Tuesday , 22 October 2019
Latest
Home » Health

Health

FG working to subsidise price of sanitary pads

The Ministry of Women Affairs says it has embarked on an initiative to subsidise the cost of sanitary pads for school girls in the country.

Mary Ekpere-Eta, Director-General of the National Centre for Women Development, a parastatal of the Ministry of Women Affairs, made this during a press briefing to commemorate the 2019 International Day of the Girl in Abuja on Friday.

This is coming in the wake of an investigation carried out by TheCable into how the education and health of schoolgirls are affected by the inability to afford sanitary pads.

In the report, some of the affected persons said they were unable to afford sanitary pads — even for N200 — hence stay away from school during their menstrual period.

She said efforts are ongoing to reach an arrangement with companies who produce sanitary pads to sell at subsidised rates in rural areas.

Ekpere-Eta enjoined the companies to support the initiative by reducing the cost and making it easily available.

She said young girls would be spared the pain of wondering how to get pads that they cannot afford.

“We have a menstrual hygiene corner in our programme whereby many of you could just drop in maybe N10 or N20 and there’s an arrangement with most of these companies who produce sanitary pads who will now sell at subsidised rates, which we will distribute to rural areas, especially in secondary schools, “she said.

“Be that as it may, we are working further to see how the issue of price will be dealt with. But it is a gradual process and we need to find a way to reach the manufacturers and find out how to reduce the price.

“Through advocacy, we encourage as a corporate social organisation from other agencies and private sector, to ensure that every organisation will buy a certain quantity of pads available to schools and send to rural areas as their own CSR.”

Wunmi Onanuga, chairperson of the committee of women development and social development, and four other lawmakers also moved a motion on the matter at the plenary session on Thursday.

Eating chicken linked to higher cancer risk, Oxford study finds

Findings of a new study have shown that people who eat chicken may have increased risk of getting cancer.

In the new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, researchers from Oxford University in the UK, tracked 475,000 middle-aged Britons between the years 2016 and 2014.

According to Tech Times report, the researchers analyzed the participants’ diets as well as their diseases and illnesses. About 23,000 of the participants was later diagnosed with cancer.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The researchers found a link between chicken consumption and increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network of the body.

The tumors in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma develop from a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes. The condition is characterized by painless, but swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin, persistent fatigue, abdominal pain or swelling, fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, as well as chest pain and breathing problems.

According to the report, the study also found an association between eating white meat and an increased risk for malignant melanoma and prostate cancer in men.

Prostate Cancer And Melanoma
Prostate Cancer Affect the prostate gland that produces some of the fluid in semen and plays a role in urine control in men. It is the most prevalent cancer in men, albeit it is treatable if detected in the early stages.

Melanoma is the most serious among skin cancer types. It develops in the melanocytes, which produce melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or tanning beds is popularly associated with the disease. Initial signs of melanoma include changes in an existing mole and the development of a new pigment or odd-looking growth on the skin.

The researchers said that further studies can shed more light on the positive association between poultry intake and prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“Poultry intake was positively associated with risk for malignant melanoma (HR per 30 g/day increment in intake 1.20, 95% CI 1.00-1.44), prostate cancer (1.11, 1.02- 1.22) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (1.26, 1.03-1.55),” A. Kruppel and colleagues wrote in their study.

Doctors separate twins joined at the head after 50-hour surgery

Two-year-old twins joined at the head have undergone successful surgery at a British hospital to separate their skulls, brains and blood vessels, say doctors on Tuesday.

The highly complex surgery involved multiple operations on Safa and Marwa Ullah, who were born in Pakistan in January 2017 with a condition known as ‘craniopagus’ in which the girls’ skulls and parts of their brains were joined and intertwined.

It is believed that it took around 100 doctors more than 50 hours to separate the two-year-old sisters through a series of operations over a five-month period.

“Craniopagus is an exceptionally rare and complex condition,” said David Dunaway, who co-led the surgical team that treated the twins.

“The operation, conducted in February, was the most complex such separation his team had performed to date.”

Twins Safa and Marwa Ullah after their seperation (Photo credit: SWNS)
Twins Safa and Marwa Ullah after their seperation (Photo credit: SWNS)

Having twins joined at the head with fused skulls and separate bodies occurs in less than one in a million births, while having the connection extend into the brain tissue is rarer still.

Around 50 sets of craniopagus twins are estimated to be born around the world every year, of which only around 15 are thought to survive beyond the first 30 days of life.

Dunaway said this separation was helped by state-of-the-art technology, including virtual reality, advanced imaging and three-dimensional rapid prototyping.

This had allowed the surgeons to use images of the girls’ brains and blood vessels to plan and practice the surgery in advance to minimise complications.

The procedures took place at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, with the girls well enough to be discharged from hospital four months later.

“These cutting-edge scientific techniques greatly increased the chance of success for Safa and Marwa,” the Great Ormond Street team said in a statement.

“Their brains were more intertwined than the previous sets of craniopagus twins making it the most complicated separation to date.

“Five months after their final operation, Safa and Marwa are making slow but steady progress.”

He added that “a further period of recuperation and rehabilitation is essential to maximise their recovery”.

Cucumbers are man’s best food – Research

Nature has provided man the best cure for ill health in the form of herbs, vegetables and fruits. One particular vegetable that does wonderful things in human health is the cucumber. Apart from being a vegetable that is good to eat, it has other awesome uses. Its nutritional fact shows that it provides the body with essential vitamins and nutrients and contains a large dose of antioxidants, minerals and polyphenols.

Cucumber, according to medical experts, helps to reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolongs life without producing any side effect. Cucumber is readily available in the markets, supermarkets or at grocery shops. It is low in calories and has a relatively high fibre content, which, when combined with a gram of protein per cup enhances its fat burning properties. Cucumber does not contain any fat, cholesterol or sodium. Minerals present in it include calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, potassium and selenium among others.

Research findings have revealed that cucumbers are 95 percent water. This helps to keep the body hydrated while helping it eliminate toxins. The flesh of a cucumber is a very good source of Vitamins A, C and folic acid, which are antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals and lowers the risk of various cancers and illnesses due to damaged cells.

Cucumber, an edible and nutritious vegetable, which comes from the cucumber plant, Cucumis Sativas, is a part of the gourd family. It can be eaten raw or cooked and this makes it one of the most important items of a good diet.

