Dr Bassey Eyo, a member of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Cross River
chapter, on Thursday, said that being a man of over 40 years is a risk factor in contracting prostate cancer.
She told Nigeria News Agency in Calabar that “having a family history of the disease also makes a man prone to contracting the ailment.”
Eyo said prostate cancer was common in men of over 40 years and for a man to be safe, he needed to be screened.
She explained that during screening, an antigen called prostate-specific antigen is picked in the blood, and when these antigens
are more than four, it is then suspected that the man has contracted prostate cancer.
She noted that physical examination would also be carried out on the man, after taking his history.
According to her, there is no specific known cause of prostate cancer, except that it has a hereditary part and can
be influenced by bad lifestyle like smoking, drinking and excessive use of tobacco.
She advised that “any man who is above 40 years should go get a Digital Rectile Examination (DRE); it is not painful or expensive,
unfortunately, many Nigerians wait for the disease to come first before they treat.
She explained that “DRE is a test for both men and women. It allows a doctor to check the lower rectum, pelvis, and lower
belly for cancer and other health problems.
“Depending on the stage of the prostate cancer, it could be operated on or drugs can be given to the patient which he would be taking for life.
“Anyone that has a male in his family that died from prostate cancer or that encounters difficulty in urinating or sees traces of blood in his urine
should get immediate checkup.
“Even those who experience excessive urination, split urine during urination or a feeling of some urine left after urination should run to
hospital for DRE.”
The MWAN member said that the Cross River chapter of the association had declared the month of October as cancer-free month
with the theme “I can and I will” and outlined programmes, ranging from enlightenment campaigns to free cancer screenings in the state. (NAN)
Edited Zainab Garba/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
COVID-19: Health union appeals to FG over hazard allowance payment
The Joint Health Sector Unions(JOHESU) has appealed to the Federal Government to implement the COVID-19 hazard allowance agreement to be paid to all medical workers.
This was contained in a letter to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige and signed by the Chairman and Acting Secretary of the union, Mr Biobelemoye Josiah and Mr Matthew Ajorutu on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to the letter, JOHESU members can no longer wait until post-COVID-19 pandemic for their allowances to be paid as government have left out payments of medical workers.
He said that the union’s decision to write to the minister was hinged on the recently released N4 billion for National Association of Residence Doctors (NARD).
The union said that the prompt payment to the NARD without JOHESU members has become a thing of worry.
The union however, said the plea for understanding due to paucity of funds can no longer be accepted by the members.
JOHESU also alleged that those not captured in the payment include the National Abovirus Vector and Research Centres (NACRC), Enugu and the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) Vom, Plateau State.
Other are the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Training Centres in Saye, Zaria, NOFIC, Katsina, and Health Clinics in universities.
The union called on the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Minister of Health for the immediate implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered on April 21.
“The elasticity of our members is at the breakpoint and we can no longer guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the Health Sector because our members are restive since the Federal Government approval to NARD,” JOHESU said.
The MOU stated that the Federal Government agrees to shelve the payment of the existing Hazard Allowance of N5,000 being paid across board to health workers.
According to the MOU, in its place, a Special COVID-19 Hazard and Inducement Allowance of 50 per cent of the Consolidated Basic Salary is to be paid to all Health Workers in all Federal Government Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres and her designated COVID-19 Centres and Primary Healthcare Centres to last for the first three months in the first instance.
“40 per cent of Consolidated Basic Salary would be paid as Special COVID-19 Hazard and Inducement Allowance to healthcare workers at Special non-Public Hospitals and Clinics in the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for same three months period.
“20 per cent of the Consolidated Basic Salary will be paid as SPECIAL RISK ALLOWANCE additionally on the Special COVID-19 Hazard and Inducement Allowance to all health workers directly managing COVID-19 19 at the Infectious Diseases Hospitals, Isolation and Treatment Centres.
