Nigeria’s TB Case Finding Rises By 50%, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation said Nigeria had significantly increased its national Tuberculosis case finding by 50 per cent in 2021 using innovative approaches.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, made this known in her message in commemoration of World TB Day.
World TB Day is marked yearly on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of this preventable disease and call for accelerated action to end it.
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This year’s theme, ‘Yes, we can end TB’, highlights the need to ensure equitable access to prevention and care, in line with the drive towards Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Moeti said it was important to find and diagnose cases of TB so that the patients can be treated, and their contacts offered preventive medication.
“Nigeria is an example of a country that managed to significantly increase national TB case finding by 50 per cent in 2021 using innovative approaches such as the expansion of the daily observed treatment protocols, use of digital technologies, Community Active Case Finding, and enlisting Public Private Mix initiatives.
“TB requires concerted action by all sectors: from communities and businesses to governments, civil society and others,” she said in a press statement.
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She said the African Region was on the threshold of reaching a 35 per cent TB death reduction as there had been a 26 per cent reduction in TB deaths between 2015 and 2021.
“Seven countries — Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique, South Soudan, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia—have reached a 35 per cent reduction in deaths since 2015,” she noted.
She, however, decried the challenges in TB prevention and control.
“First, the delayed diagnosis and testing. There is still a notable gap between the estimated number of new infections and case notifications of TB: 40 per cent of people living with TB did not know of their diagnosis or it was not reported in 2021. One million people are living with TB in the region and have not been detected.
“Second, the link between TB and HIV. Approximately 20 per cent of people newly diagnosed with TB are also living with HIV infection.
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“Third, the multi-drug resistant TB. In the African region, only 26 per cent of all people living with multi-drug resistance are receiving the appropriate treatment.”
Meanwhile, she hailed the member states for the increasing uptake of new tools and guidance recommended by WHO, resulting in early access to TB prevention and care, and better outcomes.
“In the African Region, the use of rapid diagnostic testing has increased from 34 per cent in 2020 to 43 per cent in 2021, which will improve countries’ ability to detect and diagnose new cases of the disease.
“We must work together to develop innovative approaches to reach vulnerable populations and ensure that they have access to quality TB care and management.
“The second UN High-level Meeting on TB in September 2023 will provide a rare opportunity to give global visibility to the disease and mobilize high-level political commitment to end TB.
“Ending TB is feasible with the decline in TB deaths and cases, and the elimination of economic and social burdens associated with it.
“Specially today, I urge leaders, governments, partners, communities, and all stakeholders to urgently foster the resilient health systems required to accelerate the TB response so that we can reach the Sustainable Development Goals targets by 2030. Yes, we can end TB in our lifetime,” she added.
JUST IN: Health Workers Begin Indefinite Strike
The Joint Health Sector Unions and the Assembly of Health Care Professional Association have directed their members to embark on an indefinite strike.
The National Vice President of JOHESU, Dr Obinna Ogbonna said this at a press briefing held in Abuja on Thursday.
JOHESU is the umbrella body of health workers’ unions and associations, including the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, and Senior Staff Association of Universities’ Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions.
The leadership of JOHESU had in a letter dated May 9, 2023, issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Federal Government over alleged inconsistencies of the government in the ongoing negotiations to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure for health workers on their platforms.
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The 15-day ultimatum commenced on May 10, 2023, and will expire at midnight on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.
Obinna said, “It becomes imperative to inform you that since the Federal Government is yet to meet these demands, our members have been directed by the JOHESU National Executive Council to proceed on an indefinite strike action upon expiration of the ultimatum by midnight of May 25, 2023.”
BREAKING: Trouble Looms As FG Declares Doctors’ Strike Illegal, To Implement No-work-no-pay
The Federal Government has warned members of the National Association of Resident Doctors to shelve their planned five-day warning strike, describing it as illegal.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, issued the warning today shortly after receiving a letter from the NARD executive notifying him of the impending industrial action, billed to commence midnight today, May 16, 2023
Reacting to the letter, dated May 16, 2023 and delivered to his office at about 5pm same day, Ngige said on receiving the letter, he contacted the Minister of Health, who informed him that a meeting has been scheduled by his office with the resident doctors on Wednesday, May 17.
He therefore advised the doctors to avail themselves of the opportunity for social dialogue with their employer, rather than embark on a warning strike, which is unknown to the law.
