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98% of children with diphtheria in 19 states not immunised — Minister



The Coordinating Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, says 98 per cent of unvaccinated children were infected with diphtheria in 19 states.

The minister disclosed this at the Northern Traditional Leaders’ Committee on Primary Health Care Service Delivery quarterly review meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NTLC meeting is a platform for the NPHCDA and its partners to engage traditional leaders on their roles and responsibilities towards improving primary healthcare delivery in their communities.

The minister called for the implementation of a rapid vaccination campaign.

He said that the 19 states must come together to save the lives of vulnerable children.

Pate said that the ministry and other stakeholders had come together to aggressively tackle the diphtheria challenge that had persisted for months.

He said that efforts were being made to ensure that the challenge would not linger.

“The key focus of these collaborative efforts is to improve local governance and enhance delivery of essential services.

“This involves including all relevant stakeholders in the conversation, not just the Federal Government.

“Leaders at all levels, including your highnesses and representatives from the private sector, are actively working together to address the pressing diphtheria issue that affects our people,” he said.

The minister said that a major milestone was the upcoming launch of the Human Papillomavirus vaccine in Nigeria later in October.

“This vaccine not only aims to prevent cervical cancer in the years to come but also emphasises the importance of engaging our royal fathers and strengthening the health system to ensure efficient delivery of vaccines.

“It acknowledges that different population segments require different approaches with childhood vaccination programmes catering for younger age groups, and COVID-19 vaccinations targeting adults,” he said.

He said that technical experts involved in the efforts had reassured the country of the safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccine.

“Their expertise and responses to various questions have instilled confidence in recommending its utilisation to protect our girls and prevent future health complications,” he said.

He said that the collaborative approach taken by state governments and other stakeholders set an example not only within the sub-region but also for all in the wider space.

“The unity and evidence-based decision-making exhibited by all members involved in this venture highlight the commitment to address health challenges and protect the well-being of all Nigerians.

“This united front signifies a significant step forward in addressing the ongoing health challenge and paves the way for a more coordinated and effective response.

“With the combined efforts of state governments, other stakeholders and technical experts, there is optimism that this collaborative approach will yield positive outcomes and bring about much-needed solutions to improve public health,” he said.

He expressed gratitude to traditional leaders across the country for longstanding support of public health initiatives.

Pate praised their unwavering commitment to the well-being of the people and credited them with the successful fight against wild poliovirus in Nigeria.

He said that Nigeria’s remarkable progress in polio eradication had far-reaching implications.

“The fact that we don’t have children paralysed by wild poliovirus now is thanks to your leadership and the commitment of more than 100,000 traditional leaders,” he said.

The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, appealed to Nigerians to live in peace for the unity of the country.

“I am calling on all Nigerians to imbibe and embrace the culture and spirit of living in peace irrespective of tribal or regional differences,” he said.

Abubakar also called on the world to pray for Palestinians.

He said that the world needed to live in peace with a common goal of purposeful development.

The Chairman of NTLC, Alhaji Sama’ila Muhammad Mera, said that the meeting was significant as it provided an opportunity to assess progress, identify areas for improvement, and chart a course for the future.

“The healthcare sector faces complex challenges, but with collective efforts and strategic partnerships, it is believed that these challenges can be overcome, leading to a healthier and more prosperous nation.

“The NPHCDA management and partners have been instrumental in supporting and executing numerous vaccination-related activities during this period, including three major consultation meetings in Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kaduna states,” he said.

Mera said that the discussions and deliberations of the meeting were expected to be fruitful and result in concrete actions that would further enhance the delivery of services by primary health centres in the northern region.

“It is a chance to share experiences, exchange knowledge, and develop innovative solutions that will have a lasting impact on the health and well-being of the people,” he said.

He called for commitment to improving healthcare services, recognition of challenges, and determination to find solutions through collaboration and strategic planning.


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Human cases of Bird Flu ‘an enormous concern’, says WHO



The World Health Organization voiced alarm Thursday at the growing spread of H5N1 bird flu to new species, including humans, who face

The World Health Organization voiced alarm Thursday at the growing spread of H5N1 bird flu to new species, including humans, who face an “extraordinarily high” mortality rate.

“This remains I think an enormous concern,” the UN health agency’s chief scientist Jeremy Farrar told reporters in Geneva.

The current bird flu outbreak began in 2020 and has led to the deaths of tens of millions of poultry, with wild birds also infected as well as land and marine mammals.

