ALERT: Nigerian beans causes liver cancer – UN expert

Written by Adeeko Ademola

Dr. Heiner Lehr, the National Expert on Value Chain, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, on Wednesday linked a percentage of liver cancer cases in Africa to aflatoxins.

Lehr made the assertion while delivering a keynote address at the 1st Nigeria Food Safety and Investment Forum in Lagos.

The expert, who spoke on: “Nigeria Value Chain Improvement,” said the presence of aflatoxins in beans and other food products pose serious danger to consumers of such product.

Lehr said: “If a lactating mother is exposed to aflatoxins, the breast milk is also contaminated with aflatoxins.

“Cows that eat feeds contaminated with aflatoxins also will produce contaminated milk.”

Lehr noted that 70 per cent of beans exported from Nigeria to Europe were rejected and Nigeria incurred a ban from the European Union because of the presence of aflatoxins and pesticides in such food products.

He said: “Seventy per cent of all shipments of beans that came to Europe were filled with pesticides; and subsequently trade with EU was suspended.”

The expert said that a conduit of excellence was required to ensure that local products meet international requirements with zero rejects.

He said: “A conduit of excellence is a dedicated supply chain around key quality infrastructure elements embedded in a full chain quality and safety management.”

Lehr said when the process of the conduit of excellence was observed, food could be exported without any issues in the international market.

According to him, this will breed success through long term access to high value markets.

Lehr said: “When the conduit of excellence is followed through, we become role models to others to follow.”

The expert said that following the conduit of excellence required good agricultural practice, proper record keeping and a clarification on the roles of extension services.

He said that the foods passed through NAFDAC laboratory in Kaduna and Technology Incubation Centre in Lagos are certified okay by the global community.

Lehr said that meeting the quality and safety needs of foods meant for export required inputs from the private and public sectors.

He said that there was the need to make a case for investment and a national awareness that would meet national and foreign demand.

Lehr said: “The inter-ministerial committee had adopted the conduits of excellence as a key methodology to achieve the goal of zero rejects.

“Nigeria needs to be perceived in the international community as a deliverer of quality and safe food.”

Nigerian University Announces Cure for HIV/AIDS

Prof. Francis Otunta, the Vice Chancellor (VC), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, in Abia, has confirmed the discovery of a new drug for the treatment and cure of HIV/AIDS.

Otunta told newsmen at the university campus on Wednesday that the finding followed years of scientific research by the institution.

He said that the breakthrough was made by Prof. Maduike Ezeibe, a researcher in the university.

According to him, Ezeibe had presented the drug to the University management, Senate and Council, where he explained the processes he went through to arrive at his finding.

The VC also said that Ezeibe had equally presented the drug to his colleagues in the medical field and nobody had contradicted his finding.

“Prof. Ezeibe is a researcher in Veterinary Medicine and one may wonder how he discovered a drug to cure a human ailment,” he said.

He commended Ezeibe for the breakthrough, saying: “He has brought honour to the University and we are proud of him.”

Otunta said that the university was in the process of mass producing the drug for further clinical trials on persons living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

Ezeibe, who is a professor of Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Virology, said that the drug was produced with Aluminum Silicate and Magnesium Silicate (Synthetic Aluminum-Magnesium Silicate).

He said that the two minerals “are already in use as medicines for the treatment of various animal and human diseases”.

He said that 10 persons living with the disease, “who volunteered’’, were made to apply through their doctor to the VC.

“They were treated daily with the Medicinal Synthetic Aluminum-Magnesium Silicate (50 mg/kg),” he said.

Ezeibe said that the volunteers were subjected to monthly tests for viral loads and CD4-lymphocyte counts.

“With the antiviral effects of the medicine, its ability to reach all cells (as nanoparticles) and the lymphocytes, there is no more hiding place (sanctuary) for HIV,” he said.

He said that the medicine had been used to potentiate Ampicilin, Chloroquine, Piperazine and Sulphadimidin, among others, and could be a major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria, if approved by relevant authorities.