Felicita Ogbu, a doctor said that cucumbers aid digestion and weight loss. “It is an ideal diet for people, who want to lose weight and the fibre in it is very effective in ridding the body of toxins from the digestive system, aiding digestion and preventing chronic constipation.

Jennifer Ani

According to Jennifer Ani, a nutritionist, cucumber works extensively for men. Cucumbers are useful in the treatment of some special men’s problems.

“The major one is erectile dysfunction and in this situation, the usual cucumber is the cure. This effect is achieved by improvement of blood circulation in the groin area. The plenty of vitamins and microelements help to overcome male pattern baldness,” Ani said.

The skin can be used for skin irritations and sunburns, which affect the body. The silicon and sulphur in it help to stimulate hair growth as well as be a relief to bad breath. Cucumbers are an excellent source of silica, which is known to help promote joint health by strengthening the connective tissues.

“They contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol, which have a strong history in connection with reduced risk of several cancer types, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer. The juice contains a lot of potassium, magnesium and fibre, which is very helpful in regulating blood pressure. This makes cucumber essentially good for treating both low and high blood pressure,” she said.

She said that the organic compounds in cucumbers, which are known as lignans help to prevent the emergence of cancers, especially those organs, which are connected with reproductive capabilities of the body.

“Cucumbers are among the four most cultivated vegetables in the world and are known to be one of the best foods for one’s overall health and they are often referred to as super foods.

“One of the unknown cucumber benefits is that it can relieve the symptoms of a hangover, you can eat them just before going to bed after a loud party and save yourself a headache in the morning, due to water and other organic elements the alcohol is excreted from the body faster,” she said.

Ani advised that cucumbers should be used in soups and salads, but warned that if they are not “your favourite snack, you can eat crunchy cucumber sticks with creamy low fat yogurt dip, chewing cucumbers gives the jaws a good workout and the fibre in them is good for digestion.

“The daily consumption of cucumber can be regarded as an aid for chronic constipation and it can also help in reducing the uric acid levels in the body and help to keep the kidneys healthy and in good shape,” Ani added.

More young people, especially girls attempting suicide – Study

A new study that shows adolescents are attempting suicide by overdose at increasing rates is further evidence that the pervasive public health problem needs more conversation and money, experts say.

This is contained in the report, published recently in The Journal of Pediatrics, by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and the Central Ohio Poison Centre.

It was founded that medication overdose suicide attempts have more than doubled since 2000, and more than tripled for girls.

“I think this all adds up to an opportunity to educate and build awareness and find out what solutions are out there for this.

“We have so many opportunities across our system to do better. This should be a call to mobilise resources,’’ said John Ackerman, Suicide Prevention Coordinator.

The stakes are high. Joanne Meyers, of Northfield, Illinois, knows firsthand – her daughter Elyssa died by suicide at age 16 in 2004.

In 2006, Meyers formed Elyssa’s Mission, a Northbrook-based nonprofit that works with about 200 schools in Illinois, Ackerman, also clinical psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and one of the authors of the new study, said.

It trains staff and teaches students about the warning signs of suicide and how to get help for themselves or their friends.

Students are then screened at the end of the programme and referred for help.

“It’s important to me that we talk about it because talking about suicide is the only way we’ll save lives.

“We didn’t know back then,” Meyers said.

In the past few years, Meyers said more schools seem interested in suicide awareness, and in 2018 the group added 50 new schools.

Suicide prevention in schools is an important part of a public health solution to this increasing problem, said Ackerman.

Suicide screenings should also be commonplace at primary care physicians’ offices, he said, and parents should know what resources are available.

“We need a public health approach … like we’ve had with cancer, with HIV, with motor vehicle accidents,” he said.

“There’s a clear gap in how often we directly confront the issue of suicidal influence and behavior. It’s an uncomfortable topic that demands adults and young people to become comfortable.”

In the latest study, Ackerman and other researchers analysed data reported to the poison centre from 2000 through November 2018, finding more than 1.6 million suspected suicide attempts by self-poisoning in children and young adults, ages 10 to 24.

They found that from 2000 to 2010 there was a decrease in suicide attempts by overdose among 10 to 15-year-olds, but then a “dramatic and persistent” increase from 2011 to 2018, ranging from more than 120 per cent to nearly 300 per cent.

The increase was driven mostly by females, who experts say tend to attempt suicide more often than males – using overdose most often as a method – but do not die from suicide attempts as often as males.

The study also showed an increase in suicide attempts by overdose among 16 to 18-year-olds during the 19-year period, but no significant difference for those 19 and older.

While researchers could not explain why these suicide attempts are increasing in young people – or why there appears to be a shift around 2011 – experts point out a rise in social media usage and the opiate crisis as possible explanations.

Study authors also say more research is needed, and that reasons for suicide are often complex and multifaceted.

In another recent study, also from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, researchers noted a spike in suicide deaths among 10 to 17-year-olds in the month following the March 31, 2017, release of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”

The series was widely panned by suicide prevention experts as glorifying suicide.

The research is the latest in a string of evidence in recent years showing suicide is on an upward trend, including last year’s report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention that showed suicide was a leading cause of death across the U.S., with increasing rates in nearly every state.

Even with improved mental health awareness in recent years, Ackerman said, “we need more hands on deck, more investment in policy.

“The infrastructure on how we support at-risk kids is pretty weak.

“There’s a lot of stigma and a lot of shame. We make people who are vulnerable jump through a lot of hoops to get help.”

Funding is a barrier, he pointed out, with local nonprofits doing much of the suicide prevention work in their communities.

“There has to be more money put into this,” said Jonathan Singer, Associate Professor of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago and the president-elect of the Washington, DC-based American Association of Suicidology.

The funding should match the need, he said, noting that research shows suicide is the second highest leading cause of death among young people, ages 10-24.

“If we had a billion for suicide prevention research and intervention efforts, then what we could do is actually fund research that answers some of the questions like, is this really a social media thing or not.

“We could pay to have somebody dedicated in each school district … who is a suicide prevention coordinator,” Singer said.

According to him, if suicide prevention efforts and screenings are increased in schools, communities will need more services to treat children identified as needing help.

At Elyssa’s Mission, educators reached no fewer than 43,000 students last school year, said Jodie Segal, Director of Education.

