Archive of ‘Health and Environment’ category

Cervical cancer: Gynaecologist advises women to undergo regular Pap test


A gynaecologist, Dr Idris Yakubu, has advised women to do Pap smear test regular whether or not they are sexually active.

He gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

Yakubu explained that the Pap smear test helps in identifying traces of abnormal growth in the cervix that could cause cervival cancer, emphasising that early detection is critical to timely treatment and prevention.

He described Pap smear, otherwise known as Pap test, as a screening procedure for cervical cancer that test for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix.
According to him, it is important for every sexually active woman to get a regular Pap smear as well as those in a monogamous relationship.

“This is because HPV can be dormant for years, and then suddenly become active,” he said.
Yakubu also said that most cervical cancers are due to infection from the HPV, which is sexually transmitted, adding that not all cervical cancers are caused by viral infections.

He further explained that HPV causes warts and having the virus increases the risk of developing cervical cancer which the primary causes of cervical cancer are HPV types 16 and 18.

The gynaecologist explained that if the test results are abnormal it does not mean the patient has cancer but it simply means that there are abnormal cells on the cervix, some of which could be precancerous.

“All women are at risk for cervical cancer, even if you’re not sexually active.

“For this reason, it is recommended that all women start their cervical cancer screening with a Pap smear every three years beginning at age 21.

“If you are between ages 21 and 29 and sexually active, you should get a Pap test every three years, and women between ages 30 and 64 should get a Pap test and HPV test together every five years or a Pap test alone every three years, if the result is negative.
“Women over the age of 65 with a history of normal Pap test results may be able to stop having Pap smears in the future.

“Women should still get regular Pap smears even if in a monogamous relationship, because the HPV virus can be dormant for years, and then suddenly become active,” he warned.
Yakubu, however, advised women to avoid intercourse, douching or using spermicidal products a day before a Pap test because it may interfere with the result.

He noted that Pap tests are very accurate, and regular Pap screenings reduce cervical cancer rates and mortality by 80 per cent.

Yakubu added that the main purpose of a Pap smear test was to identify cellular changes in the cervix, which could be caused by HPV and by detecting cervical cancer cells early with a Pap smear, treatment could start before it spreads and becomes a bigger problem.

He also warned that a woman could contract HPV through sex with men or women and enjoined sexually active women to get a Pap smear at least every three years. (NAN)

Female adults above 60 years of age likely to suffer arthritis — Physician


Dr Ovo Ogbinaka, a medical doctor at the Central Hospital Ughelli, Delta, said that 50 per cent of female adults above 65 years of age were likely to suffer from arthritis.

Ogbinaka made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in as anBenin.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints caused by gradual strain on the body ligaments system.

According to him, arthritis can be a result of injury, which can lead to degenerative arthritis, abnormal metabolism, gout and pseudo gout, inheritance, such as in osteoarthritis.

The physician said the most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis (QA) and Rheumatoid arthritis “which can also affect multiple joints of the sufferer.”

Ogbinaka listed some of the symptoms of arthritis to include pains, swelling, reduced range of motion and stiffness.

He noted that adult, particularly those from 65 years and above were prone to be affected by this disease which he said could rarely affect children, teens and youths.

He disclosed that women were more likely to suffer from arthritis than men, especially overweight people.

According to him, any aging adult who notices any sign of arthritis should visit a doctor

“It is not all joint pains that develop into arthritis; some are just stress from house work, cooking and driving,” he said.

He said treatment of arthritis would reduce the pain the person experiences and could also prevent additional damage to the joints.

The physician advised people to always seek medical adivce once they notice any of the symptoms.(NAN)

Foundation distributes 4,000 condoms, 500 pads to women in FCT


The AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF), an international NGO, has distributed more than 4,000 condoms and 500 sanitary pads to women and girls at Ruga community in Abuja.

Dr Chigozie Ikeh, the Site Coordinator of AHF Nigeria, said on Wednesday in Abuja that the distribution was part of activities to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child, which held on Oct. 11.

