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Archive of ‘Health and Environment’ category

Group teaches 550 Gombe women on how to use modern contraceptives

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Action Group on Child Spacing, a Non-Governmental Organisation based in Gombe, on Wednesday, opened training for 550 women on how to use modern contraceptives to space their children.

Contraceptive is a device or drug that prevents pregnancy, which can be taken orally, injected or implanted into the body.

There are many more types of contraceptives, including the male and female condoms, as the condom is also a way of preventing pregnancy.

The Chairman of the group, Malam Alhassan Yaya, said that the women for the training selected from the 11 local government areas of Gombe State.

He added that the group, comprising professionals in various fields, had noticed great acceptance of child spacing among Gombe residents, noting that the people were enlightened on the issue, thereby gaining acceptability.

He said religious and traditional leaders were actively involved in the campaign on child spacing by educating their followers.

He announced that N13 million was released to the state government by Saving One Million, an NGO,
for the training, as well as purchase of contraceptives, essential commodities for child spacing.

The chairman said that there were child spacing commodities in sufficient quantity in health facilities across the state with 400 facilities rendering services, and urged residents to patronise them. (NAN)

Expert calls for effective screening of women for endometriosis

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An Obstetrist and Gynaecologist, Dr Olawale Oba, on Wednesday called for proper screening of women who suffer severe mensural pain for effective diagnosis of endometriosis.

Oba, who is a Senior Registrar at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

According to him, endometriosis is an ectopic or abnormal implantation of endometrial tissue, which occurs when tissues that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus.

“It is the inner lining of the womb that is usually being shed at every mensural circle.

“This occurs when bits of the tissue that lines the uterus grow on other pelvic organs, such as the ovaries or fallopian tubes.

“Outside the uterus, endometrial tissue thickens and bleeds, just as the normal endometrium does during the menstrual cycle.

“During the period of mensuration, as the woman is menstruating through the womb, they can also be menstruating through the ectopic sight where the endometrial tissue is implanted, “ he said.

Oba said that most women who complained of pain during mensural period might be suffering from endometriosis.

“Women who suffer severe menstrual pain should be properly evaluated for further diagnosis, because the pain sometimes may be a signal of a certain disease.

“The incident can be as high as 30 per cent for women in their reproductive age.

“Due to advance diagnostic techniques, the prevalence is now on the increase, more women are being discovered.

“Unlike the past, where they assume that every woman that menstruate are entitled to menstrual pain, “ the doctor said.

He said that a high revolution ultra scan was always advised as part of evaluation in order to effectively pick the deposited tissues.

“Common sight that the tissues are found include: the sacral ligament, the peritoneal lining of the abdomen, the ovary or intestine and also within the lungs tissue.

“All of these have different symptoms they present with during the process of menstrual circle.

“For instance, somebody who have it within the peritoneal lining can accumulate a lot of fluid gradually at every circle, causing abdominal pain.

“Some that have it on their ovaries can have severe pain during mensural circle, people who have it in the lungs can have accumulation of fluid within the lung tissue, causing inability for the lung to expand for proper breathing,“ he said.(NAN)

1000 pregnant women get grants for free ante-natal care in Bayelsa

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Over one thousand pregnant women in Bayelsa, who have been captured in the state government’s free maternal care for pregnant women programme have been given grants for their transport fare to access ante-natal clinics.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa announced this on Wednesday during the official launch of the state’s Safe Motherhood Campaign in Yenagoa.

He said N3000 grant would be given monthly to all pregnant women in the state, for their transport to hospitals and clinics to access medical care until their babies are born.

The governor said, “In July, we convened a summit to deliberate on the issues of maternal and infant mortality, we arrived at the resolution that a policy on Safe Motherhood be introduced, with the Primary Healthcare Board and State Ministry of Health as partners.

“Since then, we have been working to implement the policy, and with the launch of the campaign today, the issue of maternal and infant mortality will be reduced in our state,” he said.

He urged every pregnant woman in the state to register for ante-natal care, “so that they can deliver in the hands of trained medical personnel”.

The governor, also added that the state government had established medical facilities in almost every ward in the state to take care of the programme.

Each of the one thousand registered pregnant women were given Mothercare kits, containing 15 items, which included insecticide treated nets, to help them during pregnancy.

The Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, launched the scheme, with a call to pregnant women not to patronise traditional birth attendants.(NAN)

I will continue to support women, children in Nigeria – Aisha Buhari

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The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has reiterated her commitment to support women and children to improve their health and physical wellbeing.

Mrs Buhari said this on Saturday night during an award ceremony to mark the third anniversary of her NGO, the Future Assured programme.

