The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has described the projects commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) on Thursday, 19th November, 2020 as "a reflection of the Nigerian Government’s commitment to modern and efficient healthcare delivery, and a testimony to the inspiration operators in the healthcare space derived from the President's dedication to developing Nigeria."

This view was expressed by Dr. Ehanire while giving his address at the commissioning event of landmark projects at UMTH.  

The Honourable Minister pointed out that  Nigeria's health system was strained by the global COVID-19 pandemic like those of many other countries in 2020, but Nigeria's health system survived it. He singled out for special mentioning that "Among the best performing hospitals in this respect has been the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, which responded well in handling COVID-19 cases, while not failing in routine service delivery, in spite of security pressure."

Dr. Ehanire said that in the midst of the global challenge of the COVID and the insurgency inn the North East Zone of the Country where UMTH is situated, "the management has found time, mustered support and the wherewithal, to continue the path of growth and infrastructure expansion, towards being one of the largest and most specialty diversified Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria." He declared that "The Federal Government is committed to supporting the developmental strides that I see in this hospital and our health sector. The Management and Board must be commended and I now formally congratulate the Chairman, Governing Board and the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo for their leadership, resilience and dedication, even under the difficult circumstances of the Northeast region."

Earlier, the Chief Medical Director of UMTH, Professor Ahmad Ahidjo along with his Board who are the Chief Visioners of the commissioned projects disclosed that the hospital which was established in 1983, is the first and the largest Teaching Hospital in the North-Eastern zone of Nigeria.   He further said that "With the commissioning, the total bed capacity of the hospital would rise from 630 to close to 800"; adding that "When the on-going projects are completed, the hospital will be over 1,200 bed capacity which is about twice its current capacity and the largest hospital in Nigeria."   UMTH, Ahidjo said, serves a population of over 33 Million in the North East Geopolitical zone of Nigeria, and sizeable number across the borders of the Cameroon, Niger and Chad Republics" thus,  "UMTH requires expansion in infrastructure and services.  Therefore, taking the hospital higher from its previous level to what we see today and what will be seen in the next couple of months is not an option but a priority."

Professor Ahidjo added to the vision statement of where the commissioned projects will be taking UMTH to: "Injury accounts for 16 % of the global burden of disease. The burden of death and disability from injury is especially notable in our environment where insurgent attacks have worsened the situation. With our new Muhammadu Buhari Trauma Centre slated for commissioning today, the hospital will be well positioned to deliver expert care to injured patients and reduce the challenge of long waiting time, lack of bed spaces and dearth of auxiliary services associated with the old Accident and Emergency area. This project is funded as a capital project and equipped through Special Intervention fund by Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF).

It is no news that all injured patients treated in our hospital who needed prostheses are often referred to other centres outside the northeast or out of Nigeria. The newly constructed Physical Rehabilitation Centre will obviate the need for this henceforth, as it is equipped with the technology required to provide this service. This project is fully funded by ICRC."

Landmark Projects commissioned at the UMTH, Maiduguri on Thursday, 19th November, 2020.

"On what led us to propose the construction of Dr. MK Dikwa GOPD/NHIS and Retainership Complex, the largest outpatient department in Nigeria, "The population of Maiduguri has increased markedly over the last decade. Part of the causes of the increase was the relocation of majority of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the region to Maiduguri."  He added that this stated reason "led to over-stretching of the General Outpatients Department (GOPD) of UMTH and those of other hospitals in the State capital.  In fact, prior to 2009, the average number of patients seen at the GOPD was 44,099 per annum.  As at December, 2017 the total number of cases seen stood at 64,783, giving a 1.5-fold increase in the total GOPD cases from 2009 to 2017.  Therefore, this complex, which is managed by family physicians, will render needed outpatient care to our people.  This project is solely funded through Special Intervention fund by FMOF", Ahidjo disclosed.

On the new Auditorium, the UMTH CMD said "This 1000-seat capacity Auditorium will go a long way to addressing the challenge of large space for conferences and lectures faced by the hospital....the Auditorium has already aided our re-accreditation undertaken by Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria." Same reason can be adduced for the 160-bed capacity Nursing Students Hostel Extension.