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He said, “I will advise them to attend the meeting with the Minister of Health tomorrow. I will also advise them very strongly not to go on five-day warning strike. There is nothing like warning strike. A strike is a strike.
“If they want to take that risk, the options are there. It is their decision. They have the right to strike. You cannot deny them that right. But their employer has another right under Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, to withhold their pay for those five days.
“So, if the NARD has strike funds to pay their members for those five days, no problem. The Health Minister will instruct the teaching hospitals to employ adhoc people for those five days and they will use the money of the people who went on strike to pay the adhoc doctors. That is the ILO principles at decent work, especially for those rendering essential services. Lives should be protected. One of my sons is a resident doctor. I will advise him to go to work and sign the attendance register. The people seen at work are the ones to receive their pay. If you don’t work, there will be no pay.”
Commenting on the five demands of the doctors, Ngige said the Federal Government lacks the powers to compel the states to domesticate the Medical Residency Training Fund, since health is in the residual list, where both the federal and state governments have the powers to legislate.
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According to him, the job of the Federal Government is to make policy and where the states disagree, they are at liberty to make their own policy.
He added that the federal government cannot bully the states into domesticating the MRTF if they do not want to.
Regarding the issue of immediate payment of the MRTF to their members, he said it was appropriated in the 2023 budget, but has not been released, as the 2022 budget was still running, adding that those in 2022 have all been paid.
He denied the claim by NARD that the Federal Government did not pay minimum wage consequential adjustment arrears to their members, saying that all workers in the Education and Health Sectors, and even the defence agencies benefited from the adjustment.
He noted that the doctors cannot declare nationwide strike because some states were owing their members, pointing out that the federal government cannot also dabble into the issue, being a state matter.
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Similarly, he said the Federal Government as the Executive arm of government cannot intervene in the bill at the National Assembly to bond doctors for five years, as it is a private member’s bill.
According to him, any intervention by the executive on the matter impinges on the autonomy and independence of the legislative arm of government.
Ngige said although the bill has passed through first and second reading, he was sure it would be shot down at the public hearing, since the law prohibits forced labour.
He advised the doctors not to talk about 200 percent pay rise, as it was not feasible, adding that “besides all the government has done for doctors and other workers in the health sector, such as upward review of hazard allowances, the Nigeria Medical Association was already negotiating with the Federal Ministry of Health, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and the Presidential Committee on Salaries on pay rise for doctors.
“It is incongruous for student doctors to embark on strike when consultants training them were already negotiating with the Federal Government.”
UBTH @50: Management, Staff, Patients Embark On 5km Walk To Promote Preventive Health Care
Management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), on Monday, organised a 5 kilometer Walk as a way of promoting preventive health care among Nigerians.
Speaking during the Fitness Walk, Prof. Darlington Obaseki, Chief Medical Director, UBTH, said that walking, as a form of exercise, had proven to help prevent a lot of diseases ranging from hypertension, diabetes and some cancers.
Obaseki, while speaking to journalists shortly after the walk tagged “Walk for Life,” said the event was part of activities to celebrate the hospital’s 50th anniversary.
He said, “Engaging in different forms of exercise helps to keep the body fit and healthy.
READ ALSO: UBTH ENT H&N Dept Marks World Hearing Day, Reiterates Commitment To Quality Service Delivery
“The walk for life is a way to sensitize the public on the benefit of walking and how walking helps in preventing numerous diseases.
“The first step in health care is disease prevention, hence we are creating awareness about the need to exercise always”.
He said that most patients visited the hospital for curative purposes, noting that healthy living which involved regular exercise was key to disease prevention.
“One of the dangers of modern day style of living is the sedentary life style. So many persons sit in their offices from morning to night without exercising their bodies.
“Once you are fit and have the right weight, a lot of diseases can be prevented”, he said.
Speaking to traders at Uselu market, Dr Taiwo Oyewumi, Head of Physiotherapy department, UBTH, regretted that only a few per cent of Nigerians engage in regular exercises.
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Oyewumi said, “Exercise is the cheapest way to stay healthy, and it is recommended that an individual does about 7,000 steps a day for healthy living.
“People who do exercise don’t fall ill often. Doing exercises makes you sleep well, improves brain function, and reduces bad cholesterol and hypertension.
“Exercise at less 10 to 15 minutes a day because exercise is good for your health”
The 5km walk started from UBTH premises at Ugbowo through Uselu market and back to UBTH premises.
Participants included UBTH board members, staff, students, patients and their families, fitness enthusiasts, journalists and other members of the public.
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