Study reveals how anti depressants can influence mood

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

A recently conducted study by medical experts on cause of depression and solution to the problem, has revealed how anti-depressants could help lift people’s mood, though their effects varies.

As published in a London-based medical journal, The Lancet, the report, which analysed data from 522 trials involving 21 common anti-depressants, found that all tested drugs were effective in treating depression.

According to it, drugs were deemed effective if symptoms were reduced in at least half of patients over two months.

Lead author, Dr. Andrea Cipriani, expressed that he was excited about findings, which he said provided a final answer to controversy over effectiveness of the drugs.

The study also gives a comparison of the 21 types of anti-depressants, indicating that, agomelatine, amitriptyline, escitalopram, mirtazapine and paroxetine were the most effective anti-depressants among the ones that were tested.

It explained that the well-known brand Prozac, or fluoxetine, was one of the least effective ones,with hope that the study would settle doubts and debates over anti-depressants, which has been described by some people as conspiracies of big firms or no more effective than placebos.

Howevern, World Health Organization (WHO), stated that depression were a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected and that the situation were different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life.

WHO also disclosed that 800, 000 people die due to suicide every year and that suicide was second leading cause of death in 15 to 29-year-olds.

The UN organisation also warned that the burden of depression and other mental health conditions was on rise globally.

Meanwhile, a World Health Assembly resolution passed in 2013 called for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at country level.

Growing cannabis as legalised business in Germany

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

While being in possession of Marijuana was spelt as crime in many countries, it is a legalised business in Germany, where growing or having garden of cannabis has government strong backing.

As reported, stakes were high when it comes to cannabis in Germany after use of medical marijuana was legalized 2017, with scores of companies lining up to grow it, though parliament was said to have started discussing whether it should be decriminalized for everyone.

To prove how lucrative the business is, a cannabis storage facility in Bad Bramstedt, north of the port city of Hamburg, was reported to have security measures such that could adequately to protect even the country’s gold reserves.

A company that sells medicinal cannabis products Managing Director, Nuuvera Deutschland, Hendrik Knopp, said that the company was meeting standard stipulated  which includes an alarm system connected with a police station, a certain wall thickness, and motion and vibration detectors.

“We are meeting the high standards stipulated,”

When asked why all the stringent security,  Knopp explained that due to fact that his company delivers cannabis for medicinal purposes, there was need for it to be protected.

As learnt, by April, the federal agency for medicines and medicinal products (BfArM) would be deciding on which companies may grow cannabis in Germany, then pass on the cannabis to pharmacies.

“For Germany, making cannabis available to patients is something new and Nuuvera takes on deliveries of cannabis oil and capsules from its Canadian partner.

He declines to discuss the current procedures about cannabis cultivation, but that it was good that the cannabis agency was working with German thoroughness, given stringent conditions, such to kick out adventurers seeking to make fast money.

“From a medical point of view the advantage is that this makes establishing the dosages easier than with cannabis flowers,” Knopp says. We’re making medical products, not joints.”

The demand for cannabis prescriptions in Germany has for long been under estimated. Cannabis can help patients with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, AIDS-induced lack of appetite, cancer, Alzheimer’s, nerve conditions, and nausea as a result of chemotherapy.

Knopp said the cannabis agency originally estimated a figure of 5,000 patients being prescribed.

“In the meantime more than 14,000 patients have submitted applications,” he said.

This means that the volume of cannabis so far approved by the agency can scarcely meet the need.

A supply problem may also quickly emerge because demand is rising in many countries.

At BfArM, officials are tight-lipped about the current bid tender process for choosing cannabis growers. “The goal is, starting in 2019, to secure the supply for patients with pharmaceutical-quality cannabis cultivated in Germany,” a spokesman says.

Sources said that beyond the issue of cultivation, the broader question that political parties discussing were whether freeing cannabis for medical purposes was paving way to make it available to everyone.

It was reported that Free Democrats (FDP), far-left Die Linke and environmentalist Greens parties believe that such a move should have already taken place.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, a variety of motions were to be debated for first time in parliament, the move would  be followed by further discussion in experts’ committees.

According to reports, the Greens are all set to go with a comprehensive cannabis bill and FDP is advocating model projects for legalisation, while Die Linke wants to put a stop to banning possession of tiny amounts of the drug.

