The Lancet Oncology Commission report says Nigeria lost about 5.9 billion dollars to cancer deaths and other cancer-related factors in 2019. The Chairman, Lancet Oncology Commission for Sub-Saharan Africa, Prof. Wil Ngwa, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the public presentation of the report titled; “Lancet Oncology Commission: Cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa”.
Dignitaries at the public presentation of the Lancet Oncology Commission Report on Wednesday in Abuja.
While presenting the highlights of the report, he said that cancer was greatly impacting economies in the region with Algeria losing 2.6 billion dollars, Angola 1.2 billion dollars, Benin 209.2 million dollars, Botswana 500.6 million dollars and Burkina Faso 270.6 million dollars to the disease.
Ngwa said that cancer killed more than COVID-19 in 2021 in Africa and had caused more than 28,000 children’s death in the region in 2020. He added that as a result of COVID-19, it was estimated that there would be one million deaths per year by 2030 due to cancer in Africa.
Ngwa also said that the continent must address cancer with equal urgency, as it did with COVID-19. He also said that the challenge of cancer now faced by Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) was enormous and likely to worsen rapidly if adequate measures were not taken including international collaboration.
Ngwa, however, said that cancer in Africa was characterised by late stage at presentation, delayed diagnosis, limited access to treatment, and poor outcomes relative to other geographic regions Former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said that there were various interventions by the Federal Government to reduce the burden of the disease in Nigeria.
He, however, said that what was most important was political action and not just political will.
“The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) provides health insurance to all Nigerians and cancer screening is one of the key deliverables in that document.
“So, Nigeria is likely to become one of the first countries in Africa to have cancer screening covered by health insurance.
“What we now need to do moving forward is to go on with the idea of revitalising the eight cancer centres in Nigeria.
“Things are moving up but we need to scale them up because we have more than 200 million people, so we need to improve on access, care and funding.
He added that the Cancer Health Fund was a unique innovation where people with cancer were now supported financially.
As for the region, he said that actionable plans that should be explored includes precision cancer control improving, improvement of data acquisition and cancer registration, designing health-care systems that promote equity of access and increase of cure and care improvement.
Others are effective palliation as an integral and key part of cancer care, building and maintains ace of workforce, innovation and research and identification of barriers to implement and test strategies.
This is for the adoption and scale-up of recommended approaches that can substantially increase access to cancer prevention and treatment and increase survival.
The Editor-In-Chief, Lancet Oncology Commission, Prof. David Collingridge, said that the constant long suffering and mortality driven by infectious diseases, malnutrition and poor maternal and child health in Africa was now being affected by the growing incidence of cancer and other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Collingridge said that the double burden of disease was a consequence of lifestyle and behavioural changes and a shift in the patient population demographics to an ageing population.
“The health of the people in this part of the world where fragile health systems are under financed, under resourced and understaffed needs to be a global concern and needs to change,” he said.
He, however, said that the report advocates skin cancer research and increase in the use of telemedicine and other new technologies.
According to him, the report emphasises the importance of implementation research in clinical care pathways and enhanced service delivery.
Collingridge said, “In terms of financing, the commissioners suggests that financing should be initially prioritised for the most cost-effective measures.
“Cost-effective measures such as vaccines for prevention of preventable cancers, more affordable treatments that affect the greatest clinical cost benefit ratios.
“The recommend that transparent and dedicated revenue stream should be established with the input from international collaborators as needed to finance these specific measures.
” Collingridge said that each nation across Africa would need to adapt the recommendations to suit their specific situation, adding that with political determination and a coordinated approach across the region and the world, improved cancer care was achievable.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the commission was created to inquire into, describe and analyse the state of cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa and recommend key actions to address the growing challenge.
It brought together experts on all aspects of cancer control from Africa and around the world.
Gov. Oyetola inaugurates implementation committee on Ilesa varsity UpgradeBy Victor Adeoti Osogbo, Aug. 24, 2020 Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun on Wednesday inaugurated the implementation committee for the proposed University of Ilesa.
