In 9 months, my son took 19 pints of blood —Riskat Oshagbemi …I exhausted my savings, yet my daugther died — Cancer is a bully, worse than the playground bully. It does not only try to steal the children’s lunch money but also steals their future. No parent wants to hear, “your child has cancer”. It is simply terrifying. When cancer affects affects a child, no member of the family is spared. It used to be believed that cancer was a disease of the elderly. Sadly, every year, thousands of children in Nigeria are diagnosed with cancer. The truth is that many childhood cancers have an excellent prognosis when detected and diagnosed early, and properly treated. But, unfortunately the Nigerian story remains one of late detection, delay in presentation, and poor survival rate. Despite the burden of the disease, there is no supportive treatment plan for children with such terminal illness in Nigeria and worse still, the burden of treatment lies solely on the families of such patients. Mrs Riskat Oshagbemi; Mrs Chiamaka Obienu; Mrs Buki Oluwaojebi and Mrs. Eniola Adepitan Sharing their experiences with Good Health Weekly at the launch of “Childhood Cancer Handbook Series” written by The Dorcas Cancer Foundation, it was mixed feelings as mothers whose children lost the battle against cancer and those who managed to survive narrated their struggles, agonies and hopes. One of such mothers, Mrs. Riskat Titilayo Oshagbemi was in tears when she recounted her experience at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, after her son, Joshua, aged 10 years following his diagnosis with cancer of the kidneys. “Since his diagnosis in 2013, Joshua has had 11 cycles of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. He has had fluid drained from his chest and more scans and tests than we can count but my son still keeps fighting.” Oshagbemi said in 2015, they spent eight months and 10 days on admission in the hospital and between August 2016 till date, Joshua had collected 19 pints of blood. “Aside from the stress of paying for the tests at one point and collecting the change the receipt at the other end, not to talk of moving from one ward to another and buying the drugs outside the hospital, I have sold all my belongings. “The only things I did not sell were those things which people were not ready to buy from me. Caring for him made me lose my business. His elder sister has been out of school for a year and a half, and Joshua himself was eager to return to school after three years,” she stated. Mrs. Obienu Chiamaka whose child, Emmanuel, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of four, recalled that when he began manifesting symptoms of kidney cancer, she didn’t take it serious because she never expected a little child wold have cancer. “I don’t know that children do have cancer, I thought it was a disease of the adult. When he fell down in school, he developed fever and then his temperature would go up in the evening and by morning it would come down”, she said Chiamaka said when he took him to a private hospital the doctor said it was infection and treated him but after some weeks the condition would resurface and would even become worse. “He could not eat and was unable to do things that he used to do. He was just lying down and started losing weight while his stomach was getting bigger. In December 2016 Emmanuel was diagnosed with kidney cancer and since then the battle for survival began. Thanks to Dorcas Cancer Foundation that assisted us financially, he is still alive. It is hell caring for a child with cancer.” While Joshua and Emmanuel are still alive, Dorcas was not so fortunate. Her mother, Mrs. Eriola Adepitan recalled how her daughter (Dorcas) battled with the scourge for three years before she lost the battle. “In 2012, she complained of pain in her leg after she returned from school and I didn’t take it serious but when her complaint was persistent, I took her to the hospital and after an x-ray, the doctor said she had bone cancer. She was given series of treatments including surgery on the right leg but despite these efforts, she died.” Also, Mrs Buki Oluwaojebi. mother of late Atinuke, recounted how she died. She said three-year-old Atinuke died in pains. “We spent so much money, sold all our properties and became almost impoverished. She was taken to India for bone marrow transplant but at the end she lost the battle. For over a year, it was like living in hell fighting cancer,” Buki lamented. “It all started with fever, and my mind didn’t go to cancer because I could not imagine anything more than malaria for a three- year- old baby. For two months of our consistent visits to the hospital, there was no concrete diagnosis so they placed her on antibiotics for another three weeks before she was later diagnosed at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH and our nightmares began.” Good Health Weekly also spoke to the Founder, The Dorcas Cancer Foundation, Dr. Adedayo Joseph who noted that Joshua and Emmanuel won the battle due to early medical intervention and support,. On the other hand, he explained that Richard, Aliyat, Timothy among others would have been alive too, if they received early treatment and care and support. Adebayo explained that the Foundation has produced three handbooks to create awareness about childhood cancer. “These books will go a long way into letting them know that they are not alone, and the Dorcas Cancer Foundation is rooting for them, until every single Nigerian child is no longer at risk of dying from childhood cancer.” In the view of a lecturer from the Department of Paediatrics at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr. Seye Akinsete, Nigeria still lags in cancer care, arguing that “we still have issues with manpower to provide care, the facilities in management are not available while there is need for robust health insurance”. Akinsete regretted that children continue to be at the disadvantage edge when it comes to cancer care. “The National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, includes breast cancer, prostate and cervical cancer but childhood cancer is not included. Between 30 to 40 percent of children with cancer has genetic predisposition and over time the environment works on it and it manifests. “If your child is having recurrent fever or is consistently treated for malaria or has swellings around the neck, among others, you need to seek medical evaluation,” he explained
Abuja, 11th February 2019: The Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) Dr. Sani Aliyu wants to use this season of love to encourage Nigerians, especially young people, to know their HIV status. It is concerning that only one of six young people know their HIV status in this country. “Knowing your HIV status is important for your future health and that of your loved ones”
The DG noted that about one in seven young persons in Nigeria experience their first sexual contact by the age of 15 years. This, together with the practice of having multiple sexual partners increases HIV vulnerability among youths. The DG states that “New HIV infection is currently highest among young people aged 15-24 years. It is important to reduce this worrying trend among Nigerian youths by encouraging faithful relationships for those who cannot abstain from sex, and the use of barrier protection such as condoms, which prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases including HIV and unwanted pregnancies.”