For  Head of the Die Linke faction in parliament, Jan Korte: “This is an offer to the other parties to see whether we can at least reach a minimum consensus,” s

Officials stated that the German Cannabis Association was hoping that opposition to cannabis for recreational enjoyment and to decriminalization of consumption would be eroded further.

“It will be seen that not everyone who consumes cannabis winds up in the gutter,” says association director Georg Wurth.

Most recently, he noted, it was the Federation of German Crime Officials (BDK) that caused a sensation when it spoke in favour of legalisation. To date, the authorities had not approved any of the applications submitted by several cities for model projects for the controlled sale of cannabis, Wurth said.

On the other side, addiction therapists are sceptical about legalisation, just as is Marlene Mortler, the federal commissioner for drugs. Both cite the country’s health protection laws and the dangers posed by smoking cannabis.

Nuuvera director, Knopp himself favored model projects for the controlled sale of cannabis for private consumption and for shutting down the illegal supply channels.

“Politicians should summon the courage to try it,” he says.

However, given the expectations that demand for medicinal cannabis will rise further, Knopp has just one caveat about legalisation: “This should not come at the expense of supplying patients.”

Medical expert was women against bathing newborn with hot water

By NewsDesk,

Nigerian women have been advised a Community Health Technician, Hellen Bulu,  against bathing newborn babies with hot water and stretching their hands in an attempt to massage.

She raised that it was typical of African women to bath their newborn with hot water and also stretch their hands without knowing the implication, which, according her, was a bad idea and not supported medical wise.

Speaking during a lecture to mothers at an immunisation programme on Thursday in Abuja.  Bulu warned that mothers should desist from stretching the hands of their newborns and also from bathing them with hot water and that it was just a tradition that holds no ground within medical fold.

According to her, the white people do not engage in such act yet their babies survived and  God who put the baby in their womb had already done the needful, adding that bathing newborn with hot water can cause high temperature.

The health technician noted that such attitude was only common to Africans.
Bulu also advised mothers to breastfeed newborns rather than apply hot water when the baby’s body experienced high temperature.

According to her, the more you breastfeed the baby, the more the temperature comes down.

“If the baby’s body swell up do not apply hot water or rob, just keep looking at the baby’s body, it will come down after a while,’’ said the expert.

She, however, said that if the high temperature persists the best thing to do was to visit the hospital, adding that it can be a sign of fever.

Besides, she advised that women should embark on family planning after six week of deliver, stressing that family planning after six month had no implications.

Bulu added that it would only help the husband to perform his conjugal obligation without any inhibition.

She called on mothers to give their babies six months breastfeeding without water, stressing that six months was the most appropriate for their development.

She advised that babies should be fed with pap mixed with cereal and red oil after six months of breastfeeding, saying that red oil contain vitamin A that can help their growth.

The health technician listed those foods that contain vitamin A as carrot, pawpaw, water melon, mango and cashew nuts, among others.

Coconut water can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol level, control weight

By NewsDesk,

A nutritionist, Dr Ochuko Erikainure, has prescribed that moderate consumption of coconut water could lower risk of high blood pressure, reduce cholesterol level and weight control, saying studies had proven the water to be rich in high electrolyte contents particularly, potassium helpful to body syetm.

He said the water has been used as a refreshing natural beverage and that it could also be used for re-hydrating agent because it is much better than commercial sport drinks.

Speaking on importance of the water on Thursday in Lagos, Erikainure indiaed that Vitamin C in coconut water also plays an influential role which helps to reduce cholesterol level and weight control, adding that,  selenium, maganese and zinc in the vitamine make coconut water a potent antioxidant, thus protecting the cells against oxidative stress.

“It is because coconut water is naturally enriched with antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

“Cytokines in coconut water protects against aging effects in cells and tissues which help to reduce the risk of developing degenerative and age-related diseases,” he said.

According to Wikipaedia, Cytokines are a broad and loose category of small proteins (~5–20 kDa) that are important in cell signaling. Their release has an effect on the behavior of cells around them.

ALthough, Erikainure warned that over consumption of coconut water could cause hyperkalemia.

“Hyperkalemia is an overabundance of potassium in the blood which can induce acute kidney failure, heart arrhythmia and coma.

“It is advised to consume moderately because excess consumption has also been shown to have laxative effect in the body,’’ he said.

NHIS raises concern on health insurance scheme low coverage

By NewsDesk,

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Executive Secretary, Prof. Yusuf Usman, has raised concerns on how 90 per cent of Nigerians eligible for health scheme were yet to be covered, the situation which he said authority needs to be put more focus upon to secure adequate health system for all Nigerians under Universal Health Coverage.

Usman, on Thursday in Sokoto at a public hearing on a bill to provide for Contributory Health Care Management scheme organised by the state House of Assembly, there was need for the government at all levels to take issued health insurance critically so as to ensure Nigerians have their health covered.

He implored public not to be distracted by information from media about his reinstatement by President Muhammadu Buhari, and that Nigeria must be first over its fight again corruption

“Don’t be distracted by what you are hearing on the media. The real thing, it is corruption fighting us and we will fight back to keep faith with our responsibilities to Nigerians.

“We are here to work for our people and the country, and anybody who think we are doing it for ourselves or our office that person is missing the point,” he said.

Usman assured that he would not in any way be discouraged in his efforts at providing the required services to Nigerians and that NHIS would support all states of the federation to create similar agencies for the benefit of citizens.

He commended the Sokoto State Government effort on creation a sister agency in the state and that his office would do more to ensure the new outfit function to benefit of public.

On his part, Sokoto state House of Assembly Speaker, Salihu Maidaji, represented by the House Leader, Garba Bello, indicated that the event was organised to collate the input of the public and it was to ensure that the bill was all encompassing as regards to yearning and aspirations of citizens before its passage by the house.

He noted that the NHIS, which did not cover some major areas of health concerns, was primarily aimed at easy access of healthcare services at affordable cost.

“In line with our legislative responsibilities, we require an objective, factual and timely information for informed decisions for the benefit of the electorate.

“Therefore, the assembly deems it fit to ensure public hearing is conducted on every bill that affects the lives of the citizens.

“The scheme will cover all residents, all sexes and ages, all ailments and will be run from primary to tertiary health facilities across the the state,” the speaker said.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, said that the state government was concerned with passion to deliver quality healthcare services for people in the state.

He said that the bill was timely and necessary due to the health challenges and the need to provide easy access to facilities to the poor at low cost.

The commissioner disclosed that the state had earmarked N100 million for the take off of the health contributory scheme fund.

25 medical experts receive training on HIV test kits

By NewsDesk,

Independly, at least, 25 people too can now run test for HIV patients following training they received from Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN)  which took 25 medical experts on post market validation of HIV rapid test kits.

It said beneficiaries from the training would be responsible for conducting validation for HIV test kits bought by government and partners to ascertain the efficacy of the kits.

The Programme Manager, Laboratories, IIHVN, Oyebimpe Balogun, stated that the capacity building was achieved in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and that the training was for a validation of HIV Rapid Test Kits, to ascertain whether HIV kits bought by government or partners were fit for distribution across the service delivery centres in Nigeria.

Speaking after the training recently, Balogun hinted that participants gained knowledge and skills fron the training particularly in area of didactic within the class room and actual hands-on within the laboratory.

“We expect that once kits arrive into the country, the experts will be responsible for sampling and validation of the kits in the laboratory before distribution to various service delivery points,’’ Balogun said.

She assured that the trained personnel have the capacity to effectively train other persons when the need arise.

“So if state governments are buying the kits, this team of experts can provide validation at the state level and they can also offer training at state levels,’’ she said.

Mrs Joy Obu, Laboratory Team Leader, HIV and AIDS Division, Federal Ministry of Health, said the training involved theory and practice.

According to her, “we started with theoretical part of the training from Monday, Jan. 22 to Wed., Jan. 24.

“On Thursday, Jan. 25 the team went to the warehouse for sampling of the rapid test kits of HIV/AIDS’’.

She said from Jan. 27 to Jan. 31, the team was at Asokoro General Hospital for the evaluation of the test kits.

The team leader said all the test kits that were evaluated passed the quality test, adding that the quality of the kits were good for distribution across the country for the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

Obu said the trainees comprised various health experts such as laboratory scientists, pharmacists and nurses, among others, in line with the task shifting and task sharing policy of the federal government.