Cows and goats joined the list last month — a surprising development for experts because they were not thought susceptible to this type of influenza.

The A (H5N1) strain has become “a global zoonotic animal pandemic”, Farrar said.

“The great concern of course is that in… infecting ducks and chickens and then increasingly mammals, that virus now evolves and develops the ability to infect humans and then critically the ability to go from human to human.”

So far, there is no evidence that the influenza A(H5N1) virus is spreading between humans.

But in the hundreds of cases where humans have been infected through contact with animals, “the mortality rate is extraordinarily high”, Farrar said.

From the start of 2023 to April 1 this year, the WHO said it had recorded 463 deaths from 889 human cases across 23 countries, putting the case fatality rate at 52 percent.

In a worrying development, US authorities earlier this month said a person in Texas was recovering from bird flu after being exposed to dairy cattle.

It was only the second case of a human testing positive for bird flu in the country, and came after the virus sickened herds that were apparently exposed to wild birds in Texas, Kansas and other states.

It also appears to have been the first human infection with the influenza A(H5N1) virus strain through contact with an infected mammal, WHO said.

When “you come into the mammalian population, then you’re getting closer to humans,” Farrar said, warning that “this virus is just looking for new, novel hosts”.

“It’s a real concern.”

Farrar called for beefing up monitoring, insisting it was “very important understanding how many human infections are happening… because that’s where adaptation (of the virus) will happen”.

“It’s a tragic thing to say, but if I get infected with H5N1 and I die, that’s the end of it. If I go around the community and I spread it to somebody else then you start the cycle.”

He said efforts were under way towards the development of vaccines and therapeutics for H5N1, and stressed the need to ensure that regional and national health authorities around the world have the capacity to diagnose the virus.

This was being done so that “if H5N1 did come across to humans, with human-to-human transmission”, the world would be “in a position to immediately respond”, Farrar said, urging equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

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Nigeria takes lead in meningitis vaccine – WHO



Nigeria takes lead in meningitis vaccine – WHO

Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, has launched a “revolutionary” vaccine against meningitis, which the World Health Organisation on Friday said was a world first.

“Meningitis is an old and deadly foe, but this new vaccine holds the potential to change the trajectory of the disease, preventing future outbreaks and saving many lives,” said WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Nigeria’s rollout brings us one step closer to our goal to eliminate meningitis by 2030,” he said.

The Men5CV vaccine shields against the five major strains of the meningococcal bacteria (A, C, W, Y and X) in a single shot.

The WHO said it offers broader protection than the current vaccine used in much of Africa, which is only effective against the A strain.

Last year, the number of meningitis cases jumped 50 per cent in Africa.

Nigeria, with a population of 220 million, is one of the continent’s 26 meningitis-hyperendemic countries, an area known as the African Meningitis Belt.

WHO noted that 153 people died during an outbreak of meningitis in Nigeria between October 1 and March 11.

Gavi, the global Vaccine Alliance, funded the new campaign from March 25–28 to initially vaccinate more than one million people aged from one to 29 years.

“Northern Nigeria, particularly the states of Jigawa, Bauchi, and Yobe, were badly hit by the deadly outbreak of meningitis,” said Professor Muhammad Ali Pate of Nigeria’s Health Ministry.

“This vaccine provides health workers with a new tool to both stop this outbreak but also put the country on a path to elimination,” he said in the WHO statement.

Meningitis infection leads to inflammation of the membranes, or meninges, that protect the brain and spinal cord.

It has multiple causes, including viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic pathogens.

Symptoms often include headaches, fevers, and stiff necks. Bacterial meningitis is the most serious and may result in septicemia or blood poisoning that can seriously disable or kill within 24 hours.


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NAFDAC bans Turkey-made soap, tracks fake Indian injection powder



NAFDAC bans Turkey-made soap, tracks fake Indian injection powder

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control has banned the sale of Turkey-made Dex Luxury Bar Soap.

It also called on Nigerians to watch out for the counterfeit of Tandak injection powder made in India.

NAFDAC, on its website, said Dex Luxury Bar Soap does not comply with the Cosmetic Products Regulation, explaining that it contains Butyphenyl Methylpropional, which is prohibited in cosmetic products due to its risk of harming the reproductive system, causing harm to the health of the unborn child and may cause skin sensitisation.

“As a result, a ban on the marketing of the product has been placed by some regulatory and public authorities in the EU,” NAFDAC stated on its website.

With barcode number 8694965531, NAFDAC noted that the product is manufactured in Turkey

It said although the product was not in the NAFDAC database, importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers were advised to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, and use of the product.

“The product’s authenticity and physical condition should be carefully checked. Members of the public in possession of the product should discontinue the sale or use and submit stock to the nearest NAFDAC office.

“Healthcare professionals and consumers are advised to report any suspicion of adverse reactions, or substandard and falsified regulated products to the nearest NAFDAC office on 0800-162-3322 or via email:

“Similarly, healthcare professionals and patients are also encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of the products to the nearest NAFDAC office, or through the use of the E-reporting platforms available on the NAFDAC website or via the Med- safety application available for download on android and IOS stores or via e-mail on,” it said.

The agency also alerted Nigerians to the sale of counterfeit Tandak injection 1.5g powder and water for injection.

It said the product was discovered in Gombe State and was reported to the agency by Marcson Healthcare Ltd., the marketing authorisation holder.

NAFDAC noted that the product is manufactured by Intracin Pharmaceuticals in Gujarat, India.

“Tandak® injection of 1.5g powder is a co-formulation of Ceftriaxone 1000mg and Sulbactam 500mg. It is prescribed for use in the treatment of various types of bacterial infections.

“It fights against the microorganisms by preventing their growth and further spread of the infection. Ceftriaxone+Sulbactam 1000mg/500mg Injection should only be administered under the supervision of a healthcare professional,” NAFDAC wrote on its official X account.

Differentiating the original product from the counterfeiter product, the agency said the batch number of the original product is BN: 23P24, while the counterfeited has 22P21 as its batch number.

The original was manufactured in August 2023, and will expire in July 2025; while the fake was manufactured in May 2022, and will expire in August 2026.

It said the original brand has a hologram on the primary carton but the counterfeited brand does not have it. A mobile authentication service label is present in the original product but it is photocopied/scanned in the fake product.

The original product has a green cap on the vial while the cap on the vial of the fake one is white.

It also noted that while the leaflet insert is present in the original product, the fake product has none.

“NAFDAC has directed all zonal directors and state coordinators to carry out surveillance and mop up the counterfeit products within the zones and states.

“Importers, distributors, retailers, healthcare professionals, and caregivers are hereby advised to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, and use of counterfeit products. All medical products must be obtained from authorised/licensed suppliers. The products’ authenticity and physical condition should be carefully checked.

“Healthcare professionals and consumers are advised to report any suspicion of the sale of substandard and falsified medicines or medical devices to the nearest NAFDAC office, NAFDAC on 0800-162-3322 or via email:

“Similarly, healthcare professionals and patients are also encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of medicinal products or devices to the nearest NAFDAC office, or through the use of the E-reporting platforms available on the NAFDAC website or via the Med- safety application available for download on android and IOS stores or via e-mail on,” it said.

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FG sets up safety, health, hazard control committee



FG sets up safety, health, hazard control committee

The Federal Government through the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) has inaugurated a 12-member Committee for the promotion of the health and well-being of its staff.

The inauguration was carried out by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoSF), Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, who was represented by the Director Overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office (SWO) in the OHCSF, Dr Comfort Adeosun.

Yemi Esan, noted that the initiative was in line with pillar six of the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021-2025 (FCSSIP-25), which is to improve the value proposition of staff through continuous promotion of a safe and convenient work environment, well-being, as well as the provision of basic support services for civil servants through various activities.

She also disclosed that the inauguration of the Committee marks a significant step towards actualising the objectives of the National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), which was developed, amongst other things, to provide a general framework for the improvement of working conditions and workspace for workers.

She reiterated the need for the members to prioritise safety at all levels and times, adding that a safety audit will be carried out, very soon.

“You are going to become the voice and the eyes of safety in the OHCSF,” she said.

Membership of the Committee was drawn from the Occupational Health Safety and Environment (OHSE) Department and other critical Departments that are key stakeholders in the implementation of Safety and Health Policy in the OHCSF.

The mandate of the committee, among other things, is to make recommendations to the Management on hazards control measures and other aspects for the improvement of safety, health and welfare of staff in the workplace.

She further urged members of the committee to serve with diligence and commitment because the safety and well-being of all staff is very essential for improved productivity as well as quality service delivery.

