The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has debunked claims trending on social media that the Nigerian government has stopped free immunisation. It has also opened two toll-free lines where the public can report health workers charging for immunisation. The executive director of the agency, Faisal Shuaib said video and clips on social media insinuating vaccines are harmful are “misleading”. In a statement, he said Nigerians must disregard any messages about vaccines suggesting anything less than safety, protection of life and strengthening of population immunity with immunization exercise and activities.
“We must desist from playing politics with lives, safety and growth of Nigerian children,” he said in a statement. “As entrusted public health professionals, NPHCDA undertakes its mandate of making Nigerian citizens healthy with utmost sense of integrity and moral responsibility.” Shuaib insisted immunisation against all vaccine-preventable diseases in Nigeria remains free and safe. He warned health workers against demanding money for immunisation services.
A Lagos based newspaper, Vanguard has reported that Nigeria may lose 92 billion naira yearly to the scourge of diabetes, quoting The President of the Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria, Prof. Olufemi Fasamade. Fasanmade, an Associate Professor at the University of Lagos also added that amount is expected to double come 2045. The University Don who spoke at the product launch/symposium on diabetes by Novo Nordisk Nigeria puts the prevalent rate of the disease at 5 million and that more than half of the numbers are not diagnosed. “Some are not diagnosed because the type 2 diabetes may not have any symptom and so, the need for people to continuously taste their blood sugar. Fasamade who is also a consultant physician, Endocriminologists at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, said: “A patient who has complication may be indebted to the tune of N500, 000 – N1millon. “Diabetes kills more people than the trio of tuberculosis, HIV and malaria. From my experience with patients that have ailments like stroke, heart attack, blindness, kidney problem, and limb amputation, they all have links to diabetes,” he stated.
Giving a breakdown of the new drug, Professor Surendra Sharma of the Mahatma Ganhdi Institute of Medical Science, Jairpur, India, said Insulin degludec has an ultra-long duration of action lasting beyond 42 hours, which allows for flexibility in day-to-day dosing time. 1Insulin degludec provides a lower risk of overall, severe and nocturnal hypoglycemia and comparable reductions of blood glucose levels.1-4. He said, just like India, Nigerians are eating a lot of unhealthy food that are increasing their sugar level and it’s important that everyone cultivate the habit of eating good food. On his part, the Division of Endocrinology & Diabetology, Medical University of Graz, Austria, Prof. Thomas Pieber said patients that have hypoglycemia are at the risk of death and so, the introduction of Insulin Degludec which reduces the risk of casualty.
“In the cardiovascular outcomes trial, DEVOTE, insulin degludec did not increase the risk of major cardiovascular events; while significantly reduced the rates of nocturnal severe and severe hypoglycaemia by 53% and 40%, respectively compared with insulin glargine U100, in adults with type 2 diabetes.” Also, the Corporate Vice president, Business Area Africa & Gulf Novo Nordisk, Mads Bo Larsen, said: ‘In Africa, under the Changing Diabetes initiatives we run several projects such as the Changing Diabetes in Children (CDiC) & the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) project’’. The BoP project which is currently running in Nigeria is planned to reach 400,000 patients. We are firmly committed to working towards alleviating the burden of diabetes and supporting people with diabetes live a healthy life. ’Novo Nordisk provides half of the world’s insulin.”
There are fears that malaria may persist in Nigeria beyond the 2030 deadline for its elimination, experts have warned. In a statement signed on behalf of Novartis, a pharmaceutical company by Nana Boakye-Yiadom, the experts opine that with the current way Nigeria is handling malaria, it is unlikely the country will be able to achieve malaria elimination by 2030. "There are great plans, policies and documents… but very little on the path of the government to make things work,” This assertion, the release noted is contained in the MalaFa report. The MalaFA study was commissioned by Novartis and co-chaired by Richard Kamwi, Ambassador, Elimination 8 (E8), and Bob Snow, of the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust program, Kenya and University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Research advisers, which include Roll Back Malaria, Malaria No More UK and the African Leaders Malaria Alliance have experts suggesting that the capacity of regulators in Nigeria to check influx of substandard malaria products needs to be strengthened. Part of the statement reads: According to the 2017 World Malaria Report, there were 216 million cases of malaria in 2016, up from 211 million cases in 2015.The number of malaria deaths was 445,000 in 2016 vs. 438,000 in 2015. 90 per cent of malaria cases and over 90 per cent of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Children under 5 are particularly at risk, and malaria takes the life of a child every two minutes. Over the next five years, as part of its commitment, Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, will invest more than USD100 million to advance research and development of next-generation treatments to combat emerging resistance to artemisinin and other currently used antimalarials. In order to contribute to the WHO’s target of reducing malaria-related child mortality by at least 90 per cent by 2030, Novartis will further help expand access to paediatric antimalarials and implement healthcare system strengthening programs in 4 sub-Saharan countries. The new commitment, the statement adds launches at the same time as results from a new research study (Malaria Futures for Africa, MalaFA) across 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In total, 68 African experts from governments, the research community and nongovernmental organizations expressed their views on progress and remaining challenges toward the 2030 global malaria elimination targets. Malaria remains a major public health concern in Nigeria with about 76 per cent of the population at risk. It is still one of the leading causes of death in the country with the country having one of the greatest number of malaria cases in the world. Despite the tremendous progress made in combating malaria, one child still dies from the disease every two minutes. Novartis aims to contribute to the WHO’s target of reducing malaria-related child mortality by at least 90 per cent in 2030. In Nigeria and three other Sub Saharan African countries, Novartis plans to work with partners to help expand access to our paediatric artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and drive integrated community case management (iCCM) initiatives. iCCM is recognized as a key strategy for increasing access to essential treatments and reducing child mortality from treatable conditions, such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. The MalaFa Report insight on Nigeria offered that in terms of budgetary integrity, Malaria programmes are dependent on the availability of donor funds. At the expiration of these programmes, the entire country goes into doldrums and we wait for the next programme. In between, the little gains made are lost. The inputs from Nigerian experts reveal in the MalaFa Report that because ‘Nigerians do travel a lot with many traveling to Asia on business. This increases the prospects for importation of ACT-resistant parasite strains into the country.’