Oyetola said that the upgrade of the existing Osun State College of Education, Ilesa, to a full fledged university was not a product of wasted effort, but rather of thorough and rigorous interrogation.
The governor, during the inauguration in in his office, Abere, Osogbo, said that the proposed university had been carefully conceived as a thoroughly entrepreneurial and innovative institution that would be funded through a mix of sources.
He said the university would be founded in partnership with government, community, industry, and other stakeholders, without exerting unnecessary pressure on the finances of the state.
Oyetola assured that the running of the affairs of the university, when established, would be a model.
He noted that the proposed university would undoubtedly be unique as it is being carefully nurtured to be inoculated from the perennial challenges that plague an average public university in the country, but benchmarked against the best global practices.
Oyetola, who emphasised his administration’s commitment to building a truly diversified and resilient economy, said the idea of the university, became necessary to further expand access to qualitative education, among other opportunities, for the teeming young population.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Olu Aina, promised the committee would not only meet the target, but also beat the expectations.
According to Aina, members of the committee have given their consent to serve with utmost diligence and commitment to ensure the quick actualisation of the upgrade of the college to a full fledged university.
“Going by the caliber of people and personalities in this committee, I am confident we will deliver on our mandate.
“I commended Mr Governor for organising this team.
I am assuring you that we will not let you down.
” I appreciate the government for rising to the upgrade of the college.
With this gesture, government has done the needful,” he said.
Members of the committee are; former Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University, Prof. Labo Popoola; a former Vice Chancellor, Tai Solarin University, Prof. Yemisi Obilade; former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole; Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Lead City University, Prof. Jide Owoeye.
Others are; Pioneer Vice-Chancellor Osun State University, Prof. Sola Akinrinade; Professor of English Language and Applied Linguistics, Prof. Wasiu Oyedokun, and Mr Rasheed Sarumi.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the State House of Assembly on Aug. 8, 2022, passed a the bill seeking to upgrade the Osun State College of Education, Ilesa to a full fledged university.
Two former Vice-Chancellors, University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka and Prof. Isaac Adewole, have extolled the virtues and contributions of the late Prof. Akinlawon Mabogunje, the first Nigerian Professor of Geography.
Olayinka and Adewole along with others spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Saturday.
NAN reports that Mabogunje was born on Oct.18, 1931 in Kano and died on Aug. 4. Mabogunje was African President of the International Geographical Union.
In 1999, he was the first African to be elected as a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences, among other achievements during his lifetime.
Olayinka said: “We mourn the demise of Prof. Akinlawon Mabogunje.
Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his entire family, associates and friends.
“He matriculated at the then University College, Ibadan in 1949 and earned a First Degree in Geography in 1953. This was followed by a Doctor of Philosophy in the same discipline.
“He was elevated to the grade of Professor in 1965, thus becoming the first Nigerian Professor of Geography.
“Baba was widely acclaimed as the foremost Social Scientist ever produced by Africa.
He had earlier, in his illustrious career, served as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ibadan from 1968 till 1970. “He provided a leadership role in the preparation of the Master Plan for the Abuja Federal Capital Territory.
” According to Olayinka, as one of the earliest students of the University College, Ibadan, Mabogunje received the Degree of Doctor of Science _honoris causa_ from the University of Ibadan in 2018. “He will be sorely missed by all of us who knew him as a distinguished and highly respected UIte, who was very passionate, about his Alma Mater.
“He served meritoriously as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye,” he said.
Olayinka said that it was high time the government took the advice of the late professor on university ownership to ensure sustainability.
“It is generally accepted that the fortunes of the Nigerian University System cannot improve until a sustainable funding model is guaranteed.
“In this respect, about a decade ago, Prof. Akin Mabogunje suggested that the Federal Government of Nigeria should hand over the University of Ibadan to the Alumni to manage.
“It is perhaps high time this proposal is interrogated for the overall benefit of the country, otherwise, if we are to learn from history the current national strike by ASUU may painfully not be the last.
“We pray for the repose of the soul of the Colossus and eminent global citizen, Prof. Akinlawon Mabogunje.
He will be sorely missed by all of us who knew this humble and soft spoken academic giant,” the former VC said.