Also speaking, the Acting Director, OHSE, Engr. Bello Kwali, acknowledged the giant strides taken by the OHCSF to domesticate the National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), which was revised in 2020 in the Public Service by issuing a circular in 2022 for the establishment of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Desks in all Ministries, extra-ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

He also disclosed that one hundred and fifty (150) OSH Desk Officers have been equipped by the OHSE Department in the OHCSF with requisite competencies to discharge the responsibility of coordinating the implementation of OSH activities in their MDAs, while some have gone further to acquire relevant safety certifications.


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NiMet, LIFE-ND sensitise Abia farmers on 2024 weather prediction



NiMet, LIFE-ND Sensitise Abia Farmers On 2024 Weather Prediction

The Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise for Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), in collaboration with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), has trained 100 farmers on the 2024 Seasonal Climate Prediction in Abia.

The one-day training, which held in Umuahia, had participants drawn from Abia, Delta and Cross River.

The Abia state Coordinator of LIFE-ND, Dr Uchenna Onyeizu, said the objective of the training was to inform the farmers of possible climatic conditions, which might take place during the year.

Onyeizu, who said that most farmers operate without clear knowledge of weather and climatic conditions, said the information will help farmers make informed decisions.

He said: “This is a high level interactive session for our beneficiaries, where we have representatives in different communities that LIFE-ND is very active.

“Our experts from the Federal Ministry of Environment have been able to bring out the map of Abia and show the different climatic conditions in terms of total rainfall and how it is distributed across the various local government areas and communities.”

The General Manager, Agro- meteorology, NiMet, Dr Haruna Zakari, said the agency had collaborated with LIFE-ND in the past three years in sensitising clusters of farmers across six states in the application of weather and climate information.

Zakari, who is also the Technical Assistant to NiMet Director-General and CEO, Prof. Charles Anosike, said that the farmers were expected to use the information to reduce the risk in their farming chain activities as well as improve their productivity.

“We do this seasonal climate prediction as an early warning tool, giving out information to all sectors in the country, especially agriculture, which is one of the focal points of the government.

“It is actually for people to plan, given a foresight of what is going to be the outlook of the season from January to December, to increase food security,” Zakari said.

LIFE-ND National Officer for Environment and Climate Change, Bemigho Wategire, said the training involved cropping calendar and livestock.

Wategire said the participants were expected to go back to their various communities and step down what they learnt to other farmers.

Abia LIFE-ND Environment and Climate Change Specialist, Mr Chidozie Kanu, said it was a train-the-trainers technical support for the participants.

Kanu said that the agency had also put in place a monitoring mechanism to ensure that its efforts were not in vain.

“Beyond this, we support our beneficiaries with gadgets, such as weather station, to help them see the temperature reading for the day and know if it will rain or not,” he said.

LIFE-ND is sponsored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, in collaboration with the Federal Government, to boost agricultural production in the Niger Delta.


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Gavi to allocate $250 million grant for vaccines in Nigeria



Gavi to allocate $250 million grant for vaccines in Nigeria

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has pledged a $250 million grant to support vaccine initiatives in the country in a stride towards strengthening Nigeria’s healthcare infrastructure.

This announcement comes amid a meeting between President Bola Tinubu and a delegation from Gavi, led by its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Sania Nishtar.

During the meeting held at the State House, President Tinubu emphasized the need for collaboration between Gavi and potential Nigerian vaccine manufacturers to ensure widespread access to life-saving vaccines.

The $250 million grant
Noting the challenges faced by developing nations, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, President Tinubu highlighted the capability and readiness of Nigerian professionals to contribute to vaccine production.

Expressing Nigeria’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations for routine vaccine procurement, President Tinubu directed key ministries to facilitate the release of necessary funds.
He reiterated his administration’s dedication to eradicating preventable childhood diseases through comprehensive vaccination programs.
In response, Dr. Nishtar commended Nigeria’s proactive healthcare initiatives and expressed readiness to collaborate with the government to enhance health outcomes.
She highlighted Gavi’s commitment to addressing vaccine inequity in Africa through initiatives such as the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator, which is earmarked at $1 billion and aims to bolster the continent’s vaccine production capabilities.
As a result, Gavi would be providing a grant support of $250 million to Nigeria.
The GAVI CEO additionally disclosed to the President that the GAVI Board is scheduled to convene in the upcoming weeks to deliberate on policy matters that will shape Nigeria’s future assistance from the organization, extending beyond 2028.

She clarified that her visit to the country was primarily aimed at engaging in discussions with Nigeria’s health managers.


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