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FG upgrades FMC Lokoja to University Teaching Hospital, FUL commences MBBS

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

Federal Government of Nigeria has approved the upgrade of Federal Medical Center, Lokoja to a full-fledged Teaching Hospital for clinical training of Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery students of Federal University Lokoja (FUL).

Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, Vice Chancellor of the University disclosed this at a joint press conference between his institution and the FMC on Tuesday in Lokoja.

Akinwumi said that the Federal Government approval for the upgrade and change of status of FMC to Federal Teaching Hospital, Lokoja was conveyed through a letter referenced SGF6/TO/380.

The Vice Chancellor said that it had become a matter of necessity for the university to establish the College of Health Sciences to bridge the yawning gap in the Doctor-to-Patients ratio in the state which ought to be 1-100 patients but the reality was one-to-4,000 (1-4,000) patients in Nigeria.

The scenario in Kogi, according to him, is exacerbated by the refusal of institutions to offer admission to qualified Kogi indigenes seeking to read Medicine and Surgery in existing Universities in the catchment areas.

“There are about 80,000 registered Medical Practitioners on the Register of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) as at May, 2022. Out of this number, about 40,000 Medical Doctors are actively practising in Nigeria.

“By World Health Organization (WHO) standards, one Doctor is to 100 patients, but in Nigeria, it is one Doctor to more than 4,000 Patients. This is grossly inadequate and unacceptable especially in a developing country like Nigeria.

“It is indeed most worrisome in the case of Kogi State. Research conducted in recent time shows that in the next 10 years, Kogi State Medical Centres and Hospitals will experience great inertia of Medical Doctors of Kogi State origin.

“About 98 per cent of students of Kogi State origin that applied for Medicine and Surgery with outstanding performance in JAMB and Post UTME in universities within the catchment areas of Kogi State are vehemently denied admissions to read Medicine and Surgery in those universities”,. Akinwumi said.

He said that it was consequent upon this that the university established the College of Health Sciences following approval of a Special Senate of the University on May 27, 2021 and appointed a Professor of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, Prof. Mike Ozovehe Ogirima as its Provost.

He said that the university was aware of enormity of the cost implications of establishing Medicine and Surgery and appealed to well-meaning individuals to assist the institution through provision of facilities.

Prof. Akinwumi also stated that the MBBS programme successfully admitted its first set of students for 2020/2021 Academic Session in 2022.

He added that the University would, in the next one week, release admission list for the 2022 academic session for the MB’BS programme.

Also speaking, Dr Olatunde Oladeji Alabi, Chief Medical Director of the newly christened Federal Teaching Hospital, Lokoja, said the hospital was well equipped with personnel and equipment to play its new role effectively and efficiently.

Dr Alabi said that hospital had been functioning more as a teaching hospital before the upgrade adding that they had been training specialists in eight different fields of medicine since 2012.

“We had 80 specialists at the FMC, Lokoja and I felt we were underutilized. We organised training in eight different fields of Medicine. We started started producing consultants as if we were preparing for this day.

“We are ready. We have patients for the teaching hospital. Patients are necessary for the training of Medical students”, he said. (Ends)

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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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