Delta Initiates Vaccine Production Facility In DELSUTH BY ROSEMARY NWAEBUNI

The Delta State Government has initiated a project for the development of Vaccine Production Facility in Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH), Oghara.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge, who stated this during the 2017 World Malaria Day broadcast in Asaba, said the project was championed by the Ministry of Health which initiated collaboration between DELSUTH and Merck Biopharmaceutical Company.

Azinge, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Minnie Oseji, noted that the project, in line with Governor Okowa administration’s SMART Agenda, will create job opportunities and generate income for the state, once it was actualised.

He also disclosed that the project will further provide an enabling environment to attract researchers to Nigeria for the development of new vaccines.
While calling on local and international investors to contribute to the venture, he revealed that Ghana, Kenya and Malawi have been selected to pilot the world’s first malaria vaccine (Mosquirix) from 2018.
Azinge disclosed that through the timely intervention of Governor Okowa, the state became a beneficiary of the Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results, a programme initiated by the Federal Government on maternal and child health, supported by the World Bank.

According to him, “The programme is financed by a US$ 500,000,000 International Development Association credit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria over a period of four years with each state receiving US$1,500,000.

He said that malaria control was one of the six pillars the programme was expected to address, adding that it will provide for strengthening community participation in distribution of long lasting insecticide treated nets with the use of trained community volunteers, who will distribute, install and conduct house to house sensitisation on the use of the nets.

The Commissioner said that the programme will also ensure the provision of long lasting insecticide treated nets to all pregnant women and children under-five who attend Ante-natal and Child Welfare Clinics, as well as collaborate with Private Health providers for wider distribution of the long lasting insecticide treated nets.

He called on the general public to cooperate with the health ministry and ensure judicious utilisation of the nets to enable the state score high enough and attract more funds when the programme is evaluated.
“This is also in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 which aims to end the epidemic of Malaria and other communicable diseases by the year 2030,” he said.

— with Olorogun Kent Akigho Okiemute.

Reps to meet with minister over resurgence of lassa fever

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to meet the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, ‎over recent resurgence of Lassa fever in parts of the country.

The resolution followed a motion by Rep. Sergius Ogun (Edo-PDP) on the need to investigate the resurgence of the fever in Nigeria.

Ogun explained that one of the important areas of focus for any government was the health sector.

This, according to him, is because of its importance to citizens and the dangers that disease and ill-health pose to the safety and security of the populace.

He expressed concern that in recent times, one of the virulent forms of fever plaguing the nation was Lassa, similar to the Ebola fever.

“We are aware that the first case of Lassa fever reported in Nigeria was in 2015 and between August, 2015 and May, 2016, 273 cases, including 149 deaths were recorded by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“We are also aware of a report published on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 by the Technical Assistant on Communication of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, urging Nigerians to be at alert.

“This is because Lassa fever is on the rise again with 19 cases and five deaths reported between 2016 and 2017 in seven states,’’ he said.

Ogun emphasised the need for the Federal Government to address the resurgence of the fever by coming up with a sustainable plan for the eradication of the scourge in Nigeria.

The motion was unanimously adopted by members when put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

The House, therefore, mandated a joint committee on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to find out from the minister the steps taken to tackle the fever.

The joint committee is to also meet with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (CDC) on the matter and report back in six weeks.

‘Fanta, Sprite are safe to drink but NOT with any Drug,’ FG says

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The Federal Government has warned Nigerians not to drink Fanta and Sprite with any medicine.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, who gave the warning on Friday, March 17, said the two beverages are safe for human consumption but poisonous if taken with any drug.

Adewole stated this after a meeting with the Department of Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health; National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC; and Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON; to address the concerns raised over the drinks by a judgment of a Lagos High Court.

The Court had ordered NAFDAC to direct the Nigeria Bottling Company Plc, manufacturers of the products, to include a warning on the bottles of the products that the contents cannot be taken with Vitamin C.