A participant at the occasion, Mrs Maureen Aniedobe, a medical laboratory scientist from National Institute of Medical Research, Lagos, said the training would improve quality assurance for HIV rapid test kits in Nigeria.

She added that the training on the efficacy on rapid test kits would minimise the risk of false HIV results, stressing that false results has serious emotional, social and toxic impact on patients.

The participant appealed for regular retraining of staff.

Aniedobe said in the course of the training the participants came across numerous innovations that would make results to be more precise and accurate.

Ganduje, Dangote, Gates, other discuss health sector importance

By Abdulwaheed Usamah,

The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, Dangote Foundation Chair, Aliko Dangote, and co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, as well as Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi, have established discussion on the need for the state to focus on building adequate and befitting health sector to enable curb health challenges.

Through a video conference, they emphasized on significance of good health system as to  to strengthen the control of HIV/AIDs and Tuberculosis, Polio eradication, Malaria control, cholera, measles control and other child killer diseases in collaboration with development partners’

Whereas, Ganduje disclosed that the state 13 per cent of its 2018 budget was allocated to health sector as part of deliberate attempts to improve quality health care services.

He hinted that the 13 per cent which translate to N9.7 billion was amount budgeted in 2018 for infrastructural development and preventive for health care along with curative intervention, in collaboration with development partners.

Through a statement released on Tuesday by the governor’s Director General, Media and Communications, Salihu Yakasai, Ganduje stated that the government aims to strengthen the control of HIV/AIDs and Tuberculosis, Polio eradication, Malaria control, cholera, measles control and other child killer diseases in collaboration with development partners”.

He said that two specialist hospitals at Giginyu and Zoo road have been equipped with modern facilities in 2017, while attention would be focused on procurement of specialized medical equipment and upgrading of primary health centers this year, to enable them cope with the challenge of ensuring a healthy citizenry

“I thank the principal MOU partners as well other development partners working in Kano health sector and implored them to sustain the current tempo of technical support to the State Ministry of Health and its agencies”.

However, Dangote commended the state on progress made especially on continued commitment to 100 percent funding for routine immunization program.

He urged the state government to do more regarding community engagement work, in trying to generate demand for immunisation and primary healthcare, and for improved transparency and inclusion of partners/technical working groups in all procurement processes moving.

In his remarks, Gates stressed importance of data quality, just as he urged Ganduje’s administration to step up its efforts towards strengthening broader primary health care services.

He also highlighted that, with the ongoing developments in primary health care Kano, the mortality of under-5 children in is set to reduce in the next few years.

The Sanusi, advised the state Ministry of Health and its agencies to consider prioritization of some selected local government areas before scaling up other community based health interventions, especially leveraging on the modern technology.

He also tasked the State government to augment its budgetary allocation for health as enshrined in the Abuja declaration.

The state received a donation of 72 motorcycles and 45 mobile phones from the World Health Organization through its Country Representative Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, who announced that contribution was to assist the government in disease surveillance across the 44 local government areas of the state.

Public health expert canvasses for proactive measures to fight Lassa fever

By Agency Report,

A public health expert, Dr Toni Iken, has enjoined policy makers at all levels of government to be proactive in the fight against Lassa fever, adding that Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever and infectious disease which occurs frequently in different parts of the country.

Iken who doubles as Programme Coordinator, Health Development Initiative, Ibadan, told journalists on Tuesday that policy makers must always envisage circumstances and make provision for the unseen and unexpected when it comes to infectious diseases like Lassa fever in order to prevent its frequent recurrence.

The public health expert also advised healthcare workers to have a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever in order to curb the frequent outbreak in Nigeria, urging healthcare workers to adopt standard infection control measures while treating patients regardless of presumed diagnosis.

“Suspected cases of Lassa fever should be immediately isolated and reported to the appropriate authorities for treatment. There is also need to provide basic amenities including easy access to quality healthcare, availability of potable water and clean environment,” she said.

Iken identified high fever, sore throat, conjunctivitis, vomiting, diarrhea, back pain, cough, bleeding through body openings and general body weakness as some symptoms of Lassa fever.

She said that people living in dirty environment and come in contact with the urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats or persons were at risk of contracting Lassa fever.

