria Parasite (MP) test and a Full Blood Count (FBC) for our son. Let me just say myself and his mother weren’t thinking aright right there that day – because, somehow, we made the unthinkable mistake of approaching the UCH Laboratory for these tests. Five freaking hours later, we were still waiting for the results. Yes, 5 hours, you read right.

I can’t remember the number of times I went back to that Lab that day asking and asking “what’s up, how far?”, only to be served an unproductive and lukewarm response. I also can’t remember the last time I was that vexed to stupor – waiting in pain, waiting in vain.

We finally received sense, drove out of UCH to a private lab just across its second gate, and paid 100% more (₦3000) than what we paid to the UCH lab for the same procedure(s); in barely 25-30 minutes, we were done and headed back with results of the tests.

The Doctor provided consult, and as we headed out, I bumped on some activity at the Emergency Unit of the hospital that added more flux to my vexation.

Three accidents victims, all bathed in blood and apparent writhe, were brought (not rushed) to receive emergent treatment at that supposed Emergency unit. The first Nurse came out strutting and laughing tiresomely off a banter she was having with a male colleague, who on his part, was sifting through some rack of files inside.

I shouted twice, “E se kia now! E se kia! ” [Hurry!]

Whether I was heard or not, I still can’t say till today; because, it was as if I just bellowed into thin air, they did not flinch.

Picture the pace of a snail in reverse, that was the nonchalant pace these guys, three nurses and a Doctor, were using to render deemergent treatment at a supposed Emergency Unit. No urgency, no passion, no drive, and no Hippocratic appetite in sight.

At that point my vexation had morphed into indignation, and I chose to just walk away from that scene before I burst into a fit. It was a hell of a day.

All my indignation was clearly directed at the poor services I experienced and witnessed, and also directed at the people behind it (laboratory guys, the nurses, the doctors and the admin of the hospital).
But, later that fateful day, after rechanneling my anger into deeper thought about the whole UCH experience and also a thought about the big picture, I reckoned that the anger I felt and expressed was misdirected.

I reckoned without doubt, that the average Nigerian Medical professional is also a victim; that, they too are victims of a crushed system, victims of the listless lull largely existent in Nigeria’s healthcare system. They are not the ones I should direct my indignation towards.

Dear reader, the average Nigerian medical professional encounters our national decay on a daily basis and at a very close personal and professional range. And, sadly, a lot of compromise in effort and output definitely stems from this.

Either partly or fully, that frustration that you see, that inhumane tendency, that poor service, that lack of drive, passion and urgency, that apathy you complain about, all have valid roots in the agelong crack in the system.

They are overworked, fatigued, underpaid, sometimes unpaid, discouraged, and most unfairly, de-skilled.

As an example, I know for fact, that apart from the overworking, the worst thing you will do to any Medical Doctor who is primed by oath to save lives, is to drown him/her in a swathe of theory, and thereby de-skill and “de-teach” them, albeit in a supposed “Teaching hospital”.

This above, is a modest way to describe the unbelievable and unbearable theoretic torture most Resident doctors face in UCH and in most, if not all of our teaching hospitals across the country.

Last week, I visited a couple of my Doctor friends who work inside UCH, and all those indignant feelings from my experience months ago came back to me while we talked. Two of them are junior residents, and the other one, a final year student who could have graduated by the end of this present month if they weren’t on strike.

They wailed endlessly about the substandard and anachronistic work environment they are forced to put up with as Doctors.

“Sayo, I sought residency here because I felt UCH was the best. But, bòbó, imagine that they don’t even have IVF equipment in their OB-GYN. All we do in a supposed residency program is theory, theory, and more theory”, one of them said.

“They have only one malfunctional MRI machine Sayo. A machine that’s supposed to give you a clearer image for better diagnosis, gives you the opposite”, another moaned.

“Sayo, in another 5 years, maybe only CHEWS* will remain to dispense Healthcare in Nigeria”, she echoed.

“See, me, I’m already saving money for my PLAB, I can’t wait to finish and leave here. It’s like we are being trained to kill lives, not save lives”, chanted the one in his final year.

Well, you should know, that almost every Nigerian Doctor or medical professional you meet has at least one personal tale of woe along their professional journeys, that brews from the substandard and neanderthal nature of medical practice in Nigeria; surgeries by candle light, a litany of preventable mortalities, NEPA ‘showing up’ at bad times, getting stuck to antique techniques, etc.