According to him, “local and international pharmaceutical companies would find the product as a veritable raw material”.

Ezeibe said that he presented the research findings to the World Virology Conference in Atlanta in 2015, and Antonio (Texas) in 2016.

Besides, he said that the results of the laboratory tests had been published in many international scientific journals, including the British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research, among several others.

He said that he was also about to sign a memorandum of understanding with a U.S.-based Scientific Research Publishing, publishers of World Journal of AIDS, for the publication of his book “How I came about the cure for HIV/AIDS”.

Ezeibe, who said that the medicine was patented in August 2014 in Nigeria, called on the Federal Government to help him to secure international patency for the drug.

He said: “If commercialised, the Medicinal Synthetic Aluminum-Magnesium Silicate would become an alternative for petroleum to the Nigerian economy.” (NAN)

Osun Govt Secures German Medical Experts to Tackle Cancer

In line with the Six Point Integral Action Plan of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the Osun State government has secured the commitment of a notable German institute to assist the state on improved health care delivery.

A team of seasoned German oncologists from the Institute for Operative Medicine of the Otto-yon Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany, will be in the Osun state between Feb 1 to Feb 4 2017 to perfect plans on collaborative effort on control, treatment and management of various class of cancer in the state.

The programme will include cancer screening right from Primary Health Centre to Secondary and Tertiary health care system. Cancer is known to be third leading cause of death in this part of the world.

The Institute for Operative Medizine of the Otto-yon Guericke-University had acceded to the request of the state government to tackle headlong health challenges posed by cancer related diseases and as well render services on general surgery operation

According to a letter of acknowledgment signed by the Head of the institute, Prof. Hans Lippert, the institute will also support the state Government fully in cancer preventive awareness

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health in Osun State, Dr Adeyinka Eso, said the four-day visit of the German oncologist team will afford the medical experts in the state health ministry some high level technical interaction on control and management of cancer disease at all tiers of the state health system.

City Mirror

Scientists Discover a New Organ in the Human Body

Scientists recently discovered what they are calling a new human organ that exists in the digestive system.

Named the mesentery, the organ was previously thought to consist of fragmented and disparate structures. Researchers found, however, that it is one continuous organ and outlined evidence to classify it as such in a review published in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

“In the paper, which has been peer reviewed and assessed, we are now saying we have an organ in the body which hasn’t been acknowledged as such to date,” J. Calvin Coffey, a researcher from the University Hospital Limerick in Ireland, who first made the discovery, said in a release.

The mesentery is a double fold of the peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdominal cavity. It connects the intestine to the abdomen.

While the mesentery’s specific function is still unknown, studying it as an organ could lead to new discoveries about its impact on abdominal diseases.

“When we approach it like every other organ … we can categorize abdominal disease in terms of this organ,” Coffey said.

Time Magzine

NMA Leadership Team Visits Gov. Aregbesola

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has charged medical practitioners on the need to always prioritise the safety of lives above other considerations while discharging their duties. He said healthcare givers must, as a matter of necessity, see the need for them to constantly establish personal/professional sacrifices, standard and quality healthcare delivery in all they do.

Aregbesola gave the charge while receiving the management team of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), led by its President, Dr. Mike Ogirima, at the Governor’s office, Osogbo.

Describing medical doctors as the best trained individuals in the world with longest university training and experience, said safety of lives remains unnegotiable to healthcare givers, Aregbesola, who lamented on the indiscriminate industrial action usually embarked upon by the health practitioners in the country, called on the leadership of NMA to do the needful in reducing the rate of strikes of its members.

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (left); exchanging greetings with the National President Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Mike Ogirima and Secretary General, Dr. Tanko Sununu (right), during the courtesy visit to the Governor by the leadership of Nigerian Medical Association, at the Governor's office, Abere, Osogbo on Thursday 29-12-2016.

