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Commencement of open heart surgery by FMC excites Health minister

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The giant stride by Federal Medical Centre, Abuja that has carried out open heart surgery for the first time in the history of the facility has drawn the commendation of the Minister of State for Health, Olorinnimbe Mamora.

The Minister was on the inspection and assessment tour of the facility on Monday when he took out time to interact with patients who have successfully undergone open heart surgery.
He expressed satisfaction at the laudable efforts of the hospital management.

The Minister who was taken round the open surgery ward with the the state-of-the-art equipment by the hospital Chief Medical Director, Saad Ahmed, expressed confidence that the FMC, Abuja now have what it takes to carryout cardiology related diseases surgery.

Speaking with newsmen after inspection of equipment and patients, he confirmed that those who were operated were recuperating very fast.

The Minister said: “Well, I didn’t just inspect machines, I inspected patients of open heart surgery, four of them. Everyone of them is doing very well for the kind of injure proceedings they passed through. So, I am very happy and excited regarding this feat and of course, the machines.

“One of the machines, we were told is one of its kind in this country and that tells us the much we put in this and then the Surgeon who attended to us gave us a run down of each of the patients in terms of proceedings and what they came in with to treat diseases, one of which is the verve in the heart which need correction or outright replacement and some having issues with what is referred to as heart Chambers.
“So, all in all the patients are doing very well and in the course of operation, one of the patients was so surprised and said, is it over just like that? Because she knew what she came in with and how distressful she was.
“That is kudos to all the members of the team and of the management of the Federal Medical Centre.

Reacting to questions on what government would do to extend the treatment to the grassroot level, he said, heart ailment was not new, but being discovered because of the sophisticated equipment which are made available now.
“Well, I am not too right to say these diseases are getting too rampant rather, we are getting to discover them because of the ability that we now have. That is the thing and don’t forget, there are other institutions in this country that have been doing open heart surgery as well, but we are saying this is the first that happened in this particular Federal Medical Centre, (FMC).

“So many institutions are doing open heart surgery. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a host of others. One of the things that is quite exciting is that we have one of the machines that is top-grade or the state of the art.

“There are other institutions that might be using old machines or equipment, but FMC is talking of the latest in terms of technology. That’s the advantage.

“It’s good to know that all the members of the team that carried out the operations are Nigerians living in Nigeria. So it only confirm to you that as long as there is a conducive environment and the necessary equipment are made available, they are highly competent Nigerians that can carry out these operations excellently well.”

On medical tourism and how to tackle it because of the huge Capita flight it involve, the Minister said: “There are other disease problems, kidney problem, problem of the lung, problem of orthopaedic, problem of the bone and muzzle, problem of the brain and all that.

“They are different specialities that are involved in medical tourism. So we will be addressing this gradually and that is not to say nothing are being done right now, things are being done.

“But we are talking of state of the art equipment that will let the procedure less cumbersome. That is the process and I want to assure you that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing so much in terms of upgrading all these facilities to make them suitable for the exigencies of the moment.

“Then on sustainability and affordability, all these are components when you are talking of health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. Of course, in a manner that is affordable, accessable and available without doing damage to your purse.

“That is why government is looking at every way possible aside from Health Insurance Scheme that is being made available.

“Of course, I can tell you that the present administration is subsidising the treatment of cancer patients either by way of surgery when it becomes inevitable or in terms of physiotherapy or Chemotherapy or whatever.

“All these are part of what the present administration is doing to make sure that we provide healthcare. What the Medical Director said earlier on in terms of indigent efficient funds is the initiative of the hospital which of course government is fully in support.

“Of course government cannot do it alone and that why the MD made passionate appeal to philanthropists and good spirited people to assist.

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World kidney Day: Foundation off-sets medical bills of kidney patients in Niger

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As part of the activities to mark this year’s world kidney day, Nathaniel Kidney Foundation (NKF) in Niger State has off-set the medical bills of a number of kidney patients at the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB)) Specialist Hospital in Minna, the Niger State capital.
The kidney foundation which was established in 2022 by the family of late Nathaniel Matthew, a 24 year old kidney patient who lost the battle to the disease in 2021 has since its establishment reached out to over 50 kidney patients across the state in the area of offsetting their medical bills.
In addition to settling the medical bills of kidney patients, the foundation has used every world kidney day to embark on an enlightenment campaign and sensitization on radio and television against the kidney disease on the causes and possible prevention of the disease.
The Chairman of the foundation, Mr. Gideon Makeri while speaking to newsmen in Minna, shortly after a sensitization walk and a visit to the patients at the IBB Specialist Hospital in Minna, said the foundation was established by the parents of late Nathaniel Matthew to remember the promising young man whose life was cut short due to kidney infection.
This year’s world kidney day which he said coincided with the birthday of the late Nathaniel, was used to reach out to the kidney patients through off-setting their medical bills, stressing that the foundation since inception two years ago, has supported kidney patients in the area of treatment both home and abroad.
According to him, “over 50 kidney patients have so far benefitted from the foundation. The beneficiaries include those that the foundation has supported in the area of treatment at home and abroad and they are today healed of the diseases and are doing well”.
He disclosed that among the beneficiaries this year was a 300 level student of the Ibrahim Babangida University (IBBU) Lapai who is currently placed on dialyses at the hospital, adding that seven kidney patients have their hospital bills settled as part of the activities to mark this year’s world kidney in the state.
While appealing to individuals and organizations to partner with the foundation towards assisting kidney patients in the state, Mr. Makeri decried the rising cost of treatment for kidney disease in the country, adding that to undergo dialyses now, a patient need N30,000 and such patients might be required to undergo the session three times in a week.
“In advanced countries, the government pays for dialyses for the people but in Nigeria the reverse is the case, and because of this, some people stayed back at home and resigned their faith to God. That is why we are appealing to individuals and organizations to come and partner with the foundation to save lives”.
The Chief Medical Director of IBB Specialist Hospital, Dr. Bala Waziri commended the family of the late Nathaniel for sustaining the foundation since it was launched two years ago, saying that the foundation has made a remarkable contributions to lives of kidney patients in the state, and urged them sustain the momentum.
According to him, a lot of people living with the disease in the state and the country in general are going through very difficult times, especially with high cost of the treatment of the disease, pointing out that “the price of drugs and dialyses equipment have gone up beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerian. A lot of patients no longer afford the cost of the treatment.
“Some patients undergo dialyses three times in a week with each costing N30,000. This is aside the normal kidney drugs which the price has equally gone up for more than 100 percent”.
He described the condition of kidney patients in the hospital as very pathetic and therefore appealed to individuals and organizations to come to the aids of those suffering from the disease.