The judgment was the outcome of a suit filed by a Lagos-based businessman, Emmanuel Adebo, and his company, Fijabi Adebo Holdings Limited, against NBC Plc and NAFDAC.

In the suit, Adebo asked the court to declare that NBC was negligent to its consumers by bottling Fanta and Sprite with excessive levels of benzoic acid and sunset additives.

He had tried to export Nigeria-produced Fanta and Sprite to the UK, where they were described as poisonous by authorities there and destroyed.

Benzoic acid is a white, crystalline powder with a faint, non-offensive odour. Though it serves as preservative, if used excessively causes cancer and has been linked to asthma problems and increased levels of hyperactivity in children.

Benzoic acid is also used in the manufacture a wide variety of products such as perfumes, dyes, topical medications and insect repellents.

Sunset yellow is a dye that can be found in foods like orange juice, ice cream, canned fish, cheese, jellies, soft drinks and many medicines. It can also be dangerous for human health as it causes urticaria, rhinitis, allergies, hyperactivity, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting in some individuals.

NAFDAC on Thursday said it has filed an appeal and a motion to stay execution of action on the judgment.

The NBC, bottlers of Coca Cola products in Nigeria, has also said it is appealing the judgment.

Doctor warns parents against self-medication for children

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Dr Stephen Olayinka of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Ilorin, has warned parents against giving medication to their children without prescription by a medical practitioner. Olayinka said this in Ilorin on Tuesday that self-medication was dangerous to health.

According to him, self-medication is not good for anybody; it has led to loss of lives of many Nigerians. He said that most parents were fond of treating their children without proper consultation which could lead to serious health issue later.

The expert said that children’s internal system was not as strong as that of adults, urging parents not to use them for experiment. “Some drugs are too strong for their system.

Damage can easily be done on children’s internal system and can lead to death. “It baffles me when parents rush into the ward and start lamenting after they have given overdose to their children.

“Most parents listened to their neighbours’ prescription, thereby giving harmful drugs to their children. “Drugs have lasting effect on child’s health, if not properly controlled,’’ he said.

Olayinka also advised parents to stop giving herbs to children, saying that it was unhealthy and dangerous to their health. He said that instead, parents should visit government approved hospitals to care for their children when faced with any health challenge.

Killer palm oil floods markets in Nigeria

Ossai Ovie Success Blog

You must have seen them. Or perhaps tasted of them, albeit unwittingly. Adulterated palm oil or killer palm oil as some people have come to term them. They are everywhere in the Nigerian market. For the not-too discerning buyer, these set of oils even get the nod ahead of the pure unadulterated palm oil on the shelves because they come across as more alluring. What are the tell-tales? Redness; they are unusually red and attractive, while some are almost impossible to differentiate.

From Ikotun market in Lagos to Jankara, to Mushin, Ajegunle, in Lagos, Ibadan and as far as Potiskum in Jos, the story is the same. Nigerians go to the market with the intention of buying palm oil to cook their meals but end up with poison. Yes, consumers do not die immediately, but that does not make it less poisonous; or how does one describe inedible substances and chemicals deliberatly mixed with food ingredients and sold to innocent people?

Palm oil ordinarily enjoys a universal acceptance amongst all Nigerian tribes, to the extent that no home-made meal is complete without it (or vegetable oil).

Palm oil in Nigeria is derived mainly from African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), popularly referred to as Palm Tree.  It is naturally a reddish-orange colour because it has very high beta-carotene content. It is richly endowed with so many health and nutritional benefits. According to, an online health journal, the health benefits of palm oil include improving energy levels, preventing cancer, boosting the immune system, helping to prevent aging, protecting against heart diseases and also beneficial to pregnant women. More recently, it has become more popular because of the risk of bad cholesterol associated with other cooking oil. Aside energy, its beta-carotene content also boosts hormonal balance in the body, and enhances vision. The source also states that it prevents macular degeneration and cataracts, thereby enhancing sight.