Ikeh said the event was designed for vulnerable women and girls to develop and empower themselves through various skills acquisitions.

She added that the event provided a platform to advocate for every woman and girl-child to be educated and be the best in their various fields of endeavours.

“Ruga community in the FCT is a remote area with women between the ages of 20 and 30 years who are engaged in sex trade and various vices.

“AHF is here to sensitise them on their rights as women, empower and educate them on their health, as women are more vulnerable to diseases such as sexually transmitted diseases and HIV,’’ she said.

Mrs Chinelo Achebe, the Prevention Coordinator AHF, said the organisation works with young women and adolescent girls, but the event was targeted at out-of school girls who are more vulnerable and predispose to various challenges.

Achebe said the event was focused on women and the young girls to be empowered, creative, innovative and been self-reliance as the world was becoming automated.

She added that the distribution of condoms and sanitary pads would help increase awareness and promote prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, safer sex, condom use and its role in preventing HIV and unwanted pregnancies.

“Across the states, AHF also conducts both static and mobile free HIV testing, counselling and public awareness programmes to provide condom education to encourage safer sexual practices.

“We are also involved in providing wellness services, from 8 a.m to 8 p.m which would avail people access to our facility at their own convince without any form of discrimination or stigmatisation,’’ she said.

In the same vein, Mrs Wabda Ebe, the President Wanda Adu Foundation, working in partnership with AHF, they have supported orphans, vulnerable and marginalised women and girls.

She said the foundation has provided positive intervention at Ruga community, trained young women and girls on different skill acquisition programmes educate and empower them at various capacities.

“AHF goal is also working at ending HIV and AIDS by 2030, and in achieving this, they have adopted Ruga community to provide the people with free HIV testing counselling services.
“In this community, there are over 150 women engaged in sex trade; young women and girls who suffer low self-esteem.

“They have been marginalised, discriminated, abused and raped, and the event has helped to empower them, to know they have fundamental human rights which they can exercise and care for themselves and their children,” she said.

Wanda further called on the government at all levels to support and partner with credible community based organisations that would provide support to various communities at the grassroots. (NAN)

Physician cautions pregnant women against chicken pox infection


Dr Ovo Samiel, a medical officer at the General Hospital Ughelli, Delta, says women who are exposed to chicken pox during pregnancy may bear children with defects.

Samiel, who made this disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Benin, said chicken pox infection could stay in the body from 7 to 21 days before producing rashes.

He said the disease was characterised by itchy, red blister that appeared all over the body and oftentimes could affect the children.

Samiel added that the virus could be spread through saliva, coughing, sneezing and contact with fluid from the blisters it produced.

“Pregnant women, who have this virus may give birth to blind children, having small head size, poor growth and intellectual disabilities,’’ he said.

He, however, advised pregnant women to always protect themselves, especially the unborn, by avoiding sharing cups of water and spoons.

Ovo said some of the symptoms of the disease include: fever, loss of appetite and headache.

The physician said the disease could be treated by bathing with lukewarm water; applying unscented lotion and wearing light weight or soft clothing. (NAN)

Protect women from cancer, UK based doctor urges govts


Breast Cancer Awareness Background with Pink Ribbon. October is month of Breast Cancer Awareness in the world. Vector stock illustration.

A UK based medical practitioner, Dr Femi Ogunremi, has urged the three tiers of government in Nigeria to initiate policies that would protect women from developing cancer, thereby saving many lives.

Ogunremi, who made the plea at a free training on “Breast Cancer Screening, Using the Breast-i“ on Monday in Lagos, said such policies should include investing in simple tools for screening such as Breast-i, a cancer screening tool.

The practitioner is the Chief Executive Officer, Monitor Healthcare Limited (MHL), an international medical technology company.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was organised by MHL in commemoration of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month marked annually throughout October.

Ogunremi said: “Breast-i is a revolutionary self-use, portable, non-diagnostic screening device used to screen for cancerous lumps in the breast and a product of years of research.
“The device is quite useful, because it is a new technology, whereby you use red light to pick abnormal cancer cells.

