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Amala meal suspected to be poisoned has led to the death of 5 persons in Ibokun, Obokun Local Government area of Osun State .Facts emerged on how a young man identified as Rasaq allegedly poisoned the food because he was dumped by his girlfriend, Esther. Our source reliably gathered that Esther who was dating Rasaq, popularly known as ‘fine boy’ suddenly decided to quit the relationship but Rasaq who is a commercial motorcycle operator was not happy with her decision. Rasaq was said to have connived with one of Esther’s female friends to poison the food meant for the whole family. After eating the food, Esther and her mother, Mrs Kehinde Fasanya who was a staff of Obokun Local Government died instantly. Efforts to save the lives of other people that ate from the food failed as three among the four persons that were taken to Wesley Guild Hospital of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital in Ilesa eventually died. Commissioner of Health in the state, Dr Rafiu Isamotu said he was aware of the death of additional two persons out of the four persons taken to hospital in Ilesa and that he has not been updated about the death of the third person. “Two out of the four persons that we took to Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa could not make it. They are dead. Four persons lost their lives so far to the best of my knowledge. I have not been told about the death of any of the remaining two persons,” Isamotu said. The Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr Fimihan Adeoye in a chat disclosed that Rasaq has been arrested and that he was being interrogated. He assured that the matter would be diligently investigated

Nigeria Has raised the alarm over the rising cases of organ harvesting in the guise of ritual killings in some parts of the nation. Organ harvesting is the illegal removal of human organ or tissue without a person’s consent; generally to be sold on the black market for organ transplants. The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has, therefore, resolved to commence investigation into illegal human organ harvesting. The Director General of NAPTIP, Ms Julie Okah-Donli, disclosed this in Abuja recently, that cases of organ harvesting was complicated but would carry out full investigation in order to bring perpetrators to book. “NAPTIP has decided to begin full investigation because most of the times, other law enforcement agencies go out, they will come to tell us that the suspected organ harvesting is a ritual murder. “And we have resolved to carry out our independent investigation because the law gives us the power to do that and we have strong reasons to believe that these are cases of organ harvesting. “When that is established after our investigation, we will go after everyone found involved with the full arm of the law” she said. The director general said that NAPTIP under her watch would continue with its mandate of fighting all forms of human trafficking in the country. Organ trafficking is a form of human trafficking and is an organized crime. According to the UN Gift Hub, organ trafficking falls into three categories. Traffickers who trick the victim into giving up an organ for no cost; con artists who convince victims to sell their organs, but who do not pay or who pay less than they agreed to pay; and doctors who treat people for ailments which may or may not exist and remove the organs without the victim’s knowledge.

The Chief Executive, Stroke Action Foundation, Mrs Rita Melifonwu, said on Saturday that stroke was the leading cause of death and disability globally. Melifonwu in Abuja, ahead of the World Stroke Day 2017, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 29. According to her, the day provides an annual opportunity for stakeholders to coordinate awareness and advocacy campaigns to reduce the burden of stroke at global, regional and local level. Melifonwu explained that stroke is an attack on the brain that occurs when the flow of blood is interrupted by a blood clot or broken blood vessel. She said every two seconds, stroke attacks a person in the world regardless of age, gender, education, religion or economic background. “The ailment is currently an epidemic in Nigeria; this is because presently its prevalence rate in the country is estimated at 205,200 each year, “The World Stroke records showed that one in six people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime, however, this year; the foundation would be focusing on risk awareness and prevention. “We are calling on all individuals, families, communities, health professionals and governments to raise awareness of key stroke risks and take action to prevent stroke,’’ Melifonwu said. She identified the risk factor of stroke as high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, overweight, lack of exercise, poor diet, high cholesterol, excessive alcohol intake and lack of stroke awareness. Melifonwu said that stroke could be prevented if necessary precautions are taken, adding that most Nigerians are unaware of the cause and symptoms of stroke as well as how to respond when it occurs. She mentioned that early recognition of signs of stroke, changes in lifestyle, health check, risk factor management and early intervention through stroke awareness, could make a difference and substantially improve outcomes. Melifonwu, however, urged the Minister of Health and Commissioners for Health in all state ministries to encourage citizens to engage in a ‘walk and run against stroke’. An activity she said was scheduled on World Stroke Day Oct. 29, to raise awareness on the importance of physical activity in stroke prevention.