The wife of the President said Future Assured was borne out of her desire to address problems associated with the health and wellbeing of women and children in Nigeria.

“Future Assured started out of my passion for the health and wellbeing of women and children in the society.

“The overriding objective of Future Assured is to contribute to improve outcomes in Nigeria, especially in the areas health, empowerment, education and human rights.

“Primarily, Future Assured came about to intervene in addressing the deteriorating health conditions of women and children in terms of maternal, Neonatal, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition,’’ she said.

According to her, one of the cardinal objectives of Future Assured is to complement Federal Government’s efforts to achieve universal health coverage.

She said that the NGO had achieved a lot through advocacy for girl-child education and provision of scholarship to indigent pupils as well as support for women to complete their education.

She noted that her collaboration with well-meaning Nigerians and development partners, especially the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, had enabled the NGO to impact positively on the lives of Nigerians.

Mrs Buhari gave assurance that the NGO would continue to support victims of child and other forms of abuses as well as surgeries for children with congenital problems.

She also pledged to continue the advocacy and support to uplift the living condition of less privileged Nigerians.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, represented by Dr Evelyn Ngige, appreciated the efforts of the NGO in improving the healthcare system of the country.

He said the initiative had helped to reduce malnutrition among children and created more awareness on cervical and breast cancer.

The ceremony featured the unveiling of a platform, ‘Pitch@Palace’ for youth development, to accelerate development of entrepreneurial skills.

Dr Mohammed Kamal, National Coordinator of Future Assured who unveiled the platform, said: “It will help to reduce the rate of unemployment and boost the economy’’.

The event featured presentation of awards to 12 young entrepreneurs for their outstanding initiatives to boost the economy and image of the country.

Some Nigerians who had distinguished themselves in their Professions were also recognised and given awards.

One of the Award recipients and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari said he remained determined to continue the fight against armed robbery and kidnapping.

Kyari also expressed gratitude to the wife of the President for finding him worthy of the award, adding that the award would spur him to do more in the interest of peace in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Hospital, Yola, Prof. Auwal Abubakar, thanked the wife of the President for constructing a 70-bed-capacity maternity clinic in Yola.

Abubakar said the project would help to tackle the influx of patients from neighbouring states.

The event also featured the unveiling of Future Assured Magazine to showcase the humanitarian activities of Aisha Buhari Foundation and Future Assured Programme in the last 3-years. (NAN)

HIV Prevention: Women groups advocate inclusion in decision, policy making

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Two advocacy groups, Young Women Leadership Initiative (YWLI) and Young Women Leaders and Advocates on Friday said HIV epidemic could not end without the voices of women being heard.

The groups made the assertion at the closing ceremony of HIV Research and Prevention (HIVR4P2018) Conference held in Madrid, Spain.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the advocacy groups had took over the advocates corner of the conference to make their voices heard to the researchers, policy and decision makers.

NAN reports that the group led by YWLI and supported by the community of prevention advocates had thronged the corner with the message “Our Choices, Our Voices and Our Priorities Must be Heard’’.

According to them, at the conference, we have heard a lot about young women, but too little from young women.

“We joined a long history of activists for the rights of women living with HIV in raising a Visible Panty Line.

“The Visible Panty Line symbolises the things that we as women are told to keep hidden, to be quiet about and to be ashamed of.

“We refused to hide. We refused to be silent. We refused to be ashamed.”

The groups said in a statement that the management of Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel, venue of the conference, had forced them to remove their panty lines or tore the advocate’s corner down.

They said the management of the hotel had told them that their panties and advocacy were offensive.

“Our voices, experiences and leadership are not offensive. We are here to raise the Visible Panty Line and let you know that without us, you will not end this epidemic.

“It is with absolutely necessary if we are to end this epidemic and fulfil the rights, choices as well as agency of everyone living with or vulnerable to acquiring HIV,” they said.

The groups said that any HIV prevention conference has a duty and obligation to ensure their presence, inclusion and leadership.

“You talk about developing HIV options for US. Well, we are here. Ask us what we think.

“Our challenge to you is that you must leave this conference, carrying our voices and message with you,” the group added. (NAN)

Women, who wear high heels shoes, risk developing arthritis

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A Physiotherapist, Mr Vincent Shoetan, says women who wear high heeled shoes regularly risked chances of developing knee problems including arthritis and back pains in future.

Shoetan, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos, advised women, who would want to wear high heeled shoes, not to wear it for long period.

This, according to him, is to avoid developing complications associated with such type of shoes.

“If you want to wear high heels, don’t wear it for long because high heels generally distort the body’s anatomy right from the foot.

