Malaria

USAID applauds nurses, midwives others in malaria fight

The United States of America says over the past year, it has in partnership with Nigeria, advanced the fight against malaria, despite immense challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued by USAID in Abuja and made available to our correspondent, it was observed that committed and courageous frontline health workers, especially nurses, midwives, and community health workers, across the country went the extra mile to ensure essential malaria services were sustained – their efforts saved lives and supported community resilience.

Read: NIGERIA CAN BE MALARIA FREE

“The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has partnered with Nigeria to fight malaria since 2011, contributing $768 million to date and $74 million in FY 2021. PMI’s Annual Report, released today, showcases how the strong partnership between the United States and Nigeria enabled robust and effective malaria services to continue in FY 2021, even as COVID-19 caused enormous strain on the health system.

“Through PMI funding and programs, 58 million bed nets, 130 million fast acting medicines, and 82 million malaria test kits have been delivered to clinics and communities since 2011. In addition, 24 million preventive treatment doses were delivered to pregnant women and 13 million doses to children during the rainy season.

“In the past year, more than 3,666 health workers received training that amplified their ability to detect and treat malaria, while strengthening the health system overall and providing key skills to fight COVID-19 and future pandemics,” the statement read in part.

USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson was quoted as saying “I think what Nigeria is doing to advance more effective malaria prevention, treatment, and control is so important, especially the introduction of innovative tools to make better use of the data in real-time, and also to enhance quality of care via community-based health workers.”

It was noted that following assistance by PMI investments, Nigeria is progressing its fight against malaria using proven and cost-effective methods that save lives and promise a more healthy and prosperous future for families and communities.

Acting U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, Julie Wallace was also quoted thus, “With perseverance and strong global commitment we can end malaria in our lifetime. The United States is proud of our work with Nigeria in combating this deadly, yet entirely preventable, disease.”

Read: The Gates Foundation Support Nigeria To Fight Malaria

the United States as part of commitment to the reduction of the malaria burden and saving lives, the U.S Army Medical Research Directorate-Africa/Nigeria (USAMRD-A/N), also with support from the PMI, has been able to increase and strengthen the capacities of medical laboratory scientists in malaria microscopy, rapid testing, quality assurance, and laboratory supervision.

“USAMRD-A/N is also joining the State Ministries of Health in Akwa-Ibom and Benue, the National Malaria Elimination Programme, and the Nigerian Ministry of Defense in launching the National Malaria Slide Bank (NMSB) Project.

“The project will produce Nigeria’s first bank of validated, domestically developed slides for malaria microscopy training, external quality assurance, and future research purposes,” the statement further read.

USAID

66,000 locals in Kano and Jigawa set to get clean water as USAID invests $3.5 million

The United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) through Partners for Development has launched a three-year $3.5 million Water Improvement and Sanitation Enhancement, (WISE) activity to improve water safety in Jigawa and Kano states.

A statement from the US Embassy reveals that the WISE activity will reduce the occurrence and impact of waterborne diseases through improvements in access to clean drinking water and sanitation, and the adoption of key hygiene behaviors.

It was also explained that one of the first tasks will be to construct or rehabilitate 30 water access points and install 55 sanitation facilities in schools and community health centers; and it is hoped that these improved water access points will provide clean drinking water to more than 66,000 local residents.

An African girl holding a funnel while clean water pours out of the spout of a water pump into a water jug.

The statement quoted the USAID Deputy Mission Director, Katie Donohoe as saying, “Access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene services within a community are the cornerstone of a healthy, equitable, and prosperous Nigeria. When this is done, each community will have a first line defense against the spread of infectious disease and allow children to spend more time in school.”

Read: Nutrition: Bauchi, Kebbi & Sokoto get $9.5 million from USAID

Also referenced in the statement is the Deputy Governor of Jigawa State, Umar Namadi said, “Water is life, and it has been one of the priorities of the Jigawa State government. We are ready to cooperate with the USAID WISE activity to ensure that safe drinking water is provided to the people of the state.”

“According to the 2019 Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping report, two out of five schools in Jigawa State, and three out of four in Kano State do not have access to reliable drinking water.