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Media professionals move to curb apathy towards HVP vaccination

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From Daniel Abel Lafia

Media professionals under the auspices of Sustainable Media Advocacy Foundation (SMAF), on Wednesday promised to intensify media campaigns against the negative public perception of Vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus among young girls between the ages of 9 and 14 years in the state through intensive campaigns.

The foundation Chairman, Mr. Kalu Idika made this known at its advocacy meeting organized to review its activities in Lafia.

According to the SMAF Chairman, the objective of the organization is to promote media engagement for sustainable development.

“We are available to partner with any group to create every necessary awareness for people at the grassroots level.

“We are registered professionals ready to partner with any interested organization to sensitize, promote, and reach out to the nooks and crannies of the state in any field of endeavor.

The chairman, however, recalled that the foundation had undergone several trainings and have also engaged in sensitization in the area of safe sex among adolescence, maternal mortality in partnership with local and international Non Governmental Organizations, (NGOs).

Mr. Kalu noted that the foundation is currently partnering with the National Primary Health Development Agency, (NAPHDA), to ensure girls between ages 6-14 receive vaccination against the Human Papilloma Virus, HPV launched by Governor Abdullahi Sule.

Kalu, however, stated that the Foundation has undertaken many activities in the past as well adding that they enjoyed technical support from International organizations and Nasarawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NAPHDA),

Mr. Ishaya Amegwa, who represented the state’s health educator, commended the foundation in ensuring adequate awareness against the myth and misconceptions about the vaccine.

With the help of the media engagement, more people are coming out even as parents are bringing their girls within the age bracket to receive the vaccine.

‘The media came to our assistance and created the necessary awareness that we needed at that time to encourage the young girls to avail themselves for the vaccination.

In a remark, the Research Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support Lead of The Challenge Initiative, Taco, Oluwafemi Timothy Rotimi, commended SMAF for the collaboration commencement and implementation of its programme in the state.

Rotimi also noted that the Foundation had reached out to various communities and the public through its media platforms in order to communicate the positive outcome impacted on the wellbeing of the people of the state.

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Malnutrition: USAID doles out RUFT worth 3.5 million Dollars to Nigeria

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The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has donated 60,000 cartons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUFT) to Bauchi, Kebbi, and Sokoto States to mitigate severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria.

USAID in a press statement made available to journalists after the official handover of the RUFT in Abuja on Thursday, said the approach became necessary as millions of Nigerian children are being affected by malnutrition.

The agency stated that the approach is in collaboration with the Nigerian government, to strengthen local RUTF manufacturing, as well as incorporate RUTF into state health systems such as health insurance, drug revolving funds, and health budgets.

The statement reads in part, “The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), donated over 60,000 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF)-valued at $3.5 million to the governors of Bauchi, Kebbi, and Sokoto states in Nigeria. The handover is part of USAID’s bid to expand access to treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

“In Nigeria, severe acute malnutrition remains a significant public health concern, affecting 3.6 million children. With challenges of food insecurity, limited access to quality healthcare, and inadequate nutrition interventions, multisectoral collaboration and innovation is needed. Expanding sustainable local access to affordable, life-saving nutrition commodities is essential to address severe malnutrition in Nigerian children.”

The agency added that the approach also  improves the quality of groundnut inputs for manufacturing RUTF, to strengthen the quality of nutrition health services and to integrate humanitarian nutrition services more sustainably.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, USAID Mission Director, Melissa Jones said, “Reducing malnutrition is a critical component of improving health, education, and inclusive economic development.

“We commend Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health for including RUTF and other nutrition commodities in the list of essential medicines. Doing so allows this life-saving essential food to be procured and made available at all health facilities.”

Bauchi State Deputy Governor, Hon. Mohammed Auwal Jatau, commended USAID for its interventions in Bauchi.

Jatau gave the indication while receiving 17,500 cartons of RUTF donated by the USAID to the Bauchi State government.

The Deputy Governor said to reciprocate  the gesture, the administration of Governor Bala Mohammed would continue to fulfil the obligations of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU.

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