As at the time of writing this piece, the UCH, Nigeria’s premier teaching hospital, is dry and competes with the graveyard in decibels of silence. Almost every arm of activity therein is on industrial strike. The Provost of the college and the medical students too are at an impasse regarding a sudden hike in fees.

So, for some weeks now, it’s been ‘no treating, no teaching’ at the “iconic” teaching hospital.

A dirge of emptiness, empty beds, empty drug shelves, empty hands, empty labs, empty, empty, empty, rings into your consciousness as you walk round the hospital, and sadly, this is not sensationalizing it. I wish I were.

The way it is today, if Queen Elizabeth visits UCH now, instead of being unable to recognize the edifice she commissioned years ago due to graded levels of improvement over the years, she’ll have perfect nostalgia [SELAH].

The way it is today, a sick Nigerian stands a better chance to be correctly and promptly diagnosed and treated by watching some episodes of Grey’s Anatomy drama series, than inside a government hospital in Nigeria.

The way it is today, the best Nigerian Doctor is the one whose guess-work game is exponential. Guess work.

In all, most Nigerian Medical professionals are just tired to the marrow. They are just tired. And yes, they are fleeing in droves to better and befitting pastures.

According to AfricaCheck.org, Nigeria loses an average of 12 Medical Doctors to the UK alone every WEEK!

The UK General Medical Council, the body holding data on doctors in the UK, says that 5,250 Nigerian doctors were working in the UK as at April 25, 2018. Checking the same data today, May 13, 2018, that number has grown to 5,273 – that is an alarming increase of 23 emigrant doctors in 17 days.

This efflux of hands to the UK alone. That means more figures when other countries are considered.

Actually, a survey conducted in August 2017 by a Nigerian Polling organization, NOIPolls, in partnership with Nigeria Health Watch, revealed that about 9 out of every 10 (88 percent) medical doctors in Nigeria, from final year students to Consultants, are actively and currently seeking work opportunities abroad. This figure includes my three Doctor friends I mentioned above.

In fact, at the time when this poll was conducted, many Nigerian doctors were (and many more are) registered to write foreign medical exams such as PLAB for the UK (30 percent), USMLE for the United States (30 percent), MCCE for Canada (15 percent), AMC for Australia (15 percent) and DHA for Dubai (10 percent) amongst others.

In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation puts the ideal doctor-patient ratio at 1 to 600. National Population Commission (NPC) projects our current population to be about 182 million at a 3.5% growth rate from the 2006 census. This means we need about 303,333 medical doctors now, and at least 10,605 new doctors annually to join the workforce in order to fit that WHO recommendation, like some other countries who don’t have a quarter of Nigeria’s potential. I mean, if a country like Libya can meet up….

But then, according to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, we have approximately 35,000 practicing doctors in the country. Which means, it’s 1 doctor to 5,200 people in Nigeria, which further means an average Nigerian Doctor works almost 10 times more than expected, 10 times more than his/her colleagues in saner climes.

It’s all sickening maths,…these figures.

While we were talking, my Doctor friends told me one of the stories that keeps fueling their acquired lack of faith in Nigeria and their resolve to leave soon.

Over a year ago, they said the Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole, who is a product of UCH himself and who is also the immediate-past Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, was around on a working visit. My friends said they were “moved” by the way the Minister spoke, especially after promising that his office will “promptly” facilitate the procurement of modern facilities into the hospital and even an IVF equipment to their department. But, while they (new residents at the time) were clapping for the Minister, to their surprise, their senior colleagues seemed totally uninterested in the Minister’s talk and promises. They later asked why, and were told that their uninterest stems from the fact that they’ve heard many of such promises from government officials without any fulfillment.

Almost a year and half later, the senior colleagues remain right, my friends clapped for nothing, because nothing has happened indeed. And that point, I even asked, “must promises be made before a government realizes a need to perform an obligation in the first place?”

This is the saddening situation of things in Nigeria’s health sector at the moment, also how it has always been.

And now, if you raise convictions against the present government that they haven’t “CHANGEd” anything in true effect as promised, and that they should allow Sai Baba to retire in order to pave way for something new and braver, Buharideens will call me names and say hogwash like, “errr, people like you don’t understand how government works, errr, 16 years of….”

16 years kee you dia!