“10 per cent of Consolidated Basic Salary would be paid to non-core medical professionals working in the health sector and operating at the aforementioned hospitals/clinics as Special Allowance for the COVID-19 period – three months first instance,” the MOU stated.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)https://nnn.ng/covid-19-health-union-appeals-to-fg-over-hazard-allowance-payment/
Consultant Surgeon advocates employment for cancer survivors
A Consultant Surgeon at Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Dr Aba Katung, has tasked government at all levels to create employment opportunities for cancer survivors to boost their financial status to enhance their treatment.
Dr Katung said this in commemoration of the National Cancer Survivors Day 2020 in Akure on Sunday.
He said that the financial status of cancer survivors remained one of the major issues being faced and urged government at all levels to assist by giving them means of survival.
Katung, who also double as the President, Coalition Against Cancer in Nigeria, advised women for regular breast examination and early detection as one of the best cure of cancer.
“I want to passionately appeal to our government at all levels to ensure employment opportunities for cancer survivors to enable them continue with their treatment without much stress of seeking for assistance,” she said.
The Chairperson, Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) Ondo State Chapter, Dr Toyin Ayimoro, said that National Cancer Survivor Day (NCSD) was set aside to celebrate the life of cancer survivors and inspire those recently diagnosed of the disease so as to support them.
Ayimoro, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Johnson Olaniyi, said that BRECAN’s mission as an NGO, was to eliminate breast cancer as a life threatening disease in Nigeria through public education, patient support, advocacy and research.
According to her, celebrating this day makes our people to know that they can still live a fruitful, rewarding and fulfilled life after being diagnosed with cancer, especially BREAST CANCER which is our area of focus.
“BRECAN has succeeded in reducing the ignorance associated with the causes and treatment of breast cancer through aggressive public education and enlightenments.
“The activities of BRECAN has made it a Mecca for individuals suffering from breast cancer to seek financial support for their treatment,” she said.
Ayimoro commended the BRECAN founder, Mrs Betty Akeredolu, who hatched the idea of crowd funding as an instrument to raise fund and support the treatment of women with breast cancer in the state.
She said that many women had benefited from the fund for their treatment after appropriate evaluation by seasoned consultant and general surgeon.
“BRECAN as an organization created a body called Team Survivors Nigeria (TSN) with the aim of bringing together people with breast cancer to socially connect and share ideas and experience that could help others cope with the disease,” Ayimoro noted.
It’s Ondo State Coordinator, Mrs Olufumilayo Oluwagbamila, who spoke to NAN on behalf of the survivors, commended Mrs Akeredolu for giving hope and saving lives of breast cancer patients, saying it is not a death sentence.
Oluwagbamila said that lots of women had benefited from the crowd funding initiated by BRECAN, thus reducing the financial burden and allayed the fear of treatment.https://nnn.ng/consultant-surgeon-advocates-employment-for-cancer-survivors/
Interview: UK epidemiologist says global collaboration vital to tackle unprecedented COVID-19 crisis
Global collaboration is “really important” to tackle the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis which is affecting all countries, Dr Connor Bamford, a virologist, told Xinhua.
Dr Bamford is a research fellow in virology and antiviral immunity at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast. He has spent his career researching how human immune response can fend off different infections, and how viruses get past human immune systems.
“Collaboration is really important and this crisis is unique in the fact that it’s a pandemic — a global epidemic of a single pathogen — but this thing is affecting all countries,” said Dr Bamford.
In particular, collaborating in stopping travel, sharing PPE (personal protective equipment) and sharing experiences of the virus, are fundamental to successfully control COVID-19 on a global scale, according to Dr Bamford.
“Seeing how interconnected our global society and economy are, essentially everybody is getting damaged by this and I think we have to work together and more importantly we can learn from other countries,” said Dr Bamford.
According to Dr Bamford, China has been “really collaborative in this effort”.
“Very early in the outbreak, China shared a lot of information about this virus and allowed countries in Europe, the UK and the US to prepare themselves,” said Dr Bamford.