“Frontline healthcare workers also lack access to safe water and struggle to deliver high quality health services. The survey found that over half of community water access services in Jigawa broke down within their first year of operation, while over 20 percent in Kano no longer functioned after six months.

The WISE activity will work toward addressing some of these deficiencies and increase the capacity of local stakeholders to sustain and manage equitable access to water and sanitation,” the statement read in part.

genomic surveillance

WHO worried by impact of inequity on genomic surveillance new technologies

The World Health Organisation, (WHO) says it is releasing a strategy to strengthen and scale up genomic surveillance around the world.

“Historically, few countries have routinely done genomic surveillance in-country, a technology considered complicated and expensive. But COVID-19 changed that.

“Genomic surveillance is the process of constantly monitoring pathogens and analyzing their genetic similarities and differences. It helps researchers, epidemiologists and public health officials to monitor the evolution of infectious diseases agents, alert on the spread of pathogens, and develop countermeasures like vaccines.”

Read: Africa Experience Decline in COVID-19 Cases – WHO

Statement from the Organisation states that the Global genomic surveillance strategy for pathogens with pandemic and epidemic potential 2022–2032 is not specific to a single pathogen or disease threat.

“It provides a high-level unifying framework to leverage existing capacities, address barriers and strengthen the use of genomic surveillance worldwide.

“Data collected by WHO show that in March 2021, 54% of countries had this capacity. By January 2022, thanks to the major investments made during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number had increased to 68%. Even greater gains were made in the public sharing of sequence data: in January 2022, 43% more countries published their sequence data compared to a year before.”

It was also regretted that despite this fast progress, much remains to be done – any new technology comes with the risk of increasing inequity, which is one of the gaps this strategy targets.

Various public health programmes – from Ebola to cholera – use genomic surveillance to understand a pathogen at its molecular level, but COVID-19 has highlighted the challenges of bringing genomics to scale.

WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus was quoted as saying that “The complexities of genomics and the challenges of sustaining capacities in different settings, including workforce needs, means that most countries cannot develop these capabilities on their own.

“The global strategy helps keep our eyes on the horizon and provides a unifying framework for action. WHO looks forward to working with countries and partners in this important and highly dynamic field.”

It was further stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that health systems need genomic surveillance so that risks are rapidly detected and addressed.

And also that the technology has been critical in this response, from the identification of a novel coronavirus, to the development of the first diagnostic tests and vaccines, to the tracking and identification of new virus variants.

Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Dr. Michael Ryan, was quoted in the statement as saying that “Genomic surveillance is critical for stronger pandemic and epidemic preparedness and response.

“This pandemic has laid bare the fact that we live in an interconnected world and that we are only as strong as our weakest link. Improving global disease surveillance means improving local disease surveillance. That is where we need to act, and this strategy will provide us with the foundation.”

maternal deaths

About 20% of global maternal deaths happen in Nigeria ― NPHCDA

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency(NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib says 128 of every 1,000 children under 5 in Nigeria die and 20% of global maternal deaths happen in Nigeria.

Faisal Shuaib disclose this at the just concluded Primary Health Care Summit in Abuja.
Dr. Faisal lamented the devastating effects of the lack of adequate primary health care on the country’s health indices, a situation he says must be treated  as an emergency.

According to him, very few Nigerians have access to quality primary health care services, even those that do are offered fragmented and often ineffective services.

READ: Adolescent Health: Minister Optimistic, Working Group will Help Reduce Maternal Death Figures


He further hinted on the government’s ambitious plans to collaborate with a diverse group of domestic and international partners, to build a grassroots network of quality primary health care. 
According to him, Fixing the primary health care system is the most cost effective and realistic approach to saving and improving the lives of millions in the country.

TB kills 18 people

TB kills at least 18 people every hour in Nigeria

The Federal Government says 207,000 missing cases of Tuberculosis (TB) were identified in 2021, a marked 50% increase from the 138,000 figure of 2020

According to data from Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Nigeria is among the 30 high burden countries for TB, TB/HIV and Multiple Drug Resistant TB – MDR-TB; It is ranked 6th among the 30 high TB burden countries globally and 1st in Africa; and accounts for 11% of the global gap between TB incidence and notified cases.