While the CMD expressed his deep appreciation to President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR for seeing reasons to personally commission these projects virtually from the State House, Abuja and directing the duo of the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and H.E. Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State to physically commission, he did not forget to pay due homage to his Board Chairman and the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Dr. Abubakar Umar Ibn Garbai Al-Amin El-Kanemi for their support.

Signed:  Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media and Public Relations, FMOH.

The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has affirmed that the management and boards of Federal Hospitals rather than himself or the Federal Ministry of Health determine projects and programmes which are executed by the hospitals.  "They only report to us and we get the projects and programmes approved for them in their budgets for onward execution."

Dr. Ehanire disclosed this on the sidelines of the commissioning of two key projects executed by the management of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Maiduguri (FNPHM) on Thursday, 19th November, 2020.

Dr. Ehanire was accompanied to the commissioning activity by H.E. Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, some members of the Borno State Executive Council, the Director Hospital Services in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, mni, the Director in charge of Teaching Hospitals in the Ministry, Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe, the Senior Technical Assistant to the Honourable Minister, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu and the Director, Media, Olujimi Oyetomi.

The projects which were commissioned include a fully built and furnished building for Medical Rehabilitation which also houses the Psychogeriatrics Unit of the Clinical Psychology Department.  The other was a fully built and furnished Electro-diagnostic Centre.

The visibly elated Medical Director of FNPHM, Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi Wakama disclosed to the Honourable Minister of Health's Team, H.E. Governor Zulum' s entourage and the media that the projects were the 2020 Capital projects of his hospital.  

The Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Maiduguri was established to cover the North East Zone of Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe and Yobe States.  It serves a region with a population of over 25 Million people; prevents and treats mental disorders including drug abuse and rehabilitation of mentally ill persons.

Its mandate includes research and training in the field of Mental Health and Neuroscience - Clinical depression, Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder.

Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media and Public Relations, FMOH.

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Monday, 19th November, 2020 joined other African Countries in a Virtual 33rd Stop TB Partnership High Level Roundtable Board Meeting.

The meeting was held to review progress towards reaching the United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) TB targets in the African region, to reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on TB response and together develop priority actions and financial investment needed to accelerate TB response and attainment of TB target in the midst of COVID-19 era.

President Muhammadu Buhari who participated in the virtual meeting, in his goodwill message commended the efforts and tremendous work done by Stop-TB Partnership at global and national levels for re-enforcing their commitment towards ending TB world over despite numerous challenges and said “It is sad that a preventable and curable disease like TB is still one of the leading causes of death world-wide with efforts at ending it now complicated because of the pandemic.  He stated that "It is now even more urgent that the global community especially the African region act in unison with dedicated efforts using the latest available technology and tools to address the TB epidemic."

President Buhari while speaking further said that Nigeria ranks amongst those countries bearing the brunt of increasing burden of TB with a growing number of missing TB cases. He assured his listening audience that the reversal of Nigeria’s difficult health indices remains a top priority of his Administration. He listed the steps taken by his administration in addressing some of the issues to include the conceptualization and implementation of the Primary Health Care Revitalization Programme aimed at empowering Primary Health Care (PHC) to provide quality basic healthcare treatment of TB, HIV, Malaria and other health challenges delivered in efficient ways.   The President said this will go a long way in helping Nigeria to achieve its target of Universal Health Coverage.  He also mentioned the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, prescribed by the National Health Act to bridge the gap in health care financing with funds released to support provision of a basic minimum package of health service as well as improved funding of health services through Voluntary Contributory Schemes (VSC) that will reduce out of pocket spending of patients and their families including those with TB.

The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora who was also present at the meeting, in his opening remarks said that a lot still needs to be done to change the present narrative for the continent to achieve the set target of attaining UNHLM by 2022. He said that TB still remains a major public health problem in WHO African region, with the region accounting for 25% of people who developed TB in 2019 with Nigeria having the highest TB burden in the region. “We need to find all the missing TB cases and provide high quality patient-centred care and treatment for all TB patients including children and other key populations. We need to urgently scale up access to TB preventive therapy (TPT) and support innovations and researches for ending TB epidemic in our respective countries”, the Minister stated.