He believes that China is a key model — along with the rest of East Asia and Southeast Asia — to follow for countries like Britain in getting past this relief of lockdown phase.
Going forward, Dr Bamford said that researchers in Britain should also work closely with their counterparts in China when it comes to finding viable vaccines and therapeutics.
In a study published in the medical journal The Lancet last month, a Chinese team reported that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been found to be safe, well-tolerated, and able to generate an immune response against SARS-CoV-2 in humans in phase 1 clinical trial.
“I think we’ve got a lot to learn from China. China has a lot of scientific expertise, they have some vaccine candidates and they’ve got some therapeutic candidates and we now have people to share and collaborate on those,” he said.
Dr Bamford believes the world is getting closer to an effective drug or vaccine for COVID-19 with each experiment, but the chances of a valid vaccine by the end of the year remain slim,
“I think we’ll have an idea of the vaccines that are most likely to work, and the ones that are least likely to work — and hopefully we’ll have an idea of how safe they are and then hopefully we’ll be getting them into a large number of patients,” said Dr Bamford.
“I’m confident that at some point we will see a vaccine and this will have an impact, but if I’m more realistic — I don’t think it will be this year.”
As part of the global efforts to find solutions to the pandemic, a team at the University of Oxford is also carrying out clinical trial on a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Leading scientist of the team are optimistic that they can complete the multi-phased trial at an unprecedented pace.
“We have to make sure that these vaccines are safe and effective and we’re able to give them to essentially billions of people. This does take a really long period of time, but of course we’re trying to do things as fast as possible but, of course, you don’t want to do anything too fast as you really have to make sure they do work and things are safe,” said Dr Bamford.
In addition to vaccines, researcher around the world are also looking for effective drugs to treat the infection.
Since April, Dr Bamford and his team in Belfast have been working on a new drug to target the coronavirus. Although in its early stages of development, the drug is intended to be given to patients at hospital who are sick from COVID-19.
Development of vaccines or drugs comes as many countries around the world are starting to ease restrictions on movement.
“We’ve now conquered that first wave…There’s a couple of countries who have been in this similar position before us and I think that there is a real risk that we could go back to what we saw in the preceding months. We’re not in the early stages, we’re somewhere in the middle and it’s a bit uncertain,” said Dr Bamford.
Nonetheless, Dr Bamford is optimistic that the second wave will not be as severe as the first wave in Britain.
“The first wave, we predicted it would be completely catastrophic with hundreds of thousands of people dying. That was only if lockdown wasn’t brought in. I think we’ve shown that we know how to stop this virus and that is through lockdown, social distancing and increased hygiene and as importantly, this test, trace and isolate procedure,” said Dr Bamford.
“I think, when we bring all those together then we should be able to reduce some aspects of lockdown and social distancing but also suppress any virus that is there ongoing, but, of course, this is a long battle. We’re doing this to hold off the virus until we have a new therapy or a new vaccine that is safe and effective,” he said.
“Hopefully we can eradicate it or bring a vaccine that we can give to everybody in the population. But then the really important thing going forward is protecting the world from another pandemic like what we’re seeing with SARS-CoV-2,” he said.
Roundup: Italy looks ahead three months after first COVID-19 outbreak
The coronavirus infection curve continued downward overall in Italy on Thursday, three months after the pandemic officially broke out in its northern Lombardy region on Feb. 21.
Nationwide, the number of active infections dropped by 1,792 to 60,960 cases, according to the Civil Protection Department. Recoveries increase by 2,278 compared to Wednesday, bringing the nationwide total to 134,560.
A further 156 COVID-19 patients had died in the past 24 hours in Italy, bringing the country’s toll to 32,486, out of total infection cases of 228,006.
Of those who tested positive for the new coronavirus, 640 are in intensive care, 36 fewer compared to Wednesday, and 9,269 are hospitalized with symptoms, down by 355 patients from Wednesday.