From left- Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, National President Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Mike Ogirima (middle), Secretary General, Dr. Tanko Sununu, and Chairman, Osun State Chapter of the Association, Dr. Tokunbo Olagumoke, during the courtesy visit to the Governor by the leadership of Nigerian Medical Association, at the Governor's office, Abere, Osogbo on Thursday 29-12-2016.

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (4th left), National President Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Mike Ogirima (4th right), Secretary General, Dr. Tanko Sununu (3rd right), Chiarman Osun State Chapter of the Association, Dr. Tokunbo Olagumoke (left), former Special Assistant to the Governo on Health Matter, Dr. Rafiu Kusamatu (2nd left), former Secretary General  Chiarman Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Kayode Akinlade (3rd left), and others, during the courtesy visit to the Governor by the leadership of Nigerian Medical Association, at the Governor's office, Abere, Osogbo on Thursday 29-12-2016.

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (3rd lef), National President Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Mike Ogirima (3rd right), Secretary General, Dr. Tanko Sununu (2nd right), Chiarman Osun State Chapter of the Association, Dr. Tokunbo Olagumoke (right), former Special Assistant to the Governo on Health Matter, Dr. Rafiu Kusamatu (left), former Secretary General  Chiarman Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Kayode Akinlade (2nd left), during the courtesy visit to the Governor by the leadership of Nigerian Medical Association, at the Governor's office, Abere, Osogbo on Thursday 29-12-2016.

Aregbesola Tasks Health Practitioners on Professionalism, Sacrifice and Quality Delivery

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has charged medical practitioners on the need to always prioritise the safety of lives above other considerations while discharging their duties.

He said healthcare givers must, as a matter of necessity, see the need for them to constantly establish personal/professional sacrifices, standard and quality healthcare delivery in all they do.

Aregbesola gave the charge while receiving the management team of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), led by its President, Dr. Mike Ogirima, at the Governor’s office, Osogbo.

Describing medical doctors as the best trained individuals in the world with longest university training and experience, said safety of lives remains unnegotiable to healthcare givers.
Aregbesola, who lamented on the indiscriminate industrial action usually embarked upon by the health practitioners in the country, called on the leadership of NMA to do the needful in reducing the rate of strikes of its members.

According to him, as much as medical practitioners press home their welfares, so they are expected to prioritise the good health of the people in the society.

He appealed to the management of NMA to let their interests in medical practice be inclusive of the physical infrastructure for healthcare delivery.

Aregbesola added, “It is unfortunate that our society has deteriorated. We have lost values in virtually everything especially on the need to prioritise our well-being.

“Doctors and other healthcare professionals are expected to be at the vanguards of lives safety. They are not expected to withdraw their services to the people not to talk of embarking on strikes.

“They are expected to be more concerned about the people’s health than they pursue the welfare of their members.

“Not until this is championed by all medical practitioners, our society remains unsafe.

Commending the Local Government health practitioners in the state, Aregbesola said “if not for them, our society would have collapsed as they have showed extreme understanding to our circumstances”.

“I must commend the local government doctors for being supportive to our administration and for always exhibiting understanding to circumstances. They never shy of saving lives”, he added.

He expressed displeasure over the state of the nation’s economy, saying “for us to appreciate that our economy has declined so badly beyond imagination, Nigeria that has been sharing N1.4trillion monthly between 2011 to June 2013 recently struggled to share N376billion for November.

He said for Osun to clearly operate as government, the state needs N10billion revenue monthly to survive.

Aregbesola said the state has adopted one of the best management strategies to meet with the salary obligations of the state’s workforce.

He said, “The current economic challenges had foisted huge difficulty on us and this has affected government to the extent that we have been receiving deficit allocations, but in spite of this, our government has been struggling to pay workers’ salaries.

“We are literally getting water from stone because I didn’t come to Osun by accident. Nobody has ever done what we have done in Osun. No one has ever attempted what we attempted in all sectors.

“Osun is one of the few states in Nigeria that have been meeting with salary obligations to workforce.”

Recounting his administration’s interventions on quality healthcare services to the people, Aregbesola said, outside Lagos, Osun remains the only state in Nigeria running all round 24/7 ambulance services.