Dr. Mamora also informed that sequel to the UNHLM meeting in 2018, Nigeria immediately developed a plan and roadmap for translating the UNHLM commitments into action with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) engaging key stakeholders and wives of Governors as State level TB Ambassadors. ”We are also working with the Executive Arm to set up a Presidential Initiative for ending TB in Nigeria, in addition the FMoH approval for the inclusion of TB into the package of care supported by the BHCPF in 2020.  He said this will further harness domestic resources towards achieving sustainable funding for TB control.”

The Minister revealed that Nigeria had made progress toward achieving the set UNHLM targets with Nigeria for the first time in 2019 recording 13% increase in TB notification, with 77% of the UNHLM target notification achieved, 74% of the UNHLM target for PLHIV placed on TB Preventive Therapy was also achieved. The Honourable Minister Health however said that the advent of COVID-19 pandemic eroded some of the gains made in the TB control efforts with some available domestic resources in most countries channelled towards addressing the pandemic.  Nigeria, he revealed, being one of the epicentres of the pandemic in Africa recorded a slight dip in TB notification at the height of the pandemic which might affect overall the TB notification in 2020.

Dr. Mamora also reported that the FMoH in order to address the impact of COVID-19 on TB, rolled out various guidelines to enhance integration of TB case finding activities into COVID-19 control measures and ensure continuity of TB and other services during the pandemic. He expressed optimism that by the end of the meeting, participants would have shared best practices and ultimately come up with useful resolutions that will help reposition more efficiently, the continents' TB control efforts towards ending TB epidemic.

Other participants at the virtual meeting were the Health Ministers and representatives from the health sector in Mozambique, Zambia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, South-Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, WHO, USAID, Stop TB Partnership amongst others.

Blessing Efem
Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media and Public Relations, FMOH.

Maiduguri, Borno, 17th November, 2020: The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, joined by the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum in physically commissioning some iconic projects at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.  The President, Muhammadu Buhari had earlier done the commissioning virtually from State House, Abuja before asking the duo of Dr. Ehanire and Professor Zulum to proceed with the physical commissioning.

The commissioned projects include a Trauma Centre which was christened Muhammadu Buhari Trauma Centre which has virtually everything that an ultra-modern World Class Trauma Centre can boast of complete with a helipad for emergency landing of a trauma patient.  Professor Ahmad Ahidjo, the Chief Medical Director of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) who led the team of visioners of the Centre would describe it as one of the best in the Country.

The Physical Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) built and donated to the Teaching Hospital by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) is another.  

About 2,000 physically disabled patients are planned to have been rehabilitated at the PRC by 2022.  It can be recalled that the insurgency in the North East Zone of the Country makes for many victims to need the specialized programmes of the PRC at UMTH to help people with amputated limbs regain their mobility.  The newly constructed Centre will provide artificial limbs - prostheses and orthosis, physiotherapy sessions and walking aids such as crutches and wheelchairs.

The ICRC has partnered the UMTH to provide technical and material support to 34 health care professionals, including nine orthopaedic technologists, who are completing their training in Tanzania and Lagos under ICRC scholarship. The ICRC is the world's largest provider of physical rehabilitation services in developing and fragile countries including countries experiencing armed conflicts.

The other projects commissioned by Dr. Ehanire at UMTH include the General Out-Patient Department- GOPD/National Health Insurance Scheme-NHIS/Retainership (GOPD/NHIS/RETAINERSHIP Complex.  

The Complex is a 3-floor facility built to take care of the Hospital's over-stretched old building for out-patients, NHIS and Retainership Patients.  The impressive Complex serves as the main complex for family medicine.  It has Out-Patient Clinics, Laboratory, X-ray, e-Record Suplein, Restaurant, Library, Seminar Room, Lounge, Conference Room and a Pharmacy.

The last but not the least of the commissioned projects is a 1000 seat capacity Ultra-Modern Auditorium with Conference Rooms equipped with ICT facility, Conveniences and Offices.  It was constructed and furnished for the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital by H.E.   Babagana Zulum.

Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media and Public Relations, FMOH.