This is why this habit of adulterating the oil is attracting so much attention. “What else do we turn to?” Morayo, a housewife around Mushin area of Lagos, asked this reporter almost rhetorically, during one of his fact-finding mission. Palm oil also has high level of HDL, good cholesterol, which helps to maintain a good balance of cholesterol in the body and by implication, ensure a healthier cardiovascular system. It’s rich in Tocopherols , a type of vitamin A antioxidants, that also help to prevent cancer by neutralising free radicals, which experts say cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous cells.

It is therefore unfortunate that this rather healthy gift of nature is gradually being bastardised to the extent that man now needs to be more alert when buying and consuming it or products for which it serves as a component.

Adulterated palm oil everwhere

At Ikotun Market, arguably one of the biggest markets in Lagos, an elderly woman, Mrs Saratu (not real name), who deals in yam and other farm stuff in the market, spoke of how adulterated palm oil has taken over the market. “Adulterated palm oil is what we have in the market right now. I mistakenly bought it sometime ago and regretted it. It is adulterated with chemicals and colouring. I got to know the secret when one of the sellers operated close to me, before she closed down due to debt incurred from a microfinance bank.”

Asked if there is a marked difference between the pure oil and the adulterated one, Mrs Saratu said, “It is attractive when you behold it in a bottle, but when you cook with it, the chemical with which it had been mixed will not allow you to enjoy the soup. Apart from showing in the colour, which makes the soup as red as blood, the chemical does not allow you to enjoy the soup, as it mars the taste and makes it nauseating. And that is aside whatever health danger the chemical may carry. And as for me, anything that will harm my body, I have sworn not to take, except if I don’t know.”

Continuing, she said: “I wonder why they are not just selling the oil pure, even if it is more expensive, at least, people will eat and remain healthy. And it is not as if the mixed one is cheaper. I think it is mainly because the chemical and colouring make the oil red and more attractive. Please, help us tell the government to look into it before these greedy traders kill us all. They don’t seem to care about the risk they are putting the people through. All they are interested in is the money they are making.”

Asked how she gets her supply now, or if she now has a way of detecting the adulterated type, Mrs. Saratu said she now buys from source in Edo State, since it is not so easy to determine which has been mixed. “I give money to my contacts who supply me yam in Edo and other states to help me buy pure unadulterated palm oil from source, and this is what I take with my family and sales people who live with me. I buy in gallons, but how many people can do that?”

Another woman, Lara, a journalist in Lagos, said the situation is horrible and dangerous to healthy living. Her experience: “I bought it once and it was really appalling. The odour that greeted me the moment I got home was really offensive. Aside that, there were so many dirt and particles; most of them blackish. It was so bad that I just closed the lid and went out to buy another oil. I couldn’t cook with it. I think one of the reasons I fell for it was because I did not taste it. Usually, I taste my oil before buying. “

Since then, Lara said she has been more careful, taking time to always taste the oil and stick to one customer, whom she can trust and who has so far never failed her.

Unlike Mrs. Saratu, Lara said the one she bought was not attractive. “It had the same reddish-orange colour but was clearly adulterated. And it was not as if it was cheaper. As a matter of fact, they even make it look more expensive by giving it a higher price tag. That was last December, but after that, I have been extremely careful, making sure I only buy from one customer, whom I trust.,” she said.

Yetunde, another journalist, also recounted how her experience made her stop buying palm oil in Lagos. Last year, she said her sister bought a 250 litre palm oil, which they both shared. “Initially,” she said, “the content looked really good. Even when we started using it, it tasted really nice. However, by the time we used it halfway, we discovered that the colour and taste were changing. The content in the gallon had become thick and black. It was then that it dawned on me that the palm oil was adulterated. We stopped using it immediately.”

So now, she buys her palm oil only outside Lagos. “Each time my sister or anyone is travelling out of Lagos, I ask them to help me buy from source, to avoid making the same mistake.” She would not allow some bad people to poison her and her family in their greed.

