Health in the Nigerian Press – you can not make this up!


The Punch: Nigeria orders swine flu vaccine to all children under the age of five years, pregnant women, health workers and old people. The Minister’s spokesman explains… ”The expected 15million doses amounts to more than 10 per cent of our gross population. Given the biology of the influenza, the nature of its transmission and the diverse physical nature of our land mass, it is more than sufficient quantity for now, especially against the background of non-availability of the vaccine the world over. Notice how nothing is said about the public health capacity required to make this accessible to the people. But rest assured – there will be task force set up…..

NPF News: The Federal Government (FG) has said that it needs over N7 billion naira to enable it favourably combat the pandemic A H1N1, otherwise called ‘swine flu’ in the country. This was disclosed on Wednesday, in Abuja, by the ministry of health in its presentation at the stakeholders forum on the influenza. A Director and an Epidemiologist in the ministry, Dr Akpan, in the presentation disclosed that the whopping sum is needed for the campaign and deployment of vaccines through out the country. Don’t you just love our country…..!

Daily Trust: THE Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Dr. Peter Alabi, yesterday disclosed that an estimate of N400 million is needed for the ongoing expansion of the Accident Emergency/Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.
That is 2.5 million dollars for an expansion! Naija no easy – I hope we are also planning for the ambulances, the service provision, the training, the referral systems required for an emergency system to really work. If not Dr Alabi …please do!
Daily Trust: First Lady Turai Yar’adua has set up a skills acquisition centre at the Maitama General Hospital, Abuja, for the training of special patients in income generating trades by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE). A press statement signed by the NDE’s Assistant Director of Information Nnamdi Asomugha quoted the First Lady as saying during the commissioning of the project that the equipment at the centre are for the training of women and other “special patients” affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS).
I would argue that the location of a skills aquisition centre should be in the community not in the hospital, and if it is in a hospital, why make it exclusive for so called “special patients with HIV” in an era we are trying to reduce stigma. So what happens when a Nigerian woman with polio comes to the hospital’s skills aquisition centre. Maybe she will be declared not special enough? Anyways…we will be visiting soon to report on progress.

Details on 234Next – Know the rules I recently took my 2 year old daughter to a well known hospital here in Lagos. It must be that I have been away from Nigerian healthcare for a long time, but I was shocked at the medical staff’s lack of etiquette. I had paediatric doctors walk up to my child’s bed, while I was right there, and begin to speak with the nurse on the round with them without first introducing themselves….

Daily Trust: Still building our way to health as Sokoto State Government is to establish a 50-bed capacity orthopaedics hospital worth N600 million in the state.

Leadership: Midwifery scheme gathers steam as a total of 96 midwives posted to Yobe State under the Federal Midwives Service Scheme have arrived the state capital.

And finally in the article below published in 234Next, Ogun State is apparently distributing “Monitoring and Information Equipment” (which I hope translates to computers)  in order to collect data from its Local Government areas. I really hope that they have the people and expertise as the equipment itself will not solve the problem….but its a start.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

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