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Labour Would Double Dementia Research Spending

Labour would double dementia research spending, shadow health secretary to say

Labour will double spending on dementia research if it wins power to help British scientists’ efforts to find a cure, the shadow health secretary will pledge.

Jonathan Ashworth will commit Labour to increasing investment in research into the condition from £80m to £160m a year if the party is elected.

His promise comes amid concern among dementia charities that Boris Johnson has not delivered on an almost identical promise two years after making it during the 2019 general election campaign.

Ashworth will accuse the Conservatives of breaking the pledge they made in their manifesto to put “an additional £83m a year” into research on potential treatments for dementia as part of a plan to invest £1.6bn over 10 years.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) admitted last month that, despite the government declaring dementia to be a priority, funding for research had fallen by £7.2m from £82.9m in 2018-19 to £75.7m in 2019-20 – the year Johnson committed to the much larger sum. No figures for spending in 2020-21 have yet been published.

In his keynote conference speech in Brighton, Ashworth will say: “The economic cost [of dementia] is billions; the human cost unquantifiable. Throughout the history of the NHS, the genius of medical science has developed cures and therapies once thought beyond our horizons. What seem like medical miracles today will be routine tomorrow.

“I want us to raise our sights and glimpse at the possibilities of the future. But in recent years dementia research funding has fallen under the Tories. Instead, a Labour government will double funding for dementia research to play our part in finally finding a cure for this cruellest of diseases.”

The money would come from the 3% of GDP that Labour plans to ringfence for science and research.

Ashworth will add that at the present rate, it will take the government 19 years to deliver the promised £1.6bn, whereas Labour’s commitment means it would happen within a decade.

One in three people born today are expected to develop dementia in their lifetimes.

“Dementia research is making progress, but funding still lags behind other serious conditions, so it’s encouraging to see the Labour party prioritising research for this devastating condition,” said David Thomas, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“Doubling dementia research funding to £160m a year will be crucial in speeding up progress towards the life-changing treatments that people with dementia so desperately need. The government’s 2019 election manifesto promised to double dementia research funding, but nearly two years on, that promise has yet to be honoured.”

The Alzheimer’s Society has also said that hitting the £1.6bn target will involve spending an extra £800m.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease kill more than 66,000 people a year in England and Wales, according to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics. That represents 12% of all deaths.

Britain is a world leader in research into improving the diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

Thomas said: “The strength of UK scientists and investment over the last decade has led to some real progress in dementia – in translating breakthrough in research into potential new treatments and in innovations around using big data to help with early diagnosis.”

A DHSC spokesperson said: “We are already funding a huge range of projects designed to make breakthroughs for people living with dementia and UK researchers are at the forefront of global efforts to find a cure or disease-modifying treatment by 2025.”

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Health

NAFDAC bans sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, (NAFDAC) has placed a ban on the sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria.

The agency explained that the ban was due to Butyphenyl Methylpropional, BMHCA, content in the product.

This was contained in a post on the Agency’s X handle on Thursday.

According to the post, the European Union, EU, banned the product due to the risk of harming the reproductive system of users, causing harm to the health of the unborn child, and cause skin sensitization.

“Although this product is not on the NAFDAC database, importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers are advised to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, and use of the above-mentioned product”, the agency added.

 

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Health

No outbreak of Lassa fever in any local govt- Kogi Govt

Nigeria identifies three drugs for Lassa fever treatment

Kogi State Government has debunked any outbreak of Lassa fever across the 21 local government areas of the State.

Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Abdulazeez Adams Adeiza while reacting to a viral video of an alleged lassa fever outbreak, noted that a student who was admitted to the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja did not die of lassa fever.

According to the Commissioner, it was reported that the student died of hemorrhagic fever.

The Commissioner explained that the deceased student who was admitted at the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja presented complaints of fever and bleeding from the gum.

He added that the patient was being investigated and managed, while samples were taken and sent to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) Abuja, but before the result was released, he had lost his life.

The Commissioner said the result came out to be negative for lassa fever.

In his words, ”the suspected case has turned out to be negative for lassa fever.

“It is not only lassa fever that can make a patient to present bleeding from the gum. Other reasons could include blood dyscrasias and bleeding disorders”.

He advised members of the public to disregard the report as no case of lassa fever has been reported in the state

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Health

UCH workers directed to stop working by 4pm over continuous blackout

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) which is the umbrella body of unions at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo state, has directed all employees of the health institution to commence work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from Tuesday, April 2. 

The directive came after the tertiary health institution was disconnected by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, (IBEDC) over N495 million debt accrued in over six years.

Addressing newsmen, chairman of JAC, Oludayo Olabampe stated that it is no longer safe to continue to attend to patients under the circumstances. He also said that workers would embark on strike if power is not restored.

He said;

“Workers would now work from 8 am to 4 pm only because it is dangerous and risky to attend to patients in that situation. We held a meeting with the management this morning but the issue is that there is no electricity. So, from today, Tuesday, April 2, we will work until 4 p.m. We are not attending to any patient after 4 p.m.

“This means that we won’t admit patients because the nurses that will take care of them will not be available after 4 p.m. and you don’t expect patients to be on their own from 4 p.m. till 8 a.m. the following day.

“If patients need blood tests, the lab will not work, if they need radiography, the radiographers will not work, and the dieticians in charge of their food too will not work after 4 p.m. We also gave management another 14-day ultimatum which started counting from March 27, and if after 14 days power is not restored, we will embark on warning strike.”

Commenting on the development, the chief medical director of UCH, Jesse Otegbayo, alleged that IBEDC was billing the hospital as an industry. He stated that the union did not formally notify management before making such a decision.

He said;

“I have not heard about that, if they are going to do that, they should write to management officially, and then the management will respond. There are rules that govern government service, you can’t just decide what hours you work and expect to be paid full-time.

“If they go ahead to do that without informing management officially, management has a way of applying the rules to pay them for the number of hours which they worked. The proper thing is for them to put it in writing because they didn’t write officially to the management before taking the decision.”

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