He said Osun outside Lagos also remains the state in the southwestern Nigeria that has been so committed to workers’ welfare.

“We have over 1000 primary healthcare centres in the state. We have a good number of healthcare givers in all our centres as our state-of-the-art healthcare facilities remain superb.
“What we have done in the last 6 years equivalent to what was done in 19 years preceding our administration”, Aregbesola added.
Earlier, the NMA President, Dr. Mike Ozovehe Ogirima, commended Governor Aregbesola’s humility and high sense of commitment to human and capital developments.

He assured the state of the association’s supports just as he called on the state not to relent in its effort in prioritising the welfare of the association.

Also present at the event was the former Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu.

WHO Endorses “Very Effective” Ebola Vaccine

A major trial has shown a prototype vaccine to be “very effective” against the deadly Ebola virus, according to the World Health Organization that co-funded the study. 

Not one of the 6,000 people in Guinea who were given the test vaccine last year contracted the disease within 10 days. However, WHO announced the final results, without elaborating on what happens after 10 days as Ebola has an incubation period of up to three weeks.
Beyond Ebola: The virus hunters – TechKnow

In a comparison group of similar size, not given the vaccine, there were 23 cases in the 10 days, researchers reported in The Lancet medical journal.

“If we compare zero to 23, this strongly suggests that the vaccine is very effective, that it could be up to 100 percent effective,” Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s assistant director-general and lead author of the study, told AFP news agency.

Her team of three dozen researchers calculated a 90 percent likelihood during a full-fledged epidemic that the vaccine, known as  rVSV-ZEBOV, would work in more than 80 percent of cases.

The new vaccine – initially developed in Canada by public health authorities before being taken over by pharmaceutical giant Merck – is scheduled to be submitted to health authorities in the United States and Europe sometime next year under a fast-track approval process.

“We may have a vaccine which is registered in 2018,” Kieny said at a press conference on Thursday, noting that the standard approval process for a new drug takes a decade, if not more.

Major questions

However, it is still unknown how long the efficacy of an inoculation lasts. 

“With the Canadian Merck vaccine, you have a protection very early after vaccination, but we don’t know if it will last after six months,” Kieny said.

Also, initial tests last year did not include children, while the most recent trials covered those over six years old. 

Of the more than 6,000 people injected with the Ebola vaccine only two showed serious adverse effects, the study reported. Both recovered fully.

But it is still unknown if the vaccine is safe for children six and under, pregnant women, or people with the Aids virus – all groups that were excluded from the most recent trials.
Other Ebola vaccines under development – some of which have been tested in humans – could prove more effective over a longer period.

British firm Glaxosmithkline and Johnson & Johnson, based in the US,  each have experimental products in the pipeline.
China and Russia have also developed vaccines, with the Russian one having just finished the second phase of three-step clinical trials.

Some of these vaccines require two doses three weeks apart, and may confer a longer immunity.

“That might be better suited to immunise health workers in advance of an outbreak,” Kieny said.

Health officials also point to the fact that other strains of the virus – including one in Sudan – will require the development of separate vaccines.

First identified in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ebola virus erupted periodically in outbreaks of up to a couple hundred cases, mainly across west and east Africa.

In early 2014, however, a handful of infections in southern Guinea mushroomed rapidly into an epidemic. 

Over the next two years, more than 28,000 people fell ill, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Some 11,300 died.

With a mortality rate above 40 percent, the disease – one of a category of so-called haemorrhagic fevers – has an incubation period of up to three weeks.

It causes violent and painful symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhoea, organ failure and internal bleeding.

Aljazeera

Bioartificial Kidney, Alternative to Expensive Dialysis & Transplantation Gets Closer

Investigators are getting closer to creating a functional bioartificial kidney, a device which could replace the need for dialysis or transplantation.

Advances for this was presented at ASN Kidney Week held last week at Chicago, IL.