Of those students, 2,700 were identified as needing help through the screening test given at the completion of the group’s presentation.

She added that 74 of those students were hospitalized for an imminent risk for suicide.

“There’s been a big shift in schools recognising that this is a big issue. Potentially, those 74 kids’ lives were saved … and that’s just last school year.

“We want to be proactive. If they can get support and treatment, they’re not going to get to the place where they have a suicide attempt,” she said. (dpa/NAN)

Korean firm tackles malaria with new drug

Korean firm, Shin Poong Pharmaceutical Company, says it has produced an anti-malaria drug that will reduce the increasing number of malaria-induced ailments among Nigerians.

The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Wonjune Chang, told journalists at an event to mark World Malaria Day (WMD), in Abuja, that the anti-malaria drug, Pyramax, was produced with upgraded chemical composition that had strong effect on malaria.

Wonjune said the firm was partnering Nigerian pharmaceutical company, Dovizia Pharmaceutical Services, to market the drug.

He added that the drug had been clinically tested by all relevant government agencies and confirmed to be effective for treatment of malaria.

The Managing Director, Dovizia pharmaceutical services, Oladipupo Ojo, said the uniqueness of the drug was that it had chemical contents that attacked malaria within few hours of administration.

”It is the first time that we are having new anti malaria drug that contains new molecules that is being exposed to the parasite. Pyramax is new in both composition and regiment usage.

“Unlike in conventional Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) that is used twice daily, Pyramax is used once daily with little or no side effect on the user,” he said.

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who was briefed on the efficacy of the drug at the event, commended the effort of the company on the fight against malaria in the country.

He promised that government would continue to support any good course that have positive impact on Nigeria’s health system.

25,000 underage Nigerians kids use tobacco products daily – Group

No fewer than 25,000 underage Nigerians use tobacco products daily, Nigerian activists under the aegis of the Tobacco Free Nigeria campaign says.

Ms Ebiuwa Uwagboe, a campaign specialist at Gatefield, the public strategy group backing the campaign disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

Uwagboe called on government to enforce the law banning the sale of tobacco products to the underage to check such smokers in the country.

“Every day, a whooping 25,000 children in Nigeria between the ages of 10 and 14 years use tobacco products.

“This equates to 17 children smoking every one minute.

“This is a result of the relative ease of their access to cigarettes and other tobacco related products, which are sold to them by vendors,” she said.

Uwagboe added that smoking among teenagers had devastating consequences including health related ones such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well as reduced mental development.

“Children must be protected as they lack capacity and are often unwitting targets of the tobacco industry,” she said.

She noted that a recent survey released by Gatefield discovered that one out of every four vendors sold cigarettes to kids in the country.

She added that the Nigerian Tobacco act of 2015 prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors under the age of 18 but that the law was not being implemented or enforced.

“While it is important to have the right laws, it is not enough. We need to enforce them now and ensure that the National Assembly passes the tobacco control regulations.

“This is what our campaign aims to do,” she added.

She further said that the #DontWaitRegulate campaign also released two public service advertisements to create awareness about the existing law and pressure government to properly enforce it with the passage of the regulations by the national assembly.

She said that a campaign petition page http://www.regulate.tobaccofree.ng was created while the campaign was present on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram via @Tobaccofreeng,” she said.

She said the advertisement featured individuals including Fakhuus Hashim, #ArewaMeToo founder; Ogor Ben-Iweagwu, a public hospital doctor; Anna Usman, a mother and entrepreneur; and Providence Anaro, a teenage freshman at the University of Abuja.

Why we sleep: Scientists

Why do humans sleep? A new study by scientists at the Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel, has unearthed a key factor that may lie at the center of sleep’s indispensability: its restorative effect on individual brain cells.

The team, which Prof. Lior Appelbaum led, reports its new findings in a study paper that appears in the journal Nature Communications.

In this study, the investigators turned to zebrafish, which scientists often use in research because they are surprisingly similar to humans. In fact, approximately 70 percent of human genes also occur in this freshwater species.

Using 3D time-lapse imaging, the scientists looked at the effects of sleep on a microscale and observed how it affected single neurons, or brain cells.

The high-resolution technology allowed Prof. Applebaum and team to follow the movement of DNA and proteins within brain cells.

They found that during sleep, individual neurons were able to perform maintenance work on the nucleus, the central element of each cell, which encloses most of that cell’s genetic material.

“Despite the risk of reduced awareness to the environment, animals — ranging from jellyfish to zebrafish to humans — have to sleep to allow their neurons to perform efficient DNA maintenance, and this is possibly the reason why sleep has evolved and is so conserved in the animal kingdom.”—-Prof. Lior Applebaum

When the nucleus begins to deteriorate, the DNA information it contains also becomes damaged, and this can lead to aging, disease, and poor overall functioning in an organ or tissue.

During sleep, the researchers explain, the neurons have an opportunity to recover from the stress they accumulated during the day and “fix” any damage they may have sustained.

The scientists note that during wakefulness, levels of chromosome dynamics are lower than during sleep, meaning that brain cells are unable to perform proper DNA maintenance. Prof. Applebaum likens this situation to having “potholes in the road.”

“Roads accumulate wear and tear, especially during daytime rush hours, and it is most convenient and efficient to fix them at night, when there is light traffic,” he explains.

Since this process is so vital to ensuring that the brain stays healthy, this can explain why animals — humans included — are willing to invest so much time in sleep, despite the risks it may expose them to in nature.

“We’ve found a causal link between sleep, chromosome dynamics, neuronal activity, and DNA damage and repair with direct physiological relevance to the entire organism,” explains Prof. Appelbaum.

“Sleep,” he adds, “gives an opportunity to reduce DNA damage accumulated in the brain during wakefulness.”

*First published by Medical News Today.

Buhari at NSIA/ LUTH cancer centre: We promised, we fulfilled

President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday inaugurated the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) advanced cancer treatment centre in Lagos, with a pledge to ensure that facilities for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer are available to many more Nigerians.

At the inauguration of the state-of-the-art centre in LUTH, Idi Araba, President Buhari announced that the model will be replicated across the country to bring quality, first-class healthcare services to cancer patients in Nigeria.

‘‘We are aware that up to 40 per cent of funds spent by Nigerians on medical tourism is attributable to patients seeking treatment for cancer. Despite having an increasing number of citizens suffering from cancer, we until now, had only two working radiotherapy machines in the country.

