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Nigeria pioneers new vaccine for meningitis outbreak

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Nigeria is to become the first country to receive a groundbreaking new MenFive vaccine aimed at combating meningitis outbreaks in the country.

According to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI), on its official website on Thursday, the vaccine shows promise in combating the current Meningococci C outbreak in the country.

Meningitis, according to the World Health Organisation, is transmitted from person to person through droplets of respiratory and throat secretions and is an infection of the meninges, the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

The potentially fatal illness, impacting the protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord, poses a significant danger in regions like Africa.

GAVI said the vaccine, developed through a remarkable 13-year collaboration between PATH and the Serum Institute of India with support from the UK Government, targeted five main strains of meningococcal meningitis, including the elusive serogroup X.

This means it can offer vital protection against a range of meningitis strains prevalent in Africa.

The Director of High Impact Countries at Gavi, Dr Tokunbo Oshin, said with outbreaks of infectious diseases on the rise worldwide, innovations such as MenFive were critical in helping the world fight back.

“Thanks to vaccines, we have eliminated large and disruptive outbreaks of meningitis A in Africa; now we have a tool to respond to other meningococcal meningitis serogroups that still cause large outbreaks, resulting in long-term disability and deaths.”

He said the deployment of the MenFive vaccine not only aimed to address the immediate crisis but also signalled a broader initiative to strengthen vaccination efforts in high-risk countries.

He noted that Gavi’s support for a multivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MMCV) programme would see the MenFive vaccine integrated into routine immunisation programmes and outbreak response strategies.

He said the vaccine would be used to respond to an ongoing meningococcus C outbreak, targeting to vaccinate around a million children in six LGAs in Jigawa State.

The LGAs are Babura, Birniwa, Gagarawa, Gumel, Maigatari, and Sule Tankarkar.

NAN reports that Meningitis outbreak in the country indicates that as of March 3, 82 LGAs across 22 states have reported 1,402 suspected cases, 101 confirmed cases, and 123 fatalities, resulting in a case fatality rate of 9.4 per cent since October 2023.

The age group most affected by the outbreak is 5–14 years old, followed by 15–29 years old.

Notably, Yobe, Bauchi, Jigawa, Gombe, and Katsina states collectively account for 94 per cent of the cases in the country. (NAN)

 

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Nigeria takes lead in meningitis vaccine – WHO

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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

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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: sf.alert@nafdac.gov.ng.

“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 www.nafdac.gov.ng or via the Med- safety application available for download on android and IOS stores or via e-mail on pharmacovigilance@nafdac.gov.ng,” 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: sf.alert@nafdac.gov.ng

“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 www.nafdac.gov.ng or via the Med- safety application available for download on android and IOS stores or via e-mail on pharmacovigilance@nafdac.gov.ng,” it said.

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FG sets up safety, health, hazard control committee

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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.

Source: INDEPENDENT NEWS

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

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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

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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.

Source: NARIAMETRICS

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Ondo doctors begin 14-day warning strike

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Salary arrears: Ondo doctors begin 14-day warning strike

The Association of Resident Doctors at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital, Ondo State, has commenced a 14-day warning strike over the non-payment of seven months’ salaries to their new members.

Members of the association, who staged a protest on the premises of the facility on Tuesday, vowed to ground the activities at the government-owned medical facility if their demands were not met.

President of the UNIMEDTH ARD, Dr John Matthew, who spoke with journalists during the protest, lamented that their members were yet to be paid their entitlements.

According to him, other reasons for the warning strike, include the non-provision of palliatives to house officers since February, the non-payment of February hazard allowance despite promise by the state government to pay two months, and the dearth of staff due to the resignation of doctors from the institution.

He lamented that only 26 members of ARD remained in the hospital against 150 members a few months ago.

He said, “We demand full payment of the arrears of salaries owed our members and payment of February 2024 palliative to our house officers.

“Management should pay February hazard allowance to our members and urgently address the severe clinical manpower shortage in the institution. Our members work every day. There are no staff members due to Japa syndrome.

The PUNCH reports that the state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association has called on the state government to address the issue of shortage of resident doctors in state-owned hospitals.

In a communiqué issued by the state chairman of the association, Dr Omosehin Adeyemi-Osowe, after its meeting, the association said many of the doctors in the state had left for greener pastures, while some who are still in Nigeria had left the state for another state.

The communique read, “There is dire shortage of health personnel in the state. Doctors have refused to take up employment with the Ondo State Government.

“It was also observed that numerous doctors within the Ondo State Civil Service left for greener pastures locally (neighbouring states such as Osun, Lagos, Ekiti, Kwara, Delta) and internationally, African Countries: Sierra Leone, Gambia, South Africa, etc and outside the continent: United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, etc.

“As of the time of writing this communiqué, there are only 22 resident doctors at UNIMEDTHC compared to the previous figure of 150 resident doctors.”

Source: PUNCH NEWS

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