Barakat, a housewife and businesswoman, also condemned the adulterated palm oil, which she said may be the cause of the numerous cases of cancer now afflicting the country. A 41-year-old woman, she said in her younger days, cancer was virtually unheard of and wondered why some people, would, for the sake of making money, be poisoning their countrymen and women. To underline her angst over the adulterated oil, Barakat told this reporter of how she has taken it upon herself to enlighten as many people as she knows and come across, never to buy the palm oil. She does not know exactly what chemicals it is adulterated with, but vows that they cannot be edible stuffs. She also wonders what NAFDAC is doing about it.

It is from Cotonou – Head, Ikotun palm oil sellers

One of the wholesale dealers in Ikotun Market, who gave his name as John, would not divulge any information. He denied knowing about adulterated palm oil and would not tell where he sources his supply from, save an umbrella statement that: “My oga buys it from the East.”

Attempts at getting information from the retailers also met with denials and rebuffs.

Ifeanyi, a bulky elderly man, is the head of palm oil retailers in Ikotun Market, Lagos. In an attempt to unravel the riddle behind the unwholesome practice and ask if anything is being done to stem the situation, this reporter sought  his opinion.

He admitted that he is aware of the adulterated palm oil, but said it is the ones brought to Nigeria from Cotonou via Idiroko border that are adulterated. On his own, he said he does not mix his oil and that he sells it as it is delivered from the producers.

When asked what the perpetrators use to mix the oil, he said he did not know. When this reporter told him about his finding that the dealers mix the oil with bad cholesterol vegetable oil, colouring and other chemicals, he said he was not aware.

And on the effort his association is making to stem the practice, Ifeanyi said the association tries its best, but insisted that it is a difficult situation, as it is hard to catch the perpetrators in the act. On some occasions, he confessed that they have had to fight some of those involved in the practice and admitted almost helplessly that “they just seem unwilling to desist.”

As for him, Ifeanyi said he sells original, unadulterated palm oil, but disclosed that even the consumers/buyers make things difficult, as they always ask for the adulterated ones, albeit unknowingly, because of its ‘rich’ colour and attractiveness. “And you know that in business, demand drives supply. So the sellers try to meet up with demand.,” He said.

‘They’re all culpable’

Mrs Saratu on sighting this reporter with the head of the palm oil sellers association, however, vowed that even he is into the unwholesome practice. She expressed surprise that even Ifeanyi was the head of the oil; sellers and said that is a sign that ‘we’re all in trouble.’

When asked if she ever sighted NAFDAC officials cracking down on the adulterated oil sellers, Mrs. Saratu said she had no idea.

Nowhere is safe

For those taking solace in buying the products from outside Lagos, it might not yet be uhuru, as some unscrupulous elements are even said to be engaged in the dangerous habit. Sometime last year, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NCDSC) arrested some suppliers in Potiskum, Jos, for allegedly adulterating the product with dye. Their arrests at the time led to the confiscation of several other samples, which after lab tests by NAFDAC, showed traces of high acid, high saponification and high relative density.

Lawal Musa Dadingelma, the state’s coordinator of NAFDAC, confirmed that the adulterated palm oil samples tested contained dye which is capable of causing cancer when deposited in human body. And these were just a tip of the iceberg of people who might be engaged in the nefarious activity. The Medical Director of Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital, Damaturu, Dr. Garba Fika, was also quoted by a national daily to have confirmed an increase in the number of cancer cases. Ditto, several other hospitals in the country. Even the ministry of health has confirmed this.

Last year, Francis Durosinmi-Etti, a professor of Oncology and Radiotherapy at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, disclosed that 500,000 new cases are diagnosed yearly in the country. Speaking at his inaugural lecture, titled, “That We May Overcome Cancer: The Odyssey of a Radiation Oncologist” in Lagos, cited lack of basic infrastructure and late report by patients, as reasons. But with the spread in these ‘evil’ palm oil, the professor might have overlooked one major factor, albeit unwittingly.

Dr Abubakar Jimoh, Director, Special Duties at  NAFDAC, confirmed that the trend is not new and that the agency is aware of the dangerous practice. Even as far back as ten years ago, when it first got wind of the trend, he said the agency, under the late Prof Dora Akunyili, waged a ceaseless battle against the perpetrators in the markets. “We also made it a point to educate the public about the presence of the product and sensitise them. We discovered a particular colourant, with which they mixed the oil to make it more attractive and get people to buy.”

During a lab test, Jimoh said they discovered that the palm oil is mixed with of Azo dye. “Azo dye is a dye used in dying clothes and is not to be consumed because it is highly carcinogenic, which means it can cause cancer. It is the major colourant used but it is dangerous enough.”

He said the first challenge the agency faced back then was whether to dabble into it or not, since it especially didn’t fall into its purview. “We were torn between cracking down on it and being passive, because it does not really fall under the purview of NAFDAC. NAFDAC, based on law, is concerned with processed food. But it got to a point, where we decided that we had to think outside the box. For the sake of the people, we had to redefine our role and commenced a public enlightenment process to get people aware. Market women particularly.”

He confessed though that the agency has not sustained the battle, especially because it has had to do battle on so many fronts. “There are so many issues, including fake/counterfeit drugs that is still daunting, not to talk of other processed foods. There is also the issue of bringing the quality of export agricultural products to par with standards. “

He concluded that what the agency needs still is “a lot of public enlightenment. If people are aware, then they will not fall prey. Another thing we’re planning is to begin to make people scapegoats. So far we have been restraining ourselves from literally taking over the role of the police, so to speak.”

He admits that the agency would eventually resort to cracking down, but said for now, it aiming to get Nigerians to take their destinies in their hands and try to be vigilant and careful. I can tell you that the local market women have very discernible eyes to detect such adulterated product. “By just looking and tasting, they are able to decipher and differentiate. It is called organoleptic test. Even scientists do organoleptic tests to eliminate products before embarking on tests. That is the first natural test, before any lab tests.”

Jimoh, however, said the agency’s Food Nutrition and Applied Nutrition Department recently disclosed to him that it is part of their plan to carry out a nationwide survey. “That survey will help us take samples from markets and suppliers across the country to see what new tricks or addition they’ve brought on aside azo dye. The survey would also aim to gauge how impactful our enlightenment campaigns have been on the market habits of the consumers. It is after that we will take more actions, such as raids. The only raids we have done in the past were on vegetable oil.”

Delta Govt. pledges support for improved oral healthcare

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Delta Government has pledged to support efforts toward improving oral healthcare across the state and the nation at large.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Nicholas Azinge, made the pledge on Friday in Asaba when members of the Dental Health Committee, Nigerian Medical Association, Delta chapter, paid him a visit.

He said an efficient oral healthcare system was key in maintaining standard and healthy oral health of all citizens for a healthy society.

The commissioner commended the committee for creating the Dental Surgeons Directory and advised it to make it accessible on the internet for wider coverage of their activities.

He stressed the need for professionalism in the discharge of their duties and urged them to forward a comprehensive report and proposal on their needs assessment for the ministry’s attention and action.

Dr Vivian Omo-Aghoja, the Consultant, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Central Hospital, Sapele, said that the committee planned to establish a comprehensive oral health statistics.

According to her, such statistics will help to lay the foundation for improved oral healthcare in the state and the nation at large.

She said the committee was working hard to reduce and alleviate the burden of oral diseases in the state and the nation by proposing favourable policies.

Omo-Aghoja disclosed that such policies would promote increased training of skilled/specialised oral healthcare personnel.

She appealed to the commissioner to assist the committee to meet its 2017 targets, noting that among them was the expansion of dental services in Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH) to accommodate more specialties.