In this era, the Minister of Health oversaw the “rehabilitation” of the President’s son in Germany after suffering a head injury from a biking spree; the President himself just came back from his umpteenth foreign medical checkups against the gradient of his words; he’s back to be ushered into a party congress that will cement his reelection bid, a party congress reported to gulp a six(6) Billion Naira contribution from APC Governors.

It is obvious that the political elite in our country just seems deliberately blinded to the consequences of our failed health sector, as no sane person should be able to understand why a UCH for example, just like any other Nigerian tertiary or general health institution, can be not only substandard in setup and output, but also rendered totally useless for weeks!!

Among many endless things that 6 billion Naira will do to change the fortunes of medicare and medicarers in Nigeria, it will setup complete IVF equipment in 20 of our 22 teaching hospitals as an example, or buy 10 MRI machines spread across them. But, then, according to vuvuzelas of CHANGE, the underpaid and frustrated Nigerian Medical professional can’t “understand how government works”.

Yes, they can’t, and today, I rise in their defence, choosing to totally understand their desire to fly away in order to learn better and earn better, as against staying here to moan whenever and yearn forever.

PS: Oh! I forgot to tell you that we eventually got my son’s test results from the UCH Laboratory that day, some 7 hours later; the FBC was inconclusive. No kidding.

Asthma: Experts Harp On Effective Management

FRANCIS EZEDIUNO

As the whole world celebrates the World Asthma Day [WAD] 2018, a day which comes up on every first Tuesday in the month of May, physicians have maintained that in order to properly manage the genetic disorder, sufferers should make adequate use of medications, inhalers and stoppage of drug overdose.

They also maintained that being a chronic disease, management is mainly through the use of medications and also a change in lifestyle.

Speaking on the background of the year 2018 WAD theme: “Never Too Early, Never Too Late: It’s Always The Right Time To Address Airways Disease”, Dr. Atilola Adeleke , a family Medicine Physician with the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, [LTH], Osogbo, stated that the problem facing the management of the disease condition is multifaceted.

According to him, “It involves the patients, health care providers, as well as the availability of health care facilities.

“Lack of resources in terms of procurement of drugs; inappropriate diagnosis on the side of health care providers although not common and lack of adequate follow up in our health care centres are some of the issues”.

In proffering a way out, the physician counseled that the solution was early presentation and compliance on the part of the patients.

“Appropriate diagnosis and good follow up on the part of physicians and provision of basic equipment at our hospitals as well as subsidy on some of the drugs for the patients are solutions”, he added.

Adeleke stressed that Asthma is a deadly disease which should not be handled with kid gloves in case an emergency presents itself.

“Any Asthma patient who has come down with an attack should take his or her medication, most likely an inhaler and should report to the nearest health facility for treatment”.

Another physician, Dr. Alatise noted that Asthma is an emergency which has several challenges arising as it is being managed, saying, first, the population lacked the information on how to approach and prevent future attacks and also to recognize acute asthmatic symptoms and carry out basic home care.

Dr. Alatise also revealed that most health facilities lack basic emergency kits and medications and even oxygen for first aid and resuscitation might not be available.

He charged doctors, nurses and other health care workers on the need to routinely update their knowledge on acute asthma management protocol.

“The information is readily known in other climes. Health professionals, television and radio stations need to do more in the area of awareness creation”.

Tolulope Babatope, an Asthma patient who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER, revealed that it had been tough coping with the condition but because she had been complying with the advice of her physician, whenever she experienced attack, she always used her medications.

“When I was first diagnosed of the condition, I was in primary school and in order to modify my lifestyle, I was given a list of things not to do and foods not to eat. It was not easy at first but as time went on and because I wanted a change in my health status, I had to adhere to it.

“The Asthma is still there and I still experience attacks occasionally but the attack is not as dangerous as that of a patient who has not been faithful with their medication”.

JOHESU Strike: Pros And Cons Of An Industrial Action In Health Sector

FRANCIS EZEDIUNO

“When two elephants squabble, it is the grass that bears the brunt”. This is typical of the in-fighting going on between the Joint Health Staff Union [JOHESU] and the Federal Ministry of Health and by implication, the Federal Government on one hand and on the other hand between the said body and the Nigerian Medical Association [NMA].

JOHESU comprising of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives [NANNM], Medical and Health Workers Union [MHWUN], Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals and National Union of Allied Health Professionals [NUAHP], Radiologists, Pharmacists, Laboratory Technicians and others have been at a logger head with the federal government for a long time over the harmonization of their salaries.