Thursday, 19th November, 2020, Maiduguri  Borno: The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire was invited by Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno to lay the foundation of the Teaching Hospital of Borno State School of Health Sciences which the Zulum-led administration has begun its construction.  The Teaching Hospital of the Borno State University is planned for the University to eventually start the award of degree in Medicine and Surgery as well as other medical programmes.

At Zulum’s honorary request, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who was in Maiduguri for the commissioning of some "Landmark Projects" at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital at the instance of President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR laid the foundation stone for the Borno State University Teaching Hospital and College of Medical Sciences at Njimtilo, near the University’s campus along Maiduguri-Damaturu road.

In his address, Governor Zulum said: “In fulfilment of the criteria for the establishment of medical colleges, we are here to witness a foundation laying ceremony for the two important projects. We want to start medical courses especially medicine etc in the State University so that we can produce healthcare providers and undertake research as well; but aside academic purposes, we know that there is increasing population in Maiduguri and we have only one Teaching Hospital, and Maiduguri has population of over 3 Million inhabitants. A new Teaching Hospital will serve the increasing population, and this is also in line with our development plan.  Just five days ago, we have launched our 25 year Development Plan, the State University Teaching Hospital and College of Medical Sciences are part of that plan we are implementing”, Zulum said.

The Chairman of a high powered committee for the establishment of the Borno State University Teaching Hospital/Medical College, Prof. Othman Kyari said the project flagged off was the first phase.

“This is the first phase of this Teaching Hospital; in coming up with this, we looked for the best of the best of our existing Teaching Hospitals and other Teaching Hospitals outside the country. The requirements of all the regulatory bodies (medicine and surgery, dentistry, radiology pharmacy, etc) were put into consideration, we believe that by the time this complex is completed, I think it will probably be one of the best in the country”, Kyari said.

The project is being carried out through the Ministry for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, whose commissioner, Dr. Babagana Mustapha Malumbe, received Governor Zulum and the Health Minister on arrival at the ground-breaking ceremony.  The State’s Ministry of Health and relevant government establishments are expected to play vital role as the project passes through developmental stages.

Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media, FMOH with contribution from Lanre Obadiah, SSA (Policy) to Borno State Governor.

The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has charged the Board and Management of Federal Medical Centre Lokoja to amicably resolve all issues with its host community.

Dr. Mamora made this charge when he paid an inspection visit to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja on the 17th of November, 2020.  The Minister disclosed that his visit was a scheduled one meant to resolve the long standing issues the hospital has been contending with.  It may be recalled that in June, 2020, routine services at FMC Lokoja was brought to a halt due to series of agitations, violence and invasion by unidentified gun men.

The Minister of State for Health, further said that his visit was meant to get the medical centre to restart its operations fully: “We want to be sure that FMC Lokoja is in right standing with the Governor of the State because you stand to benefit a lot.  I must use this opportunity to acknowledge what the State Government has done in terms of assistance to this place and stand to benefit even more as a function of good relationship with the State Government. I know so many FMCs that have benefited from their State Governors”, the Minister stated.

Dr. Mamora expressed the wish to have visited the medical center earlier than he did but couldn’t because of the COVID-19 pandemic which he said disrupted plans for many persons and institutions, “When we thought we were getting away from that, another tragedy struck, the #ENDSARS protest.  All along, it’s been on my mind to visit here, you will recall that since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have transited into what is called the new normal, in which case, the bulk of our activities have been online.”  When the situation got so bad as to necessitate the downing of tools and suspension of full services here, expectedly we got worried not just at the Federal Ministry of Health but at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) level, because we felt we were in a period where all hands must be on deck, a pandemic where all health institutions must be up and doing, that was not the best time to have a shut down; but not due to your own fault, but rather as dictated by the circumstances that you were confronted with in that situation.

“This is a solidarity visit to all of you and to say that we share your pains, we share your anxiety, but most importantly, we feel for people out there, patients and clients that ought to have benefitted from the purpose of your being here as FMC Lokoja.