“In our society where people cannot afford a lot of the screening such as mammogram and lack of a national screening, as a first line screening tool, this is a way and it is very useful.
“It will be a good tool in the hands of our government and useful in poor resource areas of the country.

“If the government can set up policies to protect our ladies using things like the Breast-i as a simple tool and get it on the desk of every doctor, it will go a long way to reducing the scourge of cancer.“’

Quoting a World Health Organisation, 2014 World Cancer Report, he said that breast cancer accounted for about 25 per cent, that is one out of four of all cancers diagnosed in women in Sub-Sharan Africa.

“We need to start planning; I see this screening as a way by which we can plan for the eventualities.

“The free training is our own way of contributing to the fight against the scourge of breast cancer in our society, “ Ogunremi said.

Some participants at the training told NAN that they had been more informed and added value to their practice as healthcare providers.

One of them, Mrs Uwem Ummuna, said that the Breast-i screening tool would go a long way, especially in rural areas where income was low.

Ummuna is the Director, Radiography, X-Ray Department, Federal Medical Centre FMC), Ebute Meta.

According to her, the cost of mammogram is unaffordable by many people, and also the radiation aspect cannot be ruled out.

“I will recommend the Breast-i for screening as the first step, because radiation is ruled out; then, when people see questionable things like lumps, you can now refer them for mammogramme.

“This will help create massive awareness for early detection,“ she said.
Another participant, a Pharmacist at the same hospital, Mrs Aderonke Olowo, said that she was more enlightened on what to look out for when using the device.

Olowo said, “I have been using the device, but this training has improved my knowledge so that I can render the services better to my community.

In his remarks, Dr Kelechi Adeoha, a medical doctor at a Primary Health Centre in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area, said that the device would be very promising in reducing the scourge of cancer.

“It is a step ahead of the self breast examination, which individuals can do at home and six-monthly at the clinic.

“It is a tool that can help detect early cancer of the breast and I think it is a good development which the government can key into,“ he said. (NAN)

6 Rotary Clubs set to screen 1,000 women for breast cancer in Lagos


Six Rotary Clubs in Districts 9110, 9102 and 1130 say it will jointly screening 1,000 women in Lagos free for breast cancer to reduce the increasing incidences of the disease in Nigeria.

Mr Bola Oyebade, the District Governor Nominee, made the disclosure at a news conference heralding the commencement of the screening in Lagos.

Oyebade said that the exercise was part of the Rotary’s corporate social responsibilities aimed at giving back to the people.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the six sponsors are the Rotary Clubs of Gbagada, Gbagada South, Ikoyi, Ikorodu Metropolitan, Cotonou Palmier and Kensington, as well as Chelsea.

The programme is supported by the Rotary Foundation, in conjunction with the Aid for Victims of Diseases in Africa (AVODA).

Theme of the programme is: “Disease Prevention and Empowerment.’’

Oyabade said: “This is a project that has come up, not by one club, but with about six clubs; it is kicking off today, Monday.

“Our target is to screen over 1,000 women, it’s very important that we take care of our women; if women are breast cancer free, then the society will be better,’’ Oyebade said.

According to him, those tested positive will be referred to hospitals they have partnership with, for treatment, which will be free.

Commenting, Mrs Adefowoke Williamson, the Project Coordinator, said that breast cancer was a disease that should be fought head on.

According to her, early detection is best and cheaper.

“I am using this medium to call on women to take advantage of this platform given them to come out and be screened.

“Breast cancer is one disease that has taken lives of many women; it needs serious attention.

“We need women to be healthy and alive; if a woman is treated, that means, a whole nation is treated,’’ Williamson said.

She said that the screening would take place at four locations in the state.

“The first is Echoscan at Opebi, Afriglobal at Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Arrive Alive Diagnostic located at Ojuelegba and Malens Diagnostic at Ebute Ikorodu, Lagos,’’ she said.