Also, Adewole, another former Vice-Chancellor, extolled the virtues of the deceased and his contributions to the development of Nigeria, especially the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
“We have lost an ‘Iroko’.
He was truly the last of the ‘Mohicans’.
An academic noble, he dined and wined with the Kings and Queens.
“He was another ‘Mr Fix’, a soft spoken man, who influenced policies without being a politician.
“Abuja was his hand and foot print.
A city that could be named after him.
A unique and successful family man, he remained largely visible but quiet.
His work and legacy are immortal.
“May his gentle soul Rest In Peace,” Adewole, a former Minister of Health, said.
In his comments, retired Prof. Olabode Lucas of the Department of Agronomy, University of Ibadan, said that the late Prof. Mabogunje was indeed an academic giant and intellectual Colossus.
“He was in the same league as Ibadan Academic giants like Dike, Lambo, Ajayi Lucas, Odeku, Akinkugbe, Aboyade, Irvine, Durley, Olayide Oyenuga and Bassir.
“He was the greatest Geographer in Africa, who won the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in Geography.
“As a student at Ibadan, he was the Secretary of the Action Group on the campus together with people like Bola Ige and Olutoye.
“In this capacity, he was a member of the Action Group Executive Council presided over by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
“After retirement, he founded the DPC with Prof. Aboyade.
For many years, he was the Chancellor of Ogun State University.
“He came, he saw and conquered.
May his soul rest in perfect peace,” Lucas said.
Also, Mr David Afolayan, the Chief Executive Officer, GIS Konsult, said that the late Prof. Mabogunje contributed to learning of Geography and passed it down to the next generation.
Afolayan described the deceased as a professor of professors and a great mentor.
“He contributed immensely to teaching of GIS in public and private secondary schools in Nigeria since 2015 and in equipping the next generation on having a better understanding of how the world works.
“And, he also empowered young people to proffer solutions to problems in the society through the connections he provided on the project I was inspired to take on,” Afolayan said.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has urged Gov Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun, to rely on divine success for his second term.
Ooni gave the advice when Oyetola and his campaign team visited his Palace on Thursday, in Ile-Ife.
The Royal Father applauded the governor for walking the talk and sticking to his electoral promises, saying that the Oduduwa Kingdom is solidly behind the governor.
He appreciated the good work the governor has been doing since assumption of office, but admonished him not to be distracted, but to continue in his good works.
Oba Ogunwusi commended the governor for fixing Federal highways and State intra-city roads, especially for changing the contractors handling them.
Ooni expressed confidence that his people would reciprocate the gesture by returning Oyetola for a second term.
Responding, Oyetola thanked the Ooni and all indigenes of Ife for their support so far.
The Governor expressed his happiness for returning for ancestral blessing, believing that all the prayers that would be offered for him again would surely come to fulfilment.
“What actually brought us here is to seek for your blessings before we go to the field to address our party loyalists,” he said.
The Governor commended the efforts of Ife indigenes, saying since Iyiola Omisore joined the party, there have been uncountable achievements.
Oyetola explained that previously, there was always panic over votes from Ife, because this has always determined winners in the state elections.
“With Omisore now with us, I am rest assured of my people’s vote in Ife. There’s no cause for alarm again, for all citizenry would cast their votes for me in multiple fold in the next election.
“I am happy to say as it is on record and worthy of note that I got 22,000 votes during the primary election, while others got 12,000 and 5,000 respectively.
“We can’t joke with Ife in the scheme of things, we are very committed to ensuring all-round development in Ile-Ife and its environs.
“Contractors handling both State and Federal roads who were incompetent have been replaced.
“We have done well in the health sector, for each towns has their own heath centres now, while education sector has been reformed,” he stated.
The Governor confirmed that workers’ full salaries are now paid on 25th of every month, retirees adequately paid.
Oyetola pledged more dividends of democracy for citizens.
Oyetola stated that he would have performed better than he has done, but indicated that his first eight months was spent on court case, then Coronavirus and other challenges followed.
He promised that if re-elected, he would do better.
Also, the National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Iyiola Omisore, thanked Ooni, other Royal Fathers, High Chiefs, Priests and citizenry for their support to the governor, especially during the primary election.
Iyiola appealed to Ife descendants to support Oyetola following the huge development he has brought to Ife which has enabled them to continue enjoying the dividends of democracy.
Numerous dignitaries present at the event include wife of the governor, Mrs Kafayat Oyetola, the Deputy-Governor and his wife, Mr Benedeict Alabi and his wife, Mrs Olufunke Alabi, Former Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole.
Others are the Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye, the Director-General of Campaign Council, Sen Bashir Ajibola, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Local Government Chairmen, Royal Fathers, and party members, among others.
A former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has called on Federal Government to adequately prepare the nation’s healthcare system against the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
Adewole made the call on Tuesday in Lagos, while speaking as a Guest Speaker at the Seventh Annual Public Lecture organised by the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the public lecture entitled: “Health & Wealth – The Global Impact” was organised to mark the 65th Convention of the Church in Nigeria.
Adewole said: “I am not a prophet of doom, but there will be another pandemic.
“We cannot continue to rely on luck, just like what happened during the Ebola outbreak.
“This present pandemic was predicted some years back, and we failed when the World Health Organisation (WHO) came to examine our readiness for any pandemic; we actually scored 42 per cent.
“So, funding of the healthcare must be total and the states must also be funded, because most of our states are very poor.”
Adewole, while commending the church for coming up with a topic that was relevant to the country, said Nigeria needed to have a resilient healthcare system in place.
“I am an unrepentant advocate of good healthcare system and proper funding, and what is unique about this topic is the relevance to Nigeria.
“The relationship between health and wealth is complex, interconnected and intimately related.
“That is why policy makers all over the world are under pressure to increase spending on health, and that is why we need to have a resilient healthcare system in place.
“What happened in the developed countries shows that they are vulnerable, and if they are vulnerable, that means we are more vulnerable.
“But, as regard COVID-19, God has been kind to us in this country.
“This is because we would not have been able to cope with the severity of what were experienced in some other countries, so there is an unseen hand,” he said.
The former minister, however, called for the reversal of the roles of healthcare institutions in the country.
According to him, most Nigerians don’t have any business going to a teaching hospital to seek for medical care, because 80 per cent of ailments can be handled in our primary healthcare centres.
“The pyramid needs to change, 10 per cent should go to the secondary healthcare facilities, while only those referred to the teaching institutions should go there for care,” he said.
Also, Mazi Sam Ohuabuwa, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Chairman at the programme, said that the wealth of any nation could not be determined without the health of the people.
Ohuabuwa said that the country over the years failed to pay adequate attention to the health sector.
He explained that the nation’s economy would witness growth, if the health sector was given the due attention it needed to thrive.
“Any country that takes health seriously is ready to develop; if this country’s economy must grow, health must be given its primary place.
“Health is our individual right; the government’s job is to motivate us, get health insurance working and make it compulsory for all citizen.
“Health contributes to only two per cent of Nigeria GDP, while in countries like America and UK, it is 24 per cent and 10 per cent respectively,” he said.
According to him, nobody can provide explanation for the mild impact of COVID-19 compare to what is being experienced in America and Europe.
“God came to our rescue and the rescue of Africa as a whole; it is only the grace of God that exempted us as a nation and continent from the devastating deaths we are seeing in other climes.
“I am a scientist, but I strongly believe that God should be given His due honour; because He has exempted us from picking dead bodies from the streets because of what was predicted about Africa,” he said.
In his remarks, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, restated the state government’s commitment to increase investment in the health sector.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by Prof. Akin Abayomi, the state Commissioner for Health, noted that human capital was the major wealth of any nation.
He thanked the Churches for their roles and prayers in the ongoing pandemic, pointing out that the impact was greatly felt.
“The current Government in Lagos State is committed to improve healthcare delivery across all strata of the society, and we are reassuring our people on this.
“Gone are those days when people see natural resources as the only wealth of a nation, the attention has also shifted to human capacity.
“Building human capacity starts from where a woman conceived, after birth and the mental development of children as they grow; so, the growth of an economy is not only based on natural resources.
“COVID-19 has taught us that a good healthcare system is the prowess of any nation, and it is also a critical component of any nation’s economy,” the governor said.
He said that the state government would continue to increase its budgetary allocation to the sector to further improve its healthcare delivery.
Earlier, Rev. Sam Aboyeji, the General Overseer of the church, noted that the lecture was germane to everyone owing to the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.
Aboyeji said that churches had contributed immensely, as a body of Christ, toward ending the current pandemic.
He urged Christians not to relent in their prayers for the growth and development of the country.
According to him, there is a closer link between health and the wealth of any nation as a whole.
“This lecture is the seventh in the series of lectures we started some years back to discuss and address certain issues that are germaine to our everyday life and as a member of the body of Christ.
“Nigeria is blessed with immense human capacity, and we seek a country that is strong, vibrant and good for all.
“As an organisation in the body of Christ, we will continue to pray and contribute our parts to ensure the health and wellbeing of Nigerians, because we have seen the impact of prayers in this pandemic,” he said.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye
Nigeria and 25 other countries in Africa and Asia are to benefit from lifesaving cancer treatments supported by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).CHAI, in a statement it jointly issued with ACS, on Monday announced that it had agreements with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Novartis and Mylan to expand access to 20 lifesaving cancer treatments in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.The 25 countries are: Botswana, Cameroon, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania.Others are Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, in Africa; and Vietnam, India, and Myanmar in Asia.According to the statement, cancer access partnership is expected to result in a 59 per cent savings on procured cancer medicines.It stated that the initiative would assist people in the selected countries to save an average of 59 per cent for medicines procured through the agreements.The statement quoted Prof. Isaac Adewole, Co-chair, African Cancer Coalition and former Health Minister in Nigeria, as saying: “With the rapidly growing burden of cancer in Africa, it is crucial that we improve and expand access to high-quality, affordable treatment.“These agreements build on those announced in 2017 that have already delivered substantial savings and increased treatment availability in several countries, including Nigeria.“By targeting the treatment needed for the cancers that cause the most deaths, these new agreements will help us to improve on quality of lives and close the mortality gap for Africans with cancer,” the statement quoted Adewole as saying.It said that medications included in the agreements cover recommended regimens for 27 types of cancer and enable to complete chemotherapy regimens for the three cancers that cause the most deaths in Africa — breast, cervical, and prostate.“These cancers are highly treatable and account for 38 per cent of cancers in the countries covered in the agreements.“The new agreements include: both chemotherapies and endocrine therapies aligned to evidence-based guidelines harmonised for sub-Saharan Africa, and expand access to additional formulations, including those essential for treating childhood cancer.“Sub-Saharan Africa’s cancer burden is significant and growing.“In 2018, there were an estimated 811,000 new cases of cancer and 534,000 deaths from cancer in the region.“Cancer patients in sub-Saharan Africa are twice as likely to die as those in the United States, often due to late diagnosis and lack of access to treatment.“Based on population aging alone, annual cancer deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to almost double by 2030.“The new agreements reach 23 countries in Africa, covering 74 per cent of the annual cancer cases.’’The new initiative by the three companies would expand access to the priority medications and formulations in the agreements to additional countries.“All of the medications included in the agreements meet the quality standards set by a stringent regulatory authority such as the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA).“These medicines will be available for purchase at newly and independently negotiated prices in the designated countries, and the companies have committed to monitoring the impact of their respective agreements with CHAI.“This new Cancer Access Partnership is an initiative of Allied Against Cancer and an expansion of the Chemotherapy Access Partnership.“ACS and CHAI began working together in 2015 to improve care and treatment of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, working with governments and cancer treatment institutions to address market inefficiencies, improve supply chains, and increase procurement to ensure quality medications were available at affordable prices.“This collaboration has shown that access to high-quality cancer treatments can be expanded in a sustainable way,’’ it added.The statement quoted Dr Iain Barton, Chief Executive Officer of CHAI, as saying: “While we have made strides in increasing access to lifesaving cancer treatments in sub-Saharan Africa over the last several years, there is much more work to be done.“This collaboration is a significant step in delivering high-quality cancer treatment to more patients, bringing us closer to equitable cancer treatment for all people.”According to the statement, in 2017, Allied Against Cancer members ACS and CHAI announced agreements with Pfizer and Cipla to expand access to 16 essential cancer treatment medications in six countries in sub-Saharan Africa.