Price of garri, a staple in the country, has dropped by more than 60 per cent in Enugu within four months. A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who conducted a market survey on the staple on Monday, observed that the price has gone down from as high as N1, 250 to between N450 and N500 per paint bucket. The paint bucket of four-litre is usually the standard measure for cereals in South East. Many buyers, who came to purchase the staple in markets in Enugu, said they were happy as they could get white garri for N450 and yellow garri for N500. A buyer, who spoke to NAN, said that they prayed the price could crash further, while another said it should continue at its current price. The traders attributed the price crash to the current bumper harvest of cassava after many Nigerians had yielded the call to return to the farm. A garri seller at Garki Market, Mrs Obioma Ukoh, said that many people went into cassava farming since last year and for that its price had drastically dropped. “I pray that people will continue to plant cassava, this way there will be no reason to buy it as high as N1, 250 again,’’ she said. Mr James Ugwu, a teacher in one of the secondary schools in Enugu, also said that the low price was as a result of bumper harvest of cassava this year. Ugwu, who NAN met at Kenyatta Market, said that the price would not get higher anymore as everyone had learnt a lesson and many had gone back to farming. A corps member, Miss Ifeoma Ogbologu, who came for shopping at Akwata Market, said she was happy buying garri at the rate of N450, explaining that it was not easy when the price was N1, 250.

Pollution is killing millions of people worldwide, mostly through the diseases it causes including heart conditions, strokes and lung cancer, according to a large international study. Almost all pollution-related deaths – around 92 per cent – are in poor or middle-income countries, the research found. In rapidly industrialising countries such as India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Madagascar, pollution is linked to as many as a quarter of all fatalities. “Pollution is much more than an environmental challenge. ”It is a profound and pervasive threat that affects many aspects of human health and wellbeing,” said Philip Landrigan. Landrigan is a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States who co-led the study. The study found pollution was linked to around nine million deaths in 2015. Dirty air – caused by everything from transport and industry to indoor fires – was the biggest contributor linked to 6.5 million deaths, it said. The next biggest was polluted water that spread gastrointestinal diseases and parasitic infections and killed 1.8 million people. The greatest numbers of deaths linked to pollution in that year were in India with 2.5 millions, and China with 1.8 million. The research, conducted by about 40 international scientists, used data from the Global Burden of Disease study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. It was published in The Lancet medical journal on Friday. (Reuters (NAN)

The World Health Organisation has revealed that 7,000 children die everyday. According to the organisation, every day in 2016, 15 000 children died before their fifth birthday, 46% of them – or 7 000 babies – died in the first 28 days of life, according to a new UN report. Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017, reveals that although the number of children dying before the age of five is at a new low– 5.6 million in 2016, compared with nearly 9.9 million in 2000 – the proportion of under-five deaths in the newborn period has increased from 41% to 46% during the same period. “The lives of 50 million children under-five have been saved since 2000, a testament to the serious commitment by governments and development partners to tackle preventable child deaths,” said UNICEF Chief of Health, Stefan Swartling Peterson. “But unless we do more to stop babies from dying the day they are born, or days after their birth, this progress will remain incomplete. We have the knowledge and technologies that are required – we just need to take them where they are most needed.” At current trends, 60 million children will die before their fifth birthday between 2017 and 2030, half of them newborns, according to the report released by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the Population Division of UNDESA which make up the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME). Most newborn deaths occurred in two regions: Southern Asia (39%) and sub-Saharan Africa (38%). Five countries accounted for half of all new-born deaths: India (24%), Pakistan (10%), Nigeria (9%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (4%) and Ethiopia (3%). “To achieve universal health coverage and ensure more newborns survive and thrive, we must serve marginalized families,” says Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health at WHO. “To prevent illness, families require financial power, their voices to be heard and access to quality care. Improving quality of services and timely care during and after childbirth must be prioritized.” The report notes that many lives can be saved if global inequities are reduced. If all countries achieved the average mortality of high-income countries, 87% of under-five deaths could have been averted and almost 5 million lives could have been saved in 2016. “It is unconscionable that in 2017, pregnancy and child birth are still life-threatening conditions for women, and that 7 000 newborns die daily,” said Tim Evans, Senior Director of Health Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group. “The best measure of success for Universal Health Coverage is that every mother should not only be able to access health care easily, but that it should be quality, affordable care that will ensure a healthy and productive life for her children and family. We are committed to scaling up our financing to support country demand in this area, including through innovative mechanisms like the Global Financing Facility (GFF). ” Pneumonia and diarrhea top the list of infectious diseases which claim the lives of millions of children under-five globally, accounting for 16% and 8% of deaths, respectively. Preterm birth complications and complications during labour or child birth were the causes of 30% of newborn deaths in 2016. In addition to the 5.6 million under-5 deaths, 2.6 million babies are stillborn each year, the majority of which could be prevented. Ending preventable child deaths can be achieved by improving access to skilled health-professionals during pregnancy and at the time of birth; lifesaving interventions, such as immunization, breastfeeding and inexpensive medicines; and increasing access to water and sanitation, that are currently beyond the reach of the world’s poorest communities. For the first time, mortality data for older children age 5 to 14 was included in the report, capturing other causes of death such as accidents and injuries. Approximately 1 million children aged 5 to 14 died in 2016. “This new report highlights the remarkable progress since 2000 in reducing mortality among children under age 5,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Mr. LIU Zhenmin. “Despite this progress, large disparities in child survival still exist across regions and countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet many deaths at these ages are easily preventable through simple, cost-effective interventions administered before, during and immediately after birth. Reducing inequities and reaching the most vulnerable newborns, children and mothers are essential for achieving the SDG target on ending preventable childhood deaths and for ensuring that no one will be left behind.” The report also notes that: In sub-Saharan Africa, estimates show that 1 child in 36 dies in the first month, while in the world’s high income countries, the ratio is 1 in 333. Unless the rate of progress improves, more than 60 countries will miss the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to end preventable deaths of newborns by 2030 and half would not meet the target of 12 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births by 2050. These countries account for about 80% of neonatal deaths in 2016.