The rest 51,051 people, or about 84 percent of those who tested positive, are quarantined at home with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
The Lombardy region whose capital is Milan still led in terms of cases, with 26,715 active infections. At the other end of the spectrum was the northern Valle d’Aosta region in the Alps, with 43 active infections.
“A CALCULATED RISK”
In a report to the Lower House of Parliament on Thursday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte outlined the government’s strategy for Phase Two, or the post-lockdown phase.
“We realize the challenge that lies ahead is even more difficult and just as dangerous as the one we faced at the beginning of the emergency,” he said.
“Exactly three months after the first case was confirmed (in Lombardy), we can state in good conscience that we made the right choice, the only one that could prevent the epidemic from spreading throughout the national territory,” Conte said in reference to the March 10-May 3 national lockdown decreed by his government.
Although “the epidemiological picture is not completely resolved,” the government believes it is time to return to normality, the prime minister said.
“We are now in a condition to face Phase Two with confidence… We all know a little more about the virus, and how to protect ourselves,” Conte said.
The prime minister also warned young people that “now is not the time for parties” and that “in this phase more than ever, social distancing and the use of masks are essential” in keeping the virus at bay.
“We are aware that starting this new phase could make the contagion curve rise again in some parts of the country,” Conte added.
“It is a calculated risk, and we will keep the (infection) curve under observation,” the prime minister continued. “We must accept this risk. We cannot stop while we wait for a vaccine. Otherwise our productive and social fabric will be irremediably compromised.”
Conte assured lawmakers that the government has “set up an accurate nationwide monitoring system based on data from the regions” and that “this will allow us to intervene should new outbreaks occur.”
Conte also noted that beginning on May 25, “serological tests will be available for free to 150,000 volunteers for the sole purpose of scientific research.”
Scientists want to find out how many healthy people have developed antibodies to the new coronavirus.
Carrying out the tests “will require an effort, based on the work of volunteers” and there will be a “national coordinating structure” to oversee them, the prime minister said.
ANTIBODY SCENARIO IN MILAN
In an article posted on Wednesday, Milan’s Policlinico Hospital cited a recent study saying that an estimated 1 in 20 inhabitants of Milan had COVID-19 antibodies weeks before the outbreak officially began on Feb. 21.
“What the experts suspected has been demonstrated with a study of blood donors at the Policlinico Hospital … where over 40,000 people from Milan and other parts of Lombardy give blood every year,” the article said.
Researchers selected a random sample of 800 healthy people who donated their blood at the Policlinico between Feb. 24 and April 8.
“According to the results, at the (official) beginning of the epidemic, 4.6 percent of the donors already had antibodies to the virus, and that percentage had risen to 7.1 percent by the beginning of April,” researchers wrote.
“A seroprevalence of 4.6 percent means 1 person out of 20 had already come in contact with the virus and had developed an immunity to it,” they wrote.
They concluded that “when the epidemic officially began, the new coronavirus had already been circulating among the population for a while.”
NOTE OF CAUTION
Meanwhile, Italians are looking forward to another date — June 3, when they will be allowed to move freely within the country again, and not just within the region they live in.
For many, that means a holiday by the sea, a trip to a country house, or a visit to distant friends and family.
However, Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia sounded a note of caution.
In an interview earlier on Thursday, he told Mattino Cinque TV program that the new nationwide coronavirus monitoring system which was put in place last week “will allow us to know whether a region is at low, medium or high risk” of infection.
Whether or not Italians will get to travel beginning on June 3 “depends on the region” they want to reach and its level of risk, Boccia said.
“If it is a low-risk region, probably yes,” the minister said.
“For almost three months we have been reading tough, difficult data — we must never forget that 32,000 Italians are no longer with us because of COVID-19,” Boccia said.
Like the prime minister, he also warned the youth against partying in public.
“We all want our teens and young adults to be happy,” said Boccia, a father of three, including two teenagers. “But public parties are intolerable. Safety is not optional — it is an obligation.”
Conte and Boccia’s comments came after reports of young people crowding together in public, especially in Milan, since the end of the lockdown.