“The market access agreements secured competitive prices, allowing these governments to realise substantial savings and improve the quality and quantity of treatment available.“As a result of the agreements, several African Governments and hospitals increased their commitment to procuring necessary cancer medicines.“They procure necessary cancer medicines by using the cost savings to increase the volumes of medicines procured, setting up innovative systems to supply high-quality cancer medications, and increasing budgets for cancer care and treatment.“Countries that accessed products through the agreements saved an average of 56 per cent.“As a result, patients have new levels of access to quality chemotherapies in nearly all of the countries included in the original agreements.“Three new countries were added in November 2019.’’In addition, the statement quoted said Rhulani Nhlaniki, Pfizer Cluster Lead for sub-Saharan Africa and Country Manager, South Africa, as saying: “Since entering into partnership with CHAI and ACS in 2017, we have seen the positive impact.“We have seen positive impact that sustainable access to quality, affordable cancer medicines can have on patients in vulnerable communities in Africa.“We remain committed to this model that helps to reduce the overwhelming burden on patients and healthcare systems.“We are pleased to be able to expand our chemotherapy offerings under the programme to better serve the needs of patients.”Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
The appointment of former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole as member, Board of Trustees, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), was on Saturday lauded by the national body.
He described the appointment of Adewole into the board of IPPF as a welcome development, saying it was an opportunity to bring to bear his wealth of knowledge in the governance of global reproductive health programme.
The PPFN executive director also congratulated Adewole on his appointment, describing it as most deserving.
He expressed satisfaction over the successful reaccreditation of PPFN by the parent body, promising to do more in compliance with 49 essential membership standards.
“We believe this exercise makes us stronger, more effective and able to respond to the needs of the people we serve.
“By scaling through the rigorous accreditation makes us accountable and preserves our local ownership in a globally connected network,” Ibrahim said.
Bience Gawanas, another prominent African and former Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union and current UN Under Secretary General is also a member.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Grace Yussuf (NAN)
After a struggle to gain entrance into the hospital in her wheelchair, Mrs Mary Abraham, a 38-year-old pregnant woman got a rude shock when the hospital receptionist told her that the delivery room was on the fourth floor.And to compound her plight, the receptionist told her that the hospital elevator was out of use, so she must be carried through the staircase during labour to the delivery room.Abraham’s case was similar to that of a 16-year-old Queen Musa, an orphan and a student with hearing impairment, raped in her neighbourhood but could not communicate her ordeal to anyone until she was seen with protruding stomach.These are just a hint on the many problems People With Disabilities (PWD) face and cannot just say it out but suffer in silence.The 2012 global World Health Organisation (WHO) report shows that over one billion persons or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population have some form of disability and about 110 to 190 million people 15 years and older have significant difficulties in functioning,which it attributes to the rapid spread of chronic diseases and population ageing.Meanwhile, the Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Mr Eze Duruiheoma, during the 73rd UN General Assembly Discussion of Agenda 28 on Social Development, disclosed that no fewer than 19 million Nigerians are living with disabilities.This concern for PWDs gave rise to the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).Observers say the challenges faced by PWDs in communicating effectively and accessing healthcare services has become worrisome due to poor implementation of the Disability Rights Law in the country.President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 in January 2019 following nine years advocacy by rights groups and activists.Mr George Anwayi, the National Secretary, Amputee Coalition of Nigeria (ACON), an NGO, said poor implementation of the law contributed to the stigma, discrimination, mobility challenge and other plights faced by amputees in the country.According to Anwayi, if government implements the disability rights law and ensures all agencies and private organisations comply by the provisions of the law, it will go a long way to enhance the lives of people with special needs.The ACON scribe said “this is a matter of human rights. We are not some beggars, but responsible citizens, capable of making major contributions to economic development if given the chance.”He called on government at all levels and the citizenry to “change their mentality and attitude toward people with special abilities.”He said that PWDs should not be used to run campaigns to win public sympathy to garner support and get votes, only to be discarded like a piece of rag after election, this must stop.Pundits, however, say social exclusion due to vulnerability of PWDs has affected their access to healthcare services, thereby contributing to their health challenges.Some experts also say that the challenges faced by PWDs brings to the fore, the need to prioritise their sexual and reproductive health rights as they also have same needs like normal able persons.They emphasised needs such as family planning, sex education, cancer screening, immunisation, among others, as rights that should be accorded PWDs.This call was further heightened by Federal Government’s launch of a National Policy on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Persons with Disability in April 2019, with emphasis on women and girls.Former Minister of Heath, Prof. Isaac Adewole said government would provide policy direction for all actors and stakeholders on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health service delivery in addition to addressing pertinent issues relating to gender and rights of personsliving with disabilities.The call for the rights of PWDs also prompted Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to call on different arms of government to promote access to healthcare for persons with disabilities when he was Speaker of House of Representatives.Gbajabiamila, during the 2019 International Day for PWDs, reiterated government’s commitment to focus on taking action in line with United Nations 2030 Development Agenda.He said “of all the objectives set out in the agenda, there is none more urgent, more demanding of our commitment and effort, than that which requires us to jointly seek and achieve drastic reduction in inequality.“To achieve equal participation, we must be intentional about promoting accessibility.“As we promote access to education by building schools and hiring teachers, we must make sure also that those classes are accessible to wheelchair users and provide the seeing impaired with learning tools that work for them.”With this declaration from the National Assembly, relevant stakeholders such as Civil Society Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisation, and the private sector have begun to take the lead in supporting the inclusion of persons living with disabilities inglobal, regional, national and local activities.Recently, a coalition of four women-led organisations comprising Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI), Faecare Foundation and Haly Hope Foundation called for an inclusive budget for Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) of Women and Girls with Disabilities (WGWD) in the country.The coalition made the call during the closing ceremony of a two-day training on “Priotizing Inclusive Budgeting for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of Persons with Disability in Nigeria.The Founder of AWWDI, Ms Patience Ogolo-Dickson, said that prioritising inclusive budgeting for sexual and reproductive health rights of PWDs would address their health challenges and eliminate all forms of discrimination against them.Ogolo-Dickson said “the goal of the team is to ensure social inclusion, access to basic healthcare services and facilities and increased awareness about the health status of PWDs with special consideration for women and girls.’’She decried the challenges faced by Women and Girls with Disabilities (WGWD), which include negative attitude to health, access to information, education and services on reproductive health, which forced them to seek inexperienced midwives to attend to their needs, which she said affected their health status.Freky Andre-Essien, the Executive Director, Faecare Foundation, said full implementation of the national policy on sexual and reproductive health and rights of persons with disabilities would promote access to their reproductive health rights and services,change negative attitude of the public and health profession, raise awareness on their needs and rights.“We call on government, CSOs, development partners, organised private sector and the media to support the call for inclusive budgeting for sexual and reproductive health rights of PWD’s,” she said.Andre-Essien also explained that PWDs were vulnerable and often fall victims of sexual abuse and violence, and called on the government to proffer solutions that would end the menace.On her part, the Executive Director, IFA, Ms Grace Jerry, said the need for budget would ensure social inclusion, access to basic healthcare services and facilities, as well as increased awareness about the health status of PWDs, particularly that of women and girls.“ Our society has failed to notice that like any other person, PWDs equally have sexual reproductive health needs. However, they were seen as incapable and unfit for marriage or parenting.’’Jerry, therefore, stressed the need for government to prioritise and ensure an inclusive budget that would facilitate the dictates of the National Policy on Reproductive Health Rights of PWDs.“They should make deliberate efforts to ensure that inclusive budgeting is taken into account to provide access to information of sexual reproductive health and services to cover for all forms of disability.”She explained that inclusive budgeting would enable health workers to be trained adequately for better communication with PWDs and increase access to their health needs.However, the question that comes to mind is that Nigeria has less than one year to World Health Organisation’s 2014-2021 Action Plan on PWDs,will it reach the target? is it achieveable in Nigeria? How prepared is government to fully implement the action plan and WHO global disability action planendorsed by member states in 2014 toward achieving a significant step in the health and well-being andrights of PWDs?.The action calls for the removal of all barriers, but improved access to health services and programes, strengthened and extended rehabilitation,assistive device and support services and community based rehabilitation to PWDs.There is also the need to enhance collection of relevant and internationally comparable data on disability, as well as research on disability and related services, which will enable PWDs to fulfill their aspirations in all aspects of life.(NANFeatures)
Plights of persons living with disabilities in accessing healthcare services in Nigeria
Dr Aminu Magashi, the Coordinator, Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) says that 88 per cent of married women in the country do not use contraceptives.
Magashi, who is also a Board Member, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), said this on Tuesday in Abuja, during a review of the Fertility and Family Planning component of the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS).
Nigeria News Agency reports that former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole wrote to the UN Secretary-General, Authonio Gutherres, and affirmed that “Nigeria is committed to fast track work with local and international NGOs, CSOs, CBOs
& Government Agencies to address socio cultural barriers and limitations to family planning services.
There was also a commitment by Nigeria at the London FP2020 summit in July 2017 toward enhancing effort at improving the lives of women, adolescents and children not only in Nigeria but in the rest of the developing world.
Nigeria, therefore, made commitment under the FP2020 to reach a Modern Contraceptives Preventative
Rate (MCPR) of 27 per cent by 2030.
Magashi, who also spoke on the National Family Planning Blueprint, described it as “clog in the will to achieving the National Family Planning goals.”
He said “the
Family Planning Blueprint contains a vague commodity supply strategy, though the implementation of the policies mostly conducted at the state level.”
He advised the media and CSOs to hold governments at all levels accountable.
He said “there is the need for relevant agencies to raise awareness to ensure that government increased allocation for purchase of Family Planning commodities and implementation of policies that would ensure their uptake.”
The coordinator explained that the implications of not catering for reproductive health ranged from economic to security challenges.
He noted that “reproductive health decreases along the line of decreasing education level, which means that less educated individuals are less likely to seek family planning services.”
The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) was highest in the North West, with 6.6 children per woman and lowest in the South, with 3.9 children per woman, Magashi explained.
NAN Reports that the 2018 NDHS, the sixth Demographic Health Survey in Nigeria since 1990, interviewed a
nationally representative sample of 40,427 households for the survey.
Edited By: Saidu Adamu/ Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Thursday promised effective implementation of findings and ideas from the study on the Rise of Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals in Africa.
He made the promise during the ‘Seminar on the Rise of Counterfeit Pharmaceutical in Africa’ held at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Abuja.
The Minister was represented by an aide, Mr Bukola Ajaye.
“I want to promise that the road map and ideas harnessed in this seminar shall be channeled to the Ministry of Health for implementation and follow up.
“Counterfeiting is an age long crime that puts the end user at the risk of death.
“This is a public health menace on a global scale that causes tens of thousands of death each year.
“The Health Ministry’s mandate is: making available essential medicines that are safe, affordable and assessable for the good health of Nigerians.’’
The Minister lauded the choice of the study, noting that such initiatives as well as other governmental policies put in place depict the Federal Government’s commitment to providing the Nigerian citizens with a functioning health system.
“The choice of this study is very crucial in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG,s) and also the development of our country.
“Initiatives such as the Basic Health Provision Funds under the Primary Health Care Revitalisation Model, has been able to revitalise 4,110 healthcare centres in demonstration of our commitment to the health of Nigerian citizens.
“Government policies have been developed to aid in sanitising the drug market which includes ‘National Drug Distribution Guideline, The Nigerian Supply Chain Policy and Guidelines of Pharmaceuticals as well as other guidelines.”
Edited by: Donald Ugwu