This means they have been agitating for their salaries and allowances to be at par with what is obtainable in the NMA and other affiliated medical unions.

They have been agitating for this over a long time, and over time, the federal government according to the JOHESU leadership had been giving them promises only to renege at the last moment and they return to status quo.

Joining the squabble is the NMA, whose leadership has come out to denounce the JOHESU and referred to them as an illegal body whose only interest is to create disharmony in the health sector in the country, a sector which many stakeholders see as already suffering from decades of neglect by governments of different levels, be it federal, state and local governments.

Before the recent action, JOHESU had intended to commence the strike on Saturday 7th April, 2018 but common sense prevailed and eventually, the massive nationwide action commenced 21st April after 21 days notice was issued to the federal government and the public.

Many Nigerians are complaining, the reason being that the public health sector before this round of industrial action was in tatters, and a further strike by any health union would serve to hit the nail on the fragile fabric piecing it together.

All round the country, from Lagos to Sokoto, Delta to Kaduna, Bayelsa to Jigawa and Akwa-Ibom to Yobe states, the sad story is all the same. Patients and their relatives are all complaining. In Nigeria, it is only the rich that can afford medical tourism and this is a trend the present government promised to eradicate

As its usual with most industrial actions in the country, the blame has been placed squarely at the table of the federal government and several calls have been made to well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to, by way of intervention bring the federal government to the negotiating table and also bring about the implementation of the promises it made to the union in September, 2017.

In an interview recently, the JOHESU National President; Mr. Josiah Biobelemoye disclosed that the union decided to embark on the ongoing indefinite strike to achieve their demand on upward adjustment of consolidated salary structure [COHESS], employment of additional health workers, implementation of court judgment, upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65 among others.

He expressed surprise that the adjustments of COHESS for the NMA [medical doctors] took the federal government just 15 days to comply with while six months after the same federal government is yet to comply with JOHESU demands.

Another issue on the front burner is that of fairness in the appointment of top level officials of the Federal Ministry of Health, medical doctors as Minister, JOHESU member as Minister of State, since they make up 95% of ministry staff and the Permanent Secretary can be a seasoned administrator but the opposite has been the case.

The Nigerian Medical Association [NMA], through its National Chairman, Dr. Mike Ogirima, emphatically stated that JOHESU was an illegal, unregistered union that is full of envy, rivalry and lies.

Ogirima also stated that the strike was aimed at the medical doctors, an accusation which was denied by JOHESU as mere lies adding that the NMA’s stock in trade was lying.

The whole reason for this fight, the union which is duly recognized by the Nigerian Labour Congress [NLC] announced, was for equity and equality in salary and other issues, saying they have no quarrel with the medical doctors and their association which was not a registered union under the NLC.

The strike for now involves only federal government owned medical institutions which comprises of teaching and specialist hospitals, federal medical centres, the National Hospital, Abuja, federal government owned medical research institutes and others and health institutions in both the state and local government levels have, by the strike action been placed on red alert to continue intense mobilization and sensitization of members for possible entry into the fray if the government foot drags when the time comes.

From news and feelers, this time around JOHESU is ready for a showdown with the government and they are going to disrupt health and medical services in all health institutions until their demands are met. In other words, the strike is indefinite!

What is the implication for Osun? This is a state that is just recovering from an industrial action which the state’s chapter of the NMA embarked on. This is a state which is trying to establish its own health insurance agency. This is a state which is recovering from months of blame trading in the health sector.

This is a state where despite the joint status of the Osun and Oyo owned Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital [LTH], Osogbo and the State of Osun University Teaching Hospital, patients are still being referred to the federal government-owned Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex [OAUTHC], Ile-Ife for upward review.

With the indefinite industrial action in the foremost medical institution, where do hospitals in the state refer their patients to when such situation arises?

This situation does not mean well for the health sector which calls for all stakeholders to get involved in the negotiation process and make sure this action does not exceed this month. Afterall, “health is wealth”, they say.

The constituents unions that make up JOHESU are the bones and sinews of the health institutions. The task of taking care of patients from the outpatients, wards, surgeries, clinics, and laboratories and so on cannot be left to only doctors, laboratory scientists and hospital administration staff. This is not possible even if they decide to give them a crash course on how to go about it.

Such an action now in Osun is not welcomed since it will not be in the best interest of the common man. The rich can easily find their way but what about the poor?