The House of Representatives on Thursday urged Federal Government to provide subsidies for palliative drugs and chemotherapy for cancer sufferers. It also called for the provision of radiotherapy machines for government hospitals. This was sequel to a motion by Rep. Zubairu Bungudu (Zamfara-APC) and Rep. James Faleke (Lagos-APC). Moving the motion, Bungudu expressed concern over increasing cases of cancer in Nigeria and the attendant heavy economic burden on families and individuals afflicted by the disease. He said that it was not in doubt that cancer patients went through excruciating pains while battling with the disease, adding that palliative drugs could help to ease the pain, if accessible. Bungudu decried the hardships and challenges being faced by over two million patients of cancer in accessing chemotherapy, given the insufficiency of radiotherapy machines said to be only seven in the country. He alleged that out of the seven machines, only one was functioning. “Radiotherapy machines are usually procured from abroad, and therefore accessing the only functioning one in the country is a herculean task for poor patients of cancer. “As a result of this, many of them are dying prematurely due to lack of proper treatment or alternatively be at the mercy of private hospitals.’’ According to him, most African countries are well equipped to cater for their cancer patients as they have procured the following number of Radiotherapy machines: South Africa, 92; Algeria, 20; Morocco, 28; Tunisia, 16 and Egypt, 76. Bungudu stressed that if urgent steps were not taken to provide radiotherapy and chemotherapy machines in government hospitals and provide subsidies for palliative care drugs, cancer patients would continue to suffer and die needlessly. He said with this, the government would have failed in its responsibility to ensure the welfare of the citizens as enshrined in section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution. Similarly, the house urged the Federal Government to provide more resources in the efforts to control Sickle Cell Anemia in the country. It also urged the government to support the Non-Governmental and International Organizations towards mitigating the burden of the disease across the country. This followed a motion by Rep. Segun Adekola (Ogun-APC). The house equally urged Federal Ministry of Information to liaise with Federal Ministry of Health to commence sensitization to educate the populace on management and prevention of Sickle Cell. The motions were unanimously adopted by members when put to voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara. In this article

here was panic and confusion in primary and secondary schools in Port Harcourt this morning when parents and guardians stormed the schools to withdraw their children following rumours that the Nigerian Army plans to forcefully inject the children with Monkeypox virus. All the public primary schools in Rumuosi, Okoro-Nu-Odo, Elekenia, Diobu, Igwuruta and others were deserted after parents withdrew their wards. The rumour has it that the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in its Operation Crocodile Smile ll in the Niger Delta plans inject schoolchildren with Monkeypox. Some parents scaled the fence to withdraw their children from schools. Following the rumour, the state Commissioner for Education, Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja visited over 15 schools to persuade the panic-stricken parents that all they heard were mere rumour before heading for the Radio studios of Infofm 92.3 in Port Harcourt to make a broadcast. . According to the Commissioner, “When I got to the schools to see the so-called soldiers who were allegedly immunising our children without the knowledge of the Rivers state government, shockingly I saw none. “In the schools I visited, the Headmasters of those schools stated clearly that there was no immunization by the army in any of the schools. The rumour is baseless and a dangerous rumour aimed as causing panic. If the panic is not well handled, some kidnappers may cash in on the confusion and pick other people’s children”. He advised parents not to withdraw their children and wards from schools because there is no immunization by the army and nothing like that can happen without the permission of the state government. Meanwhile, Emma Okah, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, said the state government has not permitted the Army to carry out any immunization. The spokesman of 6 Division of Nigerian Army, Colonel Aminu Illyiasu debunked the rumour, saying though the army planned medical outreach as part of the operation, it has not started. He explained that the Army only has textbooks to donate to selected schools in state.

