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We Are Negotiating With Doctors To Avert Strike- FG

The Federal Government has revealed that  negotiations are on-going with stakeholders over the five-day warning strike embarked upon by members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Wednesday.

Fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, Director, Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Morenike Alex-Okoh, said the strike was of concern for the government.

“The situation with the doctors’ strike is of concern to the government and the negotiations have been on-going.

“We will continue under the circumstances, so, I cannot give you any conclusive response now.

“However, the government, the leadership of the ministry and relevant stakeholders are meeting to resolve the situation as quickly as possible,’’ she said.

NARD served notice on the Federal government on Tuesday warning that it could not guarantee further industrial harmony should the government fail to address issues raised before May 29.


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433 Foreign-Trained Doctors Fail MDCN Qualifying Exams

No fewer than 433 out of the 836 foreign-trained medical graduates who sat the qualifying examination organised by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) failed

The qualifying examination was held at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital between 22 and 23 November 2023.

The assessment for the foreign-trained medical graduates was in a Computer Based Test format with the graduates taking the examination in four different centres, namely:  BMG Institute of Information Technology; JAMB Professional Test Centre; Kano Cooperative CBT Centre and Treztech, all in Kano State.

The examination comprises a computer-based test, a picture-based test, and an objective structural clinical examination.

Findings showed that most of the medical and dental graduates performed poorly in the CBT.

A list of shortlisted candidates in Abuja showed that a total of 836 candidates with medical degrees from foreign universities were selected for the examination initially. However, only 403 candidates passed, according to the results obtained on Monday.

Every year, thousands of Nigerians aspiring to become medical doctors and dentists enrol in foreign universities, spend a fortune on tuition and accommodation fees, and dedicate between four and seven years to pursuing the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery course.

Among the favourite destinations for Nigerians studying medicine are Ukraine, Sudan, Cyprus, Egypt, The Caribbean, Russia, Belarus, India, Hungary, Guyana, Niger Republic, and Benin Republic. But on completion of their studies abroad, to get a licence to practise in Nigeria, they are required to pass the MDCN assessment.

The MDCN is the body that regulates the practice of Medicine, Dentistry, and Alternative Medicine in the country to safeguard the nation’s health care system.

The MDCN conducts the assessment twice a year.

The examination tests the candidates’ ability to apply their basic medical sciences and clinical skills in a healthcare setting.

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UK Confirms Never- Seen- Before Strain Of Swine Flu in Human

The UK’s first human case of swine flu strain H1N2, very similar to what has been circulating in pigs, has been detected, the UK Health Security Agency said on Monday.

Routine surveillance in general practitioner surgeries picked up the case after the person suffered a mild illness.

The UKHSA said it is now carrying out contact tracing to prevent further spread of the virus.

It is not known at this stage how transmissible the strain is or if there could be other cases in the UK.

It is also too early to say if the strain could have pandemic potential.

The UKHSA has notified the World Health Organisation of the latest case.

There have been about 50 reported human cases worldwide of the H1N2 virus since 2005, none of them related genetically to this strain.

The person involved is not known to have worked with pigs and has fully recovered.

The case was detected as part of routine national flu surveillance undertaken by UKHSA and the Royal College of GPs, which was in place even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The patient was tested by their GP in North Yorkshire after experiencing respiratory symptoms.

The strain was identified via Polymerase Chain Reaction testing and genome sequencing.

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The UKHSA said people with respiratory symptoms should continue to follow the existing guidance, avoiding contact with other people while suffering symptoms and taking particular care around vulnerable people and the elderly.

It said it was “monitoring the situation closely and is taking steps to increase surveillance within existing programmes involving GP surgeries and hospitals in parts of North Yorkshire.

“To assist in the detection of cases and assessment of transmission, those people who are contacted and asked to do the test are encouraged to do so.’’

Meera Chand, incident director at the UKHSA, said, “It is thanks to routine flu surveillance and genome sequencing that we have been able to detect this virus.

“This is the first time we have detected this virus in humans in the UK, though it is very similar to viruses that have been detected in pigs.

“We are working rapidly to trace close contacts and reduce any potential spread.

“In accordance with established protocols, investigations are underway to learn how the individual acquired the infection and to assess whether there are any further associated cases.’’

Chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said, “We know that some diseases of animals can be transferred to humans, which is why high standards of animal health, welfare and biosecurity are so important.

Based on early information, the UKHSA said the strain detected in the UK differs from recent human cases of H1N2 elsewhere in the world but is similar to viruses in UK pigs.

In 2009, there was a pandemic in humans caused by flu strain H1N1, commonly referred to as swine flu.


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Nigeria on track to end AIDS by 2030, says NACA Boss

The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Gambo Aliyu, has said that Nigeria is progressing towards ending Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) as a public health problem by 2030 and has made commendable success, especially in the past three years.

Briefing journalists on the 2023 World AIDS Day in Abuja, Aliyu revealed that an estimated 1.8 million Nigerians live with the HIV virus, out of which over 1.6 million have been placed on treatment.

He observed that Nigeria was witnessing a decline in the number of people contracting new HIV infection, and “wants to sustain the tempo by ensuring that Nigeria is not only leading Africa but leading globally in terms of progress towards ending AIDS”.

Aliyu stressed the need to end inequality in access to HIV services, stop stigma and discrimination and ensure that no one is left behind.

He said: “Nigeria, like many other countries, has made significant strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but there is still much to be done to achieve the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Nigeria has the second-largest burden of HIV infection. Currently, a total of 1.8 million persons are estimated to be living with HIV in Nigeria, out of which about 1.63 million are already on the lifesaving medication of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

According to him, the national average of mother-to-child transmission rate of 22 per cent is driven by a large number of states with transmission rates above 25 per cent and a few states with rates below 15 per cent while Nigeria is responsible for about 30 per cent of the world’s gap in Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT).

Aliyu stated that every year millions of dollars are pumped into Nigeria to make sure that the country gets it right and Nigeria is getting it right, adding that the country needs to ensure that all structures required to sustain the response beyond 2030 without Nigeria slipping back into HIV endemic country are put in place.

He commended the support of our development partners and global communities, including UNAIDS, United States government through PEPFAR, Global Funds for HIV/AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria (ATM) and other partners for their indefatigable efforts over the years that have made Nigeria’s HIV response the most resilient globally. The government is poised to continue to keep this spirit going to achieve the global target of ending AIDS in Nigeria by 2030.

Also speaking, Country Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Dr Leo Zekeng said that over 40 million people have died since HIV was discovered in the 80s, but added that tremendous progress has been made in the fight against HIV not only in Nigeria but globally.

He disclosed that about 30 million people globally are on treatment stressing that AIDS is no longer the deadly disease we used to know considering that those affected by the disease who take their medications religiously can live a normal life. Zekeng also observed that new HIV infections have declined but we still have children living with HIV that we cannot find and put on treatment.

‘’We need to find those that are hard to reach and place them on treatment. As we pursue the last mile, we need to put communities at the centre of response and end inequalities in access to HIV services”, he added.

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