“Although, currently there is no vaccine against Lassa fever, it can be prevented through practising of good personal hygiene and proper environmental sanitation. Preventing an epidemic should be a collective responsibility of all members of the public. Effective measures must be taken to control rodents; there must be proper storage of food in rodent-proof containers and high level of personal and environmental hygiene must be maintained. Hand washing should also be practised frequently,” she said.

Iken also called for massive public sensitisation on the mode of transmission of Lassa fever virus and regular hospital training programmes for health workers.

Since the beginning of 2018, a total number of 107 suspected Lassa fever cases have been recorded in 10 states: Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo and Lagos States.

As at Jan. 21, the total number of confirmed cases is 61, with 16 deaths recorded. Ten healthcare workers have been infected in four states (Ebonyi – 7, Nasarawa – 1, Kogi – 1 and Benue – 1) with three deaths in Ebonyi.

UNAPSA, PAN call for investment in parents, caregivers’ health education, inducts 65 medical doctors

By Zulaykha Abodunrin with Agency Report, 

The Union of National African Paediatric Societies and Association (UNAPSA) in conjunction with the Pediatric Union of Nigeria (PAN) has enjoined African leaders to increase investment in parents and caregivers’ health education to bridge inequity gap in children.

President of the union, Dr Dorothy Esangbedo, made the charge at the triennial congress of the union and the annual general meeting of the Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) on Thursday in Abuja.

Themed “Impact of Deprivation and Inequity on the African Child”, with sub-theme the conference “Polio Free Africa, Opportunity for Strengthening and Sustaining Routine Immunisation, Insurgency and the Health of African Child, not less than 65 medical doctors were also inducted into the Paediatric Medical Association at the conference.

During her address, Esangbedo decried the rate of deprivation and inequity of the African child in the face of insurgency, healthcare, among others in African continents thereby exposing them to violence and death.

She emphasised that stepping up investment on parents and caregivers in health education would assist in bridging the inequity gap on nurturing care and if caregivers were well armed with the requisite knowledge, they would be able to feed their children and wards with the diet that would meet their nutritional needs.

According to her, irrespective of literacy, health education of parents and caregivers has short and long term impact on child survival, adding that nurturing is, therefore, to equalise opportunities for all children to access the basic need for survival which are nutrition

“The favourable future that we all selfishly desired belongs to all children. No child will live in isolation in future if only you get all the advantages; those that do not have are agitating for equity. We must, therefore, take seriously the need to consider equity in all we do as a strategy to prevent future conflict,’’ she said.

Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Michael Adikwu, said that the conference was aimed at addressing basic problems of the African child.

Adikwu, who is also the Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja, noted that there was need for commitment toward safeguarding the health of children across the globe.

The vice-chancellor who was represented by Prof. Felicia Anuma, the Dean, Faculty of Internal Medicine, decried the challenges being faced by African child, saying that there was need to focus attention on over nutrition.

“This has resulted to the burden of diabetes in Africa region and Nigeria in particular. Some children feed excessively, thereby exposing themselves to obesity among other predisposing factors of overweight,” Adiukwu said.


Nigeria sets to produce seed yams for export

Agency Report,

The technical committee on Nigeria Yam Export Programme is working with the University of Agriculture, Umudike and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to produce seed yams for export.

The committee was charged with the responsibilities of finding markets for Nigerian yams in the world and providing market information on weekly prices of yam at the major marketing centres abroad.

Prof. Simon Irtwang, the programmes’ chairman told journalists that the seed yams would be given to farmers to plant them specifically for export.

“One of the challenges with the flag-off of yams exported in June 2017 was that the yams were exposed to the sun before being selected for export. Once yams are exposed in the sun for long, the process of decaying sets in gradually.

“With special seed yams, the structures to have a good quality of seed yams for export will be set in motion. This will help and ensure that future yam exports withstands the temperatures of all the countries the yams will be sent to,’’ he said.

Irtwang said that the technical committee would consider the post-harvest handling of yams for export to ensure they meet international standard. He, however, added that not all yams were good enough for export.

“There are some species and varieties of yams that are good for export and in the open market; the yams are always separated from each other.

Irtwang said that yam exporters have to be familiar with the processes of handling as well as the other varieties and species not good for export.