Every Woman Hope Centre (EWHC), an NGO, on Tuesday called on Nigerian scientists and all stakeholders to handle the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) with scientifically proven information. The Executive Director of EWHC, Mrs Edel-Quinn Agbaegbu, made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. “We have been active in the promotion of proper regulatory process in the application of the technology in Nigeria, with the view to preventing any adverse effect on human health, animals, plants and the environment. “And there have been a lot of distortions, misrepresentation of facts and misconceptions in the information already dished out about GMOs and this is quite unfortunate; it is an embarrassing development in Nigeria. “Therefore, stakeholders should properly and effectively pass on their messages as regards the issues of biosafety foods as long as they are backed by credible scientific evidence,’’ she said. Agbaegbu noted that there were accusations and counter-accusations concerning GMOs but urged all parties to be professional and unbiased about their findings on the benefits or otherwise of GMOs. “ The world is moving to modern technology and Nigeria should not be an exception. Do we really wish to have a science-based society or should we let ourselves be governed by prejudices and misconceptions? “Some stakeholders like Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Women Environmental Programme and Initiative for Peace, Empowerment and Tolerance are calling for more scrutiny of the activities of National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) “For example, they are saying that the issuance of permit by NBMA to Monsanto Agricultural Nigeria Limited for confined field trials with genetically modified-insect/pest resistant NK603 and MON89034 X NK603 maize in Nigeria and commercial release into market of genetically modified-insect/pest resistant BT.cotton should be nullified. “And I ask again: Is the call based on scientific evidence that the health of Nigerians and the environment is in danger? Or is it an attempt to set Nigeria backward to the era of crude agriculture?’’ she asked. Anti-GMOs activists alleged that NBMA and Monsanto did not organise public hearings to seek the views of the public before the licence was granted and that the two agencies did not take into consideration the prevailing health and environmental concerns around GMOs. Agbaegbu said that EWHC was a key advocate of good governance which engaged in public enlightenment, advocacy and research activities. “From our findings, biotechnology or GM crops have been offered as a modern crop development tool to address the onslaught of pests and diseases, the vagaries of weather and other challenges facing growing crops. “It gives higher economic and yield benefits, freedom or reduced infestations from cotton bollworm or corn borer and dramatic reduction in pesticide use and frequency of spraying. “And the above factors motivated the adoption of GM cotton in three countries namely China, India and Philippines,’’ she added. Agbaegbu said that four countries in Europe — Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic and Slovakia — grew more than 136,000 hectares of biotech maize in 2016, an increase of 17 per cent from the 2015 figure; reflecting the need of the European Union (EU) for insect-resistant maize. “Also in 2016, Brazil increased its cultivation of biotech maize, soybeans, cotton and canola by a remarkable 11 per cent, maintaining its ranking as the second largest producer of biotech crops after the U.S. “In Brazil, biotech soybeans account for 32.7 million hectares, out of the 91.4 million hectares grown worldwide, and in 2016, a total of 26 countries, consisting of 19 developing countries and seven industrial countries, grew biotech crops.’’ Agbaegbu stressed that global development and sustainability issues nowadays were based on science. “Biotechnology is one of the tools necessary in helping farmers to grow more food on less land. “However, the promises of biotech crops can only be unlocked if farmers are able to buy and plant these crops, following a scientific approach to regulatory reviews and approvals. “Granted that our health and biodiversity are indeed our strength, all efforts should, therefore, be concentrated towards ensuring its adequate protection and preservation through effective biosafety regulations,’’ she said

The Malammadori Local Government Council of Jigawa says it is using sweets to woo children for vaccination against polio in the ongoing immunisation programme. The council’s Information Officer, Alhaji Fahad Muhammad, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Dutse that 26 cartons of sweet were bought for the exercise. Muhammad said the council was targeting to vaccinate no fewer than 46,966 children during the period. He said that the council has received 50,500 doses of Oral Polio Vaccines for the smooth conduct of the exercise. The Health Educator of the council, Malam Hamza Bello, urged traditional rulers and religious leaders in the area to support the exercise to ensure its success. He advised parents to present their children and wards at designated centres close to their respective communities for the exercise. NAN reports that the current round of the polio immunisation for the month of October was flagged off in all the 27 local government areas of the state on Monday. (NAN)

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