• Fake malaria drugs in circulation – FG
  • WHO beefs up health response in N/East


As the fear of Lassa fever outbreak spreads across the states in Nigeria, Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicolas Azinge has said the state government had placed 32 persons on surveillance, including 11 persons from the immediate family of the deceased medical doctor, 18 persons at the private hospital where he was first admitted, and three other persons who made contact with the deceased.
Dr. Azinge, who disclosed this yesterday in Asaba while speaking on the measures the state government had taken to avoid its spread in the state, added that the late doctor’s hospital in Umuaji and the hospital where he was treated at Bonsaac, all in Asaba, had been shut down and fumigated.
He added that his wife’s blood sample was taken and tested and it came out negative at the Institute of Lassa Fever, Irrua, Edo State.
It would be recalled that Dr. Okeke, resident in Asaba, who hailed from Anambra State, was first admitted at a private hospital in the state and was later referred to Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, NAUTH, Nnewi, where he reportedly died on August 18 this year.
According to him, the patient’s condition deteriorated and he died after three hours on admission.
A blood sample earlier collected was confirmed to be positive for Lassa fever at the Institute of Lassa Fever, Edo State.
“Two Local Government Area Disease Surveillance officers in Oshimili South and Oshimili North are actively involved as part of the state response team. They have been monitoring the temperature of those under surveillance, and this will be done for a period of 21 days,” Azinge noted.
He stressed that the Lassa Fever Response Team had been reactivated and sensitisation of health workers in the state was ongoing for them to have a high index of suspicion and take preventive measures when managing infectious cases.
“Awareness creation through the various mass media has been done so that the general public can understand how the disease is transmitted and therefore take preventive measures to forestall its spread,” he stated.
The Health Commissioner, however, added that the outbreak prevention materials had been pre-positioned in high-risk disease outbreak LGAs and Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, non-contact thermometers and other items have been distributed to the Disease Surveillance and Notification officers in all of the 25 local government Areas in the state by the state Ministry of Health.
He noted that the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Medical Association, Delta State, had been contacted and were collaborating with the state Ministry of Health, as he assured the general public not to panic since the situation was under control.

Fake malaria drugs in circulation
Following recent alert by the federal government on circulation of falsified malaria drugs named Quinine Sulphate 300mg, which contains zero pharmaceutical ingredients currently circulating in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigerians have been urged to be vigilant to report to relevant authorities when such drugs are sighted.
A press statement issued by Boade Akinola, director, Media and Public Relations of the Ministry of Health, said, “Members of the public are advised to be vigilant and report to the nearest office of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, NAFDAC, if the drugs are spotted anywhere including hospitals and pharmaceutical shops.”
Also, government has also advised people who already have the fake drugs not to use them, saying “if you are in possession of these products, please do not use them. If you have taken this falsified product, or if you suffer an adverse event following an intake, please seek seek immediate advice from a qualified healthcare professional, and report the incident to NAFDAC.”
The Quinine Sulphate is used in the treatment of malaria; however, the implication of using the falsified one is that it will not be effective and may also lead to other health challenges.
The fake drugs were discovered when government stepped up vigilance within the drug supply chains in the country.
The ministry has given the following numbers tfor contact: +234-8037881120, + 234-8055056727, +234-8035902679 in case of public report.
Furthermore, the release carried details of the product as shown – Quinine Sulphate 300mg, number of tablets per container 1000. Batch Number 10H05. Expiry date 09/2018. Date of manufacture 09/2014. Manufacturer- Novadina Pharmaceutical Ltd, London, United Kingdom.
While the second drug is Quinine Sulphate 300mg. Number of tablets in container 100. Batch Number F4387. Expiry date 11/18. Date of manufacture 12/14. The Manufacturer – CAD Pharm, India.
The first product was discovered in Cameroon while the second was in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the ministry said.

WHO beefs up health response in North- East
Meanwhile, due to the increasing emergency situation that has affected 800,000 people held up by Boko Haram insurgents in 15 Local Governments Areas of the North East, a team of the World Health Organisation, WHO, health experts have arrived in the region to access and respond to the health needs of affected people.
In a press release sent from WHO Office in Geneva to Nigerian Pilot yesterday, the organisation stated that in collaboration with partners, it has scaled up its emergency response activities to assist hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need of health service, while noting that more than half of the health facilities in Borno State are not functioning.
WHO also stated that ‘’Initial assessment in the region reveals urgent health problems among the population in 15 LGAs formerly held by the insurgency groups. Estimated mortality rates in some of the areas are 4 times higher than emergency thresholds. The rate of severe acute malnutrition is estimated to be 14%.’’
‘’ In addition, Nigeria last week recorded 2 polio cases in Borno State, 2 years after the last recorded case in the country. One of the cases is from an LGA that is still inaccessible. Measles cases have also been reported in the area, further complicating a challenging humanitarian environment, the organisation noted.
WHO said that its immediate goal is to urgently reduce death rates and disease by rapidly scaling up life-saving health services, adding that it would work loosely with local officials and specialist agencies to address the health risks posed by malnutrition, disease outbreaks and long-term lack of access to basic health services.
Dr. Peter Salama, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme said, ‘Protracted conflict situations, such as seen in northern Nigeria and the surrounding Lake Chad basin countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger – are among the greatest threats to health globally. Not only are they associated with the highest rates of death among children and pregnant women, they can also be breeding grounds for infectious diseases and outbreaks- but are too often neglected by the international community.’’
WHO decried the working environment in affected areas as extremely challenging and that resources and capacities to meet the enormous health services gaps are grossly inadequate.
Insecurity is a major constraint with a number of recent attacks on humanitarian staff by insurgents and access to the 15 LGAs require military escort over long distances on poor roads, WHO said.