This period is particularly noted for young people expressing their love for one another. The DG NACA urges Nigerians, especially the youths, to express love within the context of caring deeply for their loved ones and avoid risky behavior that will make them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
The DG, Dr. Sani Aliyu stated that “As we express love on this day, remember to Love Wisely. As members of the wider society, your health and productivity is vital to the future of our country. So, I urge you to avoid risky behaviors as we commemorate Valentine’s Day. Love Wisely, Share Love not HIV. Get a HIV test today.”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Experts in herbal medicine have said that the African cherry, known locally as Agbalumo or Udara, possesses certain properties that are effective in the prevention and management of diabetes and heart diseases.
According to expert, they described the fruit as a good source of calcium.
Calcium lends strength to the bones and teeth. It is recommended for pregnant women because it reduces salivation. It is also one of the best natural sources of vitamins A and C. In fact, the Vitamin C found in the pulp of the fruit is believed to be higher than the ascorbic content of orange and guava.
“The African cherry also provides calories. This makes the fruit, which contains fibre and aids digestion, a good snack. It possesses antioxidant properties that give the body a better chance of fighting and avoiding heart diseases and cancer. The fruit is ideal for weight watchers.”
Stressing that the leaves of the African cherry contain hypoglycemic properties, which lower blood sugar and carry out anti-platelet activities. “The stem can be used as chewing stick as it contains anti-bacterial agents. It is also a natural remedy for toothache, diarrhea, constipation and indigestion.
“When boiled in water, the roots and barks are excellent remedies for cough, yellow fever, high blood pressure and diabetes. An infusion of the leaves can also be used to wash wounds, like a disinfectant.
“The fruit is excellent for maintaining a healthy metabolism, thus making it suitable for weight loss. It is unfortunate that after eating the pulp of the cherry fruit, we always throw away the skin. The skin should also be consumed.”
Mr. Uwaila Idehen, who killed his 28- year- old wife, Maureen and two sons, has expressed regrets over his action.
His sons were Dereck ,3, and Desmond 2.
The 35-year-old Idehen, said the minor misunderstanding he had with his late wife had been resolved but he didn’t understand why he still killed them.
He spoke to newsmen when he was paraded at the headquarters of the Edo Police Command.
Uwaila, a tipper driver, said he has been married to his wife for ten years but he was still accused of infidelity.
His six- year- old daughter narrowly escaped death even though she was in the same room with her siblings and mother.
The victims were lying on the bed while the lucky daughter was sleeping on the ground when the father fired the fatal shot through a locked door.
A quarrel was said to have ensued on Sunday morning in which the woman reportedly told the suspect she would also date other men since her husband was unrepentant.
Uwaila drove out of the house and came back to kill his wife and sons.
According to him: “I don’t know what happened. I didn’t intend to do it. They are my lovely children. How can I lose two children at the same time?
“We have been married for ten years. We have a minor issue. I do not know how the gun exploded. I bought the gun six years ago.
“Some boys that came to ransack my house took the bag containing the license for the gun.”
Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosun, said Idehen shot his victims with English- made doubled- barrelled gun over a mere misunderstanding.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliate, the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for not privatising the health sector. They condemned privatisation of the sector, saying it would lead to masses’ exploitation.
The leaderships of the two Unions, Ayuba Wabba and Biobelemoye Josiah, who expressed their concern at the recent 45th session of the MHWUN’s National Executive Council meeting in Abuja, urged health workers to unite for a common interest to resist the idea, described as anti-masses.
According to Wabba, anyone who says health care privatisation will better the sector is telling lies. ”Anybody that tells me that privatising the health care will make it better, it is false. What has become of the privitisation of the power sector? We have seen it as an exploitation. Nigerians have been crying to be given meters, but there is none. Not because meters cannot be provided, but they realised that once they provide meters, exploitation will end, estimated billing will end and citizens will drive the process; that is why up till now they have refused, despite the fact that it is a major component of the agreement of privisation,” Wabba said.
Josiah on his part, commended President Buhari, for refusing to privatise the healthcare system, even as he warned against fresh strike action. He called on the President to always listen to the other side of every story given to him by his aides. ”The truth of the matter is that, in the health sector, there has been deprivation. Seventy per cent of the healthcare professionals, their voices are not being heard. Their voices have been dominated,” he said.