‘‘Working through the NSIA and LUTH we utilised a PPP model that unlocked investment capital to directly address this issue. We will replicate this model across the country to bring quality, first-class healthcare services to as many Nigerians as we can.

‘‘Indeed, over the coming months, under our leadership, the NSIA will commission two Modern Medical Diagnostic Centres to be co-located in the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State and the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, Abia State, respectively, bringing additional investment to Nigeria’s healthcare sector,’’ he said.

The President while wishing the management of the hospital good luck in operating the centre, emphasised the need for maintenance of the equipment.

‘‘Our goal today is not simply to celebrate and applaud the culmination of months of hard work to achieve this objective. Neither is it solely to revel in the successful completion of the most modern and best-equipped Cancer treatment centre in West Africa.

‘‘Indeed we are proud, but we recognize that this modest effort to address the gaps in our tertiary healthcare system alone is insufficient to address all the challenges faced by the sector.

‘‘Today, we showcase what feats we can accomplish when we are together, unrelenting in our effort to deliver a common objective.

‘‘No one ever prays to be diagnosed with Cancer, but if they are, what we have made possible here today is the hope that a true chance of survival and good quality of life becomes part of the story of many Nigerian patients with cancer,’’ he said.

The President promised that his administration, which has introduced programmes to alleviate common diseases, including the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund targeted at ensuring access to primary healthcare for all Nigerians, will continue to push hard to raise awareness about cancer, educate the people and facilitate early diagnosis.

He noted that this objective was part of his solemn commitment to Nigerians four years ago to improve the quality of health care in the country.

The President, who performed the ceremony after attending the APC presidential campaign rally at the Teslim Balogun Stadium Surulere, Lagos, said his administration had focused on greater investment in the sector and worked hard to ensure increased access to safe, high-quality healthcare.

‘‘We promised to effect policies that would remove debilitating constraints on the sector and create sustainable structures to strengthen our healthcare institutions.

‘‘Today, we are gathered here to acknowledge the modest but laudable strides we are making in fulfilling that promise. We recognize that progress in the health sector is handicapped by several bottlenecks.

‘‘Accordingly, we have worked and we will continue to work to ensure that systems are introduced to bridge these gaps,’’ he said.

The President told the audience at LUTH that the Federal Government has created an enabling environment for institutions such as the NSIA to help fund high impact projects on time and on budget, thereby delivering immense value for our people.

‘‘In the case of the Cancer Centre, we can measure this value in currency, but we prefer to measure the value in terms of its social impact, the number of lives of Nigerians that will be saved and positively affected as well as the impact of capacity building for our people,’’ he said.

In his remarks at the inauguration ceremony, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji said the Centre is expected to raise the bar in the quality and standard of cancer treatment in Nigeria with outcomes that would be consistent with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

‘‘In addition, this Centre will demonstrate the economic potential of healthcare investments in Nigeria and catalyse increased private sector participation,” he said.

Also speaking, Professor Chris Bode, Chief Medical Director, LUTH, noted that the Centre is world-class and no Nigerian cancer patient needs to travel abroad again to receive treatment easily obtainable at home.

‘‘We, therefore, want to assure Your Excellency that we shall give what it takes to run this Centre as a pride to all Nigerians. NSIAs investment is not only safe but will yield ample dividend to encourage other deep pocket investors to open up the health sector as a veritable investors’ haven, ’’ he said.

Also speaking, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole described the Centre as the single largest investment in cancer treatment in the country by any administration since independence.

Prof. Adewole added that the facility can cater for 100 patients daily and provide training for over eighty healthcare professionals, among many others.

Acupuncture safest treatment for diabetes, says Fasehun

Chinese-trained Acupuncturist, Dr Frederick Fasehun, has called on managements of University Teaching Hospitals across the country to invite experts to train some of their doctors on Acupuncture.

Fasehun made the call on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to him, Acupuncture is a new and safest treatment for diabetes.
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the body. It is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine.

It is used in the treatment of various physical and mental conditions.
Fasehun said: “I will advise government and the managements of teaching hospitals in Nigeria to train and encourage Doctors in Acupuncture.
“Acupuncture is not popular in the treatment of diabetes. That is the reason government should encourage more doctors to go into it.

“Americans in the United States are crazy about acupuncture and are making good incomes from it; as a matter of fact, the most popular doctors in the US are acupuncturists.

“It does not matter whether the doctor is already trained in Western medicine; Doctors should also offer themselves to be trained in acupuncture,’’ Fasehun said.

He urged people suffering from diabetes to treat their conditions with acupuncture because it had not been identified with any adverse effect.
Fasehun expressed the hope that the few he trained upon his return from China would not, because of the low patronage, discontinue the practice.

He explained that the needles used for the treatment were, however, expensive, urging government to provide and make available such needles for young doctors who would want to be trained in the field, to work with.

The acupuncturist said also that using acupuncture as a treatment for diabetes was better and safer and could cause very minimal damage to the human body.

He said: “Drug treatments of diabetes have been long standing and we no longer discover much improvement in the treatment of diabetes with them.

“The dangers of drug treatments for diabetes include reaction to drugs (adverse reactions) such as leaving some patients with heart failure, as well as rashes that may become prominent.
“It might also cause one to develop eye problems like blindness, as well as serious damages to the liver, kidney, skin, among others.’’

He urged government to create awareness on the new treatment of diabetes for people to become aware of it.

Fasehun also advised government to invest in the health sector, to prevent Nigerian professional doctors from stagnating, instead of travelling abroad to look for greener pastures.

Without regular sex women risk mental disorder – Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist, Dr Maymunah Kadiri on Saturday advised married women to have regular sex with their spouses in order to prevent depression and gain happiness.

Mental disorder in women who do not have regular sex Depression is a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.

Kadiri, the Medical Director of Pinnacle Medical Services gave the advice in an interview with newsmen in Lagos. Pinnacle is a health and wellness centre for psychological, behavioral, and mental health related issues.

According to her, sex is not just to nourish a woman’s body, but it is also beneficial to her mental health.

“As women, there is need for us to make our spouses our best friends if we want to be mentally healthy. “Studies have shown that women who have more active sex and in long term relationships were less likely to be depressed than women who went without sex.

“So, more sex is important and essential. It is a remedy to curing women from having persistent headache. “Low sexual drive, which leads to depression, should be looked into. A woman can be depressed when that sexual drive that she used to have is no more there.

“Frequent active sex can play good roles toward women’s sense of well being and quality of life,’’ Kadiri said. She explained that sex was not just for procreation and to have children, adding that it could create bonding, good companionship and sound sleep.

Kadiri, popularly called ‘celebrity shrink’, urged women dealing with depression to frequently indulge in sex, while boosting their self-esteem.

She also advised women who are over-weight to also involve in active sex, saying doing so will boost endorphins which are happy hormones.

“The happy hormones will make them lose some calories as well as sleep better. ”Orgasms trigger the release of endorphins which are happy hormones secreted by the brain that act as effective painkillers,’’ she said.

She added that sex was not only beneficial to the men, but especially to women because it was capable of freeing them from stress.

NAN

1,110 dead as cholera ravages 29 states in Nigeria – NCDC

Nigeria has recorded 1,110 deaths this year from cholera outbreaks in 29 states across Nigeria as the disease claims more lives in more parts of the country.

The death figure this year is several times higher than the 84 recorded within the corresponding period in 2017, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed in its weekly epidemiological report.

The report for week 43 showed that 48,686 suspected cholera cases were recorded between weeks 1 and 43 of 2018, with 829 laboratory confirmed from 239 local government areas in the 29 states.

In 2017, cholera outbreaks within weeks 1 to 43 recorded 3642 suspected cases and 84 deaths from 70 local government areas in 19 states.

Eight states most hit in the current outbreaks are Adamawa, Borno, Katsina, Yobe, Zamfara, Bauchi Kano and Gombe.

In week 43 alone, 454 suspected cases with two laboratory confirmed and 30 deaths (CFR, 6.6 per cent) were reported from 29 local governments in the eight states.

These are Adamawa 106, Bauchi 5, Borno 197, Gombe 7, Kano 4, Katsina 22, Yobe 76 and Zamfara 37.

This is also significantly higher than was recorded in 2017. In 2017, 108 suspected cases and three deaths were reported from six local governments in four states during the same period.

The situation report from Yobe as reported by Reliefweb shows that suspected cholera cases were 1,777 with 61 associated deaths.

In the state, 584 cases were reported in Gulani LGA, 485 in Gujba LGA and 460 in Damaturu LGA. Fune LGA reported 181 cases, while 67 cases were reported in Potiskum LGA.

Out of 112 samples collected and tested using cholera RDTs, 97 (86.6 per cent) were positive and 15 (14 per cent) negative. Again, nine (47 per cent) out of 19 samples cultured were positive for Vibrio Cholerae. However, when the nine positive samples were taken to national reference laboratory for quality checks and further analysis samples, Vibrio Cholerae O1 (Inaba) serotype was isolated in four of the samples.

In Borno State, the situation report as at November 9 showed suspected cholera cases stand at 5,897 with 73 associated deaths.

The breakdown is 2291 in Jere, 1,409 in MMC, 340 in Magumeri, 34 in Kaga, 165 in Konduga, 136 in Chibok, 11 in Shani, 42 in Damboa, 1052 in Ngala, 91 in Askira-Uba, 161 in Kwaya-Kusar, 56 in Bama, 57 in Dikwa and 52 in Guzamala LGAs.

No additional case was reported from Magumeri, Konduga, Ngala, Askira/Uba, Kaga, Chibok, Dikwa, Shani, Damboa, Kwaya-Kusar and Bama LGAs.

Most of the towns affected in the Northeast states are ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency which started in 2009.

Though cholera outbreak is not new in Nigeria, record shows the outbreak this year is on the high side.

According to AFP, the Norwegian Refugee Council said most of the people affected in the Northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe were affected by the ongoing insurgency in the area.

The Boko Haram violence has forced tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in crowded camps with many of them affected by the fast spreading cholera outbreak.

“One of the major causes of the outbreak is the congestion in the camps that makes it difficult to provide adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services,” said Janet Cherono, the NRC’s programme manager in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

“The rainy season has also worsened the conditions. If more land is not urgently provided for camp decongestion and construction of health and sanitation facilities, Nigeria is steering towards yet another cholera outbreak in 2019.”

In response to the ongoing outbreak, NCDC said it has activated a national emergency operation centre for cholera at level 2.

“Rapid response team has also been deployed to respond to recent cluster of cases in Kano, Bauchi, Plateau, Zamfara, Adamawa and Kastina”.

The agency, however, said there has been a decline in number of new cases reported.

‘Not having sex regularly can make you lose your job’

A Sex Therapist and Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Tomi Imarah, says not having sex regularly, being part of a balanced diet, can make one to lose job.

Imarah, who runs an online Mental Health Counselling Service, called “Dr Tomi’s Haven’’, made this known on Thursday in Lagos.

According to her, sex is part of a balanced diet, reflecting how essential it is to overall health and wellbeing.

“With regards to the impact of sex on job performance, I will prefer an emphasis on sex in marriage; frequent unmet expectations stir frustrations and resentment, leaving you distracted at a subconscious level.

“Sex boosts endorphins and other productivity hormones; you go to work energised, work brilliantly and get promoted.

“The reverse is sexual frustration, and pent up emotions is highly distracting and you are prone to errors.

“From my interactions with male clients when they have a vibrant sex life, they feel energised to achieve so much in other areas of their lives.

“What they do not know is that sex releases endorphins, which are ‘feel good’ hormones.

“These hormones fill you with energy, just like when you go for a run or other rigorous exercises. It pumps blood to your brain and helps you operate more optimally.

“Not to talk of the fact that couples with frustrations in the bedroom have it spilling into other areas of their relationships, causing conflicts, leading to further repercussions outside the home including workplace,“ she said.

Imarah said that during sexual activities, certain hormones including oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine, testosterone, estrogen were released.

“These sex hormones leave behind some effects, such as improved mood, stress alleviation, immune boosting, relaxed feeling, positive energy, improved attention and concentration, and improved memory capacity.

“All these effects culminate in improved emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing; that is why people walk around with a spring in their steps.

“Apart from these biochemical effects of sex, stoking the intimacy flames with someone you love helps your relationship thrive better, “ the therapist said.

Imarah said that many Nigerians’ attitude toward and perception about sex was very poor and attributed this to ignorance and poor education at all levels.

She said that only men were allowed to talk and engage in sexual activities, while sex for women was shrouded in secrecy.

“So, you now have a whole generation of women: wonderful mothers, devoted wives, great cooks, hardworking in every area of life, but struggling in the bedroom.

“To start changing this situation, sex education needs to be taken more seriously at all levels; right from home, parents need to have “The Sex Talk” with their adolescents, both boys and girls.

“Formal sex education needs to be included in school curriculum and delivered by specially trained sex educators.

“That we do not talk about sex does not mean our boys and girls are not experimenting, especially with the current information explosion on the internet.

“The least we can do is ensure we provide early foundation knowledge and put things in the right perspective.

“Also, there should not be stigmatisation of women who are sex enthusiasts; women should be free to express themselves as well as men.

“We should let go of the cultural nuances that feed the impression that women’s interest in sex reflects promiscuity, “ the sex therapist said.

Diabetes drug Metformin blocks disease causing blindness

Researchers from Taiwan have found that Metformin, a common drug used to treat type 2 diabetes may have an effect of lowering the possibility of developing a disease leading to blindness.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) based in San Francisco-based academy said diabetic patients using the medication have a significant lower rate of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness in Americans aged 50 or above.

The research finding was disclosed at the AAO 122nd Annual Meeting being held in Chicago from Oct. 27. The meeting will end tomorrow Oct. 30.

The researchers studied the statistics of the health insurance research database in Taiwan from a period spanning from 2001 and 2013 and found that 45,524 type 2 diabetes patients who took metformin have better chances to avoid suffering AMD that affects about 2.1 million people in the United States.

The study suggests that metformin, which controls the blood glucose level in type 2 diabetes patients, can suppress inflammation and oxidative stress, the two major factors that play a key role in the development of both diabetes and AMD.

“Our study is the first to reveal the protective effect of metformin on the development of AMD,” said lead investigator Yu-Yen Chen.

The AAO is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, with a global community of 32,000 medical doctors, which is committed to advocating the protection of sight and empowering lives by promoting eye care and health for the public.

WHO raises Ebola risk to ‘very high’

The Ebola outbreak in Congo poses a greater danger to the Central African country and the region than previously assumed, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The recent confirmation of a case in Mbandaka, a large city that straddles national and international transport routes, had increased the risk of the virus spreading further, the UN health agency said on Friday in Geneva.

“WHO has, therefore, revised the assessment of public health risk to very high at the national level and high at the regional level,’’ it said in a statement.

The global significance of this outbreak that has killed 14 people, so far is being discussed at a WHO emergency meeting and will be announced later on Friday.

The WHO has previously said that the chance of a global outbreak is low.

In Congo, the Health Ministry announced that the number of confirmed Ebola cases in the country has risen from three to 14.

“In total since the start of the epidemic, there have been 45 cases of haemorrhagic fever, including 10 suspected cases, 21 probable cases and 14 confirmed cases,’’ the ministry said late Thursday.

While one person was confirmed dead from the virus, 25 people are suspected to have died from it, the ministry said.

One of the most contagious viral diseases known, Ebola’s symptoms are extraordinarily painful and include severe vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, impaired kidney and liver function as well as internal and external bleeding.

The UN and aid organisations are racing to prevent the recurrence of an outbreak like in 2014, when 11,000 people died in the West African epidemic that was centred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The executive of the EU on Friday announced the release of 1.6 million euros (1.9 million dollars) to help tackle the outbreak, with most of the money going to the WHO to provide logistics support.

Ban on Codeine, like ban on weed, won’t work – Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti, son of late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, said the ban imposed on the importation of codeine, an addictive ingredient in cough syrup, recently announced by the Nigerian government will not be effective.

Kuti, who is also a notable Afrobeat musician. said this in reaction to the ban on the production of codeine containing syrups in Nigeria via his twitter handle.

He said the ban would not be effective and will only help drug dealers to make more money.

He tweeted, “Igbo (marijuana) has been banned since forever (unjustly) but e still dey everywhere. The reactionary ban of Codeine by the FG only means drug dealers will make more money from it. It can’t affect supply. #Bigpharma”.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, had ordered the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)  to place a ban on the further issuance of permits for the importation of codeine for cough syrup preparations and for other uses.

FG bans cough syrup containing codeine as abuse takes hold of Nigerians

The federal government has banned the production and importation of codeine in the country.

Isaac Adewole, minister of health, gave the directive to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Tuesday, a day after a BBC documentary exposed the abuse of the syrup.

WHAT IS CODEINE?

  • It is a substance used in treating pain and cough. It is imported into Nigeria. Syrups containing it are said to be produced by at least 20 companies in the country.

The BBC had reported “codeine addiction epidemic” in some parts of the country and how young Nigerians are using the substance to get high.

In the report, the broadcast service had also indicted Emzor Pharmaceuticals of its alleged role in the sale of the substance — leading to the company announcing a suspension of its distribution.

Adewale said the ban was necessitated by the high abuse of codeine in the country.

He also directed NAFDAC to immediately stop further issuance of permits for the importation of the substance and instead, should be replaced with dextromethorphan which is less addictive.

The minister also banned the sales of codeine containing cough syrup without prescription across the country, even as he directed the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, (PCN) and NAFDAC to supervise the recall for labelling and audit trailing of all codeine containing cough syrups in the country.

He said the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group (PMGMAN) had also been informed of the embargo on all new applications for registration of such syrups containing cough syrups as well as applications for renewal has been abolished.

After the BBC reported that its executive was discovered to have been involved in the sale of syrups containing codeine in the ‘black market’, Emzor Pharmaceuticals announced a suspension on the distribution of such syrups.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the company said the distribution had been suspended pending the outcome of a “full and thorough internal investigation” on the issue.

It, however, denied that it is involved in its direct sales to members of the public.

Below is the full statement from Emzor:

Emzor Pharmaceuticals is a responsible and ethical company with over 120 lines including Emzolyn with Codeine under licence from NAFDAC. Emzor is treating the findings of the BBC documentary with the upmost seriousness and has launched a full and through investigation. Emzor adheres fully to the documentation guidelines for the handling, production, storing and distribution of products containing codeine.

