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The international health community last week commemorated two important events – the World Mental Health and World Sight Day. The events were celebrated the same day, October 10, highlighting two issues of concern among health experts.

Also PREMIUM TIMES announced the second edition of its National Health Dialogue, which is set to explore how Nigeria can achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The event will be holding in Abuja on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here is a roundup of some of the major stories last week

Pharmacists raise fresh fears over brain drain

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has expressed fears on the rising number of pharmacists leaving the country in search of better opportunities abroad.

Abiodun Ajibade, PSN Chairman in Oyo State, said that the association was worried over how the trend had hit the health sector.

He said over 5,000 out of the 30,000 pharmacists trained in the country have migrated abroad and many are still nursing plans to leave.

How STI “Herpes” treats skin cancer

A new drug that contains the herpes virus could be the key to treating advanced stage skin cancer, research has revealed.

The drug is a genetically modified strain of the sexually transmitted infection and is injected directly into tumors.


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From there, the virus multiplies inside the cancerous cells and kills them, and teaches the body’s immune system to also attack the cells.

It helped patients like Bill Tripoli, of Abita Springs, Louisiana, who was diagnosed with melanoma on his left leg in 2014, reported WAFB.

Psychiatrists call for mental health education to curb suicide

A consultant psychiatrist, Abdur-Rasheed Awesu, has called for mental health education to stem the rising tide of suicide in Nigeria.

Mr Awesu, who works at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, made the call on Friday in Lagos, while commenting on the commemoration of the 2019 World Mental Health.

Mental health includes emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act.

Healthy diet can prevent 45 per cent of under-5 mortality – Official

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Umar, said 45 per cent of death of children under five years was preventable with a healthy diet.

Mr Umar said a healthy diet is one that helps to maintain or improve the overall health of a person.

The permanent secretary said the federal government recognised the role of a healthy diet as a developmental issue, which has led to the development of a Food Guide by Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Agriculture, Health, Environment, Information and Education, among others.

Former patient describes Abalaka as “liar, murderer” over claim of HIV cure

One of the 30 Nigerian soldiers who contracted HIV while serving in ECOMOG and were sent to Jeremiah Abalaka for treatment in 1999-2000 has disputed the claim of cure by the physician.

An angry Mohammed Farouk described Mr Abalaka as “a blatant liar and murderer,” saying he alone survived the treatment out of the 30 soldiers.

Mr Abalaka has continued to stoke controversy over two decades after he first made the claim.

Mr Farouk, in a video published online, claimed that Mr Abalaka used him and his colleagues for an experiment, thereby killing 29 of them and infecting him with Hepatitis B virus.

WHO launches first World report on vision

The World Health Organisation has said more than one billion people worldwide are living with vision impairment because they do not get the care they need for conditions.

The UN agency in a report launched ahead of the World Sight Day on October 10, found that ageing populations, changing lifestyles and limited access to eye care, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are among the main drivers of the rising numbers of people living with vision impairment.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said including eye care in national health plans and essential packages of care is an important part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage.

One-third of women abused during childbirth in Nigerian health facilities – Study

More than one-third of women in Nigeria and some other lower-income countries experience mistreatment during childbirth in health facilities, a new study has shown.

The World Health Organisation (WHO)-led study published on Wednesday in the Lancet was carried out in four countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Myanmar, and Guinea.

According to the report, 838 (42 per cent) of 2,016 women experienced physical or verbal abuse, stigma or discrimination while 14 per cent experienced physical abuse – most commonly being slapped, hit or punched.


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