Dr. Mamora informed his audience that he has had series of engagements both physically and on phone with the State Governor and the Commissioner for Health, to find an amicable way of resolving whatever issues are on ground at the Centre. He charged Dr. Audu the Commissioner for Health in Kogi State to make a commitment to the audience since he’s representing the highest authority of Kogi State Government to the effect that issues affecting the Centre will be resolved.  The Honourable Minister of State encouraged all to “leave the past in the past and to have a new beginning and that whatever is happening now shall pass, FMC Lokoja shall be great again.”

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Haruna said FMC Lokoja is the highest care giver in Kogi State, and its closure then affected the State Government and the community at large, but despite the closure, the Government has gone to all villages to screen the people for COVID-19.  “We must play our roles to stop needless conflicts.”  He stated further that the visit by the Honorable Minister is an opportunity to ask for more services.  He informed that the Governor has been in the forefront of the conflict resolution but quite unfortunate that the conflict is being mingled with COVID-19.  He thanked the Minister of State for Health, for the fatherly role he has played and that the State Government will ensure that the conflict is resolved.

Those present at the visit event  include the Medical Director, FMC Lokoja, Dr. Olatunde Alabi, the Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of State, Dr. David Atunwo and other senior staff of the Federal Medical Centre.

Report by Nissi Chukwu.
Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media, FMOH.

The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has inaugurated the Governing Board of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria with an advice to the newly inaugurated Board to note that “procurement and award of contracts are not part of Board functions: they are strictly guided by provisions of the procurement Act, 2007, as provided by the Bureau of Public Procurement.”  He also charged the Board to help put measures in place that will strengthen the Council's resource base, increase internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and improve effectiveness and efficiency of resource utilization, in line with Government Financial Regulations.

The inauguration of the Governing Board of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria took place 16th November, 2020 at the Statement Hotel, Central Business District, Abuja.

Dr. Ehanire pointedly told the Board that the Next Level Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR who is the appointing authority emphasizes transparency and accountability in the affairs of Health Institutions.  He said  Board members should set the highest standards for control of quality and discipline, reposition the profession for greater heights and note that the primary vision of the President as it involves nurses is achieving Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Honourable Minister summed up his charge for them to bring about the most desired change in the shortest possible time.

The inaugurated Governing Board of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria which was for 2020 to 2023 comprises Dr, (Mrs) Bola Ofi as Chairman while members include Mrs Veronica Okolo, Comrade Abdrafiu A. Adeniji, Comrade T. A. Shettima, Mr. Aminu Bello Abdullahi , Mrs. Ajayi Olubukunola, Mrs. Agbo Stella Onyeamaka,  Safiya Yusuf Idris, Mrs. Maymunat A. Abubakar, Dr. Obute Pauline Binang.

Others are: Mr. Idris Zubairu, Mrs. Enunwaonye Chimdi H., Mr.Danladi Adamu, Prof. Ajibade Bayo Lawal, Dr. Abdurrahman Muhammad Sani, Mr. Maigari Babaji, Mrs. Akpoyovwere Obataze J., Dr. Joy O. Agbara, Mrs. Florence Okafor, Mr. Umar Fodio and Mr. Sunday Idubor.

Earlier the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi who was represented by the Director, Hospital Services, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi mni remarked that “the rapidly changing health care system requires highly competent leaders to advance their capabilities and knowledge in order to improve the quality of the Nigeria populace.”  The Permanent Secretary said that the year 2020 which came with the COVID-19 Pandemic and the notable role played by the Nurses in the management and control of the disease makes it apt to see the year as designated by the World Health Assembly as the year of Nurses and Midwives.  In the fight against the pandemic and other health challenges all over the world, he described the Nurses and Midwives as “incredible warriors.”

While responding on behalf of her Governing Board, the Chairman, Dr, (Mrs) Bola Ofi who was being reappointed for a Second Term, commended the Registrar and the Governing Council for their innovative and proactive ways of running the Council to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and other national policies of health.  She extended same recognition and gratitude to the Honourable Minister for prompt action and approval of those enormous works of Council which needed his endorsement despite the tight schedules at leading the Ministry of Health in the battle against COVID-19.  She pledged on behalf of her new team not to disappoint.

Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media & Public Relations, with contribution from Blessing Egbo.