Our staff are trained on the controlled status of codeine and codeine products and supply guidelines. Emzor is not involved in the direct sales to individual members of the public. Emzor does not sanction the supply of Emzolyn with Codeine in any way that breaches the Dangerous Drugs Act or NAFDAC guidelines. Emzor’s daily production is below 0.5% of the reported estimated daily amounts of codeine reportedly consumed in Kano and Jigawa States. The Sales Rep depicted in the BBC video was initially placed on suspension and has now been summarily dismissed following an investigation. Any representations made by the Sales Rep are in breach of company policy and ethics and were undertaken independently by him.

The distribution of Emzolyn with Codeine has been suspended pending the results of a full and thorough internal investigation. We hope the findings of the documentary will shed further light on the extent and impact of the illicit trade and consumption of codeine. We hope that full stakeholder engagement will result in impactful action against the abuse, smuggling and faking of drugs on the continent. Thank you.

How to prevent blindness from glaucoma – Expert

As the World Glaucoma Day was marked on Monday, Nigerians above forty years have been advised to go for eye check at least twice a year, to protect themselves against blindness from the disease.

Glaucoma is a disease that affects the nerves of the eyes and leads to gradual blindness overtime. To promote awareness of the disease, March 12 is internationally recognised as World Glaucoma Day, while March 11-17 is World Glaucoma Week.

Lack of early detection of the disease has been attributed as one of the reasons why most glaucoma patients in Nigeria lost their sight to the disease.

An ophthalmologist, Fatimah Kyari, said it is sad that most patients with glaucoma do not present their cases to the hospital until too late.

She said most of the patients present their cases after they had lost an eye and are gradually losing the other.

According to Ms. Kyari, another reason most people lose their sight to the disease is that they do not visit the right specialists who were trained to diagnose rare eye problems.

“Glaucoma if early diagnosed can be managed and prevent total blindness. We need to make people know that blindness from glaucoma can be prevented if presented early.

“We often advise patients who come for treatment to go back home and encourage their relations on the diseases. There is also need for constant eye screening because glaucoma is hereditary. People with family history of glaucoma have a high tendency of having the disease,” she said.

Ms. Kyari said another challenge with early treatment of the disease is that most people live in denial.

“They do not believe when they are told they are gradually losing their sight. Most of them tend to hide the ailment and do not come back for treatment until it gets worse.

I will advise Nigerians especially people above 40 to go for eye checkup at least twice a year and should insist on seeing a specialist and not a technician,” she said.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world and second cause of blindness after cataract.

Africans and African Americans are the highest number affected with glaucoma across the world. About 1.5 million people are living with the threat of going blind due to the disease.

A glaucoma patient, John Awodele, who spoke on the matter  said the challenge with having glaucoma in Nigeria is the early diagnosis and management of the disease.

Mr. Awodele said he knew he had the tendency of having the disease because most of his maternal uncles lost their sight to the disease, yet his case was not detected early.

He said although he was going to the optician regularly for checkup, it only led to him changing his glasses.

Mr. Awodele said because of his knowledge of the disease, he always told his opticians to check for it.

He became concerned when he had to change his reading glasses three times within a year because he was not seeing well.

“Ever since my case was detected by the optometrist, I had been placed on drugs which I use every day. The problem is the cost of getting medication and the side effect of the drugs. The drug cost about N8, 000 per month.

The cost of treatment is quite high especially for the aged who are often most affected by the disease. Most of them cannot afford the drugs and this is affecting the treatment of the ailment. The government should make treatment of glaucoma a priority especially as it affects the aged in the country,” he said.

Mr. Awodele, however, said the amount spent on treatment is worth it, judging by the long term effect of the drugs in preventing total blindness.

Ms. Kyari said there is no significant difference in the prevalent blindness rate in the urban and rural area because the level of awareness of the disease is same irrespective of status, age, and education.

This was also seen in a survey done by PREMIUM TIMES as most of the people asked on the streets of Abuja said they had no knowledge of the disease.

10 facts about glaucoma

1. Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerves connecting the eye to the brain is damaged, usually due to high eye pressure.

2. Glaucoma has no symptom. It can only be detected by regular eye examination.

3. Treatment can help, but this condition cannot be cured.

4. Diagnosis requires laboratory test or imaging test.

5. Glaucoma can be chronic and can last for years or be lifelong.

6. Sight loss to glaucoma cannot be recovered.

7. Glaucoma can be diagnosed by seeing an optometrist.

8. There are 100,000 cases in Nigeria per year, most undiagnosed.

9. Glaucoma is hereditary.

10. Glaucoma is usually a slow disease. Untreated glaucoma takes an average of 15 years to progress from early damage to blindness.

Nigerian bakeries still use cancer-causing chemical in bread – Food expert

A food expert in Nigeria has alerted the federal government on the continuous use of a banned substance, potassium bromate, in bakeries.

Oladunni Akinnawo, a professor of food chemistry at Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo State, said a recent study she conducted in Ibadan and Oyo towns, for instance, indicated the use of potassium bromate in 72 per cent of bread samples.

Mrs. Akinnawo stated this on Thursday while delivering the 9th inaugural lecture of the university, according to a statement issued by the university spokesperson, Alvan Ewuzie.

The lecturer called on the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, to intensify enlightenment and enforcement of the ban in order to safeguard consumers’ lives.

She said the substance, which is added to bread dough to strengthen it, increase loaf volume, and improve the texture, can cause sore throat, abdominal pains, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. In extreme cases, it could lead to kidney failure and heart failure, she said.

She added that studies have linked the compound in the chemical to cancer in experimental animals and humans and has been classified as a potential carcinogen.

Mrs. Akinnawo, who teaches in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Ajayi Crowther University, urged Nigerians to shun certain contemporary food practices like uncontrolled use of additives in making snacks in fast food houses, which she said was responsible for most cases of overweight in adults and obesity in adolescents.

She condemned the practice of using polyethylene wrappers to steam moi-moi (beans pudding), saying it was dangerous to health. The practice, she said, releases dioxins and other carcinogenic toxins into the food, during the process of cooking.

According to her, wrapping of moi-moi in leaves, while cooking it, was better than wrapping it in nylon or other materials. She said the leaves preserve the taste and make it more hygienic.

Mrs. Akinnawo, who advised Nigerians to diversify their food choices rather than being restricted to garri, fufu, amala, and rice, acknowledged that rice production has been on the rise in the country. But said the federal government could do more than that.