“The weight of the body ends at the heels of the foot; it’s from the heels that the weight goes down to the ground.

“But when you wear high heels because your heel is no longer touching the ground, what happens is the weight is now brought forward to your toes.

“And because of that, the pressure is now on your knees.

“Again, it comes down to giving you problems in the future by causing knee problems.

“It can lead to knee pains, arthritis and at the same time for the knees, and at the same time your back.

“It will definitely lead to knee problems, and for some people, back problems.

“So, that’s why we always advise that we wear flat; not necessarily flat all the time, even if you are going to wear anything “heely”, don’t wear it for a very long time.

“But flat is usually advisable for women because the problems that come with the heels are numerous.

“You can have what we call `Plantar fasciitis’, which is from the sole of the foot’’.

NAN reports that an online medical website, http://www.mayoclinic.org, described plantar fasciitis as one of the most common causes of heel pain.

Mayo Clinic states that the condition involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of a woman’s foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. (NAN)

NGO to provide family planning services to 3 million women in 9 states

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Marie Stopes International, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) says it plans to provide family planning services to 3 million women and girls, in nine states of the federation.

The Regional Community and Mobilisation Officer of the NGO, Mr Ibrahim Yusuf, made this known on Thursday in Yola, at a stakeholders meeting.

Yusuf said the three year programme is under the Women Integrated and Health Service (WISH) project.

He said the target is to avert 1.2 million unintended pregnancies and over one million unsafe abortions.

“About 9,700 maternal deaths will be averted and 3,403,400 total Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) will be achieved,” Yusuf said.

He urged the benefiting states to ensure prompt release of staff during supportive supervision visits and to provide facilities for quarterly review.

In his remarks, the representative of the Adamawa Ministry of Health, Mr Hamidu Buba, lauded the project and assured of the state government commitment to ensure it success.

Also speaking, the representative of religious leaders, Alhaji Gambo Jika, lauded the project, saying that Islam has no problem with child spacing to check maternal mortality and promote the health of mother and child.

Alhaji Ahmad Mustafa the District Head of Girei, who represented traditional rulers also promised his support toward the success of the project.(NAN)

Gov. Ambode’s wife urges unity among women

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Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode, on Tuesday urged women to learn to come together, support each other and discard unproductive habits.

Ambode made the appeal at the three-day 18th National Women’s Conference organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) in Lagos.

The conference has the theme: “Strengthening our Collective Impact”.

Ambode, who noted that there was advantage in numerical strength, said that when women come together and collaborate, they tend to achieve significant and lasting social change that would be beneficial to all.

“We have the unique ability of looking at problems and coming up with solutions, that will transform lives and make the world a better place,” she said.

She described women as pillars of growth and development of their countries.

Ambode said they had continued to play roles that demonstrated how important they were to the progress of their countries economically, politically, socially and in all other areas that matter.

She said the quest to continually improve on the welfare of women and sustain the “vintage” position of Lagos State in the federation were key objectives behind COWLSO coming together annually, to discuss the way forward.

Ambode said the founding objective of COWLSO was to actively assist the government in improving the welfare of women in the state.

According to her, the committee has executed many health-related projects which have recorded impressive impact on the health of babies, children, youths, women and the aged.

She said topics to be examined at the conference included the “Role of Perseverance and Things to Consider When Getting Married”, “Hazards of Teenage Pregnancy”, as well as “Life Threatening Challenges and Solutions”.

Gov.Akinwunmi Ambode, represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule, described this year’s theme as apt and lauded the achievements of COWLSO, particularly in the areas of giving hope and succour to the less privileged through donations in cash and kind.

Ambode said the committee had worked ceaselessly to complement the efforts of their spouses in government.

Declaring the conference open, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, said that COWLSO was a powerful network to get appropriate feedback from the people and an inspiration which other states should emulate.

“It is a fantastic idea because it builds on family connection; it connects the family with the government,” Obaseki said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the highlight of the event was the presentation of 2018 COWLSO Inspirational Woman of the Year Award to a renowned female photographer and musician, Toyin Bello, popularly known as TY Bello.

NAN also reports that the event was attended by wives of governors of Ogun, Oyo, Edo and wives of former Lagos State governors and former deputy governors among others. (NAN)

NMA advocates free medical services for children, women, aged

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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has advocated for a special free medical services for the aged, women and children in all Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and hospitals in the country.

Dr Olawale Oke, the Chairman of NMA in Ondo State, made the call in Akure at a news conference to mark the 2018 Physicians Week.

According to him, Nigerian leaders should muster enough political will for quality and effective healthcare services and programmes.