The data further revealed that only 6% of all forms of notified TB cases in 2021 are children less than 15 years; and of the estimated 21,000 Drug Resistant TB cases recorded in 2020, only 2,061 were diagnosed and 72% of them enrolled on second line treatment.

Meanwhile, DOTs clinic is only available in 44% of health facilities in Nigeria and only 9% of them have TB diagnostic services; even as an estimated 18 people die every one hour from TB-related diseases – equivalent to 24 eighteen seater buses full of people perishing every day.

This is the first time Nigeria is meeting the 200,000 target for the number of missing TB cases to be found each year.

The National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis, Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy Control Programme, NTBLCP, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike who stated this at the 2022 Pre-World TB Day Press Conference in Abuja, said despite the remarkable improvement there is still a 245,000 missing cases to meet the target.

Anyaike explained that the fight to end TB in Nigeria is confronted by a number of challenges among which are poor awareness with only 25% of Nigerians have the true knowledge of TB; Stigma against patients and those cured; expansion of diagnostic platforms; case holding; funding gap; and strong leadership.

While urging stakeholders to recommit to supporting the fight against TB, NTBLCP Coordinator, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike revealed that the priority of government is to have a national and sub-national prevalence survey to account for the true extent of the burden of TB in Nigeria.

Anyaike further expressed worry that Drug Resistant cases are on the rise and cases among children are also rising.

“The survey that was done a decade ago gave us the data that on yearly basis we have not less than 440,000 new tuberculosis cases in the country. Last year, we were able to get at least, almost half of the cases even with 40% diagnostic coverage.

“But we need to find a way to know what we are chasing. We can only end tuberculosis if you know the actual burden and what we are chasing.

“I want to use this platform to remind us that the priority of the Programme and of the Government is to have a national and sub-national prevalence survey on tuberculosis. The will help us to know the actual burden in states, local government and have a targeted intervention.”

Ag. Board Chair, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr. Queen Ogbuji delivered the opening remark where she noted that the theme for this year’s celebration, “Invest to End TB – Save Lives” and the slogan for Nigeria “Give More, Do More, End TB Now”, underscore the urgent need to harness resources to end the disease.

“The Stop TB Partnership and all partners are calling on all those involved in the fight against TB to unite under this overarching theme and sound the alarm that the low levels of funding for the TB response year after year cannot continue nor be accepted anymore.

“Globally, of the US$15 billion annual funding for TB promised by the world leaders at the UNHLM in 2018, less than half has been delivered. And in Nigeria, of the $373 million needed for TB control in Nigeria in 2020, only 31% was available to all implementers of TB control activities in Nigeria (7% domestic and 24% donor funds), with 69% funding gap. World leaders including government at the national and sub-national levels must step up and triple or quadruple the funding to save lives and end TB by 2030.”

Also speaking, Executive Director, KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria, Dr. Berthrand Odume who commended the role of the media in giving light to TB in Nigeria, lamented the poor financial commitment by stakeholders.

“There is 70% gap in funding for TB and I will equally like to tell you that there is equally 70% gap in TB case finding. What does that show? The more resources you have, the more you will be able to find the missing cases.

Now the priority has shifted to Gene-Xpert and molecular diagnostic technology – These need money. The cartridge comes with money and now we have set target to have these instruments across all local governments but as at date, we have just 40%. This means that we need resources to ensure that we improve diagnostic access.

Representatives from the World Health Organisation and US Agency for International Development USAID, reaffirmed their commitment to supporting Nigeria in the fight to end TB.

menstrual hygiene

Menstrual hygiene: USAID donates 40,000 Kotex Sanitary Pads to adolescent girls in Nigeria

As part of its projects to support the menstrual hygiene and wellbeing of young girls in Nigeria, the United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) has rolled out the distribution of 40,000 Kotex Sanitary Pads – a donation from U.S. multinational corporation Kimberly-Clark.

A statement from the United States Embassy, noted that over a six-month period, this initiative will reach more than 6,000 adolescent girls between 10 and 19 years old in Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Edo, Kano, Lagos, Niger, and Taraba states.