Already JOHESU OAUTHC, Ile-Ife, has joined the strike, eventhough the keg of gunpowder has not yet exploded in the state, already the fuse has been lit in Ile-Ife, and if the national body of the union gives the signal to the state and local government affiliates, then the explosion would be loudest in the state.

The state is just reeling from the effects of the last NMA strike, if a JOHESU strike begins in the state, then may God have mercy.

The stakeholders in the health sector and those who have its interest at heart should prevail upon the government, JOHESU, NMA to sheath their swords and let peace reign.

Photo Of The Day: Shocking Picture Of Sokoto Residents Receiving Drips Under A Tree

The Twitter user exposed the terrible state of a community in Sokoto State where the patients were pictured receiving treatments under a tree. The twitter user said;

‘The PHC at Kaffe Gada LGA,Sokoto state is being upgraded. Take a look at patients receiving treatments under trees. What a situation in Nigeria.This is really sad and demoralizing. Bash can u see how the Inocent are been treated with the hope if Buhari comes we will not see this”.

 

SHOCKING: One Nigerian Dies Every 2 Minutes From Stroke

A shocking discovery has been revealed that at least one person dies every two minutes in Nigeria from stroke.

Nigeria’s first female neurologist, Prof. Njideka Okubadejo, disclosed this at her Inaugural Lecture at the University in Lagos.

The lecture was titled “Strokes of Movement and Trips: Strategic Opportunism as An Approach to Improve Neurological Care in Africa”. According to her, the estimated stroke mortality rate in Nigeria is between 120 and 240 per 100,000 population.

“Extrapolated to our current estimated population of approximately 184 million, according to www.population.gov.ng, this translates to about 281,520 deaths annually,” she said.

Okubadejo said “a stroke is a medical emergency in which the flow of blood to a portion of the brain stops suddenly.

“Brain cells are dependent on oxygen within the blood and without this, start to die after a few minutes, hence the maxim, ‘Time is Brain.

“Stroke symptoms reflect the area of the brain that has been injured and although recovery is possible, particularly with early intervention.

“Strokes can result in lasting brain damage, long-term disability or even death,’’ she said.

She explained that there were two types of strokes; the Ischaemic, which the blood flow is blocked, and the Haemorrhagic, which the blood vessel breaks open or ruptures, leaking blood and damaging brain cells, due to pressure effect.

The neurologist explained on the sidelines of the lecture that addressing risk factors that cause stroke was the best way of preventing it.

“The important thing to note is that some strokes will not give you the opportunity to get to the hospital.

“But addressing the risk factors, particularly the strongest factor, hypertension, will reduce the number of people that die from stroke everyday.

“If you have hypertension, pay attention to ensuring that your hypertension is treated and that your blood pressure is well controlled,” she advised.

The don said that other factors that causes stroke included diabetes mellitus, heart disease and social factors like smoking, drug abuse and heavy alcohol consumption.

 

Joint Health Sector Union Begin Nationwide Strike

The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) says it has commenced nationwide indefinite strike which according to Mr Obisesan Oluwatuyi, General Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) would not be called off until government meets their demands.

While disclosing this to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja Oluwatuyi said that they He said: “The soldiers have been let loose, no retreat, no surrender until government does the needful”.

Members of the JOHESU had earlier threatened to embark on a nationwide indefinite strike beginning on Tuesday midnight due to alleged Federal Government’s failure to meet their demands.

Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, President of the union, who issued the strike notice on Monday, attributed the industrial action to what he described as the “insensitivity and lackadaisical attitude of drivers of the health sector’’.

He directed all JOHESU members in federal health institutions across the country to commence the strike at midnight of April 17.

Biobelemoye listed their demands to include upward adjustment of CONHESS Salary Scale, arrears of skipping of CONHESS 10 and employment of additional health professionals.

Other demands are implementation of court judgments and upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years.

Biobelemoye, who said that the union suspended its last nationwide strike on Sept. 30, last year, after signing a Memorandum of Terms of Settlement (MOTS), with the federal government.

According to him, the MOTS was supposed to be implemented within five weeks after the date of suspension of the strike.

He, however, noted that six months after the suspension of the nationwide strike, government was yet to do anything tangible over the pending issues.

According to him, the union had on Feb. 5 given a fresh 21 days ultimatum to enable government meet the agreement reached.

The JOHESU president stated that the union gave an additional 30 working days effective from March 5, after the expiration of the earlier 21 days ultimatum.