The gloomy picture of death taking the life of a child every 20 seconds in Nigeria can be ameliorated if only stakeholders and partners in the health sector adopt “effective case management, promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, reduction of indoor air pollution, and full immunization against communicable diseases” as well as some other measures.  The country also need to ensure a reduction target of less than 15 and 25 deaths per 1000 live births respectively to arrive at its target on Neonatal and Under-Five Mortality reduction.

These were the submissions of the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora while addressing pressmen to mark the 2020 World Pneumonia and Prematurity Day, on 12th November, 2020 at the headquarters of Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja.

Dr. Mamora who described the theme of the 2020 World Pneumonia and Prematurity Day as “Fighting childhood pneumonia: emerging global health issues” as being apt, disclosed that Nigeria records about 143, 000 Under-Five deaths due to pneumonia annually.  He also added that pneumonia “along with other childhood killer diseases (is) still responsible for the observable high Under-Five Rate of 132 in 1000 live birth.”

The Hounourable Minister of State further identified a need to put a check on mother-to-child transmission of HIV as well as promoting regular hand washing, which he said are “happily brought together with other critical services” and interventions under what is called the “Nigerian Integrated Pneumonia Control Strategy and Implementation Plan” to create healthy environment, promote best practices known to protect children from pneumonia and ensuring that every child has access to proven and appropriate preventive and treatment measures.”

On prematurity, which Dr. Mamora identified as one of the top three killers of new-borns, he recommended the adoption of “Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) for small babies” in Nigeria as “a much needed intervention.”  The Honourable Minister said this intervention of KMC already has “overwhelming evidence of proven efficacy” saying that “The evidences of additional neurocognitive advantages of KMC over incubator care have now evolved to the level that even those in developed clime have started adopting this method of care as an adjunct to institutional incubator care.”

HMSH, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora with the PSH, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi at the press briefing to mark the 2020 World Pneumonia and Prematurity Day held on 12th November, 2020 at FMOH HEADQUARTERS

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, while welcoming pressmen and guests to the press briefing pointed out that the Joint commemoration of World Pneumonia and Premature Day on 12th November began in 2009 to raise awareness and promote interventions aimed at preventing and managing childhood pneumonia.  He expressed regrets that pneumonia kills 800, 000 lives of the World Under-Five children annually and 2,000 lives on daily basis.

Mr. Abdullahi predicted that the most deprived and marginalized children from the poorest families living in Low-Middle-Income (LMICs) are likely to die before their 5th birthday in relation to children from wealthier families.  He puts the basis of his prediction on inequalities and poor access to quality health service.  He then asked the health authorities and partners to accept the challenges to help this vulnerable group.   The Permanent Secretary also rightly attributed Neonatal deaths to three major causes:  “prematurity (31%), intrapatum complications including birth asphyxia (31%) and sepsis (22%) stating that Neonatal deaths contribute 32% to Under-Five mortality.”

Goodwill messages at the press event were expressed by FCT Secretary for Health, Dr. Mohammed Kawu and representatives of WHO, UNICEF, SCI, CHAI, USAID and NEST360.

By Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media, FMOH with contribution from Blessing Efem.

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the World Day of Remembrance of Road Traffic Victims 2020, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has enjoined all road users in Nigeria to improve on road safety behaviour and consciousness, especially since most road crashes in the country are attributable to inappropriate road user behaviour and as such are preventable.

Dr. Ehanire made this call while giving the keynote address to mark the World Day of Remembrance for Victims of Road Traffic Crashes 2020, held 10th November, 2020 at the National Press Centre, Radio House Abuja.

According to him, “We are all road users and we all have a part in reducing road crashes, whether as a driver, cyclist, passenger, or pedestrian. Good road user behaviour means that while operating a vehicle, drivers should not use the phone or text and should not drink or use other substances that impair judgement; drivers should adhere to specified speed limit and ensure use of provided safety gadgets for all passengers; and plan properly for travel by ensuring good condition of the vehicle.”

The Honourable Minister of Health further pointed out that passengers distracting drivers and pedestrians crossing roads inappropriately also contribute to road crashes.  He also enjoined that the parties responsible for road safety must also play their role in enforcing road safety regulations, maintaining adequate road infrastructure, and construction of safer roads.