Other targets, she said, were the improvement of facilities in general hospitals across the state, and re-establishment of the Dental School in DELSUTH.

Omo-Aghoja announced that a Dental Surgeon’s Directory for the state had been created, while the Nigerian Dental Association, Delta chapter, had been reestablished.

She said activities marking the 20th International Oral Health Day in the state would include; health education on oral hygiene practices in centres that offer dental services in Warri, Ughelli, Sapele, Eku, Ekpan and Ibusa.

“This will culminate in the grand finale at the Federal Government College, Warri, where lectures on this year’s theme — “Live Mouth Smart” — oral hygiene practices and free dental checks for the participants, will hold,” Omo-Aghoja said.

She added that participants would be drawn from 20 secondary schools across the state, market women associations, youths and women faith-based organisations.

Health workers begin indefinite strike from Monday 6th March 2017

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Members of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), would begin an indefinite nation-wide strike, on Monday, March, 6, 2017. Mr Ayinde Obisesan, the National General- Secretary of the Association announced this on Saturday in Ibadan, in a directive to the workers.

“You are hereby directed to commence an indefinite strike action with effect from 12: 01 am, Monday, 6 March, 2017, until otherwise directed.

“This is sequel to the ultimatum issued to the government since 20 January, 2017 and the inability of government to address our demands positively, “he said NUAHP is an umbrella union for health workers such as physiotherapists, pharmacists, dieticians, medical laboratory scientists, optometrists and radiographers.

Others are dental therapists, medical physicists, health information officers, clinical psychologists and medical social workers.

This is what happens to your body when you hold in your poop

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Holding in your poop when you gotta go is not only uncomfortable, it can also be unhealthy.

After a certain amount of time, things are going to get UGLY.

Just like the famous book says, everyone poops. But let’s be real, going at the office or at bae’s can be super awkward, prompting many of us to develop some odd holding patterns.

But holding in your poop when you gotta go is not only uncomfortable, it can also be unhealthy. “The idea of holding it isn’t the best thing,” says Niket Sonpal, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Tuoro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York.

He gave us the scoop on poop, and what happens in your bod when you try to hold it in.

When you gotta go…

“When stool hits parts of the rectum, it sends you the signal saying ‘hey man, you’ve got to find a place to got to the bathroom and unload,’” says Sonpal.

While everyone’s schedule and frequency is different, it usually happens right after you eat or have your morning cup of coffee—caffeine can act as an intestinal stimulant making you run for the porcelain throne after downing your cappuccino.

After two hours…

“Its really hard to hold your poop in. You have to tighten the voluntary sphincters,” says Sonpal.

“In the first few hours, you’ll feel a sense of abdominal pressure. Some people describe it as abdominal cramping, whereas some people have more urgency.”

In other words, holding it is a fast track to that gassy, bloated feeling you can’t seem to shake.

Learn more fascinating facts about the female anatomy:

After six hours…

“Your body will eventually start to impact your poop,” says Sonpal. Not good.

He adds that at this point, you might actually loose the urgency to go, but that’s not because your poop has magically disappeared—instead, you’re just becoming constipated.

After 12 hours…

“The longer the stool stays in the harder it gets,” says Sonpal.

At this point, you may actually start to notice a distended belly—the pressure builds until you can’t hold your stomach flat even if you try.

As the stool gets harder in your colon, you up your risk for an uncomfortable trip to the bathroom, says Sonpal. You may experience straining, bleeding, and even small tears.

If you keep holding it…

“I’ve never heard of anyone dying from holding poop, but in adults, voluntarily holding it in is just going lead to impaction where the stool is rock hard,” Sonpal says. If it gets impacted enough, you might need laxatives or even manual removal to get it out. Yikes.

The bottom line? “Go to the bathroom when your body is telling you,” Sonpal says.

If you can’t get to a bathroom right away, definitely make it a priority in the first few hours