Biobelemoye, who described the union members as peace lovers, emphasised that the 45 days was given simply because the union had the interest of the masses at heart.

“It is disheartening to note that after six months of suspension of our last strike and still counting, the Federal Government has not done anything tangible over pending issues especially on the flagship issue of CONHESS adjustment and payment of arrears of CONHESS 10 skipping.

“JOHESU as a mature and responsible organisation gave 21 days notice on Feb. 5, this year, in the first instance to enable the Federal Government to do the needful.

“At the expiration of the 21 days notice, the leadership of JOHESU reconvened to re-appraise the situation on ground and noted the lackadaisical attitude of the government toward the implementation of the Memorandum of Terms of Settlement signed on Sept. 30.

“On April 5, 2018, the Minister of Labour and Employment invited the leadership of JOHESU for a meeting wherein we were told that our issues were still being looked into, this shows that government is taking JOHESU for a ride,’’ he said.

Biobelemoye urged members at the states and local government health institutions on continuous sensitisation and mobilisation for possible solidarity strike, if government failed to attend to their demands.

He also called on well-meaning Nigerians including traditional leaders, elder statesmen, opinion leaders and general public to prevail on government to implement MOTS entered into with JOHESU on Sept. 30, 2017.

Biobelemoye explained JOHESU members were not clamouring for equality with doctors but equity and justice, advising medical doctors and the Federal Ministry of Health to change their perception of the demands.

JOHESU draws its membership from the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Medical and Health Workers Union (MHWUN), and Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals.

Others include Research Institutes and Associated Institutions, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals and Non-academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutes.

 

HEALTH MATTERS: Care Of The Aged

FRANCIS EZEDIUNO

We will get old one day and it is the prayer of everybody to grow old in good health and vitality.

Medical science that specialises in the medical care and treatment of old people is called Geriatrics while that of infants and children is referred to as Paediatrics.

Elderly care or care of the aged is the fulfillment of the special needs and requirements that are unique to senior citizens. This broad term encompasses such services such as; assisted living, adult day care, long term care, nursing homes, hospice care [for terminally ill patients], and home care.

Elderly care emphasizes the social and personal requirements of senior citizens who need some assistance with daily activities and health care, also for the aged, at is important to note that the design of housing, services, activities, employee training and health care delivery should be truly customer centered.

However, it has been observed that the elderly in the globe consume the most health expenditures out of any other age group as comprehensive observations has shown.

Traditionally, elderly care has been the responsibility of family members and are provided within the extended family home. Increasingly in modern societies, elderly care is now being provided by state or charitable institutions which include private and religious institutions.

The reasons for this change include decreasing family size, the greater life expectancy of elderly people, the geographical dispersion of families, and the tendency for women to be educated and work outside the home.

Organisations or individuals that provide room and board, personal and health care also provide rehabilitation services in a family environment for at least two and no more than six persons.

It is important for caregivers and health workers to ensure that measures are put into place to preserve and promote function rather than contribute to a decline in status in an older adult that has physical limitations.

Caregivers need to be conscious of actions and behaviours that can cause aged adults to become dependent on them and need to allow older patients to maintain as much independence as possible. Providing information to the older patient on why it is important to perform self-care may allow them to see the benefit in performing self-care independently.

If the older adults are able to complete self-care activities on their own, or even if they need supervision, encourage them in their efforts as maintaining independence can provide them with a sense of accomplishment and the ability to maintain independence longer.

One of the problems that may confront people as they grow old is the issue of mobility. For years, these senior citizens have been used to going out in the morning and coming back late in the evening. Now, in their twilight, they have to seat around doing nothing and if they are lucky they have their grandchildren around them to give them some comfort.

Impaired mobility is another major health concern for older adults, affecting 50% of people over 85 and at least a quarter of those over 75. As adults lose the ability to walk, to climb stairs, and to rise from a chair, they become completely disabled. The problem cannot be ignored because it has the tendency to bring on suicidal thoughts.

Therapy designed to improve mobility in elderly patients is usually built around diagnosing and treating specific impairments, such as reduced strength or poor balance. It is appropriate to compare older adults seeking to improve their mobility to athletes seeking to improve their split times.

People in both groups perform best when they measure their progress and work towards specific goals related to strength, aerobic capacity, and other physical qualities. Someone attempting to improve an older adult’s mobility must decide what impairments to focus on, and in many cases, there is little scientific evidence to justify any of the options. Today, many caregivers choose to focus on leg strength and balance.