The President of Rotary Club of Gbagada, Dr Basirat Giwa, attributed the high level of breast cancer in women to lack of awareness.

“Statistics have shown that lack of awareness and early detection are responsible for unnecessary high mortality rate among women with breast cancer.

“Also, most of the beneficiaries of our microfinance project on local economies are women.

“If we are going to empower them economically, we should also make attempt to ensure that they are in good health.

“So, the screening is an attempt on disease prevention to protect women against breast cancer,” Giwa said.

Also, Dr Adebola Olatunji, the Founder, Aid for Victims of Diseases in Africa (AVODA), urged women to take advantage of this opportunity to prevent untimely death.

“Lots of women are discouraged to go for checkups and seek help because of lack of funds, thereby resulting to visiting religious leaders for spiritual healing rather than the hospital.

“Breast cancer is a serious sickness and as such women must take it serious, if they want to be alive.

“Once a woman is up to 20 years, she should begin to self examine her breasts once a month.

“Also, once she is 40 years, she needs to schedule herself for mammogram which is like an X-ray of the breast.

“Breast cancer can be prevented through early screening such as the one being offered women today,” Olatunji said. (NAN)

Global Handwashing Day: UNICEF sensitises women in Gusau


The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with Zamfara State Primary Health Care Board on Monday sensitised women in Gusau to the importance of handwashing, to mark the 2018 Global Handwashing Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, which took place at Mayana Ward in Gusau with the theme, “Clean Hands, Recipe for Good Health”.

In his remark, the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Health Care Board, Alhaji Yusuf Mafara, said the event was to increase the awareness of the public particularly the women on how to improve handwashing habit.

Mafara, who was represented by Engagement and Mobilisation Officer of the Board, Malam Murtala Aliyu, noted that majority of the disease outbreak in the society were caused by negligence in handwashing habit.

“You know, we are marking the World Handwashing Day, that is why we organise this sensitisation particularly for women.

“The reason we are laying emphasis on women is because they are the ones who take care of the homes,” he said.

He thanked UNICEF for supporting various health programmes in the state, Gusau Emirate Council and other stakeholders supporting health care delivery in the state.

Earlier, the Gusau Local Government Health Authority Coordinator, Hajiya Aminatu Yusuf, described the event as a good development.

“This came at the right time especially when the council is making efforts to support various health programmes to improve primary health care delivery especially at rural communities,” he said.

She urged the participants to utilise all the lectures and demonstrations, put them to practice to improve their hygiene.

Abdulnasir Mainasara, Health Educator, Gusau Local Government Area, attributed the increase of disease outbreaks in the society to improper handwashing.

Mainasara said that handwashing was a major important area of priority in improving public health.

“I am giving this as a challenge to members of the public especially the women, let us keep constant handwashing habits, we will see improvement in our health”.

The Ward Head of Mayana Area of Gusau, Alhaji Muhammad Makya, thanked the state PHCB and UNICEF for choosing the area for the sensitisation.

He assured them of continued support for any programme to improve the health status of the people.

NAN also reports that UNICEF Volunteer Ward Supervisors from Gusau Local Government Area made various presentations on handwashing at the event. (NAN).

Activist urges Govt to give priority to rural women farmers


Considering the ever growing Nigerian population, an activist, Mrs Bolanle Aliyu, has called for urgent review of government policies on agriculture to give priority to rural women farmers across the country.

Aliyu made the call on Tuesday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

She stressed the need for the government to initiate programmes that would target women in order to increase their productivity.

She said this has become imperative because available records indicated that women are the backbone of the development of rural and national economies.

Aliyu, who is also the Oyo State Governorship candidate of National Interest Party, said in spite of the development gender inequality is therefore, still dominant in agricultural sector and this constitutes a bottleneck to development.

She called for urgent review of government policies on agriculture to address all the elements that place rural women farmers at a disadvantage.

Aliyu said considering the ever growing population of Nigeria and the role of women in feeding the nation, women-in-agriculture must be empowered and given voice to effectively address their challenges.