Dr. Ehanire expressed disappointment that although this year marks the end of the 1st UN Decade of Action on Road Safety and Injury Prevention, many low and middle income countries including Nigeria were unable to reach up to 30% of the global target to reduce road crashes by 50% by 2020.  This, he said was highlighted at the 3rd Ministerial Conference in Sweden in February, 2020, where the performance of various member states on the Decade of Action on Road Safety was reviewed.

Speaking further, the Honourable Minister noted that while it may not be possible to completely eliminate road crashes, the Federal Government is working to save as many lives as possible with prompt and efficient post-crash response. To this end, a National Emergency Medical Treatment Committee (NEMTC) has been inaugurated, as stipulated in the National Health Act, charged with the responsibility of administering the 5% proportion of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) designated for emergency medical treatment.

He explained that the National Emergency Medical Treatment Committee (NEMTC) is a Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) multi-stakeholder, private sector-led committee, including civil society organizations (CSO), tasked with ensuring access to prompt and quality emergency medical care to all Nigerians, at the time of need, without recourse to social status and ability to pay. “This is a public service innovation designed to provide available, accessible, quality, affordable and sustainable emergency medical system for all persons in Nigeria at the time of need”, he said.

He said the initiative will eliminate the demand for deposits, payment or police reports before attending to persons requiring emergency care adding that the NEMTC is presently formalizing the commencement of a pilot scheme for the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS) within the FCT, which will subsequently be replicated across the country.

The World Day of Remembrance of Road Traffic Victims (WDR) is observed on the third Sunday of November each year across the world in remembering the many millions killed or injured in road crashes and their families and communities, as well as to pay tribute to the dedicated emergency crews, police, roadsafety personnel and medical professionals who daily deal with the traumatic aftermath of road death and injury. The theme of the commemoration this year is ‘REMEMBER, SUPPORT, ACT.’

Blessing Egbo
Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media, FMOH.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Biovaccine Nigeria Limited (BVNL) giving rise to a joint venture between the Federal Government and May & Baker Nigeria Limited for the production of locally made vaccines.

The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire who signed the MOU on behalf of the Federal Government on the 5th of November, 2020, at the Federal Ministry of Health Conference Room, Abuja described the event as “a milestone in our national desire for self-reliance in vaccine production.”

He said the Covid-19 pandemic brought the attention of the country to the need for domestic production capabilities of vaccines among other commodities as well as self-sufficiency in other endeavors with efforts being made to support home grown manufacturing of healthcare commodities.

The Minister informed his audience that the MOU which was being signed has undergone various appraisals and amendments by the Legal Unit of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) as well as the Federal Ministry of Justice before arriving at the final draft.  “The MOU will serve as an implementation frame work for guaranteeing market access, which is conditional for transfer of technology to indigenous vaccine manufactures.”

Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire disclosed that BVNL has been working with the Federal Government through the FMoH and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to ensure that the hitherto moribund Federal Vaccine Manufacturing Laboratory in Lagos is resuscitated for the production of safe and affordable vaccines for Nigeria and prospectively for Africa.  He expressed optimism that with the signing of the MOU, BVNL can now start work fully in the process of vaccine production in Nigeria.

The Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGoN) and Biovaccine Nigeria Limited (BVNL) on Thursday, 5th November, 2020.

The Minister revealed that the Joint Venture Agreement which was signed on the 25th of July 2017 has the Federal Government owning 49% shareholding being the value of Land and Real Estate assets of former Federal Vaccine Production Laboratory (FVPL) with May & Baker owing 51% share.

The BVNL is charged with the mandate to attract technology, build and develop capacity for research and development and local manufacturing of vaccines. Members of the board of the BVNL constituted in 2017 include: Professor Oyewale Tomori as Chairman; Director, Food and Drug Services Department, FMoH as member; the Executive Director, NPHCDA also as a member amongst others.

Those who were present to witness the MOU signing were the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdullazi Mashi; the  Director, Legal of the Ministry, Alhaji Diri; and a member of the Board of BVNL, Professor Oyewale Tomori; and other Directors of the Ministry.

By Blessing Efem
Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media & Public Relations, FMOH.

FMOH Agencies

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