“The current efforts of the Federal Government to reinvigorate the PHC system by building primary healthcare centres in all wards of the federation are commendable.

“However, there is need to urgently equip the PHCs and consider offering free medical services for the aged, women and children,’’ he urged.

Oke also called for improved enrolment of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) from the current five per cent coverage to capture reasonable percentage of Nigerians.
According to him, Nigerians are increasingly losing hope in the scheme which is vital to attainment of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“To achieve UHC, it is therefore, important to strengthen the NHIS and explore other health care financing system and this will significantly cater for the informal sector especially the rural dwellers,’’ he said.

The chairman also urged the federal government to do all within its power to ensure that health workers and others abducted in the course of their duties were rescued.
Oke called for adequate protection of medical and health workers and the vulnerable in the country.

Besides, he advised the government to ensure adequate precaution against outbreak of diseases in the flooded areas of the country.

Oke applauded the unrelenting efforts of Nigerian doctors in spite of unfavourable happenings and working environment.

“We celebrate Nigerian doctors for the great sacrifice offered to the country in spite the poor doctor to patient ratio, which is far short of the World Health Organisation standard and the poor working environment.

“Some were owed several months salaries especially those working with state governments and Nigerian doctors still provide professional and excellent services,’’ he noted.
Oke, however, charged doctors to continue to do their jobs with professionalism and strict adherence to the revised physician pledge. (NAN)

UN Agencies oppose Virginity tests on young girls

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Virginity testing — a gynecological examination conducted under the belief that it determines whether a woman or girl has had vaginal intercourse — must end, says UN Human Rights, UN Women and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a global call to eliminate violence against women and girls everywhere, this medically unnecessary, and often times painful, humiliating and traumatic practice must end.

Virginity testing is a long-standing tradition that has been documented in at least 20 countries spanning all regions of the world. Women and girls are subjected, and often forced, to undergo virginity testing for various reasons. These include requests from parents or potential partners to establish marriage eligibility or from employers for employment eligibility. It is mostly performed by doctors, police officers, or community leaders on women and girls in order to assess their virtue, honour or social value. In some regions, it is common practice for health professionals to perform virginity testing on victims of rape, supposedly to ascertain whether or not rape occurred.

Virginity testing is often performed by inspecting the hymen for tears or its size of opening, and/or inserting fingers into the vagina (the “two-finger” test). Both techniques are practiced under the belief that the appearance of the female genitalia can indicate a girl’s or woman’s history of sexual activity. WHO states that there is no evidence that either method can prove whether a woman or girl has had vaginal intercourse or not.

Emphasis on women’s “virginity” is a form of gender discrimination

The term “virginity” is not a medical or scientific term.  Rather, the concept of “virginity” is a social, cultural and religious construct – one that reflects gender discrimination against women and girls.

The social expectation that girls and women should remain “virgins” (i.e. without having sexual intercourse) is based on stereotyped notions that female sexuality should be curtailed within marriage. This notion is harmful to women and girls globally.

Health impacts of virginity testing

These examinations are not only a violation of women’s and girls’ human rights, but in cases of rape can cause additional pain and mimic the original act of sexual violence, leading to re-experience, re-traumatization and re-victimization. Many women suffer from adverse short- and long-term physical, psychological and social consequences of this practice. This includes anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress. In extreme cases, women or girls may attempt suicide or be killed in the name of “honour”.

Performing this medically unnecessary and harmful test violates several human rights and ethical standards including the fundamental principle in medicine to ‘do no harm’. WHO recommends that this test should not be performed under any circumstances.

Governments, health professionals and communities must act to eliminate the practice

There is an urgent need to raise awareness among health professionals and communities of the detrimental effects of performing this test on women and girls, its lack of scientific validity, and the need to eliminate its use. Some governments have banned virginity testing and enacted laws to criminally punish those who perform the examination. Many professional health associations and human rights organizations have condemned this practice as unscientific and a violation of women’s and girls’ rights.

UN Human Rights, UN Women and WHO are committed to ending virginity testing and ensuring that the rights of all women and girls are upheld. The following are recommended strategies to eliminate virginity testing in settings where it occurs:

  • Health professionals and their professional associations should be aware that virginity testing has no scientific merit and cannot determine past vaginal penetration. They should also know the health and human rights consequences of virginity testing, and never perform or support the practice.
  • Governments should enact and enforce laws that ban virginity testing.
  • Communities and all relevant stakeholders should implement awareness campaigns that challenge myths related to virginity and harmful gender norms that place emphasis on control of women’s and girls’ sexuality and bodies.

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