Health News Of The Week

First-ever human case of H5N2 bird flu reported in Mexico, WHO says
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported the first human case of H5N2 bird flu in Mexico. A 59-year-old resident, who had multiple underlying conditions and had been bedridden, developed symptoms in mid-April and died on April 24. Testing confirmed H5N2 infection on May 8. The source of the infection is unknown, but H5N2 has been found in Mexican poultry. While the risk to the general public is considered low, the infection's potential public health impact necessitates reporting to WHO. No further cases were identified among the patient’s contacts. The virus, primarily affecting birds, occasionally jumps to humans through direct contact with infected animals.

Genomics Consortium Unveiled by the NCDC and Sokoto Heavy Metal Poisoning 
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has launched the National Genomics Surveillance Strategy Consortium to enhance genomic surveillance capabilities across Nigeria. The initiative aims to improve local expertise in genomic sequencing and strengthen collaboration among researchers. The launch event in Abuja coincided with the NCDC's revelation that heavy metal poisoning caused recent mysterious deaths in Sokoto state. The consortium will focus on developing genomic sequencing technology, sharing resources, and investing in research infrastructure to better prepare Nigeria for future health crises. Key figures emphasized the importance of genomic sequencing in tracking virus mutations, maintaining vaccine efficacy, and responding to health challenges.

NARD Laments Poor Working Conditions 
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has expressed concern over the severe manpower shortages in the country's healthcare facilities, leading to high workloads and burnout among doctors. Following their meeting in Kaduna, NARD highlighted that larger health centers are particularly affected and criticized the federal government for not adequately addressing the issue. They also condemned the casualization of doctors and delays in paying revised salary arrears and allowances. NARD urged the government to implement measures to reduce overwork, ensure fair employment practices, protect health workers from assaults, and expedite the payment of outstanding allowances. They emphasized the need for improved recruitment processes and better support for healthcare professionals.

MSF Nigeria Records Over 260,000 Malnutrition Cases in 2023
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, treated over 260,000 patients for malnutrition in Nigeria in 2023. At a press briefing in Abuja, MSF's Country Representative, Dr. Simba Tirima, reported that the organization provided 689,979 outpatient consultations and 80,089 inpatient admissions, among other significant medical interventions, including treatments for malaria, measles, cholera, meningitis, and Lassa fever. MSF has operated in Nigeria since 1996 and currently has projects in 11 states. Tirima highlighted the collaboration with government facilities and the employment of over 4,000 Nigerians. The Head of Mission, Karsten Noko, noted an increase in hospitalizations due to malnutrition, especially in Bauchi, Kano, Borno, Zamfara, and Sokoto, linking it to economic issues and low vaccination coverage. The Head of Mission Advisor, Usman Buba Usman, emphasized the need for home-grown solutions to address malnutrition.

Nigeria Targets Malaria Elimination by 2030 with Focus on Behavioral Change, Says NMEP
As Nigeria aims to eliminate malaria by 2030, the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) emphasizes the importance of behavioral change in reducing malaria. NMEP's National Coordinator, Godwin Ntadom, highlighted that human behavior, such as not using mosquito nets and not seeking treatment, hinders malaria control efforts. He noted that countries like Belgium and the UK eliminated malaria early on through social and behavioral change (SBC) without modern medications. Despite progress, Nigeria still sees high malaria cases and needs more resources and an effective vaccine. The Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria project, funded by USAID and led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, has significantly influenced SBC in Nigeria, partnering with local health ministries and organizations. Over seven years, with an investment of over $100 million, the project has transformed SBC implementation in 12 states, using community engagement, media, digital tools, and advocacy.

Glorious Kate Akpegah

Glorious Kate Akpegah is a medical student at the University of Calabar. She enjoys writing health and wellness articles to help inform the public and promote a healthy lifestyle.

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