The bioartificial kidney, if perfected would be a welcome relief to the millions of patients with kidney failure. A key requirement for such a device is the formation of a “living membrane” that consists of a tight kidney cell layer on artificial membrane surfaces and can transport molecules from one side to the other. In their latest work, Dimitrios Stamatialis, PhD (University of Twente, in The Netherlands), Roos Masereeuw, PhD (University of Utrecht, in The Netherlands), and their teams achieved this using conditionally immortalized human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (ciPTECs) on polyethersulfone-based hollow fiber membranes. They demonstrated that the cell monolayer is indeed functional as a living membrane.

“This study shows the successful development of a living membrane consisting of a reproducible ciPTEC monolayer on hollow fiber membranes, an important step towards the development of a bioartificial kidney device,” said Prof. Stamatialis. “The strategies and methods of this work could be relevant to the development of other bioartificial organs, such as a bioartificial liver or bioartificial pancreas, and organs on chips — such as a kidney on chip, a lung on chip, or a liver on chip.”

We Have Curtailed Cholera Outbreak In Lagos – Idris

THE Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris has assured that last week’s outbreak of cholera in Isolo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, of the state has been successfully curtailed, noting that no new case or death had been recorded.

Idris, who said several of those earlier admitted to hospitals for treatment, have been discharged, however, noted that the remaining four patients were responding to treatment.

He said: “There have been no new case or death. We have four cases left in the hospital and there is a lot of progress. What we are doing now is to check the source, especially the consumption of African Salad called Abacha. We are on it to ensure that we do not have any more infected source.” The Health Commissioner said this at the end of the Partnership for Transforming the Health System Phase II, PATHS2 project in the state.

He further said: “It is time to start looking at public healthcare in the realm of security. Unfortunately, people are talking about bio-security, bio-safety across the world, but in this country we are totally unaware what is happening.” “Some people can come into this country and manipulate cholera organism or typhoid organism to cause confusion by way of spreading it across our water system. It is time we start looking at public health and security as one entity. “We do not respect information and data. Meanwhile, there is no organisation that can thrive properly without it. So we need to change our attitude towards that. Information technology is essential at all level.”

Corroborating his view, the National Programme Manager of PATHS2 , Mike Egboh said that as long as diseases occur in the community it is important to empower and equip them with the right information.

Lagos Govt Approves Development Of N49bn Medical Park

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday approved the development of a Medical Park worth N49 billion to improve healthcare experience and promote medical tourism.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, said during a news conference in Ikeja that the park would be sited at the former Lagos State School of Nursing in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Idris said that approval had been given to Medipark International Ltd. Consortium, U.S. to develop, construct, manage and operate the medical park.

He said that the consortium was shortlisted from 16 companies that responded to an expression of interest.

The commissioner said that the park would be first of its kind in Nigeria when completed.
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“It is a joint venture arrangement with the state government; the huge bulk of the money is coming from the consortium while the government is putting down the site as equity.

“The facility will be built and completed in 20 months starting from the day of construction,” he said.

Idris said that the park would serve as a one-stop shopping medical experience offering space to primary care physicians and in-house specialists, as well as ancillary services.

He said that the medical park would provide a full spectrum of excellent high technology cutting edge medical and diagnostic services.

Idris said that it would cater for general and specialised medical services tailored to meet the medical needs of residents and Nigeria at large.

FG Orders Doctors To Treat Gunshot Victims Without Restraints

The Federal Government on Tuesday issued a directive to medical doctors across the country to henceforth treat all patients and victims with gunshot injuries without any form of restraint or inhibition.

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, gave the order at the induction ceremony of foreign graduates organised by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

According to him, government was considering reforming the health sector, with the objective to scale up service delivery across various sections of the sector.

“Hospitals are sanctuary for the sick and injured, never must our hospitals be closed for whatever reasons; even in war time situations, hospital must remain open. Doctors must show no restraint in treating emergencies, even with gun-shot wounds you must treat them, thereafter raise questions. You must also treat emergencies before asking for money because life is more precious than money,” the minister stated.