She said rural women farmers must have better access to farm inputs and credits and all barriers, which include collateral and discrimination must be addressed to further enhance their role.

Aliyu said rural women farmers deserve better recognition and greater appreciation of their tangible contributions to agriculture and rural development and food security.

She called on government to use investment in agricultural technology to redress gender imbalances and to reduce poverty.

“Special focus on women in agriculture with adequate investment strategy will yield a double dividend and increase gender equity at the same time as increasing their overall productivity.

She also noted that when women are empowered and can claim their rights and access to land, leadership, opportunities and choices, economies grow, food security is enhanced and prospects are improved for current and future generations.

Aliyu also listed factors hampering active involvement of rural women in agricultural production to include inadequate technology, poor extension services, inadequate land, lack of access to credit facilities, cultural/religious restrictions, poor health, lack of adequate infrastructure, access to education and training. (NAN)

Researchers Still Don’t Know Why IVF is Less Successful in Black Women


During a paper presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference, it was revealed that although African American women responded better to treatment but had fewer pregnancies and higher risk of miscarriage.

Daily Mail reports that the paper is an analysis of 36,000 patients that were treated at a Fertility center between 2004 and 2016.

Pregnancy rates, however, were significantly lower in black women – 42 percent compared to 49 percent of white women.

The rate of women who miscarried was much higher – 26 percent compared to 18 percent.

And the live birth rate was 31 percent, compared to 40 percent for white women, a relative percentage difference of 14 percent.

Christos Coutifaris MD, PhD, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine said

This important research points out the urgent need to better understand the factors that may contribute to these racial disparities

Improved knowledge of biological and other factors contributing to successful implantation and placenta development could lead to higher success rates and save patients from the heartbreak of a failed cycle or pregnancy loss.


Women of menstrual age: India braces for face-off lifting ban on Temple entry


Hundreds of members of a conservative Hindu Group in Southern India still kick against of menstruating age from entering, its Chief said, even after the Top Court earlier lifted a centuries-old ban.

The government of the state of Kerala is bracing for a face-off between the protesters and women and girls aged 10 to 50 who want to visit the Sabarimala hill temple, which attracts tens of millions of pilgrims every year, when it re-opens on Oct. 17.

The state’s police force has asked neighbouring states to provide policewomen for the protests because some of its own have refused to be rostered for duty because they support the ban.

Earlier, India’s Supreme Court lifted the ban, saying it was upholding rights to equality of worship.

The temple authorities had said the ban was essential to the rites related to the temple’s chief deity, Ayyappan, considered eternally celibate.

“Hundreds of our men will lie down at the entry point of the hill when the temple opens at 5 pm on Oct. 17’’ for the pooja, or prayer ceremony, said Rahul Easwar, chief of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena.

The group of devotees is fighting the lifting of the ban and he is the grandson of a former chief priest at Sabarimala.

“Those women who come to worship defying the temple custom will have to walk through our bodies,’’ Easwar told Reuters, adding the protest was not against the judiciary but against the move by the state to implement the order hastily.

His group would file a plea on Friday seeking a review of the verdict, Easwar said, urging the state government to maintain the status quo while that is being considered.

The Communist party-led state government has accepted the order and vowed to provide protection to women visiting the shrine.

The state has witnessed sporadic protests from devotees, including women, since the order and both of India’s main political parties, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress, have been critical of the lifting of the ban.

Congress is staging a day-long fast in Pathanamthitta district, which is home to the temple, on Friday.

“The political parties are trying to fish in troubled waters,’’ said P. Geetha, a prominent women’s activist, who has been demanding gender equality at Sabarimala.

She said that they were taking advantage of the protests for political gain and that those supporting the ban were trying to make Sabarimala a conflict zone to dissuade women of menstruating age from going there.

The police chief of Pathanamthitta district, T. Narayanan, said preparations are being made to implement the order.

“We have taken note of the protests. We will assess the situation next week and come out with the measures to be taken for the security at Sabarimala,’’ Narayanan said. (Reuters/NAN)

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