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Lagos Govt Unveils New Guidelines On Safe, Lawful Abortions

Lagos Govt Unveils New Guidelines On Safe, Lawful Abortions

The Lagos State government says its Ministry of Health has developed a set of policies on safe termination of pregnancy.

Tagged “Lagos State Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications,” the 40-page policy document sets out guidelines for safe termination of pregnancy within the ambit of the criminal law of the state.

Dr Olusegun Ogboye, who is the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, presented and launched the document at a stakeholders’ engagement held on Tuesday in Lagos.

He explained that the policy document was produced following the need to provide evidence-based data and information for health workers in public and private sectors who have the requisite skills and training necessary to provide safe terminations to reduce preventable deaths.

The permanent secretary added that while therapeutic termination of pregnancy was permissible under the law, the absence of clear guidelines has stalled the effective implementation at appropriate levels of care, resulting in preventable deaths.

“In 2011, the Lagos State House of Assembly updated the criminal code, providing for abortion to save the life and protect the physical health of the woman,” he said. “While physical health is covered under the Lagos legal framework, services conforming to the law have not been available in Lagos State health sector.

“This document provides information on relevant laws applicable in Lagos State while providing standards and best practices with regards to legal indications, pre and post-procedure care, methods, and monitoring. I must state here that this document has undergone wide consultation with relevant technical stakeholders within the legal and health service context in the state.”

Ogboye explained that the process to develop the guidelines commenced in 2018 with the Safe Engage project led by the ministry and hosted by the Society for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Nigeria (SOGON), with support from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

He added that stakeholders in the health sector worked with key opinion leaders in Lagos and the south-west region to develop a tailored advocacy tool for terminations within the legal context.

The permanent secretary pointed out that the advocacy messages on the Safe Engage project focused on two immediate outcomes, including ensuring that safe abortion services were available within legal indications in Lagos and domesticating the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, supporting women to terminate a pregnancy caused by rape or incest.

“To guide the implementation, one of the follow-up recommendations of the project was the adaptation of the National Standards and Guidelines for Safe Termination of Pregnancy within Legal Indications within the Lagos State context,” he said.

“The Federal Ministry of Health had developed and disseminated the national guidelines on safe termination of pregnancy which highlights the compendium of conditions and circumstances under which termination of pregnancy could be instituted.

“The guideline was intended to build the capacity of health professionals to identify pregnancies for which legal termination could be instituted.”

Others who spoke at the event include the Country Director of Marie Stopes International Organisation Nigeria (MSION), Emmanuel Ajah; the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Medical Sciences, Otukpo, Professor Innocent Ujah; and a Professor of Law at the University of Lagos, Ayodele Atsenuwa.

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Health

Over 30 infected as new Langya virus is discovered in China

Over 30 infected as new Langya virus is discovered in China

Scientists have discovered a new virus named Langya henipavirus (LayV) in China.

The discovery was announced in a letter written by researchers from China, Singapore and Australia andpublished in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers, in their letter, said Langya virus is a type of henipavirus, a category of zoonotic viruses which can be transmitted from animals to humans.

They said acute Langya infection was identified in 35 patients in the Shandong and Henan provinces of China, among whom 26 were infected with LayV only (no other pathogens were present). They said the patients are thought to have contracted the virus from animals.

“These 26 patients presented with fever (100% of the patients), fatigue (54%), cough (50%), anorexia (50%), myalgia (46%), nausea (38%), headache (35%), and vomiting (35%), accompanied by abnormalities of thrombocytopenia (35%), leukopenia (54%), and impaired liver (35%) and kidney (8%) function. A serosurvey of domestic animals detected seropositivity in goats (3 of 168 [2%]) and dogs (4 of 79 [5%]),” the letter reads.

The researchers said there is no evidence so far that Langya virus can transmit from human to human.

“There was no close contact or common exposure history among the patients, which suggests that the infection in the human population may be sporadic. Contact tracing of 9 patients with 15 close-contact family members revealed no close-contact LayV transmission, but our sample size was too small to determine the status of human-to-human transmission for LayV,” the letter reads.

The scientists added that the Langya virus LayV was found in 27% of shrews tested, suggesting the mole-like mammals may be “natural reservoirs” for the virus.

According to the BBC, Wang Linfa, one of the researchers, said the cases of Langya virus found so far have not been fatal or very serious, so there is “no need to panic”.

He, however, added that there is still a need to be on the alert as many viruses that exist in nature have unpredictable results when they infect humans.

LayV is a type of henipavirus, a category of zoonotic viruses which can jump from animals to humans.

Zoonotic viruses are very common but have attracted more attention since the start of the Covid pandemic.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention said scientists estimate that three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.

The United Nations had previously warned the world will see more of such diseases with increased exploitation of wildlife and climate change.

Some zoonotic viruses can be potentially fatal to humans. These include the Nipah virus which has periodic outbreaks among animals and humans in Asia, and the Hendra virus which was first detected in horses in Australia.