We cannot however overrule the fact that some seniors are blessed with eternal strength and abundant energy coupled with youthful figure that even in their advanced years, they are still going strong.

The family is one of the most important providers for the elderly. In fact, the majority of caregivers for the elderly are often members of their own family, most often a daughter or a granddaughter. Family and friends can provide a home (i.e. have elderly relatives live with them), help with money and meet social needs by visiting, taking them out on trips and so on.

Many an aged person has died due to neglect on the part of family members and relatives. Apart from providing for them, there is need to show them TLC, Tender! Loving! Care!

Have you ever stopped to wonder why in your youthful days, when you fall, you get up and keep going but as you age, falling now becomes a burden and you take care to avoid a fall.

That is what happens to elders and falling is one phase often associated with aging. One of the major causes of elderly falls is hyponatremia, an electrolyte disturbance when the level of sodium in a person’s serum drops below 135 mEq/L. Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder encountered in the elderly patient population.

Studies have shown that older patients are more prone to hyponatremia as a result of multiple factors including physiologic changes associated with aging such as decreases in glomerular filtration rate, a tendency for defective sodium conservation, and increased vasopressin activity. Mild hyponatremia ups the risk of fracture in elderly patients because hyponatremia has been shown to cause subtle neurologic impairment that affects gait and attention, similar to that of moderate alcohol intake.

Aisha Buhari Urges Private Doctors To Make Fees Affordable

First lady of Nigeria Mrs Aisha Buhari, has appealed to the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) to make their medical fees affordable to enable all Nigerians access quality healthcare.

Mrs Buhari said this on Wednesday when she received the group led by its leader, Dr Frank Odofen, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja while members involved in the World Organisation of Family Doctors visited Mrs Buahri to inform her of their desire to partner with her NGO, the Future Assured initiative.

The wife of the President said that the call became necessary considering the huge amount of money Nigerians are spending on medical tourism.

Mrs Buhari advised the group to always expose quack doctors in other to protect and safeguard the health and lives of many Nigerians.

” There is a need for your association to look into or revisit the hospital fees you charge, you know Private health care is expensive, make your charges affordable to Nigerians.

” As an Association, there is need for you to also check cases of abuse in other to sanitise the system”.

She said that there is a need for the doctors to always adhere strictly to the code of their profession and the areas of specialisation.

She also disclosed that the Federal Government was working to establish ten thousand (10,000) primary healthcare centres across the country with a view to boost healthcare service delivery.

The wife of the President, however, said that her NGO, the ‘Future Assured’ initiative is working to establish a functional rehabilitation centre to cater for the children of the less privileged families, who are suffering from one illness or another.

She assured the delegation of her readiness to partner with the group for the development and wellbeing of women and children in Nigeria.

In her response, the President of the World Organisation of Family Doctors, Prof. Amanda Howe, said that the aim of the visit was to appreciate Mrs Buahri`s efforts towards improving the health conditions of women and children in Nigeria.

Howe said that the organisation had membership across Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and the Eastern Mediterranean.

She said that the organisation was working with communities and families to provide medical care in the respective countries.

She expressed her appreciation to the Federal Government`s efforts in providing adequate primary healthcare centres across Nigeria to tackle healthcare challenges at the grassroots, especially the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.

‘The World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA) is in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on health issues.

WONCA is a global non-profit professional Organisation representing family physicians and general practitioners from all regions of the world; it was founded in 1972.

The meeting was attended by the Senior Special Assistant to the President Dr Hajo Sani as well as former Deputy Governor of Plateau State Mrs Pauline Tallen among others.

 

PHOTOS: Baby Born With Part Of Her Skull Jutting Out Of Her Head Survives Against Odds

Little Ah Neath was born in February in a remote village in eastern Cambodia with part of her skull jutting out at the back of her head.

According to Doctors, she has anencephaly – a condition that means a portion of her brain and skull are missing. As a result, Ah Neath was kept in hospital for two months, where she was given regular oxygen to regulate her breathing.

Her mum Srey and dad Heang were forced to sell their family home to pay for her medical care. Fortunately, she has survived so far and has now been discharged. She is living with family in the Ponhea Kraek District.

Mum Srey said: “I knew there was something very wrong with my baby when she was born.

“I have cried for days and asked people to donate money.

“We are poor and have sold our home and land to try to save my daughter. She is healthy, but her head does not have all of the skull