The MHWUN President also hinted an impending strike action if the government continued to delay in addressing the demands of health workers, especially Skipping arears. It, therefore, urged its members to prepare for an indefinite strike action to push home their demands.
He called on Nigerians to prepare their minds and bear with the workers when the time comes for the strike.
Speaking on why his group will resume the strike, he said the continous inability of the government to meet the demands of the health workers, especially the payment of areas skipping, will no longer be tolerated.
“Comrades, we have to prepare ourselves. We will no longer take that deceitful story of there is no money. At the appropriate time, we will come to you so that we will carry out destiny in our hands.
“We call on Nigerians to have that understanding with us when the time comes because if the same ministry can appropriate to pay illegal items to the medical doctors such as skipping arears.
“Another exposure of insincerity was that after paying the medical doctors skipping arears, which they were not supposed to benefit, they now went into the Federal Executive Council with a so-called white paper that skipping has been abrogated. Can FEC quash the ruling of any court?
“If we believe in the rule of law, they just have to pay us that money because they have paid those who are not entitled to it.
“Even when the Income and Wages Commission advised that these people are not entitled to this money, don’t pay them, the same government, the same ministry of health that said there is no money still went ahead to pay them.
“Unless we agree to take our destiny in our hands, nobody in that ministry will be human enough to give us what is due to us,” he said.
Reacting to the fight against corruption by President Buhari-led administraion, Josiah said: “It is our view that corruption cannot be fought when injustice cannot be redressed.
He said: “Let me therefore, use this opportunity to call on the government to redesign the anti-corruption war to assume a holistic and down-to-the-grassroot approach, as well as support and protect those heeding the call to support and advance the fight.”
Speaking on his achievements within the past two years, he said: “Recall that in 2017, we performed the ground breaking ceremony of our Specialist Hospital project. I am happy to report to you that work has steadily progressed at the sight.
“We shall endeavour to make out time for an inspection visit to the sight in the course of our crowded programme. Our efforts at remodeling the fourth floor to suit the purpose it was meant to serve has reached 99 per cent completion with the delivery of a 550KVA plant that is expected to provide an uninterrupted power supply to the facility. You would agree with me that power supply is central to the success of any hospital facility.”
He, however, condemned the killing of health workers in the northeast by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents, describing it as barbaric and satanic.
…urges residents in endemic zones to visit health centers for proper diagnosis
The Edo State Government has warned residents of the state, especially those in areas where Lassa Fever is endemic, against self-medication, urging them to visit medical centres for proper diagnosis when they feel feverish.
In a statement, Special Adviser to the State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said that the state government is stepping up awareness of Lassa Fever to mitigate the resurgence of the ailment in the state.
He urged residents in the state to desist from self-medication, but rather visit health centers for proper diagnosis.
The state government embarked on an extensive media campaign since reports of the resurgence of the viral disease in some states across the country, informing residents of measures to prevent a resurgence and helplines to call for assistance to stem the spread of the ailment.
According to the governor’s aide, “The state government is committed to ensuring that there is no resurgence of Lassa Fever in Edo State. We have commenced an extensive media campaign, and have called out to the local government councils to ensure directives on environmental sanitation and the need to avoid bush burning are adhered to. We are working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to mitigate resurgence of the ailment.
“However, we are also aware that a number of people are prone to elect to self-medicate when they experience symptoms of fever. This is why we are putting this call out there, especially for persons in areas where Lassa Fever is endemic. People should go to the health centres to get proper diagnosis when they feel feverish before they start taking medications.
“A number of casualties recorded were due to the fact that some of the persons came late to the authorities after experimenting with self-medication for a while. Detecting the virus also requires the laboratory test at reference hospitals, which means that the earlier samples are acquired for testing, the better. Infected persons stand a high rate of survival if the illness is detected early and treatment administered.”
He added that the state government has invested in procuring equipment for managing the ailment at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, which ensures that those diagnosed early stand a good chance of survival.
Watch what you take in this festive season. Fake wine brewery uncovered in Lagos .
A fake wine and assorted beverages brewery has been uncovered in an uncompleted building at Aboru, Oke-Odo, Lagos.
Recovered from the illegal brewery were 4000 bottles of the adulterated wine of different brands, 1000 empty bottles of popular wines. .
Arrested, was the producer, 48- year old Uju Daniel Ughanze, an indigene of Anambra state. .
One of the compartments of the building was used for processing the chemical, while another was used to fill the bottles, while six rooms upstairs were used as stores for the finished drinks. .
During interrogation, it was discovered that owner of the factory, a secondary school dropout, has neither the requisite qualification nor license to embark on such type of business.
This was contained in the Kaduna state mid-year 2018 Maternal and Perinatal Deaths Surveillance and Response (MPDSR) report (January – June 2018) presented by the MPDSR committee at the 5th quarterly interactive forum tagged #Open Kaduna Health Sector organized by Kaduna State Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM).