Major health stories published last week

Last week, Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Malaria Day and World Immunisation week.

The commemoration was done amidst the COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed over 3 million lives globally and over 2,000 lives in Nigeria.

As Nigeria continues to record few new COVID-19 cases, the fatality from the virus has also declined with only two deaths recorded in the last 18 days.

More Nigerians are still taking shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and approximately 1.2 million persons have received their first dose of the vaccines=, according to data by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

Here is a round-up of some of the health stories which made headlines last week.

COVID-19: Nigeria records 43 new cases on Saturday

Nigeria on Saturday recorded 43 new COVID-19 infections in seven states across the country.

The new figure raised the total number of infections in the country to 165,153, an update published by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Saturday night indicates.

According to the update, no new death was recorded from the virus which has already claimed 2,063 lives in the country.

Malaria contributes to reduced economic growth in Nigeria, other African countries – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said malaria is responsible for an annual reduction of 1.3 per cent in Africa’s economic growth.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti disclosed this in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES to commemorate the 2021 World Malaria Day (WMD).

According to Ms Moeti, for every year that malaria spread, health and development suffer the most.

Lassa Fever: Nigeria records 50 deaths as infections soar

At least 50 persons have died from Lassa fever in Nigeria, even as the country is still grappling with the scourging COVID-19 pandemic.

The figure, revealed by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control as of Week 15, spanning April 12 -18, showed that Lassa fever has continued a silent ascent in fatalities and infection.

According to NCDC figures, 28 persons died between Week 7 (February 15-21) and Week 15.

Nigeria expecting 29.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine – Official

The Nigerian government says it expects to receive about 29.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines.

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The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, made this known during a briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 on Monday.

Nigeria won’t accept COVID-19 vaccines from private, unverified sources – Minister

The Nigerian government, on Monday, said it will not accept vaccines from private and unverified sources.

Health minister Osagie Ehanire while speaking during a briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 said this is due to the high rate of fake COVID-19 vaccines in circulation.

COVID-19 hinders immunisation, puts millions of children at risk – WHO

While efforts to end COVID-19 has continued to gather steam with the successful roll-out of vaccines in over a hundred countries, the pandemic continues to hinder routine immunisation services, thereby putting millions of children at risk of deadly diseases.

The second round of a World Health Organisation “pulse survey” revealed that over one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, substantial disruptions persist, with about 90 per cent of countries still reporting one or more disruptions to essential health services.

US gives $90m to eight disadvantaged Nigerian states

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has extended a $90 million to eight disadvantaged Nigerian states to tackle malaria.

This was made known in a statement on Wednesday by the US Mission in Nigeria.

World Malaria Day: How corruption hinders Nigeria’s efforts to eradicate malaria

About eight years after a PREMIUM TIMES investigation uncovered how public officials collude with traders to sell free donor-funded mosquito nets to Nigerians, the practice is still rampant as Nigeria continues its battle against malaria.

With about 81,640 deaths annually from malaria, Nigeria accounts for over 20 per cent of the 400,000 annual deaths, globally, from the disease.

While there is now huge potential for a malaria vaccine, Long-Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN) have long been identified as one of the best ways to prevent the disease.

U.S. relaxes COVID-19 rules for fully vaccinated people

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that Americans who are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus no longer need to wear masks outdoors, except for large gatherings.

The risk of the virus spreading outdoors is so low that even unvaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask if they hike, jog or are with a household member, according to the CDC guidelines issued on Tuesday.

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