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Major health stories published last week

Scientists are still searching for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which has killed thousands of people across the world since it first surfaced in China last December.

The COVID-19 virus has infected about seven million people and killed over 400,000 people globally. Nigeria has recorded over 12,000 infections and 342 deaths as of June 6.

There is also a setback in the fight against Ebola Virus as the Democratic Republic of Congo reported new cases of the disease during the week.

Here are some of the health stories which made headlines last week

Coronavirus: Nigeria records more than 12,000 cases

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Saturday, announced 389 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the country to 12, 233.

Nine new deaths were recorded on Saturday.

“Till date, 12,233 cases have been confirmed, 3826 cases have been discharged and 342 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” it stated.

Gates Foundation pledges $1.6 billion to GAVI for lifesaving vaccines

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on Thursday, pledged $1.6 billion to GAVI, the global vaccine alliance, to immunise 300 million children in the world’s poorest countries by 2025.

The foundation said in a statement on Friday that the pledge, which is a five years commitment, was made at the Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Gates Foundation is also committing $100 million to Gavi’s new effort to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for lower income countries through a new COVID-19 Vaccine Advance Market Commitment.

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At the end of the meeting, $8.8 billion was raised from world leaders and companies.

New Ebola outbreak reported in DRC

The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced on Saturday a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Wangata health zone, Mbandaka, in Équateur province.

The announcement comes as a long, difficult and complex Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is in its final phase, while the country also battles COVID-19 and the world’s largest measles outbreak.

Initial information from the Ministry of Health is that six Ebola cases have so far been detected in Wangata, of which four have died and two are under care.

Two months old baby diagnosed with COVID-19 in Delta

The Commissioner for Health in Delta, Mordi Ononye, on Friday, confirmed that a two-month-old baby was among the 116 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Mr Ononye said at a news conference in Asaba that pediatricians were taking care of the child and expressed optimism that the baby would get better and be discharged.

He said that the state currently had 116 confirmed cases of the pandemic, with 31 discharged and 77 active cases.

COVID-19 disrupted delivery of essential health services globally – WHO

A new World Health Organisation (WHO) survey has found that health services for noncommunicable diseases have been disrupted since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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The UN health agency said almost all health activities, especially the prevention and treatment services for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), have been suspended by hospitals globally.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said “many people who need treatment for diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes have not been receiving the health services and medicines they need since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Gynaecologist: Stop abusing painkillers or risk infertility

A Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Abosede Lewu, has urged women to stop abuse or consistent use of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), also known as painkillers to prevent infertility.

Ms Lewu, Convener, Keep All Mothers Alive (KAMA) Project, said the consistent use of NSAIDs has negative effects on women’s menstrual cycle and ovulation.

NSAIDs or painkillers are drugs that reduce pain, decrease fever, prevent blood clots and in higher doses, decrease inflammation.

NLC Condemns Cuts in Health, Education Budgets

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), wednesday criticised the decision of the federal government to heavily slash the budget of primary healthcare from N44.4 billion to N25.5 billion and the Universal Basic Education (UBE) budget from N111.7 billion to N51.1 billion, while it only slightly slashed the budget for the renovation of the National Assembly complex from N37 billion to N27.7 billion.

Worried that the budget for the renovation of the National Assembly complex was reduced by only by 25.1 per cent, while that of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, which is meant to cater for all the primary healthcare centres across the 774 local government areas in the country, was significantly reduced by more than 42.5 per cent, the organised labour said government was ill-advised in its calculation.

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No evidence that mutations to SARS-CoV-2 increase transmissibility

Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in the human population at the end of 2019, the virus has been accumulating mutations in its genetic code, which comprises single-stranded RNA.

There have been concerns that some of these mutations could increase the transmissibility of the virus — that is, its ability to spread between people.

Researchers at the University College London (UCL) Genetics Institute in the United Kingdom have now analyzed the genomes of over 15,000 SARS-CoV-2 samples. These came from people from 75 different countries.

The analysis finds that mutations to the virus do not increase its transmissibility and are instead either neutral or detrimental to its spread.

Two million lung disease patients notice symptoms improved during lockdown

Nearly two million Britons who are living with lung conditions have seen their symptoms improve as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, research suggests.

The British Lung Foundation surveyed more than 14,000 people living with everything from asthma to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

One in six (16.2 percent) praised the fall in air pollution, with extreme restrictions forcing many to stay indoors.

When extrapolated out to the general population, around 1.94 million patients are said to be enjoying the cleaner air.


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