“Rice is not the only food that Nigerians eat and need,” she said. “Just as the government is diversifying the economy, there is need to diversify crop species for production and consumption.

“Emphasis should be on producing more of food crops like maize, yams, fruits, leafy fruits and vegetables…. There is need to enlarge our food basket to increase most of crop species, a large variety of diets can be available to promote a good nutrition and encourage optimal health,” she said.

The lecture was attended by scholars from Ajayi Crowther University and the University of Ibadan. It was chaired by the Vice Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Dapo Asaju.

DNA: 30% of Nigerian first born children belong to other men – Genetic experts

 

  • Experts attribute the increase in paternity disputes and deceptions to infidelity, adultery and increase in sexual recklessness among Nigerian couples
  • Three men in 10 are living under the deception that they are the fathers of another man’s children

 

  • Recent trends in sexual health especially in Nigeria suggest that unprotected sex and multiple partners’ relationships are a common occurrence.

Experts have said there is need to increase awareness and facilities for Deoxyribonucleic Acid, also known as DNA testing in the country, as statistics have revealed that more children are living with parents that are not biologically theirs.

According to a forensic geneticist, Dr. Abiodun Salami, 30 per cent of fathers are unknowingly nurturing and investing in children who are not biologically theirs.

Salami, who is also the Chief Medical Director, DNA Centre, Lagos, revealed that 50 per cent of the all paternity tests carried out in his laboratory came out negative and mostly affected were first born children.

He said, “Several surveys have shown that approximately three men in 10 are living under the deception that they are the fathers of another man’s children and with advances in genetic testing, they are more likely than ever to find out the shocking truth. Half of the paternity disputes and tests we carried out in two years showed that the fathers were not biologically related to their children especially when the dispute arose on paternity of first born children.

“We have seen cases of paternity disputes where even the two men claiming paternity to a child are excluded as the biological fathers from test results leaving the mother to look elsewhere for the child’s biological father. I have witnessed shocking cases where men discover that three or four children out of five they had were not fathered by them.”

Salami attributed the increase in paternity disputes and deceptions to infidelity, adultery and increase in sexual recklessness among Nigerian couples.

“This percentage is increasing because of sexual recklessness. Recent trends in sexual health especially in Nigeria suggest that unprotected sex and multiple partners’ relationships are a common occurrence. Another issue is poor family planning among women. Most first born pregnancies are still unplanned.

“I have seen and discussed with women who for one reason or other decide in their own wisdom to give another man’s child to their husbands without the husband’s knowledge.

“As a geneticist, I deal on a daily basis with the fall-out of adultery and other manifestations of selfish behaviour of spouses to their partners. Reproductive deception is morally similar to rape,” he said.

Naturally, when a case of paternity dispute arises in a family, relatives, husbands are quick to accuse the woman. It is assumed that a mother should be able to accurately disclose who the biological father of her child is.

However, Salami noted that only a DNA test could be used to confirm who fathered a child.

According to him, more babies are increasingly being switched without their mothers’ knowledge by nurses, birth attendants and health workers in hospitals.

He noted that baby switches were happening at a disturbing rate in Nigerian hospitals and the geneticist attributed these mix-ups to avoidable errors or malfeasance.

Salami condemned the use of corresponding ID bracelets between mothers and their babies, the most prevalent method in Nigerian hospitals ,which he said, often lead to mix-ups since such bracelets could fall off babies’ ankles or wrists and lead to nurses misreading infants to mothers’ bracelet information.

Apart from the ID mix-ups, he said bed mix-ups by health workers often happen especially in general wards especially after babies have been removed for bathing or treatment.

Salami, sharing an experience said, “I witnessed a case where a friend gave birth to a child and I went to visit, only for the father who was present at the delivery of the baby to come back to the hospital in the evening to say, to the surprise of everyone present that the baby the hospital presented was not his baby because his baby was born with dreadlocks just like him.

“He had to escort the doctors to identify his baby inside one of the cribs. This happened right inside one of the biggest and well known hospitals in Ikeja, Lagos.

“In the light of some of these shortcomings, we encourage maternal DNA testing because if we exclude her, we have established a case of infidelity against her, whereas her baby was switched at the hospital.”

He also urged mothers who doubt or suspect that their babies have been switched to voice their concerns as such cases could be investigated and documented for future references.

“Many people get home and look at a child and wonder if they brought home the right baby. In some reported cases, mothers have voiced their concerns while at the hospital, but did not get the chance to find out the truth until years later through DNA tests.

“To an ordinary person, this may look rare or even sound strange as most cases of babies switched at birth are either undocumented or unknown,” Salami added.

However, as beneficial as paternity DNA testing is, the importance of the DNA testing is still unpopular and often times regarded as irrelevant in Nigeria.

Salami said that most Nigerians often use physical resemblance to fathers as a test of paternity.

“Unfortunately, Nigerians still use physical attributes to determine the paternity of a child. We have seen numerous cases where a child resembles a father, but accurate DNA test results show that such child and father are not related.

“Determination of paternity using physical attributes has led to a situation where illegitimate children have caused untold hardships to families,” he explained.

Shedding more light on the importance of the test as a means of identification, a haematologist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, who pleaded an anonymity because he is not the hospital’s official spokesperson, called on government to provide DNA testing and banking (storing) facilities.

He said with these facilities, families could still make DNA verification after parties involved are dead.

Olowoshelu said a sample of the deceased tissues that had been stored could be used and if no biological samples from the alleged father are available, grand parentage testing could be a viable option.

“ If one or both paternal grandparents are unavailable for testing, other family relationship tests–such as genetic reconstructions and siblings’ tests, using the deceased brothers or sisters may be performed to indirectly determine a child’s paternity,” he said.

Earlier, Salami stated that poor DNA profiling and documentation due to lack of facilities and personnel had made this procedure a luxury to many Nigerians. He noted that such stored samples could help solve legal and financial disputes.

“Nigerians must take DNA testing and profiling and banking seriously. There are different reasons to establish paternity including the need to lay claims to a financial support.

“Government must provide DNA testing facilities such that we can have reference DNA for individuals should their remains need to be identified especially for those in high-risk employment such as the military, police, pilots, air hostesses and even those that fly the Nigerian airspace on regular basis.

“We can bank their DNA as a reference in cases of future paternity tests should some parties contest or make claims on inheritances that are not theirs,” he said.