Other related henipaviruses have also been found in shrews, as well as bats and rodents.

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FG Has Disbursed N100bn To Pharma Manufacturers – Buhari

FG Has Disbursed N100bn To Pharma Manufacturers – Buhari

The Federal Government has disbursed a total of N100 billion to indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare investors as loans to expand their capital base and boost local production of medicines and medical consumables.

President Muhammadu Buhari announced this on Tuesday in Abuja while receiving the new Executive Members of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), according to a statement signed by presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina.

The President explained that the loan was extended through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s support to the private pharmaceutical sector.

He added that the Health Sector Reform Committee chaired by Vice-President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is currently exploring models for revitalizing the nation’s healthcare system, in ways that improve quality of care and the benefit package to care providers.

On brain drain in the health sector, the President said he has directed the Honourable Minister of Health to look into ways of turning “brain drain” to “brain gain” by engaging top Nigerian medical experts in the diaspora in knowledge and skills repatriation.

He urged the Association and other stakeholders in the health sector to support initiatives by the Federal Government and work with the Committees set up to chart a fast track to a health system that best meets the needs of Nigerians in the 21st Century.

The President also commended the Association, which is the umbrella body of all Medical Practitioners in Nigeria, for consistently choosing peaceful resolution of differences on matters pertinent to the National health system.

‘‘I commend our medical professionals for their contribution to Nigeria’s exemplary management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the control of malaria, HIV and Tuberculosis, and other feats also achieved by Nigerian doctors in the diaspora.

‘‘Our response to COVID-19 pandemic has been praised internationally and your members are key parts of this success.

‘‘I recall that in the last quarter of 2021, the immediate past NMA Executives visited me and presented recommendations for the health sector, which included, the review and amendment of NHIS Act; upgrading and equipping existing health institutions; loans to fund hospital equipment; the repeal and re-enactment of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act; and Appeal for more funding for the four (4) newly established Universities of Medical Sciences.

‘‘I am pleased to inform you that most of these recommendations have been addressed, whilst further action is being taken to study those involving cross-cutting administrative processes with legal implications.’’

The President also used the occasion to congratulate a former President of the body, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, the President-elect of the World Medical Association, the first Nigerian to hold the position.

While wishing him a successful tenure, the President expressed hope that Enabulele would use his position to support improvement in health care delivery in Nigeria and lower income countries.

He also wished the new Executive Members of NMA a successful tenure, urging them to earnestly continue to serve as arbiters of peace and progress.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who led the medical practitioners to the audience, affirmed that the doctors have been good partners with his ministry, helping to regulate the health profession as well as stressing quality service delivery.

In his remarks, the President of the NMA, Dr Uche Rowland Ojinmah, said the new National Officers Committee (NOC) was elected on the 21st of May, 2022. He commended President Buhari for his steadfast war against corruption; assent to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act which will “improve the health indices of our nation;” the constitution of the Health Reform Committee under Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; and the various infrastructural projects embarked upon by the Buhari administration.

Dr Ojinmah enjoined the President to ensure full and appropriate implementation of the NHIA Act; provision of “adequate work equipment, conducive work environment and necessary budget support;” as well as elongation of the retirement age for medical consultants to 70 years and 65 years for non-consultant doctors and other healthcare workers.

Others include: implementation of the Hazard Allowance circularized in December 2021 with the arrears; as well as the setting up of a Health Bank.

He also requested for a representation of the Federal Government at the inauguration of Dr. Enabulele in Berlin, Germany, later in the year.

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Health

Nigerian embassy in Mexico shut as six staff test positive for COVID

Nigerian embassy in Mexico shut as six staff test positive for COVID

The Nigerian embassy in Mexico has been shut owing to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the embassy.

In a statement on Monday, Abimbola Tooki, special adviser on media to Adejare Bello, Nigerian ambassador to Mexico, said six staff of the embassy tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the statement, the ambassador, while announcing the closure, said it will last for seven days beginning from August 8.

He said the affected staff are undergoing treatment and that the situation is under control.

“The closure of the missions to forestall further spread of the virus. A total of 6.82 million cases with 328,000 deaths have so far been recorded in Mexico since the outbreak of the virus,” the statement reads.

“Bello disclosed that appropriate quarters like the ministry of foreign affairs, Abuja and that of Mexico have been duly notified of this development.

“The temporary closure, according to the ambassador, will allow the Embassy to be fumigated and all other precautions put in place while the closure lasts.

“Bello also disclosed that all home based officers and the local staffof the mission have been directed to work from home pending further directives.

“Mexico has administered at least 209 million doses of COVID vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs two doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 82.2% of the country’s population.The temporary closure will allow the Embassy to be fumigated among other precautionary measures.

“On April 10, 2021, Mexico reported a large number of confirmed new deaths after consolidating data from last year to include deaths that were not confirmed at the time. Two-thirds of the 2,192 deaths reported on date had occurred in 2020 and at the time were not marked down as COVID-19 fatalities.”

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