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The declaration of coronavirus as a global threat and the Lassa fever outbreak dominated health reports last week

Many countries including Nigeria have heightened disease surveillance across their borders as WHO backtracked on its earlier decision and pronounced coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.

Meanwhile, Nigeria is fighting another epidemic as confirmed cases and deaths from a Lassa fever outbreak continue to rise.

Here is a round-up of some of the health stories that made headlines last week.

WHO declares coronavirus global health emergency

The World Health Organisation on Thursday declared the ongoing coronavirus outbreak as a global threat.

This decision was made after the reconvened emergency committee met in Geneva to determine the status of the disease.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus’ announcement is coming a week after the emergency meeting had said that the disease had not attained a level of global concern.

The outbreak started from Wuhan province of China in December and as of January 28, has spread across all provinces except one in the country.

Nigerian Quarantine Agency to Collaborate with FAAN over Coronavirus

The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) is collaborating with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to prevent the importation of coronavirus into the country.

In a statement signed by the agency’s spokesperson, Chigozie Nwodo, on Tuesday, NAQS said it is obligated to buffer the nation from the potential introduction of this high-risk virus.

“Bearing in mind the zoonotic nature of 2019 n-CoV, the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service is collaborating with FAAN to ensure that there is no gap or breach on the veterinary quarantine front at the airports,” the statement highlighted.

Lassa fever: Nigeria’s death toll rises to 41

The death toll from the Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria has risen to 41, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed.

The NCDC, in its weekly situation update for week four (January 20 to 26), said the number of newly confirmed cases and deaths is gradually on the rise.

LASSA FEVER: Rats used to illustrate the story. Rats used to illustrate the story.

Although NCDC has activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate the response activities, the number of new confirmed cases increased from 81 cases in week three to 95 cases.

Between January 1 and 26, a total of 689 suspected cases with 258 confirmed were reported with 41 deaths.

Lassa Fever: Nigeria’s preparedness for disease outbreaks poor – NMA

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has described the outbreak of Lassa fever across the country as a reflection of Nigeria’s abysmally low level of preparedness in handling infectious diseases, especially viral hemorrhagic fever, at all levels of healthcare delivery.

The frequency of outbreaks also underscores the deplorable state of healthcare delivery in Nigeria, the doctors’ association said in a statement Monday.

The statement came a few hours after a Lassa fever expert, Oyewale Tomori, criticised Nigeria’s response to the deadly viral disease, saying the government has not done enough to check its recurrence.

Cancer: Groups march to raise awareness on early screening

Dozens of Nigerians on Saturday marched in Abuja as part of efforts to raise awareness on the menace of cancer diseases in the country.

The march is one of the various yearly activities of a cancer awareness advocacy group, Project Pink Blue.

Cancer Awareness Group march to raise awareness on early screeningCancer Awareness Group march to raise awareness on early screening Cancer Awareness Group march to raise awareness on early screening

The walk is targeted at enlightening people about cancer and the benefits of early screening to enable early detection of cases and treatments.

World Cancer Day: Nigeria among countries with poorest cancer care – Akeredolu

A research has rated Nigeria among countries with the poorest cancer care and control system, the wife of Ondo Governor, Betty Akeredolu, has said.

Mrs Akeredolu, at the start of a week-long program to commemorate 2020 World Cancer Day Celebration, said a sizable proportion of patients were lost to follow-up in cancer care continuum as a result of complexity and poor functioning of Nigeria’s health system.

Pneumonia: 2 million children risk death in Nigeria

Two million children will die of pneumonia in Nigeria in the next 10 years unless more is done to fight the dreaded diseases.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said this in a statement by its Birinin Kebbi office on Wednesday.

The statement signed by its Communication, Advocacy and Partnership Specialist, Rabiu Musa, said malnutrition, air pollution and lack of access to vaccines and antibiotics are among the drivers of preventable deaths from pneumonia, which killed a child every three minutes in the country.

“The disease is the leading killer of children in Nigeria, causing 19 per cent of under-five deaths, which can be prevented with vaccines, and easily treated with low-cost antibiotics.

Exercise has the same effect on the brain as coffee

Just 20 minutes of exercise is as good as a coffee for our working memory, according to a new, first-of-its-kind study.

In a new study, which appears in Nature Scientific Reports, researchers compared the effects of caffeine and exercise on working memory and concluded that acute exercise can be as good for the mind as it is for the body.

However, the main takeaway from this study is that exercise, with all its long-term benefits, can help improve mood and focus just as much as caffeine can.


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