“Young women and girls in Nigeria face different challenges managing their menstruation across varying socio-cultural, economic, and environmental contexts.  These challenges include inadequate knowledge about proper menstruation management and lack of access to good menstrual hygiene management materials, which have far-reaching consequences,” the statement read in part.

USAID Deputy Office Director for Health, Mieko McKay was quoted as saying at the handover ceremony in Lagos that “The lack of access to menstrual hygiene resources has a serious impact on school attendance. This collaboration is a great example of how USAID engages with the private sector to improve the well-being, reproductive health, and school attendance of adolescent girls.”

Kimberly-Clark’s Government Relations Manager, Nigeria and East Africa, Zainab Obagun said, “We strongly believe in investments that go beyond monetary endowments to create sustainable programs that demystify stigmas that affect the girl child.”   She added, “This donation will empower more than 6,000 adolescent girls to benefit from USAID’s health interventions across Nigeria.” and improve their menstrual hygiene.

The statement further revealed that since 2020, USAID has reached over 500,000 orphans and vulnerable children through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). This initiative provides comprehensive social welfare services to improve family stability and resilience. “Kimberly-Clark and USAID implementing partner, Association for Reproductive and Family Health, signed the agreement for the donation on January 28, 2022.” 

vaccine supply

Vaccine supply to Africa is a priority for AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, has stated its commitment to boosting and speeding vaccine supply to Africa through 2022 and beyond in order to assist governments in meeting their vaccination targets.

The organisation, in a statement on Tuesday, said, an estimated 70 million doses have reached sub-Saharan Africa, making the AstraZeneca vaccine one of the most used COVID-19 vaccines across the continent.

The statement read, “One year ago, the first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine began to arrive in countries across the world through the COVAX initiative, as part of the largest global vaccine supply in history.

“On 24 February 2021, 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine were received by health authorities in Ghana. Within days, the Ivory Coast received 504,000 doses. Since then, more than 310 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have been supplied through COVAX to 130 countries.”

The Country President for Africa, AstraZeneca, Barbara Nel, in the statement, said, “As part of our commitment to putting broad and equitable access at the heart of our pandemic response, AstraZeneca was proud to be the first global pharmaceutical company to join COVAX in 2020.

“Our strong partnerships with the Serum Institute of India, GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation are vital to delivering on our commitment on vaccine supply to Africa with the COVID-19 vaccine at no profit. We commend the work being done by governments across the continent to increase immunisation coverage and protect their citizens from severe disease.

“The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has helped prevent 50 million COVID-19 cases and five million hospitalisations, helping save more than one million lives.”

Source

sickle cell

NIPRD names President Buhari sickle cell eradication champion

President Muhammadu Buhari has been named the champion for global eradication of sickle cell disease, by the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).

The President and Commander in Chief, who was represented by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, received the award in Abuja on Tuesday.

Speaking at the presentation of the award, the Director-General of the institute, Dr. Obi Adigwe, stated that apart from presenting the award to the president, as a mark of honour for his administration support for the agency, the occasion also afforded the institute the opportunity to brief the President on  their recent achievements.

Dr. Sunday Adigwe

According to him, the federal government has supported and empowered NIPRD to champion the eradication of sickle cell disease more than previous governments
He also highlights NIPRD’s contributions to the concepts and innovations targeted at mitigating the devastating effects and disorder from sickle cell disease across  sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Adigwe, with the support of President Buhari, NIPRD convened and developed a phytomedicine verification and validation protocol to ascertain the safety and efficacy of indigenous resources.

Doctor Adigwe also notes other breakthroughs in phytomedicine such as the discovery of  NIPRIMUNE and NIPRIMUNE PLUS, which have strong potentials against COVID-19.
According to him,  both medicines  have been Listed by NAFDAC, and are currently undergoing various levels of clinical trials

USAID

Cross River State Rehabilitates Health Complex Through USAID GHSC Support

The United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) Global Health Supply Chain has officially renovated, equipped and handed over the revamped Essential Drug Program complex to the Cross River State Government.

A statement from the Cross River state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Beta Edu, reveals that the rehabilitated structure now has fully furnished offices and a standard conference hall.

Recall that after the EndSars protest which took place on the 24th of October 2020, the Essential Drug Programme Complex which houses offices for Development Partners was among government that were vandalized.

READ: COVID-19: USAID, Global VAX Reveals Plans To Provide Additional $33.3 million Support for Nigeria

The statement quoted the Pharmaceutical Commodities Logistics Manager of USAID Nigeria, Adenike Adelanwa who was in company of the Supply Chain Advisor of USAID Washington, Ashey Greve, as commending the State government and Health Ministry for exceptional performance in the Health sector despite the numerous setbacks that came with the vandalism.

“I wish to commend the government of Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade who through his workaholic and committed health commissioner Dr. Betta Edu has been able to keep the ministry running. The Commissioner invited our organization to step in and support the state rebuild, we are happy we could step in and support.

“The Partnership has been great and the bond will only continue to grow bigger as we will continue to work together in synergy with a goal to ensure that health commodities get to those who need them at the right time and place. We’re very proud of your efforts that have sustained the system even with the limited facilities.”

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu while accepting the complex on behalf of the State Governor Senator Ayade, thanked USAID for the great support.

“I want to on behalf of the Governor Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade thank our strong and reliable partner USAID who has today returned back our vandalized EDP offices as brand new and upgraded.

“Essential drugs and logistics supply chain are core to delivering quality Healthcare services and achieving Universal Health Coverage. It was very devastating to see our LMCU go down, our drugs and store houses vandalized and looted. We are glad that we are back and better!

And while commending the Regional Director for USAID, Ikponmwosa Ihasa for being steadfast and supportive solicited with them to help strengthen the Logistics Management Coordinating Unit, (LMCU), as well as essential drug supply which remains the key to achieving Universal Health Coverage, Dr. Edu called for stronger partnership to strengthen the State’s Warehouse can be back to a grade A Pharma.

“We are aware of your expertise in logistics Management, we want to appeal that you support us to build more capacity for our staff.”

World toilet organisation

World Toilet Organization Announces Nigeria as 2022 World Toilet Summit Host.

The Founder of the World Toilet Organization, Jack Sim has officially announced the selection of Nigeria to host the year 2022 World Toilet Summit, coming up in November, 2022.

The announcement was made at a virtual meeting of Water Sanitation and Hygiene Stakeholders and Development Partners that was held via Zoom on Tuesday, February 22, 2022.

A statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Funmi Imuetiyan quoted the founder of the World Toilet Day as saying that November 19th was unanimously adopted by the United Nations member countries in 2013, and this Summit will be a great opportunity for members to come to Nigeria, one of the great countries in the world, to address its sanitation challenge.

Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer, Sanitation and Water for All, SWA, Caterina De Albuquerque,  pointed out that sanitation was at one time not discussed and completely forgotten about in most countries of the world.

Albuquerque however, applauded the leadership of Nigeria, for prioritizing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, stressing that Nigeria’s example will inspire other African Countries to follow suit.

The Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, described the selection of Nigeria as the host country for 2022 World Toilet Summit was a welcome development, stressing that the decision is coming at a period when Nigeria has made concrete plans to exit from the comity of nations still practising open defecation.

Engr. Adamu also acknowledged that Nigeria needs all necessary support to ensure that the ODF Campaign gains traction with all stakeholders playing their part, and also expressed optimism that the World Toilet Summit will provide a veritable platform for the mobilization of Private Sector and other critical stakeholders in addressing the challenge of Open Defecation in the country.

Meanwhile, National Coordinator of Organized Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPWASH), Dr. Nicholas Igwe, revealed in his welcome remarks that the choice of Nigeria as the host country for the 2022 World Toilet Summit is a clear endorsement of the commitment and political will of the Federal Government towards Water, Sanitation and Hygiene delivery in Nigeria.

The private sector, Development Partners and Stakeholders all commended the initiative and pledged their support to host a successful summit. The World Bank, United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF, Reckitt, Coca-Cola, Tolaram Group